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Book Review: Bunkai: Secrets of Karate Kata: Volume 1: The Tekki Series, by Elmar T. Schmeisser, Ph.D.

A review by Taniguchi Takao, 5-dan JKA, Ishikawa-ken, Japan.


The Tekki kata have been with karate-ka for many years, even much before the creation and formalization of the Japan Karate Association. These kata have been fundamental kata and required knowledge for the serious karate enthusiast. Dr. Schmeisser has done something with these kata which has, to date, not been done well by any karate instructors both in Japan and overseas.


Whether or not many instructors were unsure of what the techniques in the Tekki kata meant, or if they were never properly instructed themselves, is not sure. This text, Bunkai: Secrets of Karate Kata: Volume 1, is one which is carefully organized and pays a high degree of attention to each technique as one flows to the next. Although many instructors have different interpretations of the Tekki kata, this book is coherent, easy to understand, and firmly rooted in a sense of reality. Dr. Schmeisser has done what many instructors have not yet been able to demonstrate, a cohesive and articulate interpretation of the techniques of the Tekki kata. This book is excellent not only for students, but for instructors of karate as well.


Kata without explanations and applications have no meaning. This book helps illuminate some of the less clear areas of these kata and does so with easy to follow illustrations. For kata to be meaningful it is critical for the practitioner to understand that every single movement has meaning. Dr. Schmeisserís interpretations are very accurate and sensible. Although English is not my first language, I can see very clearly what Dr. Schmeisser is doing through the text. It is a wonderful study for people interested in kata applications.


It is my sincere hope that such excellent work in kata explanation will continue. I wish Dr. Schmeisser all the best as he continues with his work in kata and in his helping future karate teachers understand more deeply our study in karate.


Sincerely Yours,



Terai-machi, Ishikawa-ken,