Binding: Paperback Dewey Decimal Number: 796.860952 EAN: 9780897501040 ISBN: 0897501047 Label: Black Belt Communications Manufacturer: Black Belt Communications Number Of Items: 1 Number Of Pages: 192 Publication Date: 1986-02-01 Publisher: Black Belt Communications Studio: Black Belt Communications
Dave Lowry frequently travels throughout Asia to research its culture and history, and has written several books about Japan and the budo. He started writing for Black Belt magazine more than 20 years ago and has shared his traditional take on the martial arts world in a monthly column called Karate Way since 1986.
In Bokken: Art of the Japanese Sword, Lowry focuses his expertise on the techniques and history of the bokken--the wooden training sword used by both ancient samurai and today's swordsmen. According to Lowry, training with the bokken is important on two levels for the modern practitioner: "On one, he builds the physical stamina, rhythms, and adroit body movements of traditional swordsmanship. On the other, he achieves something of the animating spirit of the traditional swordsman. He is, through the refinement of his practice, linked in a very real way to his past, for it is from the principles of swordsmanship that the budo of today have based their teachings, no matter what their present form."
Bokken: Art of the Japanese Sword couples Lowry's concise, eloquent writing style with more than 100 hundred technique photographs to provide the reader with the traditional and modern perspectives of this vital, historically rich practice tool.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: An Excellent Technical Introduction on a Rare Subject Comment: An excellent introduction to one of the most uncredited training tools of budo and bujutsu, the Bokken (pronounce bow-ken), or wooden sword. Author Dave Lowry is a dedicated practitioner of Japanese martial arts and culture, the perfect person to explain the history, usefulness, and general merits of the Bokken, an implement which is commonly used in Aikido as well as many Kory (pre-Meiji martial arts schools) in Japan for a variety of training and partner exercises.
I suppose Lowry could have made another book on Iaito with a live-blade sword, or otherwise spiced up his book with tall tales to sell better to teenage mutant ninjas...thank goodness he avoided the norm and instead presented thoughtful material a generation of serious budoka can appreciate. As Lowry observes concerning the joys of training and appreciation of heritage for the dedicated budoka of any art who takes up this practice:
"Certainly one of the most fascinating and rewarding lies in Suburi...with the wooden sword, or Bokken. True, the student of suburi used this practice weapon instead of a live sword (katana) and the movements are not so clearly lethal as those of the feudal warrior's art, but with his bokken, the modern budoka may train on two important levels. On one, he builds the physical stamina, body rythms and adroit body movements of traditional swordsmanship. On the other he achieves something f the animating spirit of the traditional swordsman. He is, through the refinement of his practice, linked in a very real way to his past, for it is through the principles of his swordsmanship that the budo of today have based their teachings, no matter what their present form". (page 13)
That Lowry's earlier works tend to be technical instructional manuals (his other early book "Jo: the Art of the Japanese Short Staff" is also recommended) while his later books delve deeper into sharing his life philosophy through personal experiences and observations is worthwhile noting as well. I know of no better teaching tool than to teach through example, sharing a thought, a technique or a story.
In my time, "Bokken: Art of the Japanese Sword" has garnered the appreciation of experienced and aspiring Kendo-ka, Aikido-ka, Budo-ka, and simple individuals who have decided that mastering a discipline would enrich their lives. Those who practice bokken don't expect to become kenshi: we simply do with appreciation. Thank You Mr. Lowry!
As an aside, also the perfect accompanyment to the wooden suburi or bokken you give your kid for the holiday or birthday when you don't think s/he's _quite_ ready for a live blade yet :) Customer Rating: Summary: Excellent book... Comment: Famed swordsman and Black Belt magazine contributor Dave Lowry chimes in on the use of the bokken--the wooden samurai sword. Practicing with the bokken is obviously safer than practicing with a "live" katana, but it also develops stamina, technique, and an appreciation of the weapon's history. Ancient samurai warriors used the bokken (remember Tom Cruise's repeated beatings in The Last Samurai?), and so should you. Lowry also wrote The Best of Dave Lowry, which is an excellent compilation of his Black Belt articles. Customer Rating: Summary: A good book for fundamentals-and attitude. Comment: I was prepared to be disappointed-but was pleasantly surprised. I have studied the sword for years, and yet learned something from this book. For a beginner, too, its clear, concise explanations, coupled with well thought out photographs, will prove an excellent study guide or workbook. There are minor deficiencies, occasionally, but they will provide the student an incentive to put down the book and physically explore what Lowry is trying to demonstrate.
There are few like Musashi, who need little personal instruction. This book is not a substitute for a good teacher, but an excellent adjunct to one. The Way is not a set of rules. It is only the Way. Customer Rating: Summary: Alright book for starters Comment: The book starts with the history behind the bokken which I found interesting. It has nice pictures and explanations of the different types of stances and attacks. Even though the pictures are black and white, they still help quite a bit. I was some what dissapointed when it came to the chapter on practicing with a partner. I was expecting ways to block but instead I found ways to attack faster (strike first) against an opponent doing another attack. The images in that chapter seemed too far time lapsed to know exactly what he is doing. I also would have liked it more if there were phonetic spellings of each of the japanese names. I do not speak japanese and therefore I'm probably saying most of the names wrong. I'd recommend this book if you want to start suburi by yourself. Otherwise, find another book. Customer Rating: Summary: EXCELLENT BASICS FOR THE NEWLY INITIATED Comment: BY THE TIME I READ LOWRY'S BOOK, I WAS A YEAR INTO MUSO SHINDEN RYU IAIDO, AND I FOUND SOME MINOR DESCREPANCIES IN THE HANDLING OF THE BOKUDO AND THE KATANA. MOST OF THE STANCES AND POSITIONS OR KAMAE VARY ONLY EVER SO SLIGHTLY. I FOUND "BOKKEN" TO BE VERY HELPFUL IN SOME AREAS AS IT IS FULL OF PHOTOGRAPHS SO THERE IS NO MISTAKING WHAT IS BEING DESCRIBED AS THE PROPER WAY TO HANDLE THE BOKKEN AND MOVE ABOUT. IT'S AN A+ BOOK FOR THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER!