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Analysis of Genuine Karate: Misconceptions, Origins, Development, and True Purpose

by Hermann Bayer, Ph.D.

Genuine karate is an Okinawan martial art for self-defense; its principle of “never changing kata” is critical to its effectiveness.


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Release date: 
September 1, 2021
Paperback: 208 pages
9 × 6 × 0.5 in
ISBN: 9781594398438
Printing: Black and White



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July 4, 2023
Hardcover: 208 pages
9 x 6 x 1 in


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Release date: 
September 1, 2021
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Release date: 
September 1, 2021
Paperback: 208 pages
9 × 6 × 0.5 in
ISBN: 9781594398438

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Average: 4.5 (6 votes)
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Genuine karate is an Okinawan martial art for self-defense; its principle of “never changing kata” is critical to its effectiveness.

The changes made to karate in mainland Japan and in America have altered karate so intrinsically that it can no longer claim to be genuine karate. 

Practitioners of karate are often confused, misguided, and even led to believe that karate is just karate—this is far from the truth. 

Dr. Hermann Bayer, Ph.D., examines how Japan re-interpreted Okinawan karate to create its own unique style of karate-do, and how Japanese and American changes resulted in a modern karate-sport business.

Contents include:

  • Okinawan karate’s “principle of never changing kata”.
  • Karate as an Okinawan cultural heritage.
  • Socio-cultural arguments to preserve Okinawa karate—as is.
  • Japan—the karate reproducing country.
  • Karate or Karate-do?
  • The business of karate, karate-do, and karate-sport.
  • Scientific study of a peaceful karate mind.
  • The laws of physics reveal weaknesses when kata are changed.

This substantially researched work makes a compelling case for the socio-cultural and historic arguments to conserve genuine Okinawan karate. Supported by historical facts, scientific analysis, and public records, Dr. Bayer reveals the complex evolution of karate and the unsettled claims made upon it by various stakeholders.


"We welcome this fascinating exploration of the many modern misconceptions about genuine Okinawan karate. The book explains that Okinawan Te was originally developed for the purpose of self-protection but that over the last several decades other purposes were added, namely physical education, recreation, meditation, and sports. It acknowledges that there were good reasons for these additions but strongly suggests that we not confuse them with the genuine intention of the art—as that art is taught at our and other traditional dojos." –Sensei Noel Smith, Kyoshi, 8th Dan Shorin Ryu, Shorinkan, head coach for the US karate team 1973 to 1978, USA Karate Hall of Fame inductee


"Dr. Bayer has written an extraordinarily insightful book that will assist its readers in their personal growth and understanding of Okinawa’s martial culture.  His passion, curiosity, and finely honed research and analytical skills have resulted in a rare work of substance, enlightenment, and truth." —William (Bill) Hayes, Hanshi, 9th Dan Shorin Ryu, Shobayashi-Kan, inducted into the Karate Masters’ Hall of Fame and into the American-Okinawan Karate Association Hall of Fame, major in the United States Marine Corps (retired)


"Hermann Bayer’s Analysis of Genuine Karate is extraordinarily interesting and informative. He brings clarity to many of the greatest misconceptions about karate, from cultural traditions and the mind-set of the founding fathers of traditional Okinawan karate to the modern worldwide promulgation of karate for fame and money. He leaves no stone unturned, addressing differences in training methods and goals that could mean the difference between life and death. In this book, Hermann Bayer has his finger on the pulse of authentic and traditional Okinawa karate-do and culture." —Nestor Tadeusz Folta, 8th Dan Uechi-Ryu, Soke Shubukan, master instructor in the Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do Association, inductee to the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame 1996


"Given the ever-widening gap between the karate practiced in Okinawa and the karate practiced elsewhere around the world, it was perhaps inevitable that a book such as this would be written. More than one man’s opinion, Analysis of Genuine Karate is the result of the author’s methodical academic research. Hermann has consulted widely and sought expert opinion. The result of his research awaits the reader. I have no doubt this book will spark a great many conversations about what is and what isn’t “Genuine Karate.”" —Michael Clarke, author, Kyoshi, 8th Dan Okinawan Goju-Ryu, author of The Art of Hojo Undo, Shin Gi Tai, and Redemption


"Engaging, enlightening, and informative, this book reflects a love, devotion, dedication, and level of knowledge that is comparable to if not exceeds anything that has been published on the topic by anyone." —Bernard N. Curry, PhD, LCSW, CSOTP, CCTP; university professor


"Doctor Bayer's book will be an excellent addition to the library of anyone interested in the study of karate. He has made good use of his considerable experience training in traditional Okinawan karate and Japanese karate in his examination of their fundamental differences.  His research gives the reader a good look at the historical, social, philosophical, and physical dynamics of the development of karate as it evolved from its origins in Okinawa to its adoption by the culture of mainland Japan." —Raymond (Gene) Adkins, Renshi, 6th Dan Shorin Ryu, Shorinkan


"Dr. Hermann Bayer’s book on the cultural heritage and influences of Okinawan karate versus sport karate is well researched, well organized and well presented. Hermann’s intelligent, sincere, and thoughtful approach helps both the novice and the experienced karateka “see” the brilliance behind kata and the deep well of potential preserved in the cultural art of Okinawan karate." —Ted Jacobson, 5th Dan Shorin Ryu, Shorinkan

USA Best Books Award - Finalist - 2021

About the Author

Hermann Bayer, Ph.D.

Hermann Bayer, Ph.D. Degrees in economics, sociology, psychology and business administration. Hermann’s karate training began in 1981. He has spent considerable time with renown Japanese, Western, and Okinawan karate teachers, all the while researching the core essence of the style they represent. Hermann Bayer resides in Virginia Beach, VA.