Kata Video Series
thing that set the Japan Karate Association part from all other major
organizations was their desire to publish material on their style. As
a fairly small organization in Japan, they realized that to succeed overseas
they needed to make technical information available in English. So it
was from the JKA that the first, and best karate books came, notable among
them Dynamic Karate by Nakayama and Karate Art of Empty Hand Fighting
by Nishiyama and Brown.
the JKA built a veritable library of publications, Wado Ryu, although
much bigger that its rival, neglected foreign language publications completely
and paid the price in lost students and diminished influence overseas.
The only serious book on Wado Ryu in English came from Tatsuo Suzuki the
U.K. based instructor, but it was an unremarkable and rather confusing
volume that did not enjoy wide success.
the height of their influence and power the JKA, in conjunction with Kodansha
International, published the Best Karate series of eleven instructional
volumes, written by chief instructor Masatoshi Nakayama, and featuring
the most senior instructors of the organization. This series first attempt
to standardize the JKA version of Shotokan techniques and kata of kata,
once an art dependent largely upon the views of the adjudicator present,
became a science based on manuals. Do it the JKA way and you won; deviate
from Best Karate and you were penalized.
by its success the JKA launched itself on an even more ambitious project,
the production of a video series that would create a living record of
JKA kata for posterity. Under the personal supervision of Masatoshi Nakayama,
the star instructors of JKA headquarters performed the kata at which they
were most expert while professional cameramen captured every detail and
nuance of the movement. To make it a truly international series, a high
quality English language sound track was added to each video.
before the series could be finished, Masatoshi Nakayama died in 1987 at
the age of 74 years. Two remaining videos, Sochin and Unsu were recorded
by instructors Osaka and Yahara respectively to finish the project.
JKA did, with the completion of Sochin and Unsu, finally achieve its aim.
The JKA kata video series is professionally filmed and produced, powerfully
performed, and easy to follow. No amount of effort was spared to make
it the best of its type, and it does provide an excellent record of the
work of the JKA. It is also clear from the quality of the performers'
technique that they had all trained exceptionally hard for this series,
andeach of them turns in the performance of a lifetime.
to a variety of problems, notably an original Japanese retail price of
$180 per video, the JKA Kata video series was not released in the U.S.
until earlier this year. They are now duplicated under license in the
United States, cost $39.95 per video, or less, and are available from
the sole U.S. distributor, Dragon Associates Inc. 1 800 717 6288
Karate Assn. Official video series supervised by Chief Instructor Masatoshi
Nakayama. Please see page 25 of this edition of Dragon Times for further
Note If you bought a copy of any one of these videos, particularly Sochin
and Unsu in the U.S. prior to the Spring of 1997 you might have been the
victim of a video pirate. If the picture quality is less than perfect,
and the sound track is in Japanese or missing altogether, it's probably
an illegal copy and you should return it and ask for your money back!