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Essential Shotokan: The "How-To" Karate Teaching Series

Classical martial artists now have a new tool to add to their arsenals, thanks to a premier company-Perfect Form, Incorporated (PFI). With the cooperation of the Georgia Karate Academy and the American JKA Karate Association (AJKA) Chairman, Edmond Otis, PFI created the “Bible of the Shotokan world”, says company President Kelley Timms. Because the principles and concepts that Shotokan stresses are fundamental to so many traditional/classical Japanese and Okinawan styles, PFI’s production of Essential Shotokan, the “How-To” karate teaching series, has certainly set the standard for a broad scope of martial arts practitioners.

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Perfect Form, Inc., a “multimedia production company for classical martial arts” clearly displays a devotion to traditional karate. David Gómez, the Vice President of PFI and 23-year veteran of JKA-style Shotokan, is deeply rooted in experience and tradition. He has trained under several qualified JKA-style instructors: Butta Sensei (KSSK), Takashina Sensei (SAKA), Baronoski Sensei (AAKF), and presently periodically trains under the highly distinguished AJKA Chief Instructor, Mr. Ray Dalke. Gómez is also the Senior Instructor at an AJKA affiliate club, the Georgia Karate Academy (GKA). Gómez’ experience and exposure to traditional Shotokan karate and his extensive graphic design and digital media editing knowledge made him the ideal link for directing and producing Essential Shotokan.

View Sample Clips from the Essential Shotokan Series

“We’re very proud of the first series in that not only do we feel that the material [presented] is quality classical Shotokan karate,” Gómez declares, “but it does an outstanding job of teaching theory and practical technique.” And practical technique provides the series with its most important distinction. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced training methods all receive equal attention, making “Essential Shotokan” a valuable means of achieving a higher level of performance for practitioners of any rank. This series is also an invaluable aid in helping instructors develop a useful teaching curriculum with students of all levels.

View Sample Clips from the Essential Shotokan Series

The concept for a “How-To” karate teaching series originated from two GKA students, PFI President Kelley Timms and PFI Treasurer Allen Baker. They approached Gomez two years ago, proposing a video teaching series featuring Shotokan. At the same time, the AJKA saw a need to tangibly preserve teaching methods and technique. The two desires came together through the support of Sensei Edmond Otis-AJKA Chairman, 6th Dan, and Director of Martial Arts at the University of California, Riverside. Otis lent his renowned instructional skills and his clean classical form to the project that resulted in Essential Shotokan.

View Sample Clips from the Essential Shotokan Series

The name Essential Shotokan represents not only the fundamentals of Shotokan karate, but also key principles that are at the core of all Japanese and Okinawan styles. The three-volume video set, to be released in May, 2001, systematically teaches the primary principles of body dynamics, Shotokan stances, blocks, kicks, and strikes. Otis is assisted by Kevin Warner, 4th Dan and many time AAU National kata and kumite campion and a bronze medalist at the 1997 World Shotokan Karate Association world championship.

View Sample Clips from the Essential Shotokan Series

Slow motion displays of all techniques and stances are a distinction of the series. The depth of the Essential Shotokan series slow motion capture is an unusual feature for a production of this nature. This one feature rated highest in a poll about what karate students would most like to see in a teaching series. The ability to clearly see the details of a technique is crucial for a karate student and varied camera angles add to the clarity of presentation. To compliment these visual features, Otis verbally and comprehensively communicates theory to application.

The methodology used in assembling Essential Shotokan as a “How-To” teaching series, can also apply to kata and kumite. PFI has plans for similar future productions, including kata, real world sparring (bottom line self defense), and tournament-style fighting. The company also plans to expand from video to DVDs.

Timms, feels that PFI “will [become] one of the leaders in traditional/classical martial arts production.” His hopes are not unfounded. Glowing pre-release reviews by Shotokan legend Stan Schmidt, martial arts scholar and writer Randall G. Hassell, and AJKA Chief Instructor Ray Dalke, have definitely been encouraging. If PFI is right, Essential Shotokan is indeed a series designed from the perspective that anyone doing traditional/classical karate would benefit from it.

(Note: Clips and photos - Edmond Otis and Kevin Warner from selected clips from the Essential Shotokan Series.)

To Order or for More Details:

Essential Shotokan Volume(s) 1-3 Home: To order or get more details about the Essential Shotokan Series.
American JKA Karate Association: JKA Style Shotokan Karate With the Values and Influence of American Culture
The Georgia Karate Academy: Website of Essential Shotokan's Director & Senior Instructor of the Georgia Karate Academy

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