I wish I knew about the Best Karate series when I first started taking karate about 3 years ago. There are many books and video on karate available to the student, but in my opinion, none is better than the Best Karate series which was produced in 1978.
Masatoshi Kakayama starts off the series of 11 books with a comprehensive volume that discusses basics of punching, kicking, stances, basic kata, basic kumite and karate-do history and practices. The entire series is based on Shotokan style karate but can be easily related to Shorin-ryu style.
In the first book of the series Kakayama discusses the basic of karate studies. Proper making of a fist, shuto strikes and blocks, along with other not so frequently used strikes. Perhaps the best part of this volume is that Kakayama gives the reader some training exercises to practice stances, stretching and striking. All too often some dojos do not focus on the basics and these are lost. Students of karate should always practice the basic techniques, no matter what their level of training.
I section 4 of this book Katayama displays some basic patterns for kata. In other volumes of the series he goes into great detail on the performance of these katas, but volume 1 gives the student some basic pictures of how the heian (pinan) katas are performed. The great thing about this series is the volumes build on each other. The katas that are displays in Volume one are discussed and shown in great detail in volume 5.
Kakayama also describes what the student should get from the moves and the katas in each section. He describes the history and the muscle groups that are being used.
Any student of karate should get a complete set of Best Karate from Katayama starting with Volume 1 – Comprehensive.