Isshin-ryu Books & Tapes

Renew our motivation - Increase our understanding - Improve our teaching - Increase our knowledge

Just getting started in Isshin ryu, or feel the need for some new stimulation? Let me recommend a book or two, several video tapes. They do, however, come from different camps. So what? This is the "One Heart" site of Isshin ryu. The goal is for us to increase our understanding and improve our teaching of Isshin ryu. Treat the following books and video tapes like eating fish. Pick out the bones, eat the meat and be nourished.

A few suggestions include the following. First, of course, there are the sensible must read books written by my Sensei and original student of Tatsuo Shimabuku, Steve Armstrong. Several of these books were out of print and have only recently been reprinted. The books are Seisan, Seiuchin, Naihanchi, and Wansu. These books go step-by- step through each of these katas.


"Where the world ceases to be the scene of our personal hopes and wishes, where we face it as free beings admiring, asking and observing, there we enter the realm of Art and Science" ___ Albert Einstein


Isshin ryu Karate : The One Heart Method - by Steve Armstrong as told to Jay Alevizon:

A look at Isshin ryu by one of the outstanding early leaders and builders of Isshin ryu karate in the United States.

Seisan - Sensei Steve Armstrong: A traditional and pictorial step-by-step through the kata.
Seiuchin - Sensei Steve Armstrong: A traditional and pictorial step-by-step through the kata.
Naihanchi - Sensei Steve Armstrong: A traditional and pictorial step-by-step through the kata.
Wansu - Sensei Steve Armstrong: A traditional and pictorial step-by-step through the kata.

Isshin ryu Karate Do : Its History and Philosophy - Michael J. Dobyns: A respectable book giving a historical overview of Isshin ryu.

Okinawa's Complete Karate System - Isshin Ryu - Michael Rosenbaum: A unique look at Isshin Ryu's lineage, the internal and external aspects of the art, and the multiple interpretations of all Isshin Ryu kata.

Dynamics of Isshin ryu Karate - Harold Long: The sensible application of self defense through the practice of kata.
Dynamics of Isshin ryu Karate (Book 3) - Harold Long: A great Isshin ryu book on power, breaking, self-defense, Bo Bo and Bo Sai kumite, and much more.
Isshin-ryu karate : the ultimate Fighting Art -Harold Long: A must read book by one of America's original Isshin ryu giants.

Isshin ryu Chinto Kata, Secrets Revealed - Javier Martinez: Mr. Javier Martinez's books give an unusual self-defense or "bunkai" applications to the kata involved. Although these applications in some cases may be considerably different from the bunkai or Kumite applications taught by Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei to his original students, the books may be of interest.
Isshin ryu Kusanku Kata Secrets Revealed - Javier Martinez
Isshin ryu Naihanchi Kata, Secrets Revealed -Javier Martinez "I think this book is way off."

Isshin ryu Karate-Do - Milledge Murphey: An overview of history, and his approach and theory, of Isshin ryu.

Isshin ryu : the one heart, one mind method - Allen Wheeler: A well-done pictorial step-by-step of Isshin ryu's open-hand katas.

The Way of Kata, A Comprehensive Guide to Deciphering Martial Applications - by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder : This is not another book of complicated and questionable techniques or weird physiological theories. Regardless of ones style or system, when it comes to discerning each move of ones kata, this is the book. If you obtain the book for just the fifteen general principles to identify effective kata techniques and the twelve discrete rules for deciphering martial applications, it will be well worth it.

Karate-Do : My Way of Life - Gichin Funakoshi: Written near the end of his life, this book lacks some of the fire of his earlier works, but still a book to be read by the martial artist.

The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do... - Shoshin Nagamine: Sensei Nagamine covers the history of karate, sparring techniques, and all eighteen Matsubayashi Shorin-Ryu katas. Since five of Isshin ryu's hand katas come from the Shorin Ryu linage, this book is a treasured reference source.

Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters - Shoshin Nagamine: Another classic work by the last of the legendary pre-war karate masters.

Lessons from the Dojo Floor - Kris Wilder: This four star rated book not only educates and entertains, it will ultimately challenge every martial artist from beginner to black belt. Not only a well-known Dan in Goju-ryu, the author also holds Dan rankings in Tae Kwon Do, and Judo. The messages contained within this book will help each of us identify our training for what it is, and the reasons we train.

The Way of Sanchin Kata - Another four star rated book by Kris Wilder: One of if not the best book ever written on Sanchin. Designed for the reader to explore and verify Sanchin Kata for ones self—regardless of style or linage. Buy it, underline it, and study it.

Okinawan Goju-Ryu -Seikichi Toguchi: This book is worth buying just for the discussion on Sanchin kata and the instructions for proper breathing.

Karate Dojo : Traditions and Tales - Peter Urban: A fun to read somewhat fiction classic, written by one of America's pioneer martial artists. For many of us, this was the first book in our martial arts' library.

Iron and Silk (Vintage Departures) - Mark Salzman: Well written and fun. This book is of great interest to any practitioner of Okinawa karate who understands the Chinese influence on his art.

Wearing dyed pajamas and a bald head wig ordered out of a comic book, 13 years old "Little Grasshopper" Mark Salzman began his quest for Kung Fu in his parents basement. In 1982, a decade later, Salzman left for Changsha, China to teach English. And there he developed his master-student (shifu-tudi) relationship with China's foremost martial arts instructor.

Karate-Do Kyohan : The Master Text - Gichin Funakoshi, Tsutomu Ohshima: Although of more interest to Shotokan Karate-Do, the detailed technique of this style's katas will be of interest to any serious karate student.

Bushido : The Soul of Japan - Inazo Nitobe: An unusual cross-cultural essay on Bushido--the conduct of the militant knight.

The Weaponless Warriors - Richard Kim: The author started his martial art training in 1926 and has studied with recognized masters throughout the world ever since. This informal history of Okinawan Karate is another fun to read classic.

The Bible of Karate : Bubishi - Patrick McCarthy: "Bible" is stretching it. But, it is still a book for our library and of great interest to any karate-ka.

The Art of War - Tzu Sun: This logical approach to the conduct of Chinese military operations was authored more than two thousand years ago. Today, Tzu Sun's views are being adapted by business and others seeking to develop winning strategies in their daily endeavors.

& DVDs

Isshin ryu - A.J. Advincula: Nine professionally done CDs or Video tapes by original Tatsuo Shimabuku student A.J.Advincula. Just the first tape alone covers everything from the principles of Isshin ryu's blocks, strikes, kicks and body mechanic to basic upper and lower exercises. And much more, including 1, 2 and 3 point sparring with all basic bunkai--preferred and non-preferred. That is just the first tape. There are four more CDs or Video tapes covering hand katas and four tapes covering Isshin ryu weapon's katas. For more information click on:

Isshinryu - This DVD by Don Shapland

opens with a very concise IR history. Then closes with a brief history of Canadian Isshin ryu. Don Shapland is Canadian and planted much of the Isshin ryu that is there today. Don started back east in 1966 studying IR. He spent a decade or so living and studying in Okinawa and adds that flavor. He returned in 2002 after investing ten years living on Okinawa studying Ryukyu Kobudo Tesshinkan—The original Ryukyu weapons system.

The DVD covers step-by-step the 23 kihon of Isshin ryu. Then traditional and pictorial step-by-step through the katas Seisan, Seiunchin, Naihanshi, Wansu, and Sanchin. Each form three times—once slow and once full power and then, finally, showing bunkai—an excellent source for new students in particular.

The quality is professional. The editing is excellent. It is edited to make it easy to follow, which makes for easy learning. And the price is only $29.95 not including shipping. For those interested, it can be ordered from:

Power Training for Karate - Morio Higaonna: Morio Higaonna, is considered the most senior living Goju Ryu karate practitioner. This ninety minute tape covers the entire karate training system: kata, bunkai, sparring stretching, weight training, body conditioning, and makiwara work out.

Goju Ryu Karate Kata - Morio Higaonna: All twelve Goju Ryu kata by Morio Higaonna, 9th Dan Hanshi, one of the world's most technically accomplished teachers of any style.

The Karate of Chotoku Kyan - Zenpo Shimabukuru: Chotoku Kyan, an Okinawa karate legend. No nonsense combat karate as it should be.

Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu Karate Part 1 English subtitles - Okinawa Karate's Shoshin and Takayoshi Nagamine along with historic footage, kata, bunkai, weapons, and more.

"Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight."
____________Psalm 144:1

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