Karate as the Art of Killing: A Study of Its Deadly Origins, Ideology of Peace, and the Techniques of Shito-Ry u (Paperback)

Karate as the Art of Killing: A Study of Its Deadly Origins, Ideology of Peace, and the Techniques of Shito-Ry u By Masayuki Shimabukuro, Leonard Pellman Cover Image

Karate as the Art of Killing: A Study of Its Deadly Origins, Ideology of Peace, and the Techniques of Shito-Ry u (Paperback)


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This comprehensive overview of karate connects the dots between its philosophical and spiritual foundations with its original purpose: to kill an attacker swiftly—and brutally.

Prior to 1900, karate-dō was exclusively an art of unarmed self-defense. Its practice was designed for life-or-death situations—effectively, an art of killing. Here, authors Leonard Pellman and the late Masayuki Shimabukuro restore karate to its original intent. They move karate away from its popular modern-day sporting applications back to its deadly origins—and to the restraining philosophy of peace, self-sacrifice, compassion, and service to others that necessarily accompanied it.

Readers will learn:

• The purpose and meaning of karate-dō
• The origins and major precepts of bushidō
• Training methods, preparation, and etiquette
• Fundamentals, spiritual power, training patterns, and analysis and application of kata
• How to understand the body as a weapon

With chapters on kokoro (heart, mind, and spirit), ki (spirit and energy), and the 7 major precepts of bushidō, The Art of Killing demonstrates how karate is more than a method of bringing an enemy down—it’s a philosophical and spiritual system grounded in essential lessons to guard against abuses of power. Together, the authors showcase how purity of intention matters, and how compassion and respect are the essence of karate training.
At the time of this book’s writing, Shimabukuro Masayuki Hidenobu was an 8th dan (8th degree black belt) in Shitō-Ryū karate-dō, a member of the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame, and technical adviser to the Dai Nippon Butoku-Kai, Japan’s most prestigious martial arts organisation. During his lifetime, he trained thousands of students on four continents in the art of karate-dō. Leonard J. Pellman has been training in classical Japanese budō since 1965, and currently holds the rank of 5th dan in Shitō-Ryū karate-dō. Together, Shimabukuro and Pellman have written several articles on karate-do and other martial arts for Black Belt and Inside Karate magazines, as well as the books Katsujinken: Living Karate (published by JKI, Inc.) and Flashing Steel: Mastering Eishin-Ryū Swordsmanship (published by Blue Snake Books).
Product Details ISBN: 9781623176617
ISBN-10: 1623176611
Publisher: Blue Snake Books
Publication Date: May 24th, 2022
Pages: 400
Language: English
“At long last, the long-awaited book on Shitō-ryū karate from the late Masayuki Shimabukuro and Leonard Pellman is here. The authors detail the origins of karate as an art for killing to its current transformation as a combat sport, and further lay out an argument for moving karate away from its popular modern-day sporting applications and returning karate to its original intent as a killing art. The authors further detail the restraining philosophy found within karate to guard against abuse of power and the perfection of character. Without the great efforts of Mr. Pellman, this book would have surely been lost and would have never come to fruition after the passing of Master Shimabukuro.”
—C. Michial Jones, author of Entering through the Gateway of Gōjū-ryū and 45-year karate practitioner

“This amazing treatise on the beautiful and powerful art of karate is comprehensively written and presented by Leonard J. Pellman and the late Masuyuki Shimabukuro. Karate as the Art of Killing presents the art in its raw and combative form and origin, unlike today’s sporting aspects of the deadly art. As you indulge in reading the pages of this great publication, you’ll also find the focus on the philosophical and spiritual aspects of the art. Discover the antithesis of human aggression and abuse of power.”
—Sterling J. Moore, 5th dan black belt in Shōtōkan karate, 3rd dan black belt in Kenpō karate, 2nd dan black belt in Samurai Jujutsu, and iaidō practitioner

“If you are interested in traditional karate-dō, this book can help you with your quest to self-perfection. For the rigors of everyday life such as family, career, health issues, school, parenthood, childhood, or those with insecurities, karate can give you an outlet by training, which in turn releases the stresses of these common situations. Built for every person—it doesn’t matter your size, big or small—all can benefit with the practice of these martial techniques. Within this book, you will be able to understand the philosophy of traditional karate-dō, which can guide a person throughout one’s life. The true meaning of karate is the act of compassion to everyone, no matter what their current situation is. Open your heart to the philosophy, train your body to become a weapon of self-defense, and both these tools together can help you cultivate your spirit by bringing goodness to the world. This is what karate has taught me.”
—Richard Madriaga, 4th degree black belt in JKI karate-dō, head instructor at JKI San Diego Dōjō

“Being a person who not only loves martial arts but has studied it for over 20 years, I love this book. It was both entertaining and educational as well as sparking my spirit to get up and try some moves right in my living room!”
—Nneka L. Cleaver, tae kwon do 3rd degree black belt, owner of Black Business SA and 4 Community Growth

“When I was asked to write an endorsement to this book, I was both honored and humbled. Honored because Masayuki Shimabukuro hanshi is a legend in the world of traditional Japanese martial arts.  Humbled because when I think of Shimabukuro hanshi I envision myself standing in the presence of the epitome of pure budō. The knowledge he presents through this book is the culmination of a lifetime of study under two of the most famous and respected Japanese Shitō-ryū karate-dō teachers to have ever lived: Kenzo Mabuni soke and Teruo Hayashi soke. I encourage all karateka, regardless of style, to read, study, and put into practice the techniques, skills, and concepts presented herein. The clear and easily understandable presentation of those techniques, skills, and concepts is the result of Shimabukuro hanshi’s knowledge and the keen organizational presentation brought forth by Leonard Pellman-sensei as the book’s coauthor. I salute all those who had a part in creating this book. It is truly a job well done!”
—Colonel Roy J. Hobbs, USAF Retired, hanshi of Shōrin-ryū, Gōjū-ryū, and Shitō-ryū karate-dō,
president and founder of Kenshinkan Sōgō Budō Kenkyukai

“Many of us are interested in a deeper understanding of karate; this brings us to the need to know the who, the how, and the why we do the things in our training and application. This comprehensive book takes us back to the original context and intent in combat. It strengthens our understanding of the purpose of balancing striking and grappling when it comes to core principles. If your aim is to become a better and more efficient world-class martial artist, then this is the ideal training tool and study.”
—John Mills, founder of Mills Seito Family Dōjō and instructor of karate-dō, Okinawa kobujutsu, iaijutsu, and jūjutsu