Book and Video Reviews

Book and Video Reviews


This is just a quick review of some examples of what you might find useful as supplements to your training.  This list is not meant to be anything close to comprehensive and I am intentionally leaving out some of the more common examples that I expect most Shotokan enthusiasts to already know about.  I am including here only short reviews for what I consider quality material, but that is not to say that there are no other quality resources outside of what is on this list.  As usual, I am trying to limit my article length in an attempt to be sure that the majority of readers actually read all (or at least most) of what I write.  Please note that I have published thorough reviews separately, many of which are now on


Best Karate (M. Nakayama)  If you count this series as a single book, I would say this should be the one your karate library must not be without.  Some books deal with fundamental techniques and principles.  Others in the set deal with specific kumite strategy and/or techniques.  Others include fine examples of kata performance by some of the best in the JKA.

Advanced Karate-do (E. Schmeisser)  I would say that this is the finest karate technical manual ever printed in any language.  If you can follow the verbage (it gets a bit technical for some and there are no photo examples) it is very valuable for the advanced practitioner.  This is not for beginners.

Karate: Dynamics & Kinematics (L. Ingber)  This was the best technical manual before “Advanced Karate-do” came along.  Still very interesting and valuable for the advanced karateka.  Out of print.  If you can find one used, buy it.

Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching (C Wiley)  The best book on how to teach the martial arts.  Not a step-by-step guide for those first starting out.  But some great insight for those who would like to bring their teaching to a higher level.

Karate the Japanese Way (M. Groenewold)  This is an interesting new book that describes Shotokan training from the viewpoint of someone who has done all his training in Japan over the past 10+ years.

Some other interesting non-technical books I would recommend include Moving Zen (C.W. Nicol), Karate-Do, My Way of Life (G. Funakoshi), Kodo: Ancient Ways (K Furuya), Weaponless Warriors (R. Kim) and Perfecting Ourselves (A Hoopes).


Shotokan Mastery is a series that includes the requirements for different levels but goes much deeper into technical detail than most instructors administering tests at those levels. Highly recommended.

Champ has a large assortment of instructional tapes and tournaments, much of it JKA.  Most are in japanese, however.  So if you do not know the language, the value you gain from these may be limited to watching the examples on the screen.

LegendTV has put together some fabulous tournament footage, along with some documentary material.  Some non-stop action that will put good use to your remote control buttons as you rewind, pause and slow things down to get a better look.

Tsunami Video has come out with a variety of instructional tapes worth watching.

Copyright © 2022, Jon Keeling (originally published September 2003)