The Kata and Bunkai of Goju-Ryu Karate

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The Kata and Bunkai of Goju-Ryu Karate

The Essence of the Heishu and Kaishu Kata

Author: Giles Hopkins

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Challenging timeworn conventions of karate training and revealing the original intent of classical kata—or forms—through detailed descriptions of self-defense applications known as bunkai, this is a crucial addition to any martial-arts library. Containing more than 265 photos, the book is divided into chapters that illuminate each of the ten classical kata of Goju-ryu.
Drawing on more than forty years of experience in the martial arts, Giles Hopkins Sensei takes us on a journey into the Goju-ryu karate system, providing a principles-based method for analysis of kata practice. Arguing against the commonly held notion that kata techniques can have multiple interpretations, he insists that a kata cannot simply mean what the user wants it to mean, but contains specific martial principles that must be followed for it to work effectively.
The step-by-step descriptions of the receiving, controlling or bridging, and finishing techniques contain in-depth analysis of commonly misunderstood aspects of kata. Each chapter concludes with an engaging anecdote from the author’s time in Okinawa, the birthplace of Goju-ryu, connecting it with the kata under discussion. Equally useful for the novice and for more advanced karate practitioners looking to deepen their understanding of kata and bunkai.


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About the Author

GILES HOPKINS has trained in martial arts since 1973, studying a wide range of styles, from Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan karate to White Crane kung fu and T'ai Chi. He is a sixth-degree black belt in Okinawa Goju-ryu and holds a teaching certificate in Matayoshi kobudo from the Zen Okinawa Kobudo Renmei. He spent seven years living and training with Kimo Wall, president of Kodokan, in the lineage of Higa Seiko and Matayoshi Shinpo. In the 1980s, he accompanied Wall sensei to Okinawa and trained in kobudo under Matayoshi, and Goju-ryu under Higa Seikichi and Gibo Seiki of Shodokan. He has written numerous articles on Okinawan karate and kobudo for the Journal of Asian Martial Arts, among other publications, and blogs at

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