Book Review · Books

Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi [BOOK REVIEW]

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In this autobiography, Karate-Do: My Way of Life, Gichin Funakoshi looks back over his 80+ years of life and tells us the story of where it all began and the important circumstances and decisions that made him become who he has become, alongside with some very thought-provoking stories. 

I have had a connection with Karate since I was a toddler. My father is a karate coach and he has taught me the first kata, he has given me the karate-gi and my white belt, alongside with all the belts that came after it, until I got my black belt. 

Karate is not just Martial Arts – it is a Way of Life, which is why Gichin Funakoshi named this book Karate-Do: My Way of Life. It is not only those hours that you spend in the dojo that define you, but it is every moment of your life, everything you do, everything you say, every decision you make – it is all Karate. 

A way of life, respect, value of the little things, dedication, motivation, being good to one another, persistence, curiosity and mentorship. 

I enjoyed reading Gichin Funakoshi’s stories, and even though I already knew many of them from my father telling me, they still managed to make me think and teach me something new. His writing style is very easy to read and apprehensive. 

I personally loved the story where he managed to defeat his opponent by only having stronger confidence, without a single punch. 

Honestly, I am so glad I read this book and learned more about the life journey of the very man that was the reason why Karate made its way to Europe. I highly recommend you to read this book if you are a Karate artist or love martial arts. I also recommend this book if you love good autobiographies as well.

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Book Review · Books

Death in the Dojo by Sue Leather [BOOK REVIEW]

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I remember reading The Death in the Dojo a few years ago. I still remember the story and the feelings it brought me. This is a story about a mystery, about karate and the love between a daughter and her dad. I need to just say that this book has and always will have a special place in my heart. 

I have been in a dojo since I remember myself. And the sensei is no one else, but my dad. From the very first kata and my first wins and losses, till the days when I started becoming a national champion and travelling across countries, my dad was always the person beside me. The one to guide me and show me the right way. The one to pick me when I fall, and the one who believed in me, when everyone else didn’t. 

“I went over to the Asano dojo for the last half hour of training and saw a good fight among six black belts. I stood and watched the white gi’s moving quickly round the wooden floor, black belts flying. There was something beautiful about this, more like a dance rather than a fight. It made me feel sad, not to be there doing it. “

Even though this book is not the best mystery you will ever read, I doubt that was its real purpose.

I believe that the purpose of this book was to show us a glimpse of what karate really means, to show us the honour, the respect, the persistence we all share in unison. 

“It was true that the great masters seemed to have an unusual sense of peace around them.”

Death in the Dojo starts off when Kate, a journalist, is tasked to investigate the recent murder of the famous karateka Kawaguchi. It is a complete mystery how he would be killed with just one punch called gyaku zuki and die. The mystery is not behind whether it’s possible for him to die from one punch, but the mystery is why he allowed for this to happen. As a master, he is very well able to defend himself against just one punch. 

On this note, I have to mention that in the book, the punch is spelled as “yaku-zuki”, which is incorrect.   

When this mystery is connected to another mystery that happened many years ago, Kate is determined to find the full truth once and for all. 

Even though it is quite a short book, it contains a lot of information and a couple of unexpected plot twists. It captures perfectly the cultural differences between England and Japan, which is shown through the love and relationships between daughters and their dads.

“It was my Dad who taught me how to fight. He never treated me any differently than my brother. He showed me how to fight with my fists up when I was five and to get up quickly if I fell down. I was never allowed to give up. … It was a lesson that would be useful to me many times over the years. Whenever something bad happens in my life and I feel like giving up, I hear dad’s voice in my ears, telling me to get up off the floor.”

I truly loved this book. It will always stay in my heart. I will keep coming to it when I miss my karate days. I recommend it if you like mysteries and martial arts. Also if you are a fan of the Japanese culture. The ending wasn’t the best mystery ending ever, as the story went sort of unfinished, and we didn’t truly solve one of the mysteries, but it was still a lovely read for me.

This blog post is dedicated to my amazing and one and only dad! I love you! 

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Book Review · Books

The New Power Eating: More Muslce. More Energy. Less Fat by Susan M. Kleiner and Maggie Greenwood-Robinson [BOOK REVIEW]

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I don’t usually read and review these types of books. I am not the kind of person that reads help books for pleasure. When I need information, I usually only read something I need at the moment, learn a lot about it, and then let go. I don’t go out and buy books for it.

But, with this book, it was different.

For some of you, that know me better, I used to train karate since I was a child. My father was my coach, and I trained hard, more than four days a week. I was a national champion for 8 years, I went on Balkan, Regional and European Championships, the sport enabling me to travel in more than 15 countries, explore the world and make countless number of friends along the way.

And in my whole journey, there were many experts surrounding me. Firstly, my father, who was my coach, showing me the karate world and teaching me everything I know today. Along his side, other coached, psychologists, gym experts, and nutritionists.

‘’The field of sport nutrition practice is both a science and an art.’’

When it comes to nutrition, it is so easy to get it all wrong, while you think you are doing something healthy to your body. It is so easy to mix good with bad fats, and thinking you eat healthy, to get away from your goal and become disappointed. And that is the sole reason why we need people that really know their nutrition, and dedicate their lives to learning what each ingredient does to our body.

This book focuses on nutrition for sports people. A way of life and healthy eating, while you spend a lot of energy exercising. I could easily relate to this, as I myself have been through all of these phases, of being dehydrated, of needing more fat, of needing more protein and vitamins in my body, without even realising it.

‘’When females perform high-intensity training, their need for carbohydrate is easily as high as that of a male athlete, and they have just as much capacity to utilize and store carbohydrate as a male athlete.’’

In this book, you will find explanations on all subjects that are often asked, you will know what builds muscle, what fuels it. Many popular issues will be covered as well, such as the gluten problem that many people face this days.

I loved the section about fats, as I have been introduced to the keto diet recently, and it was good to read and learn more about how fats work in your body, and what happens when you burn them.

I enjoyed the snack and workout plans, that are also split depending on what you want to achieve, whether that be building muscle, losing fat, or power eating.

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‘’Research on sport nutrition in female athletes has long been neglected, but now there is breakthrough scientific knowledge that is changing the game of female athletes, including young girls.’’

If you love working out, and love your healthy food – this is a great book to have along your side, and come back to it from time to time, to remind yourself of everything your body is capable of doing, if you treat it right.

I highly recommend it – I enjoyed it a lot!

Thank you to Edelweiss+ and Human Kinetics for providing me a free copy of this book, in exchange for my honest review. 

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Tilburg – The Netherlands

Too bad that my karate life didn’t bring me to The Netherlands. I’ve heard a lot of beautiful stories for that country. Today I received a postcrossing card from Bianca NL-3336806 from Tilburg, The Netherlands.

The statue is Koning Willem II (Kind William the second), and he lived in Bianca’s town. His palace is now townhall.

Bianca, thank you for the amazing card. Thank you for the three amazing stamps too. I adore them!