With the gulf between Traditional Karate and Sport Karate quickly becoming smaller and smaller, there are a few Traditionalists out there determined to secure and preserve the heritage of our art, ensuring its values stay intact despite the growing trends that seem to almost ignore the real essence of the art.

One such group is the team for ‘Legend Productions’. Ged Morgan, Legend Producer, is a very passionate gentleman, who works hard to produce high standard DVDs that will educate and enlighten you.

Many may suggest that footage of the Masters from the 60’s and 70’s is useless, and they’ll say ‘ Things have changed since then ’, and when it comes to the latter part, they are probably right. For the better I wonder? I’m not so sure.

Here, you get a rare glimpse into history, and you’ll have the privilege of watching Master Kanazawa and peers perform kata. Granted, the athletes of today are very perfect and precise, and rarely will they stumble. However, when you watch these Instructors perform kata, you see past the minor imperfections, and realize you are watching a human being so absorbed in the moment that aesthetics are of little significance. This is the real essence of kata!

Whether you’re a staunch traditionalist, or a modern athlete, you will undoubtedly learn something from this footage! Techniques and aesthetics aside, I dare anyone not to be inspired by this DVD!

The DVD opens with footage of Master Kanazawa performing Unsu, Ji’in, and Gojushiho-Sho. This is then followed by Asano Sensei performing Bassai Dai and Nagai Sensei performing Nijushiho. Quite amusing, is the fact that these karateka are practicing kata on grassland, and just behind, you can see cars and vans driving past. As I watched, I could just imagine the baffled look on the faces of the passers by.

These inspirational men then engage in ippon-shobu basic kumite, and at one point Kanazawa Sensei blocks an attack launched by Asano Sensei, and he immediately counters with a shuto-uchi – perfectly controlled, but overflowing with energy. Feeling inspired, I stood up, strolled into the center of the living room and decided to perform the same technique. I was quickly deflated however when I realized I was never going to be the next Kanazawa. A realization thousands of karateka worldwide have encountered I’m sure!

The DVD also includes excellent footage of Tanaka Sensei, both in competition and during demonstrations. With perfect timing, he gracefully defeats all opponents unlucky enough to be pitched against him. With mesmerizing power he manages to easily tear through four pieces of wood using a gyaku-tsuki, empi-uchi, mae geri and shuto-uchi. And with a ferocious determination, he executes his famous opponent lifting demonstration followed by a mae geri against an oncoming attacker. This is impressive stuff, and I must admit, a bit frightening.

I also loved the beautiful footage of Master Enoeda, the tiger of Shotokan. When you see this footage, you’ll clearly understand why he gained such a reputation. With footage used in the Best Karate kumite books, you can watch this immensely powerful man destroy the legs of his opponent in one seemingly effortless movement, rendering them totally defeated. More wonderful however is the footage of Enoeda Sensei performing Sochin. In total awe, I loved watching this Master perform this powerful kata with ultimate passion and commitment. Again, my self-esteem took a battering!

This DVD is a gem. Although short, only approximately 30 minutes in duration, the footage squeezed into this time is both inspirational and mesmerizing in equal proportions. The only thing that would have made this DVD better would be a little narration, providing some information. That said, a part of me wonders whether this would merely act as an annoying distraction from what you are really interested in, which is indeed the archive footage of Masters that changed the world in their own small way.

Well recommended!!!!

Shaun Banfield
18 October 2006