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Free "Comprehensive Karate" E-Book back online!

A couple of years ago Michael Rosenbaum kindly made his book “Comprehensive Karate” freely available via this website (on Christmas day!). In the not too distant future we will be setting up a download page for all the e-books and PDFs that we have made available over the years. However, this book has always been very popular so I wanted to get it up here as soon as possible. If you’ve not yet read the book (where have you been?!) you can download it from this page and all the details can be found below. I hope you enjoy it!

All the best,



Comprehensive Karate: From Beginner to Black Belt


An Introduction to the History, Kata and Practice of Traditional Karate-Do

By Michael J. Rosenbaum

  • Preface by Iain Abernethy
  • Foreword by Edward Francisco
  • Introduction: The Changing Face of Karate.
  • Chapter 1: Karate
  • Chapter 2: The Rise of Okinawan Civil Fighting Arts
  • Chapter 3: Tode: Forefather of Modern Karate
  • Chapter 4: The Empty Hand Art
  • Chapter 5: One Fighting Art Divided by Personal Tastes
  • Chapter 6: Lost in Translation: the Post War Styles
  • Chapter 7: The Soul of Karate: Kata
  • Chapter 8: Transcendence of Kata
  • Chapter 9: Okinawan Kobudo: From Swords to Boat Oars
  • Chapter 10: Karate, Zen, and the Budo Journey
  • Chapter 11: Karate: Sport or Self-Defense
  • Epilogue
  • End Notes
  • About the Author
  • Bibliography

This completely free e-book by Michael J. Rosenbaum (104 A4 pages) is available for download from this webpage.

How to download: Right click on the cover image and then select "save target as" (some times "save page as"). Then choose where you wish to save the file (normally the "desk top") and download it.


by Iain Abernethy

It is a real pleasure to write this preface to Michael Rosenbaum's book! Michael is a very knowledgeable martial artist who is able to articulately and succinctly communicate that knowledge to his readers. I have really enjoyed Michael's books and was therefore delighted when he joined the forum on my website ( I've been delighted with how the forum has developed over the years and it is the participation of senior martial artists such as Michael that has helped to make the forum what it is.

A great community of pragmatically minded traditionalists has come together via the forum and the fact that it is a good source of quality information and discussion has led to it getting thousands of hits each and every day. Michael's prolific contribution and his willingness to share his knowledge and experiences have made him one of the most popular and highly valued members of the forum.

Many months ago, Michael informed me that he had written a book that he would like to give away to all the members and visitors to the site. Michael proposed that if I would typeset and prepare the text, he would be happy for the book to be given away to all those who wanted to read it. Having read the book – and it being apparent just how much work had gone in to it – I told Michael that I was totally happy to typeset the book, but that he should consider charging a nominal fee as a small recompense for the considerable labor he had obviously put into writing the book. As happy as I was that Michael wished to give the book away for free, I felt it would have been remiss of me if I did not suggest to this successful published author that he receive some recompense for all his efforts. Michael was firm that he wanted the book to be free of all charge so, my conscience appeased, I set about putting this e-book together.

As is the way with almost everything I do, typesetting the book took longer than I anticipated due to other demands on my time. As we approached the end of 2008 the book was finally getting close to completion. I emailed Michael – who had been incredibly patient with me – and suggested that we release the book on Christmas day as a gift for everyone. Michael liked the idea of playing Santa and we agreed to set everything up so that the thousands of subscribers to the monthly newsletters would find a download link waiting for them in their in-box on Christmas morning!

So that's the story of the free e-book that you are now reading. I'm sure you'll agree that Michael has been incredibly generous in making this book freely available to all. The old maxim of “you get what you pay for” does not hold true here! This is a truly great book on karate. The quality of information is sure to make this book fly around the web like wild fire! The fact it is free is simply a bonus. I know that you're going to really enjoy reading this e-book and that, like me, you are sure to be grateful to Michael for taking the time to write this book and for his generosity in making it freely available to all.

Iain Abernethy