Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Shotokan Secrets": What an awesome book to read

Summer time gives me the chance to read up a little on my favorite topic: Karate.

Shihan Colin was extremely generous, and offered me the chance to read "Shotokan Secrets" by Dr. Bruce D. Clayton. Thank you so much for your gift! I thoroughly enjoyed it

I could barely put the book down. Dr. Clayton makes history come alive in your hands as he describes the environment, lifetime, and events that Master Matsumura, and Master Itosu faced which brought forth the hard-style type of karate which would later evolve into Shotokan, Wado, Kyokushin, Tang Soo Do, Tae Kwon D, etc.

This book looks at various aspects of training in karate through different lenses, and makes the concepts contained in Kata come together with flourish.

Containing images from past lithographs, and sketches, this book transports the reader into the mindset of the Masters, and opens up new outlooks for the modern practioner.

"Shotokan Secrets" Is a great addition to a Martial artist's library!


Anonymous said...

I have trained with Dr Bruce Clayton and have known him for many years. Bruce has an exceptional knowledge of karate history.

I assisted him with some material for "Shotokan's Secret" and it is a very treasured book in my massive martial arts library.

Gary Simpson - Kyoshi - 7th Dan
Zanshin Kai Karate Do
Perth, Western Australia

supergroup7 said...

Welcome to my Blog, Shihan Simpson.

I am thrilled to find your comment today.

"Shotokan secrets" has really helped me to see karate in a different light. Thank you for helping with it's creation! It is quite a gift to the Martial arts community. When the book was being made, was there hints of the impact that this research into the past would have in the progress of Karate in the future?

Anonymous said...

Hello Mirielle,

My contribution to Bruce Clayton's book Shotokan's Secret was minimal. I was more of a "sounding board" than anything else.

Concerning your question: Bruce's research is first class. Dr Clayton is very thorough. He does not include any information that he cannot corroborate with fact. The book is available to everybody but how many will read it? Maybe 1 in 10,000 katrateka - which is a pity. It offers great insights and all who read it will be wiser for doing so.

While in California I engaged Bruce in many conversations, attended his seminar and took a couple of classes for him. I met Hanshi Cruz and many of the International San-Ten Karate Association's shihans. They are all knowledgeable and dedicated in furthering (Shotokan) karate. I finished up writing an article about Bruce Clayton which has been submitted to Australasian Blitz martial arts magazine. The interview is very revealing and has several surprises.


Gary Simpson

PS: We must all follow our hearts and what we know is correct. Do not feel remorse for taking the course that you did. One day you will embrace your decision and know that what you did was right at the time. Good luck with Kyokushin Karate.

Gary Simpson

supergroup7 said...

How many people will read the book? In our modern internet society, one will be amazed at how quickly such works of quality will spread by word of mouth. At one time, news took weeks to get from one country to another. Now, within seconds we can access the latest information in our own homes.

I believe that many, many Martial artists from a variety of styles will pick up this book. They will stumble across comments about it on a forum, blog, or article somewhere on the net. They will go to, order it for about $20, and have it delivered to their door within days. Our world has changed thanks to the internet.

To bad that I will not have access to read your article. I would have to live in Australia, I bet. I'll have to ask Shihan Colin to check it out, since he lives in Perth.

Thank you for your supportive comments about my decision. They brought a tear to my eye.

I'm going to miss the grace of movement in the Shotokan style. Please don't get the wrong impression.. Kyokushin is graceful in it's own way. I'm not diminishing either art. It's just that they are so different. I know that within a short while I'm going to long, and hunger for the present familiar sensations of doing a Shotokan Hangetsu, Jion, or Empi kata. Then, as time, and demands take over, I may forget these kata that meant so much to me... sigh... but life is full of change. Every moment is different, nothing remains the same.

Anonymous said...

Gary, Colin, Mirielle, I have a PDF version of that Blitz article (1 MB). Send email to and I'll forward you a copy.

Thanks for the kind comments. Both Colin and Gary have opened my eyes to many new ideas.

As for new venues, you have to leave home before you can really grow up. Where you go isn't as important as going.

Bruce Clayton

Colin Wee said...

I totally missed this post. I appreciate the mention. Thanks to Mir and Dr Clayton. It remains a good book and one of my favourites ... I have read it multiple times (but don't call me a geek). Why the book remains top of mind is because it allows us to free our mind of many of the assumptions and vagueness of martial training. Like Mir said, it can be enjoyed by all stylists. Colin

supergroup7 said...

Hi Colin, I'm glad that you posted that comment because somehow Sensei Clayton's offer to send a pdf did not register when it was placed on here. How many other comments have escaped my notice?! I'm going to send Sensei Clayton a loud resounding "Yes" to his offer, but I do hope that I'm not too late to take advantage of it.