Bittmann Publishing
The Teachings of
Karatedô: Der Weg der
   Leeren Hand
Hana ni arukeba
Die Lehre des Karatedô
Schwert und Samurai
Erwin von Baelz und die
   körperlichen Übungen
Shôtôkan - Band II
Geschichte und    
Lehre des Karatedô
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Karatedô - Der Weg der Leeren Hand

Heiko Bittmann:
Karatedô - Der Weg der Leeren Hand
Meister der vier großen Schulrichtungen und ihre Lehre
Biographien - Lehrschriften - Rezeption
(Karatedô -The Way of the Empty Hand
Masters of the four major schools and their teaching principles
Biographies - Teaching-texts - Reception)

Heiko Bittmann Publishing 1999
(Verlag Heiko Bittmann)
2nd edition
in German language

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Please check:
"Geschichte und Lehre des Karatedô"

* * *

422 pages / DIN A5 / Paperback /
ISBN 3-00-004098-6

Contents in Brief:

A. Introduction (pp. 7-95) / B. Masters of Karatedô (pp. 96-128) / C. Teaching-Texts of Karatedô (pp. 129-254) / D. Reception (pp. 255-299) / E. Final Remarks (pp. 300-304) / F. Appendix (pp. 305-346) / G. Abbreviations (pp. 347) / H. Bibliography (pp. 348-386) / I. Index (pp. 387-422)


This doctoral thesis in the field of Japanology (1998) deals with the history and the principles of the traditional Japanese 'Martial Art-Ways' - budô with special consideration to the 'Way of the Empty Hand' - karatedô

The Introduction shows the historical development of the Japanese martial arts and their cultural and intellectual background or important basic principles, such as 'way' - 'emptiness' - ·and 'form' - kata. Further, it includes a translation of the teaching principles of swordmasters Miyamoto Musashi and Yagyû Munenori, as well as those of the Zen-monk, Takuan Sôhô· These principles not only substantially influenced the teaching of Karatedô but also of all the other Japanese martial arts.

In the chapter "Masters of Karatedô" we find the biographies of the authors of very important Karatedô teaching texts, which were contained in this book. Those are the founders or influential masters of the so-called 'four major schools' Shôtôkan, Gôjûryû, Shitôryû and Wadôryû - Funakoshi Gichin, Miyagi Chôjun, Mabuni Kenwa and Ôsuka Hironori, as well as the text commentators Takagi Masatomo and Nakasone Genwa. Their biographies also show an essential developmental phase in the history of this martial art.

The contents of teachings in Karatedô·will be explored in the chapter Teaching-Texts of Karatedô. Through texts of the aforementioned masters principles of Karatedô will be shown in annotated translation, and after that they will be explained. However, these principles are not only valid for Karatedô their basics also have validity for all the other traditional Japanese martial arts. For the most part, these texts have not been translated into a Western language until now.

Next is a study (chapter D) about how the teaching percepts in Karatedô were received in Japan. This research has also not been done in Japan until now. Teaching principles, which are known by current Karated·practitioners in Japan were assessed by means of a questionnaire. Essential teaching guidelines found in Japanese literature in the second half of the 20th century were also investigated, not only for the 'four major schools', but for all schools.

The Final Remarks summarizes the results and includes recommendations for further research. The Appendix considers remarks on the 'respectful salutation' - rei, and includes a chronological list of early teaching texts in Karated· the tables from chapter D, and essays related to the theme: 'What does Karatedô mean for your life?'. An extensive Bibliography with Japanese and Western literature, as well as a detailed Index, appears at the end of this book.


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