Title: Living My Dream
Publisher's site: GKR Karate
Amazon link: None
Price £14.99
ISBN #: Not registered
Date: 2005
Author/s Robert Brian Sullivan

Book cover showing a close up of Robert Sullivan looking introspective after a workout

Living My Dream

A very dear friend gave us this book as a Christmas present for the whole family.  I was sure that my wife and daughter would be the first to fall upon it, but surprisingly found my self whiling away many hours over Christmas with my nose in the book!

I am not an expert on writing styles and, due to a long-standing illness, can normally only read a few pages a time - a book this size would normally take me a couple of months to read.  But I found it to be written in such an easy and interesting style that I actually finished it in less than 5 days.  On a second reading, it is laid out in such a way that you could easily return to the sections you want to re-read.

Some may say I have a cynical attitude towards GKR Karate and its founder (I like to think I have a balanced view!), so I tried to approach the reading matter in a neutral manner.  I needn’t have bothered as it was really good read regardless of the subject matter.  The story itself was very interesting, and would stand alone as an enjoyable autobiography, whether you were a martial artist in any way or not. 

The book is divided between Kancho's life story, GKR's history (these two obviously inextricably linked) and some of Kancho's own thoughts, feelings and philosophies. 

Personally, the philosophy side did nothing for me, although it is written with the same style and feeling as the rest of the book.  For me it was following the path of the man's life, especially his fight with illness, that I found most compelling.

The book has an intensely personal feel, and helps you understand the man behind the gi.  You are left with no doubt of where Robert Sullivan comes from or of what his intentions for his club were, and indeed still are. 

There are two sides to every story, and the internet contains many stories which berate Robert Sullivan and his achievements.  You will find nothing on the net, however, giving his side of any story, and this book goes some way towards redressing the balance.

If you are a GKR practitioner who wants to understand more fully the aims and intentions of your club, this book is a must.  If you just like stories of triumph over adversity or personal strength, then it also ticks every box. 

Review by Nigel Waters, R16 UK

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