Karate, along with kung-fu, is one of the most widely known martial arts in Western society. Unfortunately, when most people hear the word “karate” they think of Mr. Miyagi teaching the young Daniel LaRusso “wax on” and “wax off”, or they think of McDojos that give 10-year-olds black belts, but obviously karate goes much deeper than that.
Dave Lowry, the author of The Karate Way, will definitely open your eyes to karate-do and all of its wonder and rich history. Lowry is well- cultured and has many years of experience practicing karate, which you can clearly see reflected in how knowledgeable he is on the subject which he is writing.
Although I don’t practice karate anymore, (back in my early teenage years I was awarded a green belt in Kyokushin Karate before I left to pursue training in taijutsu) but I was still able to take away valuable and applicable lessons from The Karate Way.
Lowry writes extensively on different karate techniques such as the front thrust kick and side- kick as well as on stepping techniques such as tai- sabaki and tenkai in a simple and direct way that was easy to comprehend. Don’t be indifferent towards this book if you practice a martial art other than karate, for it contains information that can be applicable and valuable to any martial artist.
Not only does Lowry dive into the technical aspects of karate-do, but he also goes deeply into the philosophical side of the martial art in a more realistic and unglorified way. While it is important to be realistic and technical when it comes to your fighting technique (jutsu), Lowry writes, a jutsu without a do (spiritual way) is nothing more than organized brutality. There should be a balance between the two in the martial arts practitioner.
One of the things I found refreshing about The Karate Way, was that although Lowry gave karate a healthy amount of praise, he also dished out ridicule when it was appropriate as well. The author addresses rank and how it came to be, how it has been developed and even how the ranking system has been abused. Lowry also gives his advice on how to find a good instructor and how to distinguish a good teacher from a bad one or if your teacher is even a good model for your body type.
Altogether I would rate The Karate Way a 4 out of 5 stars. It is useful to any martial artist, full of rich history as well as valuable insights from the author’s personal experience that make for an enjoyable and informative reading experience. If you are a beginner or even more advanced there is enough wisdom in the contents of this book’s pages for you to learn something new regardless of your level of experience.
Although I did find some parts to be a bit egotistical and smug, Lowry does have the experience to support his claims and still made for an interesting and thought-provoking read. I recommend this book for anyone interested in the martial arts or karate or for anyone who is already a martial artist and is looking for material to further their knowledge.