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Iaido Sword: Kamimoto-ha Techniques of Muso Shinden Ryu [Hardcover]

Richard Babin
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan 2003
Iaido is the classical Japanese discipline of drawing and cutting with the long sword in defence of an unanticipated attack, throwing off the blood and returning the sword to its sheath. It is the direct inheritor of techniques perfected by centuries of samurai whose life and honour depended upon their spirit and prowess. Author Richard W Babin brings together all the practical and theoretical information needed to pursue a formal study of the classical Japanese martial art of Iaido. You will learn how to choose a sword, how to cut with it, how to take care of it, how to assume the clothing and how to enter a dojo. He covers not only the basic moves and positions, but the entire curriculum of forms of the muso shinden ryu of iaido. Equally important, he puts the art in its historic and social perspective, helping to clarify for the reader the spiritual pathway that the way of the sword offers.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Press,U.S. (Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581603770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581603774
  • Product Dimensions: 28.4 x 21.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,947,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Richard W. Babin, BS, M.D., is a practicing surgeon who served two years active duty in the USAF as chief of head and neck surgery at Maxwell Field during the Vietnam conflict. His interest in the martial arts began with several years of judo in the 1960s in San Francisco. Upon entering private practice he began studying yang-style taiji, which he still pursues. He has practiced muso shinden ryu iaido for eight years and has been awarded the rank of Sandan by the All-U.S. Kendo Federation.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive reference for Iaido 24 Mar 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is an invaluable guide for any Iaido practioner. The initial 12 forms are covered in great detail, with an overview of each form outlining the bonkai (the situation and application of kata) for each form. Then a detailed step by step walk through of each form is given with accompanying clear photographs. Interestingly the photographs include the oppponents that are usually imagined in solo practice so as to give a greater insight into how the forms would work. The book also gives details of sword care, basic technique and bowing as well as a comprehensive history of how iaido originated and developed. For me the greatest aspect of this unique book is that it does not not stop with the seiti (foundational 12 forms) but actually covers the full range beyond this that are far more complicated and intricate, with bonkai including forms where one attacks from under buildings, over walls, in tight corridors and more. If you are looking for something to complement your training then this is a must buy for all levels, a truly astounding attempt to cover the entirety of an art. It is self reflective in that it recognises the differences in other styles and notes where important differences may occur. Extremely helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for me 29 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've just started iaido and this is an excellent book for me. Each week I check on something from the dojo session, find a clear explanation and usually discover something new along the way that suddenly makes sense. It also covers all the background stuff that matters and looks as though it would be a good reference book for experienced practitioners too. Recommended to me by my sensei (who has his own copy).
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the mutts nuts 25 Jun 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
the only book you'll ever need on the subject.
a good teacher in the dojo,and this book for personal study,you can't go wrong!
nuff said
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not so useful 2 Sep 2008
Format:Paperback
I bought this book as a beginner hoping to have a good reference guide for the future.

The book does contain some useful information, but here we come to the problem - Iaido has far too many nuances that you could hope to learn it from a book. Sure you can learn the basic moves of a particular kata or waza, but I rapidly found that there are numerous differences in style. Five years on, I would say I know at least 2 variations of each form and for a large number of these, they are different to the ones shown in the book. The Seiti gata are fairly well covered, and since these are standardized they are fairly static, but as anyone who has studied Iaido knows, even these forms are not completely fixed.
So the problem is that for the beginner, the particular interpretation shown is unlikely to fit what you will learn from your teacher, so it may cause confusion.
The advanced practitioner is likely to find some new variations which are worth studying, but unfortunately not with enough detail.
At an intermediate level, it might offer a few additional insights as long as you don't let the differences confuse you.

So although the book is itself quite good, it turned out to be much less useful than I had hoped.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are to have only one manual on Iaido, this is it. 18 April 2003
By Robert Thivierge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Iaido Sword : Kamimoto-Ha Techniques of Muso Shinden Ryu is in itself a work of art. In less than 250 pages it covers all aspects of Iaido ; historical, philosophical, the etiquette, description and care of the sword and clothing, the different stances and cuts, warm-up exercises, a glossary, references. The 12 katas of the Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei Iai (SeiTei Iai) and the 4 series of the Muso Shinden Ryu are precisely described in the text and abundantly illustrated with clear photos and graphics as are all the corresponding bunkais. Even if you are a practitionner of another style of Iaido this is a must. A precious learning and teaching tool. The best all around manual on Iaido yet.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to Home 3 Feb 2006
By InTheShadowOfLeaves - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a student of Dr. Babin's iaido instructor, Harry Dach sensei, this book is close to home for me. It covers the techniques of the kamimoto-ha of muso shinden ryu iaido just as I'm learning them, in great detail concerning not only the mechanics of the technics, but the mindset behind them, and their martial roots. The photographs are clear, and the flow clean and concise.

This book serves as a prime companion to proper dojo training.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you know the basics this book is perfect 7 May 2004
By Jeremiah M. Blackwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book extremely helpful but found it lacking in fine discription. The words describe the moves well but the pictures make it somewhat confusing. If you have basic knowledge of how to tie your obi, sageo, and hakama then you have nothing to worry about, because it doesn't explain those details. But overall a very good book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Iaido Sword: Kamimoto-Ha Techniques of Muso Shinden Ryu 3 April 2008
By Sean Halpin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I dont study MSR, I study Mugai Ryu, but to find GOOD books in english on Mugai Ryu is extremely difficult(only so many ways you can cut). As a reference guide, this book is really good, it's all there, history, philosophy, etiquette and technique etc. The only issue I have, is that 90% of the text from page 217 is missing, as that is a judging guide, it doesn't bother me too much. All in all, a good book for any iai practitioner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reference Book ... 3 April 2006
By L. Vassallo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's a nice book. I highly recommend it to every Muso Shinden practicioner, not only because it's maybe the only book that dares to show how the MS ryu katas are performed, but also because it feels it was made with great disposition and love for Iaido.

A nice plus I found in this book was the explanations on Sei Tei Iai, which I am also a student. Please do not atempt to learn Iaido by only using this or any book. It just makes no sense. Not even with a video !!! The presence of a sensei it's a must !!

Finally, one of the things I learned from this book, it's that MUSR it's not as homogenous as I tought. There are variations in some positions, which I found to be expected. On the other hand, I would be amazed if it wasn't, even tough it's a koryu, etc. Each master tries to leave a fingerprint in the art which he has mastered. Each master seem to have a different theory of what works and what doesn't. I personally feel grateful that we don't have the scenario to prove the techniques right or wrong!.

I also recommend Japanese Swordmanship, from Draeger.
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