on 31 May 2013
After doing Kendo for 18 months I've tried reading several of the recommended books and this is far and away the best I've tried. Unlike many it's written in English, by a native English speaker for an English speaking reader and so avoids a lot of the poor translations and misunderstood explanations many older books suffer from. If this was the only thing in it's favour it would still be a valuable read, but Salmon Sensei also has a nice easy to follow writing style, littered with numerous humerous stories from his travels and kendo career, that help flesh out the subject and make it come alive. Coupled with diagrams that are almost beautiful in their simplicity it allows you to really understand what is being said on any point.
The areas covered are also excellent, running the range from the very basics of simple cuts and how to put on your clothing to complex advice on how instructors can best structure classes. It's the range that means this is a book you buy when you start and are still referring to when you're running your own dojo.
And for anyone who buys this book and like me thoroughly enjoys it don't forget to sign up to Salmon Sensei's excellent weekly blog and kendoinfo.net for further insight and guidance.
on 20 July 2013
I find this an excellent primer book for anyone beginning kendo and for those that wish to correct many of the faults which naturally become part of every kendokas personal makeup along the way. I have recently started training a beginners class and have advised all of them to buy a copy, to the extent of bringing copies of the actual book for sale along with me. The book covers many of the unasked and unanswered questions which many just polyfiller in at the beginning and never truly find any answer for. As a result it allows a much greater fluidity of understanding in why we are actually doing certain exercises in a certain manner and allows myself in the role of instructor to concentrate on teaching the physical aspects, leaving many queries to be answered by the book.
The artwork is educational in teaching many techniques, with the text clearly advising the correct manner of performing them from a 3d perspective, and what to look out for.
Finally, the text also loads influence on proper reigi and respect for those that have come before, with explanations as to why we must always behave in certain ways to each other within the dojo, something that sometimes sadly gets buried under the effects of testosterone - we've all fallen victim to it.
Excellent guide, happily urge you to buy :)
on 15 July 2013
Salmon Sensei creates a great reference book that I think will be useful for all levels of Kenshi - the comprehensive guide is just what it says on the cover. The book, perhaps the first third, starts with an outline of how to behave in the dojo, take care of your equipment and behave with your teachers and students. For me that main part of is the latter 2/3 where techniques are described in detail. One of the highlights of the book is the great diagrams which manage to tightly integrate with the text giving you an idea of how to do what is described. Descriptions and text provide a precise actionable outline. And while the words describe the dos and do-nots of techniques, they also spend time talking about how any action should feel giving you a real sense that you could try out the advice in the dojo. That said, I feel that the main benefit I will get from "Kendo: A comprehensive guide" is not the first read through that this review represents, but repeated re-visits when I struggle to understand something and when I need some thinking time out at home instead of practice time in at the dojo.