This guide reads almost like a diary: Escobar releases all of his thoughts, often without clear consideration for what information readers might be seeking. Sections range from how-to (“Meditation” or “The Ideal Psychological State for Students”), memoir style (“Sensei Takayuki Mikami”), and even précis of other material (“Takuan Soho: An Interpretation and Summary”). Despite an abundance of information, the material is presented without much structure, and readers will feel disoriented at the historical timelines, photos of the author in various stages of his life, and commentaries on the modern-day martial arts–commentaries that at times offer no clear takeaway.
Regardless of the unconventional approach, Escobar has much insight and encouragement to impart in this fast-moving read. For beginners, it offers a glimpse into the world of advanced karate, and what can be achieved by sticking with the demanding (and rewarding) practice. For more advanced followers, Escobar’s musings may be a reminder of karate’s purpose or an interpretation of the teachings he’s picked up over the years. Although it can feel unfocused, and that language about the “prostitution” of karate will strike some as distasteful, Escobar has written a treatise that will appeal to martial artists of all skill levels, as well as to those interested in expanding their view of martial arts beyond fighting techniques.
Takeaway: Part how-to and part memoir, this treatise on karate emphasizes the deeper purpose of martial arts.
Great for fans of: Takuan Soho’s The Unfettered Mind, Gichin Funakoshi’s The Essence of Karate.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: TC+