Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art

The history of Karate is shrouded in mystery, and yet millions of enthusiasts ensure this ancient art thrives powerfully in the twenty-first century. As one of the most comprehensive, and demystifying studies on the enigmatic parameters of ancient combat traditions, Karate 1.0 intrigues readers with rich detail and missing insights of this martial art. Nearly twenty years of research make Karate 1.0 the go-to book for students and masters addicted to the pride of Okinawa.

KARATE 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art. Düsseldorf 2013, by Andreas Quast.

cover (4)

Karate 1.0 front cover

  • Pages: xxvii, 502 pp.
  • Language: English.
  • Hardcover binding in green linen material with gold foil stamping, size 8.25″ x 10.75″ (20.95cm x 27.31cm).
  • Full-color dust jacket in matte finish.
  • Inside: black and white printing on cream archival paper (60# weight). White exterior paper (80# weight).
  • Forewords by Patrick McCarthy, Miguel Da Luz, Cezar Borkowski, Jesse Enkamp, Dr. Julian Braun, Soke Leif Hermansson, and Dr. phil. Heiko Bittmann.
  • All copies ship from the United States.
  • Price: $75.00.


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Read the review by the experts: Mike Clark’s blog, and at Martial Arts Library (http://martialartlibrary.blogspot.de/2014/04/karate-10.html), and check out the huge preview first: Karate 1.0: Preview

Okinawa was formerly known as the Ryūkyū Kingdom. This island kingdom was situated between China and Japan, the two giants in the ancient Asian world order. For centuries the kingdom was involved in maritime trade, tribute, diplomacy and war and became variously known as the peaceful kingdom, the islands of longevity, and the land of propriety. Over the course of five centuries, within its encapsulated maritime sphere, unique forms of martial traditions emerged. They are known today as Karate and Kobudō, the pride of the Okinawans, and world martial arts enjoyed by millions of people around the globe.

Did you know: A copy of Karate 1.0 has been ordered by the library of the world’s largest sports university, the German Sport University Cologne.

Read the review by the experts: Mario McKenna’s blog, and check out the huge preview first: Karate 1.0: Preview

However, details on the history of these martial traditions largely remained shrouded in mystery to this day. After a meticulous long-term investigation, now KARATE 1.0 bears witness to the myriad headwaters of modern day Karate and Kobudō. It provides hitherto missing insights into a perpetual process of martial updates that took place over centuries within the official and semiofficial framework of the kingdom.

Did you know: Karate 1.0 was covered in the Okinawa Karate News 沖縄空手通信, No. 91, 2014/01 issue.

As one of the most comprehensive and long-lasting studies on the subject, KARATE 1.0 finally reveals the enigmatic parameters of these ancient combat traditions as a result of the author’s exclusive and trailblazing research, which started two decades ago with a white belt at a friend’s dōjō.

This masterpiece represents the results of nearly twenty years the author has invested in demystifying the convoluted genealogy of Karate. By conducting interviews around the globe and sifting through mountains of primary and secondary research, he puts the fighting arts and related-persons into a new historical perspective.

Did you know: Karate 1.0 sold worldwide to Okinawa, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, and Spain.

The central theme of this work is the search for causal triggers of a holistic system of unarmed and armed martial traditions. By analysing the origin and transformation of the military and security organization of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, the author identified the superordinate security related royal government organizations and functions responsible. In addition he detected hundreds of martial artists active during Okinawa’s old Kingdom era who otherwise would have remained unnoticed in Karate research and oral tradition.

In this way describing the enigmatic parameters of the Ryūkyū Kingdom’s ancient fighting arts, or KARATE 1.0, a common historical basis of the countless fragmentary traditions of modern Karate and Kobudō was discovered.

“KARATE 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art” should be embraced by the international Budō community and enjoy the recognition and success it so richly deserves.

Read the review by the experts: IkigaiWay blog, and check out the huge preview first: Karate 1.0: Preview


Cover Art:

The sword hilt on the front cover is a scetch of the Chōganemaru sword. It once belonged to the mysterious King of Nakijin, Han’anchi. He was defeated by Shō Hashi, who took the sword. Afterwards it had been handed down within the royal Shō family of Ryūkyu for six centuries. On the cover it is meant as a symbol of royal authority rather than a weapon.

Did you know: Karate 1.0 for the first time includes ALL known written historical sources on Karate and Kobudo related martial arts of the kingdom.

It is also emblematic for the foreign influences; Han’anchi was probably not “Okinawan”. And it stands for the “Ryukyu Nutshell” in which the martial arts emerged, developed, and countinuously were updated. The “Ryukyu Nutshell” is the idea that the royal government of Ryūkyu basically remained in a constant form since the era of Shō Shin, although adjustments were taken over the centuries.

Karate 1.0 back cover

Karate 1.0 back cover

On the back cover is an artistic drawing of the character , i.e. the moral principle of justice, duty, and truth as the very basis of a martial “path”. Added to it is the caption “Go! Go! Go! Go!”. This is an allusion to the fact that the path should be proactively walked. BTW, is not the aim, but kokoro is. 

Finally, on the cover flips are found the characters Bun and Bu, that is scholarship and the art of war, which are considered to have existed in unitas. The reason for this is that in feudal times civil and military questions were deeply associated. This can be seen in the Sappōshi missions from China to Ryūkyū. It can also be seen in the era of Satsuma control. And it was also manifest in the government organization of the Ryūkyū Kingdom.

Expert ratings:

“KARATE 1.0 will compel you to rethink what is currently known about the historical and cultural background for the art that brings us all together … KARATE 1.0 is destined to become a future classic and a MUST for the bookshelves of every serious Karate-ka. I am SO EXCITED about this project and hope you will be, too.” - Patrick McCarthy, Hanshi 9th Dan, Australia

“This masterpiece represent the results of the author’s nearly twenty years of studies on the history of karate and is a fantastic source of information with its encyclopedic-like details about not only karate, but Ryukyuan history and culture.” - Miguel Da Luz, Okinawa Traditional Karate Liaison Bureau

“Andreas Quast has penned what I humbly believe will become the definitive book on Ryukyuan history and its parallel effect on the fighting traditions of the Nantou Islands.” - Cezar Borkowski, Hanshi 9th Dan, Canada

“When it comes to exploring the ancient martial arts of the Ryukyus, few people have the zealousness and grit of Andreas Quast.” - Jesse Enkamp, Karatepreneur, Sweden

“Andreas Quast’s contribution on the history of martial arts on the Ryukyu Islands is even more delightful.” - Dr. Julian Braun, Germany

“I have always been impressed with Mr Quast’s vast knowledge, acquired in many years of research, about the history of Karate and Kobudo.” - Soke Leif Hermansson, 10th Dan Hanshi, Sweden

“The book not only sheds more light on the history of the art, but also serves as a must-read for any martial arts enthusiast who wishes to acquire a deeper understanding of the origins, and the development, of Karatedo.” - Dr. phil. Heiko Bittmann, Kanazawa, Japan

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ― Søren Kierkegaard


Karate 1.0 cover flip 1

Karate 1.0 cover flip 2


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Take care of your scabbard

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Chibana Chosho

As noted previously, journalist Yokoyama Kendō wrote in 1914:

“And it is also said that the district mayor of Shuri, the honorable old man Chibana Chosho, had been a strong exponent in this field (of Karate).” Cf. Yokoyama 1914.

Yokoyama Kendō's photo, 1914. Chibana had been inserted in the right upper caption.

Yokoyama Kendō’s photo, 1914. Chibana had been inserted in the right upper caption.












From the same year, we have this photo of Chibana:

Kyan Chōfu and Chibana Chōshō (from Ryūkyū Kenbun-roku, 1914)

Kyan Chōfu and Chibana Chōshō (from Ryūkyū Kenbun-roku, 1914)







And I think I found another one. It’s this picture taken in 1921, behind the youth dorm of the Shuri Shihan-gakko (normal school, or teachers colleage):



Chibana was mayor of Shuri until April of 1921. Looking at the details of the photo’s history, the photo itself, and comparing it to the other photos, I think this must be Chibana Chosho:


Chibana Chosho, 1921 behind the dorm of the Shuri Shihan-gakko.

Chibana Chosho, 1921 behind the dorm of the Shuri Shihan-gakko.



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Why would anybody do this?

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for the first time – a historical illustration of Satsuma Bo-odori

Bo-odori, or ‘dance of the fighting gudgel’ from Satsuma. You probably heard of this martial art and its assumed influence on Ryukyuan bojutsu many many times. I am aware that this illustration has NOT been covered in any book by karate masters. Whether you’re 3rd kyu or 10th dan. Whether you’re on Okinawa or in Andalusia: this historical illustration here will be what is the first instance most of you catch sight of what it looked like.  So take a second and p look at it, and travel back in time. Imagine the sounds of the feet on the ground, the breaths and sounds of the performers, and the dynamic tension filling the air while the strikes cut through thebair. Satsuma, were shogunate spies might be able to enter, only never to return … This is bo-odori.

(From a test version of Karate 1.0)

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The Ikoku Sosho, Mr. Siebold, and the terminus “Kon 棍”

The Ikoku Sosho is a series of translations of monographic records of foreigners about their experiences in Japan during the 16-18 century. The authors were from Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and Russia. Pulished in 13 volumes by Shun’nan Publishers from 1927-31, it is considered a valuable historical material to understand politics, economy, and culture of the time.

Ph._F._von_Siebold_(timbre_RFA)Volume 8 (1931) covers the works of German physician and naturalist Philipp Franz von Siebold (1796–1866). In 1823 Siebold reaches Japan as a physician to the Dutch trading post at Dejima. He teaches and practices medicine and researches Japanese flora and fauna, geography, history and language. In 1828 unauthorized maps are found in his luggage, Siebold is expelled from the country. In 1859 he returns as a foreign policy advisor to the shogunate, final departure 1862.

Chapter 15 (p. 386-538) of the Ikoku Sosho contains Siebold’s detailed descriptions ”On the weapons, their exercises and warfare.” There, in subchapter “Viewing the stone weapons of the original inhabitants of the Japanese Islands” (p. 523) we find:

„Not less common than the arrowheads are the so-called thunderstones. We have these lie before us from all parts of the world. Most of them belong to antiquity and served as tools or weapons, for clubs or hatchets, as war hammers and battle-axes, as which they still here and there occur among living nations. (my translation from German to English)

Here the Japanese translators used the term kon 棍 to translate the German “Keule” (club). Accodingly, during the Taisho era the term kon seems to have been in use in scientific Japanese parlance to denote any sort of club of a very old design common to all cultures. It is the same “kon“ as used for the okinawanized cudgel fencing methods mostly of Chinese provenance.


Original: Siebold, Philipp Franz von: Nippon : Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan und dessen Neben- und Schutzländern; jezo mit den südlichen Kurilen, Krafto, Koorai und den Liukiu-Inseln. Leyden-Amsterdam 1832.

Japanese translation: Ikoku Sosho. Vol. 8. Shunnansha, Tōkyō 1931. In: „Modern Digital Library“, National Diet Library. 異国叢書。第8。駿南社、1931。「近代デジタルライブラリー」、国立国会図書館。

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