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on 16 December 2003
Prior to purchasing ‘Kendo: Elements, Rules and Philosophy’ I already owned other titles on Kendo. If only I had come across this title by Jinichi Tokeshi first I could have saved myself the expense of buying any further books! Tokeshi’s book is very in-depth and gives a much deeper explanation and understanding of the techniques used in Kendo. I’ve studied Kendo for four years and am always searching for a book that covers the further or advanced techniques of Kendo. Books such as ‘This is Kendo’ provide great insight into Kendo but is aimed at those people just beginning Kendo. While Tokeshi’s title does the same coverage of the basics it goes further by giving a more detailed explanation. For example in ‘This is Kendo’ only one method of putting on the tenugui is covered but in this title 3 options are given. Another example can be used with the equipment used in Kendo. Most books only explain the Japanese names given to the different parts of the equipment and how to put them on. This title delivers all of that as well as proper care and very easy to understand schematics of how to tie all those leather straps. Invaluable when you Kote straps come undone after a hard lesson! Tokeshi’s book completely dissects the shinai and examines proper care and maintenance through great illustrations. Never before have I seen such comprehensive detail of the shinai.
The illustrations used give a clearer step-by-step guide of the technique discussed. In other books such as ‘Kendo-the definitive guide’ I felt that the illustrations didn’t outline the steps clearly. The illustrations were side-on giving only a 2-dimensional view. This type of sketch can be confusing with the more difficult techniques. This book used side-on views but also unique 3-dimensal viewpoints for advanced techniques. This enables you to better understand the body and hand positions so important in Kendo. I also liked the way it made the figures seem more realistic.
What specially drew me to this book was the chapter on ‘nito-no-kamae’ (two swords). This is the first book I have found that covers the concepts, postures used, and attack techniques. It also covers how to properly draw two-swords in a shiai match in accordance with etiquette. It was very exciting to read this chapter.
Other topics include competition rules and regulations which compares favorably with ‘Kendo- the definitive guide’ (the latter is still the best book in this area). Tokeshi also gives an insight into famous kendoists from Japan’s history. What made this chapter unique is that he goes on to outline in point form selected insights and teachings from these people. Very interesting reading.
Kendo katas are also covered by the author. In addition to outlining each kata Tokeshi discusses how to perform the initial bow or preparation. This area is always overlooked in other books. The illustrations used are better than books such as ‘Kendo – the definitive guide’ because the written description is clearer to follow and a second illustration is also given for the feet position for each kata. I found this really helpful because it expands on the two-dimensional viewpoint.
Of other Kendo books available I find them directed at beginners because the content only briefly explains each fundemental or technique. These books seldom have anything to offer more experienced kendoists who want to move to the second and third steps. Kendo: Elements, Rules and Philosophy is a good book for somebody learning kendo. It’s a crucial book for kendoists who have a good basic understanding and want to move forward. The author has kindly put onto paper the skills and experience he has learnt over many years as a kendoist and I value the book highly.
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on 11 February 2004
If you only ever buy one kendo book, buy this one. I am serious - it is THE most complete book on kendo in the English language I have read. History, philosophy, equipment, techniques, kata, shiai and famous kendoka - it's got it all, and in sufficient depth. Destined to be a classic.
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on 3 September 2006
As well as this book, I own two other books on kendo "Kendo: the definitive guide" and "AT look at far mountain". This book is written in clear language, and explains the basic concepts well, but the weakness is that, the techniques are sometimes too abstract. The footworks in waza (or techniques) are not explained. For this purpose, I recommend "The definitive quide".

This book however covers nitto-ryu, which is unique. But it's mostly for curiosity as for beginners, it's not so useful. Another unique section is the personages of some kendo masters. It's good if you want to know more the historical development of kendo.

If I were to choose one between this book and "the definitive guide", I would perhaps choose "the definitive guide", as it explains more systematically.
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on 23 September 2005
I bought this book on the strength of a reviewer. Don't be deceived. Value for money on content and for a beginner who requires more pictures and information covering all aspects of training, there is a better book on the subject. Although appearing to be more expensive, 'The Definitive Guide' is more suited to the novice for an all round review. Check out the Marketplace.
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