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Power Training
by Morio Higaonna

Once upon a time--as all good stories begin--there was a group of karate people on a distant island in the Pacific Ocean who wanted to find a much tougher and effective form of karate than the already legendary style that they followed. Being practical and intelligent folk, they wrote to the much-respected writer and martial arts historian Donn Draeger, asking for his help in finding the best karate teacher in the word so they could study with him.

A man known for his no-nonsense approach, Draeger wrote back, "Morio Higaonna is the most dangerous man in Japan in a real fight!" This was no secret to the many students from almost every country in the world who had sweated and suffered at Higaonna's Yoyogi dojo in Tokyo. Morio Higaonna was the best and the toughest, and capable of taking students through grueling training sessions they could never have endured with anyone else. He was also the nicest; described to me by the publisher of a very famous martial arts magazine as "the nicest person you will ever meet in the martial arts."

Both facts are true. Despite the passage of time since Don Draeger's original assessment, and despite the apparent contradictions, Morio Higaonna is still incredibly tough, and still unbelievably nice. He is also one of the most knowledgeable karate masters alive today, and the author of the very important new book "The History of Karate-Goju Ryu" that can only be described as a classic work.

This program by Tsunami Productions is without doubt the best of its type ever made. The content, production, and style--each is so much better than anything else on the market that comparisons are not possible. Although it is an instructional program that takes the viewer through the intense training schedule recommended by this remarkable instructor, it does so in a way that is interesting, entertaining, and most importantly, easy to follow. 

It begins with Junbi Undo the basic stretching and warming up exercises that were developed by the originator of Goju Ryu karate, Chojun Miyagi, in the early Twenties. 
It begins with Junbi Undo the basic stretching and warming up exercises that were developed by the originator of Goju Ryu karate, Chojun Miyagi, in the early Twenties. 


Then the hojo undo supplementary training regime that develops the Goju Ryu power as well as the rather remarkable physiques of so many practitioners of this style, is shown in great detail, including the use of ishi sashi, ch'ishi, kongo ken, nigiri game, 

Then makiwara training is demonstrated by this supreme master of the art. For good measure kata is included to show power development, together with yakusoku kumite and renzoku kumite for sparring training. 

But what you will watch most, and wear out your rewind button on, is the free fighting training with Higaonna Sensei "matched" against Tetsuji Nakamura, a man with fearsome kicking ability as his past victories in Kata and Kumite championships so ably demonstrated, who is no slouch with his fists, either. This is karate as it was meant to be! No frills, no nonsense, no sham, just incredible power, precision timing and polished ability. When Nakamura is "nailed" to use the vernacular, it's very controlled but you know it hurts! When he launches powerful attacks, they are slapped away as most people deal with a mosquito, then he is thrown across the dojo for his impudence.

This is a masterful display by two wonderfully talented instructors that will set the standard for all training programs that follow. Running through this presentation, from the stunning footage of turn-of-the century China in the introduction, to the closing sequence on the beach, is the philosophy of Chojun Miyagj and thus of Morio Higaonna and all sincere Goju Ryu practitioners. It is not just a training video but an educational experience interlaced with some very dramatic footage that will push you to the edge of your seat, and keep you there. It's clear that, in future, we should all check the Tsunami Productions catalog when we are thinking about buying a martial arts tape. They have not only recruited the very best talent from the martial arts and production standpoint, but there is clearly both the desire and the capability within the company to produce the very best programs imaginable.

Power Training with Morio Higaonna. Includes junbi undo, hojo undo, makiwara-large and small, body conditioning, kata, applications, training with pads, yakusoku kumite, renzoku kunite, iri kumi free sparring, throwing and grappling techniques, push hands training, an historical perspective of Goju Ryu karate, and notes on Gichin Funakoshi and Kenwa Mabuni. Running time: 90 minutes.

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