The word "samurai" evokes intense images of indomitable warriors, expert swordsmen capable of taking on overwhelming odds-and emerging victorious. But this popular image only brushes the surface of the samurai tradition. The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War brings to life the history behind the courageous and highly disciplined fighting men of early Japan. Authoritative military history expert Stephen Turnbull shows how the samurai evolved from the primitive fighters of the 7th century into an invincible military caste with a fearsome reputation. Many aspects of the samurai and their military significance are covered, including the cultural reasons why the elite mounted archers originally emerged in Japan; their wars against pirate invaders; how samurai masters taught the next generation; the women samurai and their accomplishments; and much more. Illustrated with full-color historical images that show the samurai tradition in fascinating detail, The Samurai Swordsman is an invaluable guide to an enduring legacy.
A Full-Color, Step-by-Step Guide [Downloadable Material Included]
Author: Cary Nemeroff
Pubpsher: Tuttle Publishing
Category: Sports & Recreation
Memorialized in countless books and movies, the history of Japan's fearsome samurai warriors is known all over the world. Who can forget these Japanese masters' skills with the sword? Today, samurai warriors no longer exist, but their legacy of swordsmanship endures. Now, the way of the samurai sword is learned in the martial arts Iaijutsu and Kenjutsu. This book is the perfect introduction to using this beautiful and ancient weapon. In Mastering the Samurai Sword, you'll learn the sword's fascinating history, its evolution, and the philosophy behind its use. You'll also learn practical guidance for mastering the sword itself. Full-color, step-by-step photographs detail many of the most useful and famous samurai moves, including: drawing the samurai sword guard positions, cutting blows, and blocking falling and rolling techniques, and evasive strategies standing forms and kneeling forms All of the martial arts techniques discussed in the book are performed for readers in the downloadable material to help you perfect your form. Beginners will learn everything from proper attire and behavior in the dojo to how they might practice at home, while more experienced samurai swords people will find a new appreciation for the deeper meaning and tradition behind the graceful way of the sword.
Release on 2011-12-20 | by Oscar Ratti,Adele Westbrook
The Martial Arts of Feudal Japan
Author: Oscar Ratti,Adele Westbrook
Pubpsher: Tuttle Publishing
Category: Sports & Recreation
Secrets of the Samurai is the definitive study of the martial arts of feudal Japan, explaining in detail the weapons, techniques, strategies, and principles of combat that made the Japanese warrior a formidable foe. The work begins with a panoramic survey of the tumultuous early struggles of warlords contending for political ascendancy and then outlines the relentless progression of the military class toward absolute power. In addition to illustrating actual methods of combat, the authors discuss in detail the crucial training necessary to develop a warrior's inner power and to concentrate all his energies into a single force. Secrets of the Samurai is an essential text for anyone with an interest in Japanese combat techniques, weaponry, or military history. This edition also contains a new foreword by Adele Westbrook and numerous previously unpublished illustrations by Oscar Ratti. Chapters include: The Bushi The Heimin The Centers of Martial Instruction Armed Bujutsu Unarmed Bujutsu Control and Power Strategic Principles Morality of Bujutsu
Miyamoto Musashi (1584?1645) was the legendary samurai known throughout the world as a master swordsman, spiritual seeker, and author of the classic book on strategy, the Book of Five Rings. Over 350 years after his death, Musashi and his legacy still fascinate us and continue to inspire artists, authors, and filmmakers. Here, respected translator and expert on samurai culture William Scott Wilson has created both a vivid account of a fascinating period in feudal Japan and a portrait of the courageous, iconoclastic samurai who wrestled with philosophical and spiritual ideas that are as relevant today as they were in his time. For Musashi, the way of the martial arts was about mastery of the mind rather than simply technical prowess—and it is this path to mastery that is the core teaching in his Book of Five Rings. This volume includes supplemental material on Musashi’s legacy as a martial arts icon, his impact on literature and film, and the influence of his Book of Five Rings.
Zen--serene, contemplative, a discipline of meditation associated with painting, rock gardens, and flower arranging--seems an odd ingredient in the martial psyche of the Japanese samurai. "One who is a samurai must before all things keep constantly in mind...the fact that he has to die," wrote a seventeenth-century warrior. "That is his chief business." But the demands of that "business," writes Winston King, found the perfect philosophical match in the teachings of Zen Buddhism. In Zen and the Way of the Sword, King offers a fascinating look into the mind of the samurai swordsman in a far-reaching account of the role of Zen in the thought, culture, and the martial arts of Japan's soldier elite. An esteemed scholar of Eastern religions, King deftly traces the development of Zen and discusses the personal nature of its practice, its emphasis on individual discovery and attainment. He then presents an accomplished capsule history of the samurai class, from its rise in the middle ages to formal abolition in the nineteenth century--an account filled with details of wars, political maneuvering, and cultural achievements. King also looks at the arms and vocation of the individual samurai, placing the details of armor and weapons in the context of the samurai conception of warfare. In particular, King focuses on the sword--the soul of the samurai, as it was called--describing how it was forged, the honor given famous swordsmiths, the rise of schools of swordsmanship, and breathtaking feats of the great swordsmen. Throughout, King shows how the samurai cultivated Zen, relating its teaching of a free and spontaneous mind to the experience of a warrior in individual combat, and finding philosophical strength in Zen as they prepared themselves for death. "What mind can penetrate his opponent's mind?" one authority has written. "It is a mind that has been trained and cultivated to the point of detachment with perfect freedom....His mind should reflect his opponent's mind like water reflecting the moon." In other words, a mind trained by Zen. King goes on to trace the role of Zen in samurai life through the peaceful eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, examining the absorption of Zen into World War II psychology and broader Japanese culture. Throughout, he provides a thoughtful perspective, both sympathetic and aware of the ethical problems inherent in a school of Buddhism turned to the needs of a military class. A scholarly, absorbing account, Zen and the Way of the Sword provides fascinating insight into the samurai ethos, and the culture of Japan today.
There is perhaps no more potent symbol of the samurai era than the sword. By the seventeenth century in Japan, the art of swordsmanship had begun to take on an almost cult-like popularity. Swordsmanship was more than a mastery of technique; it was a path toward self-mastery. The Swordsman’s Handbook is the definitive collection of writings by men who saw the study of swordsmanship not only as essential to life and death, but as something that transcended life and death as well. Their teaching, that dealing with conflict is an art that requires grace and courage, speaks to us today with surprising immediacy and relevance. Included in this collection are writings by Kotada Yahei Toshitada, Takuan Soho, Yagyu Munenori, Miyamoto Musashi, Matsura Seizan, Issai Chozanshi, and Yamaoka Tesshu.