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Jason Lester
Jason Lester's picture
Hidden Karate

Hi everyone.

I have just finished reading a wounderfull and enlightening karate book called,  Hidden Karate: the true bunkai for the Pinan / Heian katas and Naihanchi. The author is a gentleman called Gennosuke Higaki.

I have a select collection of karate books by past masters, this book however is one of the finest karate manuals i have ever read, it has a wealth of information and some really great bunkai.

In this great book Gennousuki Higaki is brutally honest, answers many questions regarding unusable katas, goes in depth about the great Master Itosu and the Pinan Katas. In one section he clearly states that Master Itosu taught the block and punch combinations to children, and taught his adult students at his home.

It should also be known that were different variations of the Pinan / Heian katas at the time of Itosu, why was this, because it was Master Itosu who taught those variations in the first place and thats why we have this today. 

In this book it claims Itosu developed these five forms to educate instructors and if one trained 2 to 3 hours a day, over 3 to 4 years one would possibly be able to understand the hidden parts of the katas. It also explains the mystery behind the dangerous moves being removed from the Pinan / Heian katas, this as many of us know this is not the case. Those dangerous moves are indeed still there, however depending how you approach those katas, for example if you believe that these katas are for children or only beginner katas then sadly you will never understand these great katas or the spirit behind Master Itosu who created them.

I highly recommend this fine karate manual and deserves to be in any serious karate-ka's library or martial artist in general, it can be found on amazon or ebay etc.

Hope this is of some interest.

Kind regards,


Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

I would love to but Pinan Kata are not Kata I practice, not done them for 4 years!

Only Traditional Kata I practice are Niseishi, Bassai & Naihanchi, but they've got their own "differences" from the way I was taught them years ago

Did he do any books on Bassai (Dai) & Niseishi (Nijushiho)  kata regards hidden karate. I read another article stating there was 14 neck wrenches in Bassai!


ky0han's picture


first of all I kind of like both of the "hidden karate" books.

But some things are making me cautious. Gennosuke Higaki is certainly not the real name of the author, it is the name of a character out of a Kurosawa movie (Judo Saga). So I am asking myself why he chooses to have his identity concealed.

Next thing I stumble across is the title of the book "hidden karate". He tries to fortify his bunkai with historical picture of Funakoshi, Motobu etc. which is a really good idea, but when there were pictures of that in the open for a long time, why is he calling it hidden?

Just a few hints cool.

Regards Holger

Katz's picture

I'm also a bit weary of the "hidden" moves in a kata...

To me, those "hidden moves" are simply more advanced, ones a beginner will not see. But they're not really hidden. So, I understand where that comes from, but I'm weary in general of anyone pretending to teach the "hidden moves" in a kata.

Not to say I won't give a look at this book, because from what you say, there are things that make a whole lot of sense in there too. :)

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Why would you need 14 neck wrenches?

The books sounds interesting, but I am always a little wary of 'hidden' applications too, if the method of interpreting kata movement is sound..I don't really see how there is anything hidden. In fact, i'd argue that most 'hidden' stuff is the oral teaching you get on HOW to do all the stuff more effectiely, and the different layers that only come with practice, not any kind of a set of 'moves'.

Sound combative principles seem to produce similar results anyway, even across styles and different kata!

karate10's picture

At a local Book store in Little Tokyo, there were selling "Hidden Katas"....Luckily, someone mention the book here on this forum....I'm planning to purchase it soon.

Jason Lester
Jason Lester's picture

Hi guys, thanku for the replys, all very interesting.

Kind regards,


shoshinkanuk's picture

They are good books with some interesting information, and well presented Bunkai and concepts.

Not what I would call street focused approach, there is a little to much 'form' for my liking, but well worth having IMO.

Been a while since I read them so they are coming off the shelf for a good flick through this weekend.

sammydoo's picture

I would certainly advocate this book as a source of application , the title hidden karate ... this does not purport to showing the reader any mysterious bunkai.The author simply states in the book that much of the bunkai was traditionally passed on by word of mouth from sensei to student.So it it hidden in plain sight, for those that have had a lineage from the creators of the kata.In the authors case his teacher was Sensei Kubota , a senior student of Funakoshi O Sensei.

IMHO a great read .

Dod's picture

I think this is an important book especially considering it came out in the early 2000's. I have it at home and immediately liked its definition of karate as (from memory) "a heightened system of grabbing and striking". Down to earth description without getting too mystical and esoteric.

The applications shown were probably a breath of fresh air at the time, although don't compare to the variety we have access viewing to these days

sammydoo's picture

Osu Sensei, Was the authors name not his pen name?