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BOOK REVIEW: Autobiography of Tino Ceberano, Hanshi

TINO: The Father of Australian Karate offers a captivating and deeply personal journey into the life and legacy of Hanshi Tino Ceberano, an influential figure in the growth and development of Karate in Australia. With over two decades of personal acquaintance with Master Tino, I can attest to the profound impact he has had on the martial arts community, both in the United States and Australia. This autobiography not only traces his remarkable journey but also stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment to the art of Karate, making it highly recommended for any martial artist, regardless of style or location.

The book masterfully paints a vivid picture of the Karate training scene in Hawaii during the early 1960s and 1970s. It provides readers with a unique opportunity to step back in time, exploring the early days of martial arts when it was still relatively unknown outside of Japan. Master Tino's experiences in Hawaii are narrated with rich historical context, offering a glimpse into the gritty dojos, passionate senseis, and dedicated practitioners who laid the groundwork for Karate's global spread. The book's portrayal of the raw and unfiltered nature of Karate training during that era captures the essence of the formative years that contributed to Master Tino's expertise and leadership in Australian Karate. This historical perspective enriches the overall narrative, transforming it into not just an autobiography but also a valuable record of martial arts' evolution.

Moreover, TINO: The Father of Australian Karate skillfully delves into Hanshi Tino's formative years in Kauai, shedding light on his introduction to Goju Ryu Karate and the experiences that shaped him into the legend he is today. Tino Hanshi was one of the privileged to have trained directly under Gogen Yamaguchi Sensei. Knowing this, one can truly understand the direct ties one has with the origins of Karate when training with Hanshi Tino. Unfortunately, Hanshi’s relationship with Yamaguchi Sensei was later tainted after Yamaguchi’s death when Yamaguchi Sensei's successors undermined Hanshi's Tinos extensive expansionary efforts up to that time. The associated ugly politics of Goju Ryu Karate are well documented in “TINO.” Interesting, sad, and an unfortunate reminder that the karate politics of today are not new. The book vividly portrays such hurdles and challenges he encountered while propagating Karate across Australia, emphasizing the resilience and determination that have been hallmarks of his illustrious career. His influence on the Australian martial arts landscape is undeniable, and the book beautifully captures the multitude of individuals he has inspired and mentored throughout his journey.

Having personally witnessed Hanshi Tino's impact, I found TINO: The Father of Australian Karate to be a heartfelt and meticulously researched account. The narrative bears witness to his relentless dedication to upholding the core values of discipline, respect, and perseverance embodied by Karate. This autobiography serves as a wellspring of inspiration for martial arts enthusiasts and a reminder of the profound influence a single individual can exert on a community and even an entire nation. It is a fitting tribute to a man whose legacy is sure to continue shaping the future of Australian Karate for generations to come.

It is a physically large book, as well as a long book. I read it over the course of a month, even bouncing around to different chapters rather than cover to cover. The vintage photos within the book are unmatched. I stared at them, appreciating how -- even in this digital world we live in -- the simple nature of Karate tradition as a whole has transcended time.

Co-written by Hanshi and one of his dedicated students, Michael Black, as seen in this recent picture.

Make haste in buying TINO: The Father of Australian Karate right away. Then, slow down, take time to immerse yourself into what promises to be a highly fulfilling read.

More info and purchase link can be found at


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