Comment: Being a new kendo enthusiast I found this book very good in presenting all the basic information. Excellent history backgrounder too, how kendo developed and what it means in Japan. Precise information on all major aspects, such as equipment, etiquette, forms and practice.
Comment: Outstanding book, both for advanced kendoists and begginers. Pay close attention to everything those two authors and masters kendoists have written and you'll not regret.
Summary: on my second copy.. .
Comment: nothing can replace dojo when it comes to learning kendo, however, this book provides good over view about kendo. i do have number of different kendo books in my collection at this point.. however, this was my first book in english on kendo, and i still find it endearing.
Summary: Some excellent history
Comment: This is a reprint of the book originally published in 1964, if I remember correctly, and is definitely something of a classic, since there were few books available in the U.S. on the art of kendo at that time.
I read this book mainly for the history of kendo, in order to supplement the reading I'm doing on the history of iai, as I am mainly an iaido practitioner rather than a kendo-ka. I'd recently read Karl Friday's Legacies of the Sword, a scholarly work by an American professor of Japanese history on iaido, much of it impressively written from original Japanese sources. It was quite detailed as far as the history and philosophy of Kashima-Shinryu iaido goes, but other styles get discussed too, such as Jikishin Kage-ryu and Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. However, much of the information is relevant to other styles as well. But it was primarily, as I said, on iai, so I wanted to get some background in the kendo as well. I mention it because it would be a good book to read after this one. Just be advised, if you're familiar with Dave Lowry's lively and entertaining books on iaido, this is truly a academic tome, and the style is much denser and dryer than Lowry's works, but it's worth reading for the exhaustive detail and scholarship that went into it. The author says that it was the product of 20 years of research, and it shows.
I can't comment on the technical aspects of the kendo forms and techniques, but I thought the history was excellent despite a few things I found far-fetched, such as the author's mentioning of 9-foot swords. I note one of the other reviewers commented on this too, and he also had a problem with some of the author's facts on European armor. However, baring a few problems like that, I thought this chapter was excellent as a good introductory history and it contained much good information on many of the old kendo schools and the most famous masters, and dozens of famous masters are discussed along with the styles they originated, along with their exploits and some of the philosophy too. There still aren't many books discussing the history of iaido and kendo in English in much detail, and this chapter on the history is one of the better ones I've seen so far.
Summary: THERE'S NO SUBSTITUTE YET.
Comment: This book, along with Fundamental Kendo (of the Zen Nihon Kendo Remmei) are still the most important kendo books around. Now, as we all know, Fundamental Kendo is out of print, so you should at least own a copy of this one.