A few weeks ago I was teaching at a charity seminar hosted by St. Martin's Karate in Lancaster, UK. During that seminar, I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Dave Hedges from Wild Geese Martial Arts & Fitness over in Dublin, Ireland. He was originally a member of the Lancaster dojo and came over especially to take part in their 40th Anniversary celebrations.
Dave has a wealth of knowledge and experience in different forms of martial arts, functional fitness and movement therapy. Plus, it was clear from our conversations that day that we had much in common in terms of our personal views and approaches. Needless to say, we instantly hit it off and as a result, we'll be keeping in touch for sure!
After my session, he very kindly took a copy of Vol.1 of my Seed of Shuri Karate book and upon his return to Dublin a few days later, sent me the following review.
I'd like to thank Dave for his kind and positive words about my book. In turn, I'm hoping to feature some written work by him in the near future on my Guest Author section of the website, so stay tuned for updates as I'm sure you'll enjoy!
"It's been 27 years since I first took up martial arts training. At the age of 11 I stepped into St. Martins Junior Karate club and was introduced to the world of Wado Ryu karate. From that day till now, I've never looked back.
Over the years I've earned and accumulated a 1st Dan black belt in Wado Ryu, a 2nd Degree black belt in American Kenpo, teaching certs in Filipino Martial Arts, a couple of coloured belts from other Karate styles, Goshin Jitsu and Aikido and load of experience in styles that don't bother with belts.
I've also spent numerous years working in the security field, mostly getting paid to hang around nightclubs being bored, but on occasion getting the opportunity do a bit of extra training.
I'm now a partner in a full time martial arts & fitness studio in Dublin City Centre.
So when I meet a martial arts teacher, watch a martial arts video or read a martial arts book. I've a fair bit of experience and authority to call upon with which to form an opinion. And I'm not easily impressed.
Recently I met Chris Denwood.
After 2 hours of listening to him present his personal interpretation of Karate, I didn't hesitate to buy his book, Naihanchi Kata – The Seed of Shuri Karate, Volume 1.
I am impressed.
Chris' approach to Karate is part historian, part traditionalist and part pragmatist.
He has looked at Karate with an eye to restoring the art to it's true roots, i.e. self defence.
It's not another book about pyjama wearing line dancing, which is essentially what most Karate is taught as.
Instead he takes on one of the most fundamental of all Karate kata and explores the lessons held within.
He looks at the kata from a big picture perspective, zooming to discover specific principles, then zooming back out to see how they apply in a broader context. Principles such as structure and alignment of the skeleton, posture, breath control and supplementary physical training. All explained in clear detail at a level everyone can follow and understand.
Karate has been stagnant for many years now, I've been sorely disappointed by more martial arts instructors, particularly Karate guys, than I can count. Too many are happy simply repeating what they were taught with no consideration for the combat application of the art, looking to adapt and personalise it to the individual and becoming a truly effective martial artist.
Chris is an exception to this rule.
The world of Karate is a better place with him in it and this book serves to support him and explain his ideas to bigger audience than he can reach physically.
Should you buy this book?