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Rediscovering Budo: From a Swordsman's Perspective [Hardcover]

Roald Knutsen
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

13 May 2004 Rediscovering (Book 6)
"Rediscovering "Budo"" should be widely welcomed by more serious budo practitioners, as well as interested observers, who are looking for a return to "first principles", who are interested in substance rather than style, and who wish - at least spiritually and emotionally - to understand and, where possible, relate to the mind-set of Japan's unique warrior culture. Knutsen, who has the distinction of being the first European to hold a senior master's licence in the formidable skill of "Iai-jutsu" - the art of "drawing sword" for combat - makes it clear that he is not interested in exploring so-called "super" theories, nor attempting to unravel complicated and "often incomprehensible" definitions of the many teaching concepts employed in "budo".

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Global Oriental Ltd (13 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1901903613
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901903614
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 14.2 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,592,711 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Roald Knutsen was born in Hertfordshire of Anglo-Norwegian parents and educated at The Perse School, Cambridge, and Watford Grammar School. After studying Art and Design he served as a regular in the Intelligence Corps and followed with a successful career in graphic design, choreographing complex medieval combat sequences for a computer film project in England and the USA, and writing. For the past half-century he has practised traditional Kenjutsu, Kendo, Iai-jutsu, and So-jutsu under a succession of famous Japanese masters, having menkyo-kaiden (senior master's licence), in one of the oldest transmissions of Iai-jutsu, and the rank of 6th dan Renshi in Kendo. He has researched and written extensively about the Japanese warrior traditions and aspects of Japanese history. His is also the author of Japanese Polearms (1963), Rediscovering Budo (2004), and Japanese Spears (2004), which he co-authored with his wife Patricia Knutsen.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Budo From An Old Master 1 July 2009
Format:Hardcover
Budo presents Roald Knutson's personal view of the why's and wherefore's of budo. From an early partipant in the budo seen, very experienced with a lot of unique access.
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Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
3.0 out of 5 stars An Academic Reader 5 Sep 2012
By Bernard Kwan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was a book that was recommended on one of the Budo forums on the internet. I have had it for a number of months now and after a number of aborted attempts I have finally began to tackle the book in earnest. The title is Rediscovering Budo - why rediscovering Budo? This is because the author tries to show that despite the modern trend to transform Budo into sport to make it more acceptable to foreigners, much of the classical background and cultural underpinnings can still be found by a dedicated practitioner.

The reason it took me so long to get into the book was the rather dry academic style and the way the writing drifts from topic to topic, like a series of small articles that had been woven to form a book. The tone ranges from a gentle condescension at the latest developments of sports budo and the bewilderment of foreigners at all the rules and etiquette to full blown descriptions of certain historical personages and ryu where we are overloaded with numerous archaic names and minutiae. Indeed Knutsen himself concedes that it is very difficult to get the names of all these people who are long dead (and whose names are quite different from those of modern Japanese) but it is an important part of studying Budo to have a familiarity with the tradition.

Thus for the first half of the book, I felt I was reading material that had been covered more clearly by other authors. For example, for some of the sections : Background to Budo, Book or Dojo learning, A Proper Attitude to Budo and Respect and Discipline in Budo, these topics have been covered in greater Depth and with greater humor by David Lowry. Indeed I would recommend absolute beginners to pick up David Lowry's book "Budo" as it is a much easier introduction from a first person perspective. Similarly when dealing with The Kashima Tradition, I would recommend the book Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima Shinryu and Japanese Martial Culture by Karl Friday.

However, for those who have a solid grounding in some of the literature available in English, there is much in this book that rewards a closer reading of the text. There are a number of historical vignettes that Knutsen uses to good effect especially to illustrate the use of the Heijutsu or Arts of war (Strategy) and also on the esoteric underpinnings of Budo - its connection with Shinto and Mikkyo. Coincidentally or not, these are topics that Knutsen would later devote whole books to namely Tengu and Sun Tzu and the Art of Medieval Japanese Warfare. The whole section on art of Kiai and the training of Kiai was also worth the price of the book (and dovetails well with some of what Ellis Amdur writes about the power of Kiai in his book "Dueling with Osensei").

Thus I would recommend this as somewhat of an intermediate reader, for those with some knowledge but want to broaden their horizons and find out more on specialized topics.

Roald Knutsen (1933 - ) was born in Hertfordshire of Anglo-Norwegian parents and educated at The Perse School, Cambridge, and Watford Grammar School. After studying Art and Design he served as a regular in the Intelligence Corps and followed with a successful career in graphic design, choreographing complex medieval combat sequences for a computer film project in England and the USA, and writing. For the past half-century he has practised traditional Kenjutsu (Kashima Shinto Ryu), Kendo, Iai-jutsu, and So-jutsu under a succession of famous Japanese masters, having menkyo-kaiden, (senior master's licence), in one of the oldest transmissions of Iai-jutsu (Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu Iai), and the rank of 6th dan Renshi in Kendo. Searching on the internet, it seems that he is one of the people who introduced Kendo and Iaido into Britain.
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