My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
The Last Lesson
I would have to question the title for I have come to the conclusion that the goku-i (will use this terse reference to mean "ken-po goku-i.") is NOT the last lesson but rather a lesson we should embrace from the very beginning of the practice of ANY martial system. It has come to my belief that to not balance out the physical with the spiritual (not a religious reference here) whereby the spiritual encompasses a deeper understanding of the Okinawan people with their customs, beliefs and history. Not the surface stuff you hear about all the time but a deeper level that reaches back in its history to the influences before Okinawan Ti become Toudi and then Naha-Tomari-Shuri Ti and finally today's Karate.
In general I found the content more an expression of the author rather than the goku-i. This is fine in general but I felt it did not actually speak toward the goku-i at the level's Tatsuo-san meant for us to reach. I say this as my personal belief and findings after my thirty plus years in practice and my ten plus years researching and delving as deep as I can into the full spectrum of the goku-i which does speak to many connections between Okinawa, China, Japan and other Asian nations such as Korea, etc. Many commonalities but also many unique perspectives of the same customs, beliefs and history.
If you are a student of the author I would encourage you to purchase the book if for no other reason then to see an inside view of the author, teacher and practitioner of Isshinryu but understand that the reference to the goku-i seems flawed, off-set and not quite the meaning meant by Tatsuo-san - again, my personal opinion and perspective only.
When I read that this was promoted as the "first book of its kind on Isshinryu" I had to disagree. Once you read the content and remove the title of the book as for the goku-i it is actually another rendition of may other books not only on Isshinryu but on other systems/styles, etc. of karate. In that it is not from my view indicative of goku-i and the underlying meaning it can contain.
Then again at the level of which I perceive the efforts that may have gone into or not gone into researching the true meaning of the goku-i this book for this author may truly be his/her views on their perspective and belief as to the goku-i therefore I would applaud that effort for it as an effort to understand this often difficult koan called the goku-i at least on a rudimentary and beginner level. I would say it might be a start and remaining open to the possibilities that it is not the end of the story is crucial to all new readers to this and to the goku-i.
In this light if this book provides all the readers inspiration to seek out more as to the goku-i then it does meet that which Tatsuo-san wanted most from us, the desire to seek out the knowledge that encompasses that of the customs, beliefs and history of the Okinawan people and those Okinawan masters such as Tatsuo Shimabuku Sensei, creator of Isshinryu Karate-jutsu-do.
In general I do not recommend this book for anything other than a small part of your effort to find out the wholehearted truth that is Tatsuo-san's desire to seek out more than the mere physical and reach for the stars. Add it if you will to your library but don't assume it is more than what it is - a good start "toward" the true lessons of Tatsuo-san.
p.s. note closely the "Isshinryu-no-Megami" symbol on the cover. I suspect either the author or the publisher reversed the plate as it is backward. Normally the dragon and stars are on the right and the open hand is up on the left side as you look at the picture. :-)