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Archive for the ‘research and info gathering’ Category

Musha Shugyo: The Warrior’s Pilgrimage?

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2014. Not to be used without permission

I recall my days in university when one of my professors in Japanese history warned me to be wary of research that focuses too greatly on one particular angle of viewing a subject. At the time we were discussing a well known work on a particular branch of Japanese religion and my professor was pointing out that the author of the work wrote almost exclusively from the view point of a “true believer” and had mostly ignored social and financial angles that helped explain how this group survived into modern times. This problem is nearly universal in any sort of research and trying to maintain the proper balance of “views” can be a major challenge. (more…)

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Am I the only one to notice that in the past several years, the number of quality books on Japanese martial arts being published has dwindled considerably compare to, say a decade or so ago? One reason the number of new posts here on Acme Bugei has dropped is that I have been trying to find some books to post positive reviews on. I have a couple of books I may review in the future, but in both cases, the reviews would be far from (more…)

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Considering some of the comments that flew around after my last review, I considered not doing one again, but in the end it is just my opinion so take it or leave it as you will.

Review: Famous Japanese Swordsmen series by William de Lange

From 2006 to 2008 William de Lange published a three part series on the history of some of Japan’s more famous swordsmen. In the order of publication of the volumes of this series was Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Warring States Period which is about Iizasa Choisai Ienao and Kamiizumi Ise no Kami Nobutsuna, Famous Japanese Swordsmen of the Two Courts Period featuring Nenami Okuyama Jion and Chujo Hyogo no Kami Nagahide, and concluded with Famous Japanese Swordsmen of The Period of Unification, which is about Ono Jiroemon Tadaaki and Yagyu Tajima no Kami Munenori. (more…)

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The Curse of Being a Generalist?: A Review of “Classical Swordsmanship of Japan: A Comprehensive Guide to Kenjutsu and Iaijutsu” by Serge Mol.

By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2010. Not to be used without permission

About a decade ago, a little known martial arts researcher named Serge Mol released the book Classical Fighting Arts of Japan: A Complete Guide to Koryu Jujutsu. Having some mutual acquaintances with the author, I was interested in seeing what kind of work this person (more…)

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Katayama-ryu Swordsman Uno Kintaro Shigeyoshi:
By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2009. Not to be used without permission

When looking into the history of any given ryu, one obviously spends a great deal of time looking at the major players in the tradition’s history. Obviously the founder and succeeding headmasters get most of the attention. But there are a host of lesser know swordsmen who, for whatever reason, never achieve the lasting acclaim of the “big fish” in the pond of Japanese swordsmanship. (more…)

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While surfing through Google I stumbled a across forum where someone had posted a piece I had done not long after my arrival in Japan for university back in 1998 on the original Acme Bugei webpage. As most of the content from the original site is lost I figured I’d repost this oldie but goodie (?). It is interesting how much things have changed (and haven’t changed at the same time) since I wrote this way back when. Needless to say I would probably approach this piece in a very different way if I was writing it today (even if my views have not changed all that much on the subject), but here it is in its original unaltered form. (Has it really been 11 years since I wrote this? and why exactly was I so worked up about this?)
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How Full is Your Plate? (Or “Know When To Say When”)
By Rennis Buchner
Copyright © Rennis Buchner, 2009. Not to be used without permission

Probably most of us doing koryu know the feeling. Through whatever circumstances you have ended up in a situation where you have begun your training in a traditional ryuha. It is interesting, educational, challenging, frustrating, the list goes on and on. Wanting to learn more about your tradition you look around for books and search the net for more information. Depending on the tradition you are involved in, you may find much or little there. At some point you decide you should learn more about the historical and cultural context of times the your chosen ryuha developed, so you start looking into Japanese history. (more…)

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