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|Print List Price:||$9.95|
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Legends of the Martial Arts Masters Kindle Edition
|Length: 122 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||Age Level: 12 - 16||Grade Level: 6 - 11|
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Top Customer Reviews
These stories can be roughly grouped by theme (though they aren’t organized in that way in the book and some stories cut across more than one of the themes.) The first theme is peacefulness, non-violence, or minimization of violence. This idea is central to the stories featuring Tsukahara Bokuden and his school of “no sword,” Yasutsune Itosu who invites an attacker for tea, Hisamori Takenouchi who is taught the folly of war by an old man, and Gichin Funokoshi who gives robbers cake.
The second theme is the power of an immovable mindset. This can be seen in the story of the sumo wrestler Onami who had to overcome a stint of choking, the parable of the tea master who is challenged to a duel and is advised by a swordsmanship teacher to take up the sword with the mindset with which he takes up his tea utensils, and the tale of the unbreakable prisoner Gogen Yamaguchi. There are also stories about the ability to win by preventing the opponent from achieving this mindset. This was most famously achieved by Miyamoto Musashi (on several occasions,) but it’s also seen in the story about an archer who is unable to make a shot from a perilous position even though the shot wouldn’t be a hard one for him from stable ground.
The third theme is the importance of the student/teacher relationship and the value of a teacher’s wisdom. This can be seen in the stories about American Karate founder Robert Trias and his experience with the master who wanted to trade him Hsing-I lessons for his own boxing lessons, about Morihei Ueshiba’s demystification of mysteries that perplexed his students, and about Chatan Yara’s reversal of a would-be student’s tactic.
The final story theme deals with the virtue of being diligent in one’s training. These include the amazing feats of the likes of Sokon Matsumura (an Okinawan fighter who fought a bull), Nai Khanom Tom (a Muay Thai legend who defeated twelve of Burma’s best fighters in rapid succession), and Mas Oyama who sentenced himself to training exile for what most would consider a minute infraction. There are other tales in this category such as how Duk Ki Song and other Korean students practiced secretly under a martial arts prohibition or how Yim Wing Chun got out of an arranged marriage to a cad through her diligent training.
This is a short book (about 120 pages) and most stories are only 4 to 6 pages. If you are a long-time practitioner of martial arts, you’ll probably have heard some of these stories, but you’re also likely to come across something new. There are obscure tales intertwined with one so popular it’s been made into multiple movies (e.g. Mu-lan.)
It should be noted that this is more of a collection of morality tales than historical accounts. One shouldn’t take these stories as established history as opposed to mythology or folktales. To her credit, Peterson leaves tales like the parable of the tea master and the tale of the three sons anonymous. Famous martial artists, like Miyamoto Musashi, are often cast into these stories either because people read a fictional account that borrowed from folktales, to lend more power to the story, or because the facts have become muddled in retelling. However, for example, the chapter on the Bodhidharma is most likely wrong. (The consensus view among historians is that Bodhidharma didn’t introduce martial arts to the Shaolin temple as is popularly thought, and that the popular myth is the result of revisionist history.) That doesn’t mean the story doesn’t have virtue—it’s got great hang time for some reason.
I’d recommend this book for martial artists who are interested in the philosophy and ethos of the martial arts. It’s a quick and easy read.
So I used the book as a tool to show him how important it was to calm his fidgety body and wondering mind in order to focus and read precisely and throughly. He then reread each story, explained them to me and then re-reread parts until he understood all the concepts and moral of each. Serendipitously, the moral of most of these stories involve the benefits of training one's mind to focus and concentrate. He much better understands the deeper self development purpose of martial arts now.
I feel that is what it is all about! The secret of the martial arts is simplicity, keep it direct, simple, and natural. This book delivers.
The stories are varied, and covers all aspetcs of the arts. She even manages to get boxing in, in a quite nice way. Some of the masters are well known, or even alive (Morihei Ueshiba, Mas Oyama), others are perhaps legendary. It ends with an endearing story on how to beging to become a master yourself.
So often these days the emphasis of many karate/martial arts instructors is the acquisition of medals, international athletes and glory for club, association and self. The "way's" ethos of physical, mental and spritual gain for all; through hard work, probable heart-breaking failure, and more, even harder work, with the ultimate aim of improving the human condition, has been eroded over recent decades in the quest for glory.
Susan L. Peterson has compiled a beautiful collection of short stories portraying the wonderful tales of legendary martial artists of old and, quite uniquely, of more recent times. These wonderfully descriptive tales outline and emphasise the power of a strong human spirit, built through martial arts, to conquer fears and adversity no matter size, gender or age.
Whether or not you or your children are or potentially are martial artists, these beautifully descriptive stories will brighten your day and inspire your soul to strive hard for whatever it is you want from life. If they don't; well at least you've had an extremely enjoyable reading experience.
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