Friday, August 31, 2012

Karate My Life

Written by Kanazawa Hirokazu in Japanese, translated into English by Alex Bennett.

Apart from Chuck Norris, Kanazawa Hirokazu is probably the most famous karateka alive.  Sensei Kanazawa worked all his life to popularise Karate around the world. He organised clubs, wrote books, travelled, performed in public and on TV. "Karate My Life" contains detailed account of that work.

"In the world of budo everybody is of equal standing regardless of race, creed, or religion. Good people stand shoulder to shoulder within the great family that is the dojo. Even if the dojo is small, the way pursued is great and it links the whole world together."

The book is very personal. It details Kanazawa's childhood, talks about his reasons to start practising martial arts, reveals thoughts on family, and on getting old.

Kanazawa was born in 1931 and started travelling in the early 1960s, when the memories of  Japanese atrocities were still strong. In Britain he overcomes initial hostility of a British woman whose husband was a POW killed by the Japanese, and of a chinese restaurant owner whose whole family was slaughtered by the Japanese Imperial Army in Imphal.
"I realised then that we are all put on this earth inextricably linked to our past. There is a thread that links parents to their children, and then their children. If one generation is careless, the repercussions will be felt for generations to come. We all have a responsibility to prevent such things from happening." 

You can see sensei Kanazawa performing various kata, for example Heian Godan - the fifth basic kata, on youtube.

A few karate terms:

sensei - teacher
sempai - senior student
budo - martial arts
dojo - training hall and the people who train there

kata - form
kumite - sparring
kihon - basics

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