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CompleteMartialArts.com - The Life-Giving Sword: The Secret Teachings From the House of the Shogun


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Manufacturer: Kodansha International
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5Average rating of 4.0/5

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Binding: Hardcover
Dewey Decimal Number: 952.025
EAN: 9784770029553
ISBN: 4770029551
Label: Kodansha International
Manufacturer: Kodansha International
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 192
Publication Date: 2003-12-18
Publisher: Kodansha International
Studio: Kodansha International

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Editorial Reviews:

This is a translation of an important classic on Zen swordfighting. Yagyu Munenori was so widely renowned that he was appointed official sword instructor to two Tokugawa shoguns. (The position was always coveted by Miyamoto Musashi, but he never succeeded in gaining the post). Yagyu's style is known as the Shinkage-ryu style, for centuries the official style of the Tokugawa dynasty. His spiritual mentor was Zen priest Takuan. Here, Yagyu's Buddhist spirituality is clearly reflected in his central idea of the "life-giving sword" - the notion of controlling an opponent by the spiritual readiness to fight, rather than during the fight. His mastery of restraint and diplomacy made him a trusted political and military advisor to the shoguns. This book is a look into a master swordsman's thoughts on nonattachment and even non-violence.


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: This version offers more bang for the buck.
Comment: I have read three versions of The Life Giving Sword. This one is the best. The introduction is very informative. A student of Shinkage Ryu would really appreciate this books introduction. The translation is above average. This book also contains a catalog of Shinkage Ryu Sword techniques in the back. So if you want to read The Life Giving Sword this book will give you more bang for your buck.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: The Best Translation Available
Comment: Of the several English translations available, I think this is the best. Each version is formatted slightly differently, but I find this version the most readable.Bushido: The Way of the Samurai (Square One Classics)

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Wonderful
Comment: I give this book five stars simply because I love it. For anyone who finds Miyamoto Musashi's book a little hard to fathom at first, then maybe you could start with this.

I have a number of translations by William Scott Wilson, the most recent being 'The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts', I love them all and have to say that I prefer his translations over any other.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: A classical text
Comment: Munenori's book is a classic work of Japanese literature that explores the Way of the sword through what we in the west might call a philosphical approach. Yet, I don't think the distinction between the physical style and philosophical approach would be seperate categories to Munenori. His book sets out to present the Way as a total approach of mind, body, and spirit, and not merely the development of each independently. Reading the book in any other way will probably make it fairly disappointing.

The other thing to remember about this book is its a classic by one of the most influential sword instructors of his era. In that respect, the book is rich with perspective on early 17th century Japanese culture. Particularly interesting are the reprinted plates in the back of the book showing the original inked pages of technique.

As other viewers pointed out, this is not a book for someone simply learning to wield a sword. Instead, Munenori's book is a fascinating account of swordsmanship that gives the reader insight not only to the richness of the Way, but also wonderful insight on a fascinating historical figure. Highly recommended for those interested in Japanese culture, history of samurai, and the feudal era.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Giving life to the sword
Comment: Anyone who looks to a book to learn how to swing a sword will forever be disappointed. Those of us who have actually taken the time train in the sword know that direct transmition is the only way (yes, the schools still exist -- go find one).

What this book presents (along with some very good subtle sword pointers) is the proper mental attitude you must gain in order to progress on the path. Mr. Wilson does a wonderful job translating a difficult text. If you are serious about sword, get this book AND go find a teacher ...



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