July 22, 2024

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Martial Arts Book Review: Mas Oyama’s Karate by Bobby Lowe

Martial Arts Book Review: Mas Oyama’s Karate by Bobby Lowe

Being the author of several books on the martial arts and fighting, I am always looking for books of historical quality to add to my library. If I have a book in my library, it’s definitely worth owning. One such book is Bobby Lowe’s, “Mas Oyama’s Karate.”

Included in this book are some really wonderful historical photographs of both Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama and Bobby Lowe. These photographs are in addition to the numerous photographs of Mr. Lowe’s students demonstrating the techniques described throughout this book.


In this section, Mr. Lowe provides a brief history of the evolution of karate from its beginnings which started in China and traveled to Okinawa, before arriving in Japan. Mr. Lowe also gives a brief history of Kyokushin-kai Karate and its founder, Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama.

Warm-Up Procedures:

Demonstrated in this section are sixteen (16) different warm-up and stretching exercises that the author recommends that you should perform before and after each practice session. These exercises include; push-ups, sit-ups, leg stretches, jump rope, etc.


Demonstrated in this section are thirteen (13) different stances that are used in Kyokushin-kai Karate. They include such stances as; riding or horse stance, forward stance, sanchin stance, cat stance, back stance, etc.

Nerve Centers:

I was disappointed that this section offered absolutely no description or text at all. However, it does show the principle striking areas on the human body. This is done through the use of a front and back view diagram of the human body.

Punching, Striking, Blocking, and Kicking:

These three sections show twenty-two (22) various punches and strikes. Although there is no text supplied to teach you how to correctly execute them. In the blocking section, eight (8) blocks are shown, while one, the circular block is actually demonstrated with text to teach you how to execute it. In the section on kicking, sixteen (16) kicks are shown. Although none are actually demonstrated with text supplied in order to teach you how to correctly execute them.

Breathing Techniques:

After a brief introduction to breathing and the importance thereof to the martial artist, there are demonstrated four (4) different basic breathing exercises to develop your breathing capacity and ki development.


After a brief explanation on the purpose of kata in karate, Heian or Pinan Shodan is demonstrated with photographs and text.

Prearranged Sparring:

In this section, eighteen (18) prearranged sparring forms are demonstrated where the defender utilizes specific defenses and counters against predetermined strikes by the attacker. This is a very good way of introducing the beginning students to the basics of defending oneself against an attack.

Defense against Grabbing Attacks:

Photographs and text are used to demonstrate fourteen (14) various defenses against a variety of grabs such as; single wrist grabs, double wrist grabs, chokes, bear hugs, lapel grabs, etc.

Defense against a Knife and Club:

After a brief introduction explaining the dangers present when confronted by an attacker with a weapon, the author demonstrates eight (8) different defenses for defending yourself against an attacker armed with a knife and/or club.

Free Style Sparring:

This section is extremely brief and shows a few examples of various techniques being demonstrated on an opponent.


After an all too brief, but sound introduction, the author shows a few examples of different types of breaks.

Defense against Multiple Attackers:

After a brief page of the principles behind being attacked by more than one opponent, the author demonstrates five (5) different examples of what you could do if attacked by multiple opponents at one time.

Makiwara Training:

A brief introduction to the uses of the Makiwara is explained.

Overall this is a very enlightening book on the basics of Kyokushin-kai Karate.