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Dueling with O'Sensei

Book Summary:

From the Publisher: In this volume, Ellis Amdur has radically reworked his iconoclastic essays first published on the website of Aikido Journal. Here, he attempts to establish the existence of something all but lost in Japanese martial arts -- a sophisticated type of training, encompassing mental imagery, breath-work, and a variety of physical techniques that offered the practitioner the potential to develop skills sometimes viewed as nearly superhuman. Commonly referred to as "internal training," and usually believed to be the provenance of Chinese martial arts, Amdur asserts that not only was it once common among many Japanese martial traditions, but elements of such training still remain, passed down in a few martial arts -- literally "hidden in plain sight." As always, Amdur reminds us that this is a human endeavor and he provides vivid, even heartbreaking portrayals of some of the great practitioners of these skills, men who devoted their lives to an obsessive pursuit of power.

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Review by: Thomas Groendal

This book was revolutionary for me at a time in my life when I contemplated leaving Aikido.

I have read a great deal of recycled ideas in Aikido books, and this has its value. Sometimes a good idea can be made better, but this book is not a different path up the same mountain.

It addresses what Aikido was for Mr. Amdur through his real world experiences and connects within the reach of the author's own experience how these ideals and real human conflicts can interact.

It is a rare gem in the martial world. It neither overtly lectures on philosophy nor does it indulge in Samurai fantasy.

Most of all, though, this book was a surprisingly page turning read, a clarion call and it is the first book I recommend to anyone who I teach Aikido to.

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