`Autumn Lightning' is another well written book by Dave Lowry that explores the history of the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, as well as his own start in martial arts. Each chapter alternates between life in feudal Japan and the development of the Ryu and life in America and Dave's personal development. This makes for compelling reading and creates a sense of real connection between martial arts of the past and their practise in up-to-date, contemporary times. Lowry writes with his usual candour and descriptive language and from the first page you will be gripped and your interest held until the very end. Lowry's martial arts integrity shines through and you see how this developed under the tutelage of his Sensei and this makes for encouraging reading for those of us who practise martial arts today. If you've read any of Lowry's other books then you know how good they can be and this is no exception, it has rich, tight language and great martial arts history and left me feeling motivated and inspired. Well worth a look.
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on 28 July 2009
Well written, insightful and full of fascinating observations on the Japanese martial arts and their symbiosis with the country's culture-all from a Westerner's perspective. This should be purchased together with the follow-up, 'Persimmon Wind' which is equally superb.
on 27 January 2002
Ostensibly the autobiography of an American bugeisha (practitioner of Japanese martial arts, in this case kenjutsu, "sword techniques"), this book is much more as it delves into an easily-read discussion of different bugei (Japanese martial arts), zanshin (the state of "continual mind"), special skills and hidden methods, the precursors of jujutsu, warrior monks, Zen Buddhism, seppuku and much more. Even if you do not practice a martial art, you are likely to find this a fascinating read, and if you do practice a martial art, this book will inspire you no matter what your own art is (I practice eskrima, which has no relation whatsoever to kenjutsu and yet I found many principles in this which I can apply to eskrima).