The study of budo, or the Japanese martial arts for self-cultivation, is a lifelong path toward perfection of character. Here, Dave Lowry, a sword master who has practiced and taught budo for over 40 years, addresses the myriad issues, vagaries, and inconsistencies that arise for students of karate-do, judo, kendo, kenjutsu, aikido, and iaido as their training develops. He examines such questions as:
What is the relationship between the student and teacher, and what should one expect from the other?
What does rank really mean?
How do you correctly and sensitively practice with someone less experienced than you?
What does practice look like as one ages?
Why do budo arts put such an emphasis on etiquette?
And many others
Lowry also gives practical advice for beginning and advanced students on improving structural integrity in posture and movement, focusing under stress, stances and preparatory actions before engaging with an opponent, and recognizing a good teacher from a bad one.
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I just sat in a Dojo of the mind.
Yes. This book was like sitting in a dojo or tea house with a wise, strong, but relatable Sensei. I found each chapter better than the last. The insights and observations are practical ,insightful, and even convicting. As a westerner, I had no idea how many misconceptions I had about Budo. As a martial artist, I am richer from David Lowry's guidance. Last but not least, Brian Nishii did an EXCELLENT job of narrating. He captured the author's intent near perfectly. I look forward to listening to more of his work. I am also an audiobook narrator so I can learn from listening to good narrators too.
I can only compare this book to other's I've read by David Lowry such as Traditions or In the Dojo. David Lowry style of writing instructs on the true Budo, exposes mythical influences, and helps us dispel them from our lives. He does so with a smile almost it seems. I find myself often saying "thank you" for the training he puts into his words. I wish I could meet and talk to the author in person.
I particularly enjoyed the last chapter where he gave insights into the development of Budo in the 1900's, the comparison of the Japanese mindset as a Sensei vs. Western, and so on. Very enlightening. The chapter on choosing a Sensei was also excellent. I was amazed at how much influence popular media has had on what a true instructor should be like and not. I found this chapter alone to be worth the price of the book and something I will revisit.
A Return to Budo: Unmasking the Myths That Could be Hindering Your Martial Way
I highly recommend this book/audiobook to anyone who practices martial arts. I especially recommend to anyone who teaches them. You will find yourself thanking the author too for his guidance. Thank you Sensei Lowry for this outstanding book and thank you Brian for helping to bring it to life.