June 2023 Book Survey Part 1
In June 2023, I (Richard) continued my book survey plan. This post examines several books on Japanese arts.
The Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art, Stephen K. Hayes, 1981
I have both digital and physical copies of The Ninja and Their Secret Fighting Art, originally published in 1981. Tuttle appears to repackage it every few years with a new cover. I included the covers of the two versions in my library. My softcover print copy measures 5 1/4 inches by 8 inches with 156 black and white pages.
This was not Mr. Hayes' first book on ninja. His first appears to be a pamphlet published in 1975. He also wrote a six volume set beginning in 1980, but this book does not appear to be part of those six volumes.
This 1981 book is available at the Internet Archive.
In the book Mr. Hayes says he is a student of Masaaki Hatsumi and studied Togakure Ryu ninjitsu. His narrative approach integrates his training history beginning in 1975 with his presentation of ninja material.
Can you spot the ninja in this photo?
Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu Budo Kyohan, Yoshio Sugino, Kikue Ito, 2016
I bought a copy of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu Budo Kyohan because I love collecting books on obscure, ancient Japanese arts. My copy is a hardcover measuring 6 1/4 inches by 9 1/4 inches with over 240 black and white pages. Yoshio Sugino lived from 1904 to 1998. Kikue Ito lived from 1906 to 1985. The original text dates from 1941 and 1984. This is an English edition from 2016, translated by Izumi Mikami-Rott and published by Ulf Rott.
The founder of the art in question is Iizasa Iga-No-Kami Ienao, or Choisai, or Iizasa Choisai Ienao, born approximately 1386, died 1488. He was therefore active during the Ashikaga period, 1333-1568.
The text covers sword, naginata, and bo, with photographs that are surprisingly good considering the age of the source material.
This book could use some critical commentary on the presented history, but otherwise I thought it was a great addition to my library.
Self-Defense Nerve Centers and Pressure Points for Karate, Jujitsu and Atemi-Waza, Bruce Tegner, 1986
I believe I received a free copy of Self-Defense Nerve Centers and Pressure Points for Karate, Jujitsu and Atemi-Waza when I ordered several other of Mr. Tegner's publications direct from the publisher. My copy is a paperback measuring 5 3/8 inches by 8 3/8 inches with 128 "brown and white" pages. The first version of this book probably dates from 1968. I think mine is from 1978, but there are also mentions of a version from 1986 including work by Alice McGrath.
One of the more interesting features of this book appears on page 15:
For me the last row saying "training emphasizes flexible response rather than rigid, prearranged actions" is one of the keys to a practical martial art.
Despite the subject being "nerve centers," this book is a pretty serious discussion. There are no "no-touch" or "one-touch" knockouts. The photos are detailed and realistic. I was surprised!
Koryu Aikido, Nobuyoshi Higashi, 1999
I bought a copy of Koryu Aikido because I realized I had all the author's other books, and I am a "completionist." My copy is a paperback measuring 7 inches by 10 inches with 150 black and white pages. It presents 50 techniques from jujutsu and Aikido codified by professor Kenji Tomiki (1900-1979) as Koryu-goshin-no-kata, a "self defense form of traditional Aikido."
There are 7 sets of techniques, in 5 groups of 8, and 2 groups of 5. They include kneeling, standing, counter-knife, counter-sword, counter-spear, and sword vs sword techniques. The photos are small and grainy, but I thought the content was interesting. This dates back to a time when experts like sensei Higashi, father of judoka Shintaro Higashi, studied and integrated several arts.
Jukendo and Tankendo Kata, Baptiste Tavernier, 2019
I bought a copy of Jukendo and Tankendo Kata because I thought it was interesting to investigate an art related to using a rifle and bayonet. My copy is a hardcover measuring 7 1/4 inches by 10 5/16 inches, with 140 print on demand black and white pages.
The book presents kata of the All Japan Jukendo Federation, founded in 1956. The content includes an introduction, history, an overview, 5 kata, and 2 appendices.
The book also covers the bayonet attached to a rifle, which can be detached as used as a short sword. This is called a tanken.
The standard for jukendo is the 1897 Arisaka Type 30 bayonet, standard in the Japanese army of the time.
The author, Baptise Tavernier, does a great job presenting history and technique. He says jukendo became popular as a term around 1943, and tankendo became a subsidiary and popular art within jukendo in 1978.
Tavernier mentions that a 1924 Butokukai (Martial Virtue Society) event pitted jukendo and kendo practitioners against each other, with the jukendo team winning 12 matches to kendo's 7. That secure jukendo's place as an official "budo" in 1925.
This is a great book, with superior content and photos!
Shindo Yoshin Ryu, History and Technique, Tobin Threadgill, Shingo Ohgami, 2020
I bought a copy of Shindo Yoshin Ryu, History and Technique direct from the publisher. My copy is a paperback measuring 7 inches by 10 inches, with 409 heavy black and white pages. The back cover endorsement by one of my favorite martial artists, Ellis Amdur, sealed the deal for my purchase.
Author Tobin Threadgill (born 1959) began study with Takamura Yukiyoshi (1928-2000), headmaster of the Obata/Takamura line of Shindo Yoshin Ryu (SYR).
Author Shingo Ohgami (born 1941) began study with Otsuka Hironori (1892-1982), founder of Wado Ryu Karate. That explains why I bought a book on Wado along the way -- I'd forgotten why! The style has Japanese jujutsu roots. In fact, SYR kata are apparently preserved in Wado Ryu karate. Shingo Ohgami also studied Shinto Muso Ryu and Mugai Ryu.
SYR was apparently founded in 1864 by Matsuoka Katsunoke (1836-1898), and fits within the Yoshi Ryu lineage.
The book presents 11 chapters on history, kata, legacy, and context. The style dates from the Japanese Sengoku period (1467-1590). It mentions Takenouchi Ryu jujutsu as the oldest extant Japanese jujutsu style.
The photographs in this book are way too dark, which is unfortunate as Mr. Threadgill is a professional photographer! Furthermore, the composition choices were bad, such as wearing black hakama in front of dark backgrounds, or in front of an altar. I did like that photos had captions with sources.
I recommend this book if you also like learning about obscure Japanese arts.
There are no "must buys" in this collection, but I hope I brought a couple less well known books to your attention.
In the next post we continue our survey of the last print titles in my library.