YouTube is now the go-to place for online video. It’s a great library but there are lots of different styles of karate (and variations within Shotokan!) so be careful which clips you try to emulate. Check out Shiranamikai’s YouTube channel for some of our favourite clips.
Kuro Obi World
There’s some great footage here, some of which is 4K too! Director, Producer, Actor and Choreographer Nishi Fuyuhiko is credited with reigniting the karate action film scene with the likes of Black Belt (Kuro Obi, 2007) and High Kick Girl (2009). He now brings his modern perspective to capturing competitions and making documentaries about karate.
Competition karate can be very different to that which is expected in a grading. Overly long, dramatic pauses often seen in competition kata are frowned upon by some examiners.
The Japan Karate Association has continued to refine the Shotokan style since the association’s inception in 1949 and the technique of today’s senior instructors has also matured over the decades. You may well find that the way they perform karate now is markedly different to some of the old clips you’ll find so easily online. This will be evident when you train with them at international courses or at the Honbu in Tokyo.
Early black and white recordings of past masters is very poor quality and far removed from what we practise nowadays. From a historical point of view though, it’s fascinating.