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Secrets of the Samurai: The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan Paperback – 22 Dec 1997

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 484 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; New edition edition (22 Dec. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804816840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804816847
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.1 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 966,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Highly recommended."—"Library Journal"

"The only work of its kind."--"The San Diego Union"

""Secrets" is definitely a worthwhile read."--Analytic Martial Arts blog

"Highly recommended." "Library Journal""

"The only work of its kind." "The San Diego Union""

""Secrets" is definitely a worthwhile read." "Analytic Martial Arts" blog"

"Highly recommended." Library Journal"

"The only work of its kind." The San Diego Union"

"Highly recommended." --Library Journal

"The only work of its kind." --The San Diego Union

"Secrets is definitely a worthwhile read." --Analytic Martial Arts blog

-Highly recommended.- --Library Journal

-The only work of its kind.- --The San Diego Union

-Secrets is definitely a worthwhile read.- --Analytic Martial Arts blog --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

This samurai strategy books is the first widely available English translation of Yamamoto Kansuke's classic treatise on strategy and tactics.

Secrets of the Japanese Art of Warfare is Thomas Cleary's translation of the seminal writings attributed to Yamamoto Kansuke on Japanese martial arts and military service. A mysterious man of humble origins, Yamamoto distinguished himself in the service of the redoubtable Takeda Shingen. Yamamoto was a career solider and founder of the so-called "school of certain victory," from which the famous Miyamoto Musashi (The Book of Five Rings) emerged. His school developed the art of discerning situational combat advantage, so that a warrior was able to commit to action only when success was virtually assured.

Translated and accompanied with helpful insights by Thomas Cleary, one of the foremost translators of the martial wisdom of Asia, this book is for all persons engaged in military, law enforcement, or emergency response, as well as for martial artists, athletes, business executives, diplomats and politicians. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Secrets of the Samurai" is the a great book for both the marital arts history novice and the expert. It combines excellent writing with exhaustive research. The book chronicals the development of Japanese martial arts throughout Japan's turbulent history. It provides not only exstensive information about the many kinds of martial disciplines but also about the political and social context in which they developed. It is also fascinating to read and to look at, having many excellent illustrations. This book is perfect for the military history buff or anyone interested in the martial arts.
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Format: Paperback
This book is essentially what it says in the introduction - an overview of the history and techniques of bushido. Many reviewers criticise particular aspects of the book - I believe a little unfairly. Yes, it has a emphasis towards Aikido but then it is written by two Aikido adepts . Also it is not accurate in every minutae - but then show me a text that covers this much ground that is. It is a general introduction not a history of every school of bu-jitsu.

For any student who wants to know how the samurai were - what they were about - how they lived - how they were influenced by society, history and religion this is the book for you. It debunks a lot of the myth and the false thinking that characterises a lot of 'samurai ideology'. It dares to look beyond the veneer of the samurai and Japanese society at that time. It is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the tradition of bushido.
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Format: Paperback
This is truly an impressive attempt to cover all of the martial skills that the fuedal warriors of Japan studied. Unfortunately, their section on Aiki-jujitsu and Aikido has some serious errors. First, they claim that Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido was the only legitimate heir of the Daito Ryu school of aiki-jujitsu. This is incorrect. Tokumine Takeda, son of Sokaku Takeda (Ueshiba's Daito Ryu teacher for over a decade), was the heir of Daito Ryu. The current headmaster is Katsuyuki Kondo. There are also several other branches of Daito Ryu: Kodokai, Roppokai, and Takumakai, which were started by students of Takeda Sokaku who were actually senior to Ueshiba. Ratti and Westbrooke also stated that Daito Ryu no longer exists, and that we have no way of knowing today the techniques of the the Daito Ryu. Again, untrue. Daito Ryu is one of the most widely practiced traditional styles of martial arts (Koryu Budo) in Japan. Finally, they state with some authority that Daito Ryu descended from Prince Sadasumi. This cannot be verified, even by Daito Ryu practitioners. Like many oral tales, it is a history that people accept in the absence of confirming or contradicting evidence.
What is disturbing is that after twenty years, this information was never updated. Perhaps this was because Ratti and Westbrook did not use any original source, i.e. Japanese, material (at least I did not see any when I glanced through the glossary). Perhaps it was because they felt some need to promote aikido at the expense of Daito Ryu. It does not matter, really. Writing a traditional Japanese martial art out of any book that purports describe the history of Japanese martial arts is a gaffe that makes me wonder what else about the book they have gotten wrong.
I give the book three stars for effort, but let the buyer beware. When reading, don't believe anything until you verify, verify, verify.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on reccomendation from my Sensei. I am currently studying for my first Dan Black Belt in Jujitsu and on asking my Sensei where I could find out more information about the art I am studying, where it comes from, why we study certian Kata's and the traditional nature of Jujitsu, he pointed me in this book's direction. It is relativley easy to read. Having no knowledge of Martial Arts may be a hinderance to some readers, but being familiar with Japanese terms already, I find it very easy to read. I haven't as yet got to the end as I am taking my time and making lots of notes for my own study purposes, but so far it's very useful. The structures of Feudal Japan are very easy to learn about as the authors write in such a way that makes quite a complicated process very easy to read. There are lots of pictures and diagrams which bring armoury and weapons to life. I am very impressed so far and its helping me enormously in my eneadvour to learn more about where, why and how we have the version of Martial arts in Britian that we have today. Highly reccomended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book is not only excellently written and well thought out,but very educational as well-a must for those who love Samurai history.
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