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Traditions: Essays on the Japanese Martial Arts and Ways (Tuttle Martial Arts) [Paperback]

Dave Lowry
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Frequently Bought Together

Traditions: Essays on the Japanese Martial Arts and Ways (Tuttle Martial Arts) + The Essence of Budo: A Practitioner's Guide to Understanding the Japanese Martial Ways + In the Dojo: A Guide to the Rituals and Etiquette of the Japanese Martial Arts
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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 1 edition (22 Oct 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804834326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804834322
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 732,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The goals of the budo - the martial arts and ways of Japan - lie in refining the body and spirit. These goals are not always the obvious ones and are learned only through the guidance and direction of great teachers. The techniques, methods and rituals of the sensei can serve as guides to a well-lived life and provide invaluable lessons for today's martial artists. This collection of essays includes discussions of: the spirit of ryomi; the importance of yuyo; and the significance of ma. With its focus on traditional martial arts and stories that illustrate key martial arts principles, "Traditions" aims to be required reading for serious martial artists.

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In a corner of my home sits a baby's high chair that was already an antique when the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Once again Dave Lowry produces a book that every martial artist should read. A collection of his magazine columns, 'Traditions' is a set of essays each about a different aspect of training, or etiquette, or the history of Japanese martial ways. His writing is clear, concise (each essay is only 2-3 pages, so bite-sized lessons are easily absorbed) and generously illustrated with stories, anecdotes, and allegory. Often personal, usually very funny, and always instructive, Mr. Lowry is an honest and sincere practitioner of his arts, and this comes across clearly in all his writings. 'Traditions' is no exception, and I highly recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all Budo-Ka 7 Oct 2004
Dave Lowry manages to capture and present core edicts of the Japanese Martial Ways for the Occidental reader without polluting the ideas with his, [and our own] emotional and intellectual baggage. This is no mean feat. An excellent book that should be read, its ideas digested then put into practise by any one treading the path of any Way, although it would be uncharitable to suggest that this book does not contain sound philosophical advice for anyone. Buy it now.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
`Traditions: Essays on the Japanese Martial Arts and Ways' is an excellent book by Dave Lowry with various short essays covering a wide range of topics. The vast majority are related to martial arts and this would make fascinating reading for anyone interested in any of the arts. When I read this I tended to read one or two essays a day so I could fully digest each one before moving on to the next and I recommend this way of reading the book to get the most out of it. I felt inspired to train more and more effectively, and to live more openly and honourably after reading virtually every essay. Dave Lowry has great martial arts integrity and this is a must read for any true martial artist.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read--best yet 7 Mar 2003
By Howard Upton - Published on
I have become a fan of Dave Lowry's writings over the years. This book, by far, is his best yet. Once again, he covers many aspects of the traditional ways of budo. Mr. Lowry traverses terminology and application of philosophy in and out of the dojo for the reader. Interestingly enough, the feature title of the book lends itself to its true nature-a resurgence and interest in what it means to be a budoka.
Congratulations to Dave Lowry for another well written, wonderful book!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for the serious martial artist 11 Dec 2004
By Erik Olson - Published on
As part of my preparation for promotion to ShoDan in Shiho Karano, I started looking for good books to broaden my overall knowledge about the martial Way. I wanted quality materials, so I took my time and searched for works by legitimate practitioners. One book I skimmed through was "Traditions", and after reading some chapters decided it was worthwhile.

I discovered that Sensei Lowry has been writing about the martial arts for more than twenty years. He's been a longtime contributor to various magazines, and has authored a number of books as well (after finishing this one, I ordered three of his other books from Amazon). In addition, he began practicing the martial arts back in the late sixties, so he's seen and experienced a lot in the intervening years. "Traditions" is a collection of excellent essays that reflect his hard-earned and well-learned budo lessons.

"Traditions" is well written, and each short chapter clearly reveals many crucial martial arts insights. Indeed, even a non-practitioner would find it to be an accessible introduction to the martial Way. As for budo participants, anyone from white belt to seasoned veteran will learn something new or gain a different perspective on what they already know. Topics include proper etiquette between sempai and kohai, thoughts on learning, the reason martial artists practice barefoot, and the "why" behind the kiai. Sprinkled throughout the book are tales of legendary Japanese bugeisha that demonstrate important budo principles and character qualities.

Now that I've passed my ShoDan exam, I'm particularly impressed by one of Sensei Lowry's quotes: "When you get a black belt ranking it doesn't mean you've gotten a foot in the door. It means you have learned how to find the doorknob (pg. 144)." I'm glad that the black belt is a beginning instead of an end. This is the kind of martial arts wisdom that you'll find in "Transitions." If you're serious about growing in budo knowledge as well as technique, then this book will help you along that path.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Reading... 28 Mar 2005
By Jeffrey M. Miller - Published on
I recently purchased this book that was recommended to me by my sensei in Uechi/Shohei-ryu and I have to say I thouroughly enjoyed these great essays by Dave Lowry on different aspects of traditional budo.I read the entire book in three days and at the end wanted to read more so I plan to get other books Mr. Lowry has written..I love the respect for the arts shown and talked about in this great book and it's nice to see the traditional martial arts presented in the way they deserve to be and should be presented.In short this is wonderful book full of great and honorable lessons and I would recommend it to anyone who cares about preserving and honoring traditional ways...five stars for sure..

Jeff Miller

Greensburg, Pa
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With A Teacher's Wisdom 2 Jun 2004
By E. Brynes - Published on
Dave Lowry's earnest love and respect for the martial arts shine brightly through this collection of short essays that could serve as your dojo encyclopedia. Never dull nor preachy, Sensei Lowry speaks with the wisdom of an old teacher--inspiring with every breath.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What you have as heritage take now as task... 7 Aug 2011
By matt - Published on
Dave Lowry is, to many, the most articulate writer on the martial arts in English. This book once again testifies to his ability to both educate and engage martial artists who seek a deeper understanding of their respective arts. Furthermore, while his insights may be drawn from his own experience in karate, aikido or kenjutsu they are not limited in their applicability to only those arts. The concepts are universal. And, like true martial arts, the real lessons extend far beyond the dojo or the merely martial aspects. It has everything to do with refinement of character, the discernment of the false self's motivations and the struggle to never become complacent.
I have practiced Shido-kan Shorin-ryu for over 20 years under an Okinawan master and nearly everything that Lowry mentions could have been taken from our dojo in either actual stories or general experiences. He hits it on the head every time. The traditional dojo is truly a place where the ancient ways are shown to have a staying power, revitalizing the center. Many times during my reading of "Traditions" the phrase of Jaroslav Pelikan came to mind: "Traditionalism is the dead faith of the living; tradition is the living faith of the dead." While he was referring to the Christian tradition, it applies to the dojo as well. When taught correctly, the dojo is a place where the living faith of the dead becomes our own. As Goethe writes, "What you have as heritage take now as task, and thus you will make it your own."
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