"[Masaaki Hatsumi] explores the history of bushido and its legendary figures, and covers a wide variety of classical techniques as well as the famed two-sword fighting techniques. ... 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
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.
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. Along with this are some striking photographs, a collection of ancient scrolls and photos of Hatsumi and his partners, wearing impressive sets of full samurai armor, demonstrating fighting techniques with a variety of weaponry.
Much of Hatsumi's wisdom comes from the Japanese language itself. The use of Chinese characters, where each individual character has a different meaning, is heavily tied up with what he has to say. One instance of this is his ruminations on the word shiki, which can alternately be read as "wisdom," "to respect the manner of death," or "the importance of determination." Hatsumi brings these together to mean that a warrior finds wisdom by respecting the manner of death, and through personal determination. While not necessary, those with Japanese language skills will be able to read "Japanese Sword Fighting" with a much greater depth.
Followers of Hatsumi will definitely find some insight into their sensei in this book, as will those who see martial arts as more of a spiritual path than a fighting technique. Casual readers, or those interested in the historical samurai and their fighting arts, would do best to seek elsewhere.
The best Bujinkan book yet2006/2/11
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!
A truly "must-have" manual for Japanese swordsmanship enthusiasts2006/3/3
Midwest Book Review
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.
A simple "must" for serious budo-ka2008/10/25
Dr. Hatsumi shows swords and armour nobody else would posses and demonstrates tecniques in a way else would be able to master .
Another awesome product by Grandmaster Hatsumi!2007/12/29
Great book. A must for anyone interested in Japanese Sword Fighting, Ninjutsu, or Budo Taijutsu.