I cannot sing enough praises to this series of books. Together with the title Dynamic Karate, they form a foundation upon which to advance your karate with rock solid kihon information.
I started to practice karate at the age of 16. After a long period of medical school and residency training during which practicing karate was out of the question, I got back to it at the age of 38. In my comeback I found out that the spirit of karate had changed. When I started, the emphasis was on learning good kihon and good kata, so that your kumite skills would have a strong foundation. It was also on the moral values of karate. Now, I feel that much of that is being lost and kumite and competition is all many karateka think of.
This series of books presents karate in the light of an era of change. Sensei Nakayama lived in a generation marked by the transition of the karate as taught by Funakoshi, who believed it was unsuitable for competition, to an era where competition, if not the single purpose, has become one of the main goals of karate practitioners.
When you read Funakoshi's books, it is easy to grasp how he viewed karate: a martial art meant to discipline ones body, improve ones health and lifespan, rein in ones violent impulses, and promote the sense of respect and politeness towards others, especially ones would be opponents. In summary, karate was to span a persons whole being and attitude, both inside the dojo as well as outside. Maybe especially outside.
Sensei Nakayama clearly inherited that way of thinking and added to it a scientific view of body mechanics and systematic organization of techniques and concepts. He also presents excerpts of famous tactical experts of the past, many of whom where not karateka, but swordsman or strategists as they were called. Those excerpts represent the concept that all martial arts are the same in terms of rational, only the methods and weapons vary. The need for strategy, for constant training and for the understanding of the spirit is of paramount importance.
While learning Karate-do from a book is impossible, complementing what we learn at our dojo with technical information provided by this series of books is certainly very desirable. I dare say it is desirable regardless of your karate style. I hail from Kenyu-Ryu karate, which tends to use karate stances that are higher. But still, I feel that 100% of the books still apply.