REVIEWS

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"Karate: Beneath The Surface is a work of uncommon honesty and self-discovery. A refreshingly candid examination of one man's journey to understand the spiritual that lies beyond the implicit violence of Martial Arts."

"The title says it all. Insightful. Engaging. Introspective. Inspirational. For all martial artists regardless of style, system, rank, professional or amateur, 'Karate, Beneath The Surface' will enrich your practice, your love of the MA, your inner self while striving for Satori! You'll find out why kata is considered by the ancient forefathers and traditionalists to be the essence of karate-do."

"Many people come to the martial arts because of a desire to change their lives in some aspect. Although the martial arts are generally known to promote a connection of mind, body and spirit, few schools and their teachers actually develop anything other than the physical aspect. This book, written by Roy Kamen, gives a glimpse into the real power of martial arts practice and study.......using various methods of practice as vehicles on the path to enlightenment. I highly recommend this work to serious martial artists of any tradition."

“Kamen’s work is not the judgment of a Martial Master on the techniques and applications of Kata and Karate. Rather, it is a personal narrative about a spiritual path of Kata that is transformative - growth gained, not by infusing new principles or concepts, but rather, by uncovering sacred elements that have been within each of us from our beginnings.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. One of the most interesting and even controversial conceptual understandings of Karate Kata that I have read/experienced. Also, Mr. Kamen puts it out there - honestly and with an openness that makes his work read like a travelogue of our own personal journeys down the path of Martial Arts."

David B. Wong - Lai Chuen Martial Art Society of United States(美國勵存拳社)

"This book has multiple baskets of snakes. Much good info and thought provoking points. Strongly suggest any serious martial artist get a copy and "study" it."

"This is an extremely honest account of one man's journey through Karate, and the discoveries he has found along the way. Packed with first-hand accounts, it will cause those who read it to question the true purpose of Kata within their own Karate practice."

"KARATE: Beneath The Surface is a must-have for any serious Martial Artist’s library. A very personal telling of one’s man’s journey along his Martial Arts path, it is valuable in ways that become more and more evident with each page that the reader takes in. The historical overview of Karate, toward the front of the book, is a brief, but invaluable section. Mr. Kamen’s outlook on Karate, and Kata in particular, are clearly deeply felt and beautifully expressed throughout.

The underlying sense that I got while reading this book is that of a dedicated, strong, thoughtful and compassionate Martial Artist who shares his journey with a rare (and refreshing) honesty and clarity. Although it focuses on the Goju-Ryu style — of which he is both a student and teacher — a practitioner of any Martial Art can benefit greatly from and enjoy this truly unique memoir of Roy’s remarkable journey. In my opinion, it is engrossing, engaging and a real page-turner — you may be compelled to read it a second or third time, as I was."

Highly recommended!

"Thank you for writing your recent book. I purchased it recently and it has really given me a lot of food for thought. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the information. I will recommend your book to all of my students and friends! Thank you!"

Marc Kaylor - Karate Student

Just finished reading your book and it was brilliant. Really opened my eyes and gave me lots more to think about when practicing my kata.

I have been interested in spiritualism for some time now, since I was a kid, and the way you have explained how kata and spiritualism intertwine has opened up other doors for me.

Thank you

A very honest and personal journey that feels very familiar and at the same time provides new insights and perspective to kata and our beloved art.

After many years we may feel very familiar with what we practice, but we forget that there are many walking the way and as pilgrims, we may stop and chat, share our experiences and learn from each other. I personally enjoy hearing others people affair with karate and what it means to them. Some of this stories are just starting, some feel very familiar and some, like Mr. Kamen's feel, fulfilled and inspiring.

David Chapman - Karate Student

Diving into this book, I was uncertain of what I might find, but what I have found are echoes of things I have felt for a long time, and more. My hat is off to Kamen Sensei for sharing his experience and insights into this aspect of Karate that has been omitted by the majority in the name of revenue, of catering solely to the fighting aspects of the art for whatever reason.

It takes a lot of courage to write something outside the box and off the beaten path.
Those whom disagree with what is here will disagree, that is their choice, or maybe it isn't and they simply cannot open up to it.

Whatever the case, it does not really matter, I found quite a bit here that rings true for me on so many levels... Not just from ideas, but from experiences similar to what Kamen Sensei has shared in these pages.

Kamen outlines some very different and unique views of kata as a spiritual and emotional journey are not what you hear about in the dojo, but whether you agree or disagree with Kamen, it is important to your karate practice to always be looking at your kata with a beginners mind, shoshin. There are some new perspectives I'm excited about trying out with kata after reading this book, and thinking critically about my practice. But, you really need to know some karate to understand this book, but it can apply to many kata outside of goju-ryu. A great read if you're reaching a dead end with your kata training.

Ionel Munoz - 4th Dan Shito-ryu, WSKF
"There are some books which take you to unexpected places. This one has taken my karate to a new place I never imagined it ever existed... I mean, discovering the esoteric implications of performing this or that kata and associating to them emotions you can invoke at will? At first I was cautious and skeptical, given my rational nature... but little by little I opened my mind to the ideas presented in this book and began using katas as vehicles for inner growth and spiritual healing, like a sort of moving meditation... and I’ve ultimately found myself heavily influenced by this book. Being my style Shito-ryu, I’ve also tried to apply the concepts which are explained here for Naha-te katas, to katas from Shuri-te, Tomari-te, White Crane and other origins. I’ve found a new way of understanding kata by doing so, thus adding an extra dose of joy, depth and excitement to my daily practice. Essentially, the author proposes associating kata techniques, vocalizations (kiai), patterns (embusen) and breathing mechanisms to yoga-related concepts (mantra, mudra & mandala), which very naturally fit to the “Art” side of Martial Arts. This provides us with a useful toolbox to go beyond form and functional applications (which of course you need to study first, as mentioned in the book), in order to get us into the realm of spirituality —while remaining scientifically grounded and without being cheesy at all, so no worries there. To conclude then, I strongly recommend this book if you want to be more present when you do kata —it will absolutely help you to develop your “fudoshin”, if taken seriously. It will also put you into a creative mood which will get you closer to the “Ri” phase of the “Shu-Ha-Ri” progression. OK, perhaps this book isn’t for everyone (certainly not for beginners!), but I guess Zen practitioners will like it, as well as artistically-oriented, highly spiritual and/or open-minded karatekas. So, in spite of the fact it does target a quite advanced audience of karate students, I feel deeply grateful to sensei Roy Kamen for such a remarkable piece of work, and that’s why I give to it a sound score of five stars. Thank you, Sensei!"

All karateka need to purchase a copy of this book by Roy Kamen. It has completely reshaped my understanding of kata, answered some questions about my own experiences, and while it's geared specifically towards Goju Ryu, it would be an excellent resource regardless of ryuha.

At the beginning, when I started learning karate, I thought karate is a fighting art of self-defense. But after I got a black belt, I began to think that maybe karate has something more than a fighting art. In fact I myself do not like something related to violence. I do not like competitive sport karate. After my teacher suddenly passed away, I was forced to study karate by myself. Fortunately I can train in karate on my own because karate has Kata. So I continued practicing Kata even today. One day, like you, I realized that Kata is like a mantra of Buddhism. Kata's movement is like a mandala of mysticism. It gives me peace or tranquility. Maybe this is because of Okinawan Goju-Ryu. When I see other karate schools, I do not feel anything spiritual at all.

When I read your book, I am glad to know that what you think about karate is quite similar to mine. You seem to appreciate the spiritual aspect of Goju-Ryu. I also think Okinawan Goju-Ryu is spiritual. Miyagi himself thought so.