My first acquaintance with Mark Jennings was back in May 2012 when he popped over to my stand at The Martial Arts Show in Birmingham to introduce himself. We had an interesting chat about the more practical aspects of karate and he happened to mention that he was working on the draft of his first book. Always happy to support aspiring writers, I offered to take a look at his manuscript and a couple of weeks later I received an email from Mark with his work attached.
Not long after this, I encountered a number of technological problems with my office PC that led me to lose a large number of emails contacts (including Mark's) that were waiting to be transferred over to my online mailing list. Taking on the project of building a brand new PC and then enlisting the help of a professional to salvage as much information from the old one, I eventually managed to recover the information I had 'lost'. On subsequent reply to Mark with what were now my belated comments, I found that his draft had already made great progress and was almost ready for publish!
Being relatively active on my website, blog and social media means that I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to network with fellow martial artists from all over the globe. I always enjoy corresponding with like-minded karate practitioners and of course, I am always grateful for their kind support.
One such karate practitioner is Garry Lever From the Shinsokai (Goju Ryu). We first made contact a couple of years ago and although we haven't yet met in the flesh (something we're working to resolve very soon), we've always maintained regular emails and messages. Garry was instrumental in helping me plan the itinerary for our Okinawa sightseeing trip when we were in Naha last year and shared with me in confidence some amazing locations of historical significance that I would have never have even known about otherwise!
A few weeks ago I received a unexpected package through the post from Garry. I opened it up to find a complementary pre-release copy of his new book, 'The Essence of Goju Ryu Vol II', which as with the first volume of the series, he has co-authored with his teacher Richard Barrett Sensei.
Avid readers of my blog will recognise the name Brett Barrell from an earlier post back in January on traditional conditioning and iron palm training. He specialises in this field and has developed quite a level of skill.
Well, he's just uploaded a new YouTube video to personally thank a number of his keen supporters and friends etc who love martial arts (see below). I'm humbled to have found out that he added my name to this list and mentions me at around 10m26s.
He makes the comment that "for whatever reason, Chris decided to include me in his blog". Well, Brett the reason is simple my friend. I think you're a genuine martial artist who is self-motivated to continually expand without resting on your laurels, I really enjoy your videos and I think that your contributions provide a fine inspiration for others to follow.
Thanks for the kind mention Brett and keep up the good work!
A few days ago I received a phone call from Lee Taylor. Apart from us swapping a few emails, this was the first time we chatted together and it was evident after the first five minutes (the call then went on for almost an hour) that we had a great deal in common with regards to our approach to karate. I mentioned to Lee that I was looking to start conducting some product reviews as part of my website developments and asked whether he would like his new book entitled 'Heian/Pinan Kata & Bunkai: The Fundamentals' to be one of the first. A couple of days later, I received through the post a copy of the book from Lee with a cover note inviting my honest review and opinion. So here goes...
Here's a FREE sample chapter from a recent publication by Lee Taylor - I've added it to the guest author section of the site:
This PDF on the Heian Shodan kata and bunkai is an extract from the book Heian / Pinan Kata & Bunkai - The Fundamentals.
In that book all 5 of the Heian / Pinan kata are examined in detail from the solo performance of each kata, to the two person bunkai sequences.