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This is Kendo: The Art of Japanese Fencing Paperback – December 15, 1989

20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A fully illustrated introduction to the traditional art of Japanese fencing--its essential nature and its basic techniques. The first book in English to describe and analyze this famous sport.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 1st Tuttle pbk. ed edition (December 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804816077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804816076
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,338,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Plotinus on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is a very good introduction to the art and sport of Kendo. It contains a full description of all techniques a beginner will be faced with as well as some very good suggestions for methods of practice, solo and with others. I do like the fact that the advanced competitive techniques are listed, but they are given very little description, forcing the owner of this book to put it down after about a year of use alongside work in the dojo. The glossary is excellent and useful as well as the introduction to bogu(armour), the shinai(bamboo sword) and the essentials of etiquette and competition. This book, however, completely lacks information about the kata, which are important for grading and it lacks (as I said before) adequate description of advanced techniques, and stances. I found the section on history, which takes up about a third of the book, to be colourful, interesting, and well condensed, but containing useless comparisons between samurai and knight, and misinformation about knights(i.e. crusaders wielding 9 foot longswords [implicitly in one hand!]),a comparison of stances with knights which is completely untenable(i.e. the knight moved body and sword together [how can one generalize like this, especially without any reference to European medieval fighting manuals, which show something quite different?]) and that Japanese armour was not "burdensome" like European plate. What does "burdensome" mean when one is trying to avoid death by deflecting arrows and other sharp objects with one's armour and when most soldiers wore only partial suits of plate supplementing it with other materials?Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Salinas kendoist on March 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book many years ago out of a general interest in Japanese history. There were few if any other titles available in English on this subject at that time. I found it gave a great introductory explanation, particularly in the historic background, etiquette and philosophy of kendo. It inspired me to start practicing this martial art. For more specific, practical information I recommend augmenting this title with Ozawa's "Kendo: the Definitive Guide" which, while it has a wealth of explanation and diagrams of greater value to a practicing kendoist, is less involved with the history/philosophy embodied in Sasamori and Warner's work. Still "This Is Kendo" is really an essential starting point.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Magellan HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a reprint of the book originally published in 1964, if I remember correctly, and is definitely something of a classic, since there were few books available in the U.S. on the art of kendo at that time.
I read this book mainly for the history of kendo, in order to supplement the reading I'm doing on the history of iai, as I am mainly an iaido practitioner rather than a kendo-ka. I'd recently read Karl Friday's Legacies of the Sword, a scholarly work by an American professor of Japanese history on iaido, much of it impressively written from original Japanese sources. It was quite detailed as far as the history and philosophy of Kashima-Shinryu iaido goes, but other styles get discussed too, such as Jikishin Kage-ryu and Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. However, much of the information is relevant to other styles as well. But it was primarily, as I said, on iai, so I wanted to get some background in the kendo as well. I mention it because it would be a good book to read after this one. Just be advised, if you're familiar with Dave Lowry's lively and entertaining books on iaido, this is truly a academic tome, and the style is much denser and dryer than Lowry's works, but it's worth reading for the exhaustive detail and scholarship that went into it. The author says that it was the product of 20 years of research, and it shows.
I can't comment on the technical aspects of the kendo forms and techniques, but I thought the history was excellent despite a few things I found far-fetched, such as the author's mentioning of 9-foot swords. I note one of the other reviewers commented on this too, and he also had a problem with some of the author's facts on European armor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
This was my first kendo book back in 1989 when I began practicing. It is one of only two books exclusively on kendo that I have kept all these years. This is a good book for the beginner who would like to learn a comprehensive background of the sport and the basic moves. It lacks however the tactical applications detail and illustrated step-by-step instructions (particularly for katas) that you might find in some Japanese-language guides (like the DO SPORTS series). Its shortcomings aside, it is a classic text and deserves a place in a kendokan's library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is an interesting volume that should be both helpful to the beginning kendo student and to anyone who simply wants to find out what kendo is about. It is written in such a way that it has enough technique for the technically-minded, and enough interesting facts to keep the reader from becoming bored. I found it a most useful and reliable reference source when I was writing my book THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SWORD. I recommend THIS IS KENDO highly
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