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Japanese Sword Fighting: Secrets of the Samurai Hardcover – November 9, 2012


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Japanese Sword Fighting: Secrets of the Samurai + Stick Fighting: Techniques of  Self-Defense + Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; Reprint edition (November 9, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156836461X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568364612
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #969,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


The text is enhanced with works of calligraphy by famous samurai masters, important historical scrolls, and lavish illustrations that convey the grace and beauty of sword fighting." -Rafu Shimpo


"...Japanese Sword Fighting, a truly "must-have" manual for Japanese swordsmanship enthusiasts." -Wisconsin Bookwatch


About the Author


Dr. MASAAKI HATSUMI was born in 1931. After progressing through various martial arts, he found his life's mentor, Takamatsu Toshitsugu, and studied under him for the next fifteen years, becoming the 34th Grand Master of Togakure-ryu Ninjutsu and eight other arts, which he unified into the Bujinkan system. Dr. Hatsumi has taught thousands of individual students as well as instructing at law enforcement agencies all over the world, and has received numerous accolades from politicians and spiritual leaders of many nationalities. He has also worked as a professional osteopath, acted in a popular television series, is the author of many books and DVDs on Ninjutsu and Budo, and was for many years Chairman of the International Department of the Japan Literary Artists' Club.

Customer Reviews

If you are into Bujinkan this is the best book published.
Kabuto
It is encumbent on the reader, certainly for those who are students of the Bujinkan, to see this book from the perspective of the martial arts.
Pen Name
Although I found myself skipping over sections that seemed a little too "out-there" for my taste, the warp and woof of the book is well done.
Mekugi.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Acclaimed samurai of old would while away their elder years writing scrolls to impart their wisdom unto the next generation. These scrolls, a mix of martial arts technique and personal philosophy, would then be the foundation for the various fighting schools. The most famous and acclaimed of these are Musashi Miyamoto's "The Book of Five Rings" and Tsunetomo Yamamoto's "Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai."

Hatsumi Masaaki is determined to continue in this tradition, walking as much as possible in the path of the Sword Saints, the near-mythical warriors of the warring states period. This latest book, "Japanese Sword Fighting: Secrets of the Samurai," is a blend of martial arts photography and technique, ancient scrolls showing the heritage of this kind of work, warrior philosophies and ruminations on the Japanese language and how one can use it to unlock the fighter's path.

One thing this book is not is a history lesson. Anyone seeking further insight into the authentic samurai would be severely disappointed. Hatsumi's interpretation is not one of facts and dates, of reference books and University lectures. He is more interested in the spiritual and allegorical warrior, one who sharpens his soul so that it is straight and upright like the sword that is his symbol. Those who have read other of Hatsumi's books will know more or less what to expect, but its probably not the best book for a new reader.

What you do get, is heavy doses of how to be a warrior with your entire life, not just in the dojo. An inheritor of shared wisdom, passed down from his master Takamatsu Sensei, Hatsumi seems to want to share this with a wider audience and continue the link.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kabuto on February 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the best book yet about Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. The main subject as you may have figured out already is about sword fighting.

Soke is wring about true understanding of a real budoka, religion and budo, the real meaning of bugeijuhappan, what is gokui (the secrets), the meaning of kyusho, between densho and kyojitsu, and many many other things.

Many many pictures from old scrolls Tsukahara Bokuden, Yamaoka Tesshu, Saburi-ryu, Kashima shinden kage-ryu, Yagyu shinkage-ryu, Muso itto-ryu, Hokushin-itto-ryu, Oishi shinkage-ryu and many many other old schools. Also many paintings by Takamatsu Sensei.

There is also many techniques explained with pictures and text in both english and japanese names (with kanji). For example the Muto-dori techniques from Gyokko-ryu, many different sword kamae (many new ones I've never seen before), and the Kukishin-ryu sword techniques, and the kodachi techniques.

There is also many pictures and illustrations, for example fighting in yoroi (samurai armor), and nagabakama (the hakama with very long legs).

Also in the appendix the whole book is in its original language which is of course japanese.

If you are into Bujinkan this is the best book published. And Amazon have a good price, I payed 5600 Yen for the book (approximately 56 USD) and I think it is worth every penny. Buy the book!
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Informatively written by renowned Budo and Ninja grandmaster Masaaki Hatsumi and ably translated into English by Bruce Appleby and Doug Wilson, Japanese Sword Fighting: Secrets Of The Samurai is an in-depth manual about the skill and art of traditional Japanese sword fighting. Black-and-white photographs by Minoru Hirata and Kyuzo Akashi copiously illustrate methods of drawing and resheathing swords, and sword strikes and cuts, while the skillfully translated text delves into the philosophical and spiritual aspects of swordsmanship as surely as the martial arts and physical aspects. Illustrations of traditional samurai dress and full armor, and an appendix of the original Japanese text round out Masaaki Hatsumi's Japanese Sword Fighting, a truly "must-have" manual for Japanese swordsmanship enthusiasts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erland Kamstrup on October 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Hatsumi shows swords and armour nobody else would posses and demonstrates tecniques in a way else would be able to master .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ninja on December 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book. A must for anyone interested in Japanese Sword Fighting, Ninjutsu, or Budo Taijutsu.
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By Muir on May 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great book. Includes some gyokko ryu waza and kukishin waza. Lots of philosophy, lots of great pictures. Can be a coffee table book, but is also full of great info.
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By Katherine Wagner on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book, the illustrations are beautiful, and has made my 11 year old fall in love with the art of sword fighting.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mekugi. on June 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was really looking forward to reading this. Most of the published material coming out of the Bujinkan and Mr. Hatsumi holds little or no interest for me, but this one caught my eye and made me curious. Overall, I have mixed feelings about it and what it has to offer the reader.

After I finished the book, I had the feeling that there was little to do with history or anything having to do with the actual "bushi" or warrior class of Japan. On the surface it is sprinkled with some very elementary history (which is well done) but at the core it lacks any depth of serious criteria of said history. The sword work is nicely illustrated with clear photographs, accented by the wearing of armor, which looks very nice and authentic. Unfortunately, the techniques seem to be an afterthought, perhaps techniques which were made up entirely for this book or those based on a loose interpretation of existing ryuha, wholly manufactured from the outside in.

But it's not as bad as I make it sound. On the plus side, I found it easily read and to understand. Truth be told it is highly entertaining and even engaging at times. The book is formatted well, in an order which creates a tidy atmosphere in the text. Although I found myself skipping over sections that seemed a little too "out-there" for my taste, the warp and woof of the book is well done. To me this serves as an excellent introduction to basic history, an "ice-breaking" which snuffs the popular movie notions of the bushi but at the same time it does not relinquish a fascination with them. The book is excellent reading, despite my surface problems with the content.

Overall, I am not sure what to make of this book, what it is trying to say or why.
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