This book is a gem! Packed full of history, stories and information about the formative years of the JKA, The Instructors class, the formation of the ISKF and of course, Yaguchi himself. The book has been created by Catherine Pinch with a love and respect that is rarely seen these days. Even before opening the book it is clear that there is a tremendous respect for the man and his karate. The front cover featuring an original oil painting of Sensei Yaguchi, through to the testimonials, recollections and the thoughts of some of the greatest living karateka today, reinforce in the readers mind that Yaguchi is a man of vision, dedication and loyalty to the art of karate.
The many tributes in the book come from senior instructors with 25, 30 and even 35 years training with Sensei Yaguchi. Indeed some of these instructors have become his extended family and have even relocated their homes, their lives and their work to train with him. Such is the love, respect and dedication of many of his followers.
Sensei Enoeda in England received similar adulation and it is pleasing to see the great camaraderie and friendship that existed between Yaguchi and Enoeda. Early on in the book there are references to Enoeda and the very first picture inside the book shows Yaguchi and Enoeda together enjoying some free time.
The tributes given by Yaguchi’s senior students are honest and revealing and describe the many sides of Yaguchi as a friend, a husband, a father and an instructor. The humor, the fun, the instinct and the foresight together with the complete dedication to his family and karate all shine through and are touchingly described in the many wonderful tributes, stories and recollections made by his students and instructors. The book must serve as a wonderful reminder to Master Yaguchi of the dedication and gratitude that his extended karate family has for him.
Over many years one may train with many great masters of Karate, however, it is difficult and even impossible to get to know them on a deeper personal level. This book completely bridges that gap and the reader will gain a rare insight into the very special world of Master Yaguchi.
Aside from the stories, history and information, the book’s greatest strength is in its narrative style. It is hard to imagine that you are not sitting in Yaguchi’s own home whilst he describes in great detail his most personal life inside and outside the world of karate. Even better than a film or video the book allows a personal dialogue between the reader and Yaguchi himself, as he describes his early years in Japan and his later experiences and life in the USA. The book is a must for all karate students, instructors and enthusiasts. Get hold of a copy today!
(Review by Rod Butler)