by Antonio (Tone) Resende
PageTurner Press and Media

"In the Whaling City, karate would emerge just as it did elsewhere—through the returning servicemen following the WWII and Korean War period."

A practitioner of Shotokan karate, the author provides a historical account of the martial art, beginning with its roots and culminating in the local preservation of its practice in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Though there seem to be multiple origins of "karate," Resende asserts that it is generally agreed that the "methodical and scientific patterns of movements and techniques for the purpose of defensive and combative fighting" emerged sometime during the early-1800s on the island of Okinawa, Japan. Originally, karate was not a fighting sport but rather a practice undertaken for its health benefits throughout Southeast Asia. Resende ultimately zooms his literary lens onto the rich history of karate practice, specifically in New Bedford, where he trained over many decades. The author explains that his inspiration for writing the book is because there has previously been little-to-no preservation of the historical record for karate in communities like New Bedford. He hopes that this inspires others to produce similar undertakings in other American communities.

The singular element elevating Resende's work apart from other literature on karate is the specific objective to capture the artform's history in a particular locale within America. In reading his unique account, the reader comes to know intimately such real-life characters as Sensei Robert Gomes, Master Wind Song Blake, Hanshi John Almeida, and others instrumental in the practice and teaching of karate in New Bedford from the 1960s onward. Complete with an extensive photo gallery, a listing of Japan Karate Association instructors, and a highly useful appendix of key terms, Resende's work more than accomplishes his stated task of assembling a historical account of karate practice in his city. In doing so, a highly intriguing work of martial arts history has been written.

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