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CompleteMartialArts.com - Essence of Ninjutsu

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Manufacturer: McGraw-Hill
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5Average rating of 4.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 796.86
EAN: 9780809247240
ISBN: 0809247240
Label: McGraw-Hill
Manufacturer: McGraw-Hill
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 192
Publication Date: 1988-04-01
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Studio: McGraw-Hill

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Editorial Reviews:

Looking back almost 1,000 years, the mists of Japan's chaotic past shroud the development of a way of life, an ancient struggle waged against fierce feudal lords who ruled the island nation with swords of steel and a code of death before dishonor. The people of the mountainous regions of what is now Iga prefecture wanted to live in peace, but their lords had other plans-so the people learned the martial arts of self-defense and used their meager farm tools as weapons against the samurai blades of their oppressors. Nine traditions of the ninja arts grew out of this seemingly endless struggle, and legends were told of the supernatural abilities of the ninja fighters. The ninja never gained the kind of power that topples tyrants, but they gained a reputation that made tyrants cautious. And they gained the kind of power that makes the spirit endure and the mind the master of its fate. Told in actual stories of past grandmasters and in dojo lectures on techniques-with photographs, drawings, and paintings-the last surviving grandmaster of the ancient art of ninjutsu, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, presents Essence of Ninjutsu: The Nine Traditions. In it, he explains why, after more than 900 years, the art of the shadow warriors continues to inspire and serve practitioners from around the world. Dr. Hatsumi's book contains historic ninja scrolls and describes techniques for self-defense, and it debunks tricks that are attributed to the ninja but actually derive more from the circus than the martial arts. Essence of Ninjutsu is a fascinating, authoritative look at the roots of ninjutsu and how it continues to enrich the lives of its practitioners today. Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi is a bone doctor, artist, and writer, as well as the 34th grandmaster of the nine schools of the ninja arts in Japan. He has toured the United States in recent years to help Americans better understand the ninja and their way of life. His articles have appeared in all of the major martial arts magazines.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Standing on the summit for the first time
Comment: This is probably the first book to faithfully reveal Hatsumi-sensei's approach to writing. In some of Soke's other works, the translation and editing have in many ways dampened the total effect of Soke's words. Not so in this book. The translator has done a superb job in capturing Soke's feeling in the written form. And he has done so by simply removing himself from the equation and instead has allowed Soke's words to do all the work.

Throughout this book, the reader ought to be able to sense the depth of the art that Hatsumi-sensei is master of. The richness of the traditions and the scope of the moral and ethical development possible through an honest approach to martial arts is clearly in evidence. This has nothing to do with 'Oriental mysticism' nor has it anything to do with techniques in the technical sense. Yet, if one has the eyes to see, the mystical is simply honesty and the secrets to the techniques stem from this. In this book, both are more than visible.

Through stories of his own teacher (beautifully presented as fables and legends) as well his own experiences, one gets the sense that Hatsumi-sensei has just surpassed a personal barrier of sorts. There is a sense of confidence that emerges from the words and one can only feel inspired to emulate the development displayed.

This book is not, as should be expected from Hatsumi-sensei, a chronologically organised tome. Stepping away from the 1-2-3 approach to learning, Soke's words are imbued with character and observation and in that sense, one ought to hesitate to use the word 'topic' when describing each chapter. Perhaps 'situations' may be a better term.

From history to warnings, from martial movement to moral awareness, this book, quite literally, has it all. Hidden in plain sight as it is, the information in this book serves as an excellent screener (as well as screening device) for those wishing to understand more of the art of Hatsumi-sensei. As an honest approach to the world of ninjutsu and the martial arts, this book is an absolute must.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: never really gets to the heart of the matter.
Comment: As someone interested in japanese history and culture, rather than in learning martial arts. From previous comments and the authors pedigree, I figured that this book provide me more illumination on the historical ninja. Unfortunately, by the end of the book I still didn't feel that I had a very good grasp of who the ninja were and where they fit into japanese society. One problem with the book is that Masaaki Hasumi's writing tends to jump around quite a bit (perhaps better translationa and editing would have helped).
On the bright side, there are quite a few hidden pearls of wisdom hidden within the text, that I found interesting and useful.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Lots of interesting background information.
Comment: As a relative newcomer tot Ninjutsu I wanted te read more about the history of Ninjutsu and its roots in Japanese feudal society.
I found this quitte suffeciently in Essence of Ninjutsu. It has a lot of illustrative stories and historical context. A must read for the avid nunjutsu practicioner !

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: An exceptional view of Ninjutsu
Comment: Massaki Hatsumi gives an exceptional view of Ninjutsu that is practically unparelled to the rest. One such interesting notion is that ninjas are not cold-blooded murderers. Hatsumi states that hundreds of years ago Togakure ninjas avoided killing anyone in the enemy's camp and only did it when there was no other choice. This I would say is a perfect example of the difference between a ninja and an assassin.

Another interesting thing about this book was the many insightful stories Hatsumi tells. The story that I enjoyed the most was the one with the egotistical warrior who's head was too hard to hit. If you think about it, this story alone expresses the true essence of Ninjutsu.

If you're into ninjas or the martial arts, and wondering what Ninjutsu is really about, I whole-heartedly recommend this book by Massaki Hatsumi. It helped me realize and understand so much about Ninjutsu that before I read this book I was only living in a child's fantasy.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Spiritual Basis for Ninpo Today...
Comment: Narrated by Masaaki Hatsumi, 34th generation lineage holder of the Togakure school of ninpo (and holder of 8 other traditional Japanese martial lineages, at least 6 of which have been verified), This book is the closest thing Hatsumi sensei has written to an autobiography. Hatsumi introduces us to his teacher, Takamatsu Sensei. Chapter 2 includes an interview with Takamatsu sensei conducted by Hatsumi, and throughout he discusses his experiences training with his teacher, his love for his teacher, and how he came to understand the ideas Takamatsu imparted to him.

Numerous learning incidents are recounted by Hatsumi, both while training, and also while simply spending time with his teacher. Each chapter includes a traditional story which imparts something of the spirit of ninpo to the reader. Hatsumi Sensei's writings are rife with anecdotes, recollections, historical observations, and cautiously thought out conclusions. Most touching I found to be his visit to Takamatsu Sensei's tomb accompanied by the Sensei's daughter, and the thought she shared with him (page 68).

For those looking for an introduction to ninjutsu, I'd recommend Masaaki Hatsumi's other book, "Ninjutsu: History and Traditions". For the reader prepared to go beyond learning about ninja weapons and general history, this volume "Essence of Ninjutsu: The Nine Traditions" offers a look at the heart of a kindly man and a profound art.

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