This book, based on a German doctoral thesis (University of Tübingen, 1998), is addressed to all those who are interested in Japanese culture in general, and especially in the traditional Japanese Ways of the Martial Arts (budô). The purpose is to provide an insight into the discipline of these Ways, beyond physical training, using the example of Karatedô. It presents English translations of texts on the teachings of the Way of the Empty Hand together with explanations. There have been few and in some cases no English translations of these texts until now. They include the writings of the founders or influential masters of the 'four major schools', Shôtôkan, Gôjûryû, Shitôryû and Wadôryû, Funakoshi Gichin, Miyagi Chôjun, Mabuni Kenwa and Ôtsuka Hironori respectively. To give a background to the texts and to allow a deeper understanding of them, an account of the historical development of the Japanese martial arts, an introduction to some important basic principles and a discussion of their written transmission, including new translations of parts of important teaching texts, are also presented. Biographies of the aforementioned masters and commentators on their texts which serve to illustrate one of the most important developmental phases in the history of Karatedô are included as well. The Appendix considers the 'respectful salutation' (rei) and its performance. In addition, those interested in further study will find comprehensive notes as well as both an extensive bibliography and a glossary of terms and names with their Japanese and Chinese characters.
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