Dueling with O-Sensei
Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage
By Ellis Amdur
If you are a long-time martial artist, you have likely been either the recipient, the victim – or both – of the "wise old master" phenomenon, whereby budo students reverentially enfold their teachers as martial, moral and mystical juggernauts sans reproach, in which case, this book will make you clench your fists and laugh out loud, often while reading the same sentence. Iconoclastic, rebellious, yet fiercely holding to some of the most traditional values of Japanese martial culture, Amdur brought something new to martial arts writing - a startling honesty about the flaws, not only within martial arts culture, but also within its practitioners, often using himself as an exemplar of the latter.
Originally published in 2000, and now fully revised, with eight new chapters, new artwork and photography, Dueling with O Sensei, Revised and Expanded Edition will be an invaluable addition to the library of old readers and new alike.
1: The Knights of the Moldy Rope
2: Ukemi from the Ground Up
3: My First Days at the Headquarters D?j?
4: The Best of Their Time
5: Forever Young
6: A Conversation with Dait?-ry?’s Other Child
7: Atemi: Striking to the Heart of the Matter
8: Did You Ever Meet O-sensei? O-sensei Who?
9: Tenchi: Head in the Clouds and Feet in the Muck
10: Toward Simple Morality—Or How Come Something So Fine Sometimes Turns So Ugly?
11: Otoko (Manhood)
12: Anyone Can Be O-sensei In One’s Own Movie
13: The Ring is Where You Draw It
14: So How Tough Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
16: Hiding in the Shadows of the Warrior
17: Aiki: A State of the Union
18: Aiki is Not Always Pretty
19: Cutting the Circle
20: Musubi: Tying Together or Tying in Knots
21: Bushi no Nasake
22: Kamae: Taking a Stand
23: Oniisan (Elder Brother)
'If there were an 'ordinary martial arts book', this would be its evil twin. Unflinchingly honest, writing from an unique, insider-turned-outsider's perspective, Ellis explores aspects of budo, its philosophies and dilemmas through the lens of aikido, a modern martial art whose founder is discussed in reverential tones and wrapped in quasi-religious mystique. Looking at the idea of budo-as-way-of-life and a path to personal perfection, Ellis confronts the real-world complexities and contradictions behind these simplified stereotypes, revealing insights which hold value for any martial artist or even a non-martial artist with an interest in the darker aspects of human nature.'
Dave Lowry, author of Persimmon Wind: A Martial Artist’s Journey in Japan
Ellis Amdur lived in Japan for thirteen years, and while there, received teaching licenses in two classical Japanese martial traditions. Following his return to America, he developed a range of training and consultation services, as well as a unique style of assessment and psychotherapy, based on a combination of phenomenological psychology and the underlying philosophical and tactical premises of classical Japanese martial traditions. Ellis has been a lead trainer for close to one hundred law enforcement and correctional institutions on crisis intervention and negotiation related subjects.
A prolific writer, he has authored ten profession-specific books on tactical communication, and several works of fiction. In addition to Dueling O-Sensei, he has also authored two other martial arts-related texts, Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions Expanded Edition, and Hidden in Plain Sight.