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Essence of Ninjutsu
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2003
Narrated by Masaaki Hatsumi, 34th generation lineage holder of the Togakure school of ninpo (and holder of 8 other traditional Japanese martial lineages, at least 6 of which have been verified), This book is the closest thing Hatsumi sensei has written to an autobiography. Hatsumi introduces us to his teacher, Takamatsu Sensei. Chapter 2 includes an interview with Takamatsu sensei conducted by Hatsumi, and throughout he discusses his experiences training with his teacher, his love for his teacher, and how he came to understand the ideas Takamatsu imparted to him.
Numerous learning incidents are recounted by Hatsumi, both while training, and also while simply spending time with his teacher. Each chapter includes a traditional story which imparts something of the spirit of ninpo to the reader. Hatsumi Sensei's writings are rife with anecdotes, recollections, historical observations, and cautiously thought out conclusions. Most touching I found to be his visit to Takamatsu Sensei's tomb accompanied by the Sensei's daughter, and the thought she shared with him (page 68).
For those looking for an introduction to ninjutsu, I'd recommend Masaaki Hatsumi's other book, "Ninjutsu: History and Traditions". For the reader prepared to go beyond learning about ninja weapons and general history, this volume "Essence of Ninjutsu: The Nine Traditions" offers a look at the heart of a kindly man and a profound art.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2000
Some people may have said that this book was horrible since they expected to see some 'mumbo jumbo' Ninjutsu techniques performed by the Grandmaster. If that's your reason of purchasing this book then you got the wrong book. This is a book that will give you the true 'Essence of Ninjutsu", the indepth understanding of the art instead of the techniques. In this book, Hatsumi Sensei shares some stories of his teacher, Takamatsu sensei and his training experience with him to explain the real 'Budo' of his art. I really appreciate this book that from which I gained deeper understanding about Ninpo and it is one of the best Hatsumi Sensei's books in my collection.
If you're looking for the book with Ninjutsu techniques and yo're enough loaded with financial resources, I'd suggest you to go for Hayes' Ninja series (5 books) where you should get most of what you want to know about Ninpo techniques or get the Stick Fighting if you love using hanbo. PS: For another good reading of the similar contents, try the translation book, Ninpo:Wisdom for Life by Masaaki Hatsumi
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 1999
I can understand why someone is disappointed with this book and it's contents. Because it really discloses the essence of japanese ninpo and it is sometimes not what the reader expects. This is not a book about secret ninja techniques. It is mostly tales (some factual, some fiction) of ancient masters, mostly Hatsumi's own teacher Takamatsu Sensei. Each tale portrays the essence of ninpo and by reading all the tales, you will have clear understanding of it. If you don't get it, then you have been too mislead by all the lies about ninjutsu. Open your heart and read with thought. This is not for the illiterate - lots of metaphores are used and it is not an easy book. This will be read over and over during your training years!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 6, 2000
In order to have an even vague understanding of this book, you must at least be a warrior of Ninjitsu. The words of the Grandmaster, Maasaki Hatsumi, have many meanings at once. As one progresses in this wonderful art, the book is different every time you read. It has a new meaning and message, and remember, this is only an English translation of the Grandmaster's words! This book illustrates a few of the cosmic differences that this true martial art has compared to almost every other art. As far as humility, the Grandmaster is the master of humility. He is doing all he can just to not ascend from his physical body! I had better stop writing and go read this book again...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 7, 2000
Hatsumi-soke masterfully explains many of the precepts and philosophies behind ninpo specifically and martial arts in general. Many in the Western World will mistake his confidence for arrogance, but that is because the Oriental mind-set is not understood very easily in the Western world. Hatsumi-soke has earned the title "grandmaster" of the art of ninjutsu, and is therefore entitled to the confidence he displays. But at the same time, you do detect the humility that also accompanies that title in his writings. Truly, this book is a must-read for any who are considering or traveling the path of Bujinkan budo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 1999
This book is excellent for a number of reasons--the main one being that it was written by the world's leading authority on ninjutsu, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi. As usual, it dispels and debunks some of the popular myths of the "ninja"; but it also contains some of the Grandmaster's techniques and some interesting Japanese history. Full of neat tricks and tidbits (like how to put a frog to sleep), this book is a "must have" for the serious ninjutsu practitioner. In my opinion, all of Hatsumi's books should be considered required literature for the true Budo warrior.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2001
This book is superior to many of its contemporaries on the subject of ninpo. Many areas are covered, most of which is devoted to the life and adventures of Takamatsu Sensei. The reader learns of his youth, training in the old budo tradition of the Shinden Fudo school, later learning the secrets of ninjutsu and traveling to China to further his studies. There are excellent B/W photos of woodblock prints, as well as several pages devoted to Gyokko style mutodori kata. This is a must-have for any practicioner of ninpo or koryu bujutsu.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2000
This book is a kind of collection of stories and views on all sorts of things. Anyone can pick up this book and get something out of it, but they must be careful how they read it. Each time I pick this book up I see more in it. The only reason I keep picking it up is because I enjoy reading it. I hope you enjoy reading it, if you decide to buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2000
AN ESSENTIAL READ FOR ALL WHO WISH TO UNDERSTAND THE BUDO OF THE BUJINKAN DOJO. SOKE HATSUMI INCLUDES MANY STORIES WHICH GIVE A DEEP INSIGHT TO WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A NINJA. WARNING: THIS ISN'T A STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO NINJUSTSU, IT IS JUST THE DOORWAY. TO BECOME A NINJA ONE MUST HAVE PROPER INSTRUCTION FROM AT LEAST A 5TH DAN INSTRUCTOR.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 1999
Hatsumi gives an excellent insight into the "clandestine" world of ninjutsu. He dispells many of the myths surrounding the philosophies and history associated with ninja. A must read for anyone seriously interested in the arts.
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