This book started off as a passion project for my blog IkigaiWay.com. My instructor, Bruce Heilman, always maintained healthy relationships with other heads-of-style and often invited them to participate in our annual training events. Over the years I got to know the various seniors myself and frequently asked them questions about their personal history and style.
I began recording interviews for IkigaiWay just from the individuals I had a lot of contact with. From there it grew and I realized there was interest in learning more about senior practitioners from all manner of martial arts and backgrounds.
My collection of interviews grew and included a variety of styles, but karate was still my main focus. I realized that there was an entire generation of important martial artists reaching their golden years and their stories were no where to be found. We martial artists always wonder about what generations deep in the past were like…and yet here we were letting our senior generation slip away unrecorded. How soon would we be wondering what they were like?
This project is an effort to record their stories and information about their teachers. My hope is that this will help future generations understand what karate was before the big changes around World War II and how karate spread globally from the East.