1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
an essential addition to any martial artist's book shelf!,
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This review is from: Kurikara: The Sword and the Serpent (Paperback)
This is a great book and though it is not a huge volume, not a word is wasted - it is packed full of information that is useful to practitioners of any martial art. When I first read this book (and I have returned to it many times) I was already studying a sword art, but the book's appeal and usefulness is wider than that and I would recommend it to students of any discipline that requires discerning practice and integration of mind, body and energy to achieve mastery.
The writing style is very engaging - a good mix of anecdotes from author John Evans' 40 years of experience and knowledge, combined with clear and insightful explanations of all of the core components of sword technique and practice methods.
Besides the practical information on technique - which will be instructive to students of many different styles of martial arts - the two things I personally found most useful about this book are its exploration of correct mental attitude towards training in martial arts, and the guidance offered on effective forms of practice. One theme of the book is "shugendo"; the discipline of testing what is taught for oneself, to be able to truly understand and integrate it, rather than attempting to learn through merely accepting / imitating what is offered by the teacher. And in respect of practice - while the need for repetition is acknowledged - Evans explains very clearly how the skill of discerning self-observation and awareness at the minutest level of detail is ultimately what will make the difference between counterproductive hours of fruitless practice, and real progress.