Friday, October 10, 2008

Two Books That Really Rocks

I'd like to introduce my favorite books.

The first one is Kendo: The Definitive Guide. Must-have for beginners and up. This is the best Kendo book I have found so far. A book can not replace real training, but if you are a student of Kendo, or think you might be interested in it, this book can help you mentaly. It covers the basic commands, and Japanese names for the equipment. This book also covers some spiritual side to the art.

Some words from other readers:

The book includes history, training philosophy, instructions for equipment, basic footwork and strikes, techniques, kata and even tournament regulations. It has almost everything you would need to know about.
I have to work a little to find the information I need, as (of course) Ozawa organizes information differently from the way it's presented to students in the school that I attend. But it's all there, if you know what you're looking for. It's unfortunate that there isn't any information on shinai or armor maintenance.
This book is an excellent guide throughout your Kendo training.

By Enrique Pineda

This book is a really solid introductory text covering everything from kendo history to how to wear the hakama and protective gear to step-by-step technique explanations. It's no substitute for hands-on instruction yet it is an outstanding complement to dojo training. This text and a few notes of your own is all you'll really need to remember the important fundamental concepts of the art. It is broken into five sections, basics, stretching/warm-up exercises, waza (techniques), nihon kendo kata (form work), and keiko (practice). There are appendices on competition and judging, international kendo, and a glossary of terms. The book is not only well written and reasonably comprehensive, but it also contains clear line drawings that ensure you'll really understand the concepts. Surprisingly, there is no index, so you'll probably want a highlighter and a pad of sticky notes to mark the stuff you'll want to refer back to.

By L. A. Kane

The second one is Practice Drills for Japanese Swordsmanship. This book performs its function perfectly, as a supplement to iaido or kendo training, not as a comprehensive guide to these other arts. The drills are excellent, the illustrations clear and concise, especially to a proponent of the art. The book is NOT a stand-alone manual to any specific art, and shouldn't be read as such. For something like that, try Kendo: The Definitive Guide or Suino's The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship; both of these are as close as I've found to "definitive" works. You need to be around someone that has taken some lessons & has at least a basic idea of what they are doing. I enjoyed it even though most of the drills were known to me. I would recommend it for anyone interested in the sword arts.