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Revised Aug 22, 2011


Purchase Karate 'Bo' Take-aways by Guy Trimble III

Front cover

Back cover

The author, Guy Trimble, lays out the ground rules before one of South Bay Shotokan's bo kumite free-for-all's.  Chicago yodan Dom Pizoli guards the protective gear.

The author, Guy Trimble demonstrates an arm bar application with San Diego nidan, Derek Greene

Editorial Reviews via Amazon.com:

Book Description

This book describes in detail the techniques of "bo" or staff disarms found in some karate kata and it also describes "grappling in Armor techniques" found in some karate kata. This book describes the techniques and shows how old kata had real function in combat 500 or 1000 years ago and not the punching and kicking interpretations that are used at this time in history.

About the Author

The author, Guy Trimble III, has trained in Shotokan Karate for close to 30 years. He has done extensive practice and research into many kata including both Japanese and Chinese kata and (5) staff or "bo" kata. Guy's research into kata has a historical weapons orientation including knifes, swords, polearms and staff weapons. It is Mr. Trimble's view that old kata should show realistic combat techniques.

And a brief review by Mike Lyon:

I was lucky to have met Guy Trimble in February of 2000 while visiting Caylor Adkins along with my friends, Dom Pizoli, Mike Duray, and Jim Heffley.  After breakfast, Caylor took us all down to the South Bay Shotokan dojo to meet Guy Trimble and Dave Shavers for a morning of bo and boxing.  I shot the photos of Guy displayed above during our practice.

Guy is a stout-to-burly former Oklahoma oil worker and 30 year SKA veteran.  He showed us a few bo techniques he'd developed from his years-long research into the bo -- how to hold it, how to bury one end into the ground or the opponent's foot to make it stronger, how to swing and thrust it, and walked us through one of the kata he'd been practicing from Shigeru Egami's beautiful limited edition publication from the early sixties. 

One of the people with us that morning was Derek Greene, a giant sized nidan-of-steel from San Diego.  Guy handed Derek a bo and, holding his own bo ready, told Derek to go ahead and attack him.  I got a big kick out of it when, each time Derek tentatively attacked as instructed, Guy would smack his bo out of the way, sometimes out of Derek's hands, saying fiercely, "If you do it like that, I will KEEEEL you like THIS!"

A few minutes later, and I was decked out in lacrosse helmet with wire caged face mask, a pair of lacrosse gloves, and a six foot length of light-weight pine closet rod in my hands.  And Mike Duray in front of me armored the same way.  And while I was wondering what was coming next, Guy shouted "HAJIME!", and away we went, to the tune of almost continuous cautions from Guy to control, control, CONTROL!!  After a minute of this one-on-one, a similarly armored Tom Blascho joined in the fray, and a minute later Dom Pizoli, then Derek Greene, and finally Pam Logan.  It was all six of us, every man (woman) for himself, a free-for-all.  Dom immediately took obvious and repeated advantage in sneaking up and whacking people from behind.  The trick was to move rapidly to advantage or "die".  It was exuberant, great, fantastic FUN ! And way beyond aerobic!

Later we had similar fun taking turns with the 16oz gloves on, lightly boxing each other and taking turns sparring with Dave Shavers, king of the wheel-house punch and owner of the world's largest mouth-guard!

Guy sent me a copy of his first book, "Karate 'Bo' Take-aways" a couple of days ago.  What a surprise that was -- I'd barely met the man, and it had been more than two years ago!  I liked the color -- almost exactly the shade of yellow I selected for the borders of our web site!

When I started flipping through the book, I noticed that there were lots of photos, but none of Guy.  I kinda flipped through the book then, looking for the names of the models (which I couldn't find), but I noticed that there are numerous typos and grammatical errors and that started me thinking that the book might not be too good or very well thought out... Sort of a rush job.

Then I started reading from the beginning. First Tom Muzila's introduction. I laughed out loud when I got to the part where he says, "If you have any doubts...<snip>...contact Guy personally and let him eliminate those doubts from your mind." Tried to read that part out loud to my wife, but she waved me off, so I had to just chuckle alone...

Then, I read the (TWO!) introductions. I was surprised and impressed. The content is excellent. It is unusual to come across someone who is not only working hard to try to understand something important, but who makes an honest effort to explain his perspective, method, and understanding.  Guy has done all of that. He explains his approach very clearly, touches upon his experimental method (repeatedly wailing upon one another with sticks just like we did), sets forth his basic conclusions -- all very clearly.

Guy's peculiar integration of free and inventive practice and his  application of his experiences to open new meaning to kata are very fresh. He has spent a good deal of time and practice imagining armored and armed combatants against one another and against unarmed, unarmored, or wounded combatants... He considered one on one, one on many, and many on many engagements. And over time, he became convinced that kata contain fundamental principles (consistent with his practical experience): In combat it is almost certain death to

  • stand still.
  • fall down.
  • lose your weapon.
  • be restrained.

Likewise, one can gain the advantage by

  • restraining the opponent
  • off-balancing the opponent
  • stealing the weapon of the opponent.

The book contains little 'DO' and lots of 'BO'.  It is a book about technique, and Guy has tried understand the real combat application of the movements of kata.  You will find little if any 'official' SKA bunkai in here.  Many of Guy's conclusions and interpretations fly in the face of what we usually hear from senior members. 

The particular applications Guy describes and attributes to the kata may NEVER have been intended by the Masters who created the kata, but that doesn't stop their being interesting applications and techniques. 

For example, Guy describes the first two movements of Hangetsu (Hangetsu-dachi Ude-uke Gyaku-zuki) as a defense against a thrusting knife attack in which the knife is turned back into the chest of the attacker.  I've never seen this application before and it is very different from any explanation of Hangetsu I have ever heard.  But is that so very important?  It is an interesting technique, bears at least some similarity to the movements of Hangetsu, and seems very easy to make work against even a belligerent and strong opponent. 

I view Guy's book as an 'interim report', and not as his (or 'The') 'final word'.  I personally found the book highly stimulating and food for thought and practice.  You'll have to suspend your strict adherence to traditional SKA dogma in order to appreciate what "Karate Bo Take-aways" has to offer.  If you can do that, I think you'll find the novel technical approaches and solutions both interesting and very stimulating. 

Definitely worth reading!

Purchase Karate 'Bo' Take-aways by Guy Trimble III



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