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About Alexander Bennett
Alex Bennett was born in 1970 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1994. He received his Doctoral degree from Kyoto University in 2001, and another from the University of Canterbury in 2012. After working at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, and then Teikyo University's Department of Japanese Culture, he is currently employed as a Professor at Kansai University's Division of International Affairs where he teaches Japanese history and society.
In terms of the martial arts, Alex is Vice President of the International Naginata Federation, International Committee member at the All Japan Kendo Federation, Director of the Japanese Academy of Budo, and also represents NZ Kendo as the Head Coach. He is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of "Kendo World", the world's only English language journal dedicated to Kendo, and holds the grades of Kendo Kyoshi 7-dan, Iaido 5-dan, Naginata 5-dan, Jukendo 5-dan, Tankendo 5-dan. He has competed successfully in international competitions in Naginata and Kendo, taking second place in the World Naginata Championships in July, 2011, and leading the NZ Kendo team to a top 8 placing at the World Kendo Championships in 2012.
When he is not training in the dojo, or tapping away on his keyboard, Alex enjoys a cold beer down at his local pub in Kyoto.
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The Hagakure is one of the most influential of all Japanese texts—written nearly 300 years ago by Yamamoto Tsunetomo to summarize the very essence of the Japanese Samurai bushido ("warrior") spirit. Its influence has been felt throughout the world, and yet its existence is scarcely known to many Westerners. This is the first translation to include the complete first two books of the Hagakure and the most reliable and authentic passages contained within the third book; all other English translations published previously have been extremely fragmentary and incomplete.
Alex Bennett's completely new and highly readable translation of this essential work includes extensive footnotes that serve to fill in many cultural and historical gaps in the previous translations. This unique combination of readability and scholarship gives Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai a distinct advantage over all previous English editions.
Alex Bennett's groundbreaking new translation of The Book of Five Rings reveals the true meaning of this text for the first time. Like Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Musashi's book offers unique insights, not just for warriors, but for anyone wanting to apply the Zen Buddhist principle of awareness to achieve success in their endeavors. This book sheds new light on Japanese history and on the philosophical meaning of Bushido—the ancient "code of the Japanese warrior."
Unlike other translations that are based on incomplete and inaccurate versions of Musashi's work, Bennett's is the first to be based on a careful reconstruction of the long-lost original manuscript. Capturing the subtle nuances of the original Japanese classic, the result is a far more accurate and meaningful English version of The Book of Five Rings text.
Richly annotated and with an extensive introduction to Musashi's life, this version includes a collection of his other writings—translated into English for the first time. A respected scholar, as well as a skilled martial artist, Bennett's understanding of Musashi's life and work is unparalleled.
This book will be widely read by students of Japanese culture, history, military strategy, and martial arts. It sets a new standard against which all other translations will be measured.
Bushido: The Samurai Code of Japan is the most influential book ever written on the Japanese "Way of the Warrior." A classic study of Japanese culture, the book outlines the moral code of the Samurai way of living and the virtues every Samurai warrior holds dear. It is widely read today in Japan and around the world.
There are seven core precepts of Bushido:
- Rectitude: "The power of deciding upon a certain course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering."
- Courage: "Doing what is right."
- Benevolence: "Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity."
- Civility: "Courtesy and urbanity of manners."
- Sincerity: "The end and the beginning of all things."
- Honor: "A vivid conscious of personal dignity and worth."
- Loyalty: "Homage and fealty to a superior."
With an extensive new introduction and notes by Alex Bennett, a respected scholar of Japanese history, culture and martial arts with a firsthand knowledge of the Japanese warrior code, Bushido: The Samurai Code of Japan is an essential guide to the essence of Japanese culture. Bennett's views on this subject are revolutionizing our understanding of Bushido, as expressed in his Japanese bestseller The Bushido the Japanese Don't Know About.
An incredible, untold story of survival and acceptance that sheds light on one of the darkest chapters in Japanese history.
This book tells the story of Kazuo Odachi who—in 1943, when he was just 16 years-old—joined the Imperial Japanese Navy to become a pilot. A year later, he was unknowingly assigned to the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps—a group of airmen whose mission was to sacrifice their lives by crashing planes into enemy ships. Their callsign was "ten dead, zero alive."
By picking up Memoirs of a Kamikaze, readers will experience the hardships of fighter pilot training—dipping and diving and watching as other trainees crash into nearby mountainsides. They'll witness the psychological trauma of coming to terms with death before each mission, and breathe a sigh of relief with Odachi when his last mission is cut short by Japan's eventual surrender. They'll feel the anger at a government and society that swept so much of the sacrifice under the rug in its desperation to rebuild.
Odachi's innate "samurai spirit" carried him through childhood, WWII and his eventual life as a kendo instructor, police officer and detective. His attention to detail, unwavering self-discipline and impenetrably strong mind were often the difference between life and death. Odachi, who is now well into his nineties, kept his Kamikaze past a secret for most of his life. Seven decades later, he agreed to sit for nearly seventy hours of interviews with the authors of this book—who know Odachi personally. He felt it was his responsibility to finally reveal the truth about the Kamikaze pilots: that they were unsuspecting teenagers and young men asked to do the bidding of superior officers who were never held to account.
This book offers a new perspective on these infamous suicide pilots. It is not a chronicle of war, nor is it a collection of research papers compiled by scholars. It is a transcript of Odachi's words.
With a new foreword by historian and martial artist Alexander Bennett, Shaolin Kung Fu details the oldest form of this ancient Chinese martial art. Shaolin Kung Fu is prized for its elegant style, effectiveness as a fighting system and as an exercise that benefits both body and mind.
Authors Donn F. Draeger and P'ng Chye Khim, both master martial artists and Shaolin experts, focus on the Lohan technique—believed to have developed from a form devised at the legendary Shaolin Temple some 1,500 years ago. This comprehensive book offers a practical introduction, including:
- The history and fundamentals of Shaolin Kung Fu
- The fundamentals of Shaolin
- A complete description of the Lohan technique and how to master it
- Detailed Shaolin training methods, including the use of weapons
- Weapons used in Shaolin
This book is intended as a supplement to a dedicated training program and includes detailed instructions explaining both the solo and partner practice forms. Accompanied by over 400 photos and sketches, this excellent introduction to the Lohan form is a must-have for every serious student of Shaolin and Kung Fu.
Shaolin Kung Fu was intended to provide Buddhist monks in ancient China with an art that would not only act as an intense conditioning tool, but also arm them with a formidable system of self defense. Though the context for these skills has changed, modern readers can benefit from this method in much the same way as its original students.
Contents: Editorial, Defining Budo, Hanshi Says: Matsumoto Akimasa (K8), Kendo in Brazil, Shiori Sensei's Chilean report, The Internationalisation of kumdo, NZ visit report, Reidan-Jichi part 8 'Kamae', sWords of Wisdom - 'The Precision of the Short Sword', Mumeishi Dōjō 40th Anniversary, Nitō Part 5: Applied Techniques, Ideas and History of the Sword Part 3: Ancient Japan and the Sword, Old Scrolls Bokuden Matsugo-ryū, Kendo Clinic Ganglions - the “Bible Cyst”, Unlocking Japan: Part 16 Lifer, Tales of the Samurai Chapter 8: Honest Kyūsuke, A Duffle Bag & A Bōgu Bag: Part 3: Bouncer, Three Rōnin, The Art of Devotion, From Jukenjutsu to Jukendo, Sumi Masatake - Kendo That Cultivates People Part 7: The Role of Keiko at ‘Tanren-ki’ Level, The Process of Making Japanese Swords, Enhancing Science by Considering “Principles of the Sword”, Essentials for the study of Iai, Cutting-Edge Iaido, The Kendo Coach: Part 1 Sports Psychology in Kendo, It’s a Long Hard Road, Suigetsu - “The moon in water”, Bookmark: Training The Samurai Mind, Naginata Technical Special: Shikake-Ōji Part 6 Roppon-me, An Overview of the Way of Naginata: The Perspective of a Traditionalist, Martial Aids: The “Men-gane Cover”, Bookmark: The Edo Inheritance.
Author Alexander Bennett is the ultimate insider—holding multiple black belts in Kendo and Naginata, as well as a Ph.D. in Japanese literature and history. In this book he shares his vast personal experience and knowledge with readers seeking to undertake their own personal quest in the Japanese martial arts.
Bennett outlines the Japanese history of Bushido and the Samurai—from early times up until the present. Then, as only someone steeped in this world can, he surveys the contemporary martial arts scene and provides the essential knowledge young foreigners need to find a teacher and learn successfully. Unlike any other book on this subject, Japan The Ultimate Samurai Guide is written by a Japanese speaker who has studied and taught martial arts in Japan for many decades.
- The Real Samurai
- The Concept of Bushido
- Development of the Japanese Martial Arts
- Martial Arts Masters You Should Know About
- Budo in Japan Today
- Key Martial Arts Concepts
- Life in a Japanese Dojo
- A Japan Survival Guide
As Bennett says, "This book is supposed to be genuinely from the heart. Without the pretense…misconceptions or romantization that often accompanies martial arts."
Bennett's analysis of these writings shows that the essential meaning of Bushido, the Samurai's code of conduct and ethics, evolved significantly over time—from the 12th century when the warrior class was elevated to become an elite group, to the 19th century when the Samurai class was suddenly disbanded.
Bushido Explained takes a visual approach to presenting important concepts and terminology, helping readers easily navigate the complex world of the Samurai. The text is written in a highly accessible style, with sidebars presenting interesting concepts, facts and important Samurai figures who were central to Bushido's evolution. The different types of Bushido—which vary by region, time period and Samurai rank—are presented with over 300 informative diagrams and illustrations.
No other book offers such a wide-ranging, yet clear analysis of Bushido—debunking myths and misconceptions about who the Samurai truly were. Bushido Explained presents a precise overview of Samurai ideals and culture in a logical, chronological order.
Author Alexander Bennett—a professor of Japanese history, martial arts and Budo theory at Kansai university in Japan—uses this information and teaching methods in his Japanese Studies: Introduction to Bushido class. Now, readers all over the world can sit in on the unique lesson.
A wide-range of articles covering in-depth interviews with top-ranked Japanese sensei, historical research, detailed technical analysis and articles from kendoka around the world. Equivalent of 112 pages A4. Full article list:
14th World Kendo Championships Sao Paulo, Brazil
One Chance, One Opportunity: —The Story of Team USA—
Inside View 14th WKC and the Shinai Measuring Team
Hanshi Says Okada Yasuo (Hanshi 8-dan)
55th Zen Nihon Tozai Taiko Kendo Taikai
The 55th All Japan East-West Kendo Tournament
The Nuts ‘n Bolts of Kendo
What are the Principles of Maai?
The Importance and Practicality of Maintaining Chudan as a Form of Defence in Kendo
Do it Yourself Kendo
Kendo That Cultivates People Part 9: The Role of Keiko at ‘Tanren-ki’ Level
Kendo in Kathmandu
The Process of Making Japanese Swords Part 2
Reidan-jichi Part 9 ; Kamae
Spiritual Sports ; The Cultural Evolution ofJapanese Swordsmanship Part 1
Celebrating the Dead
Ideas and History of the Sword ; Part 4: Swords in Early-Modern Japan
The Nidan Grading
Trafalgar Square and Iai in the Sky
The Kendo Coach: Sports Psychology in Kendo Part 2: Coping with Anxiety
Boffaism & Beating the Bush Kendo & Violence
Kendo and the Search for Inner-Peace
A Sojourn in the Middle East
A Duffle Bag & a Bogu Bag ; Part 4 : Demos!
Jukendo no Kata
Book Mark 7 Samurai Wisdom Lessons from Japan’s Warrior Culture, Translated by Thomas Cleary
Shinai Sagas: I’m Different Now...
Naginata Technical Special: Shikake-Ōji Part 7 Nanahon-me
Principles of the Sword
NITO PART 6: Applied Techniques Part 2
sWords of Wisdom Kiten no Muto-dori (Stealing the sword with savoir-faire)
Unlocking Japan: Part 17 ; The Safe Country?
Historical Sightseeing Sekigahara Town
Dōjō Files Kendo Sensei Passing through Catalunya (South-West France)
Bushido - Real and Invented by Michael Ishimatsu-Prime
Hanshi Says - Ota Tadanori sensei
Spiritual Sports Part 2: The “Civilising Process” of Japanese Swordsmanship from the Tokugawa Period and Beyond by Alex Bennett
Reidan-jichi Part 10: Various Issues Surrounding Seme by Oya Minoru
A Brief Overview of Pre-WWII Kendo in Brazil by Luiz Kobayashi Phd
The Dai Nippon Butokukai Seitei Kenjutsu Kata by Alex Bennett
Teaching Kendo to Children - An Introduction for New Instructors by Ben Sheppard
Principles of the Sword Part 5- Bushido – Just Another Anachronism? by Dr. Stefan Maeder
Women’s Kendo in the Lands of Diversity by Carla Sánchez (Ecuador Kendo Federation)
Shozo Kata sensei Interview: Reaching the Pinnacle, with Helping Hands from Afar by Paul H.B. Shin
The Process of Making Japanese Swords: Part 3 by Mikami Sadanao (Swordsmith), Translated by Nick Mathys
The Nuts ‘n Bolts of Kendo – Striking Opportunities & San-Sappo Nakano Yasoji, (Hanshi 9-dan)
Kendo That Cultivates People – Part 10: The Role of Keiko at ‘Tanren-ki’ Level by Sumi Masatake sensei translated by Honda Sotaro
A Duffle Bag & a Bogu Bag – Part 5: The Way of the Sword in Guatemala by Masahiro Imafuji
Origins of a Legend: The Real Musashi – The Bushu Denraiki, Translated and Annotated by William De Lange, Review by Jeff Broderick
Fiction: Shinai Sagas: The Fifth Poison by Charlie Kondek
The Kendo Coach – Sports Psychology in Kendo Part: 3 “Attentional Focus” by Blake Bennett
Naginata Technical Special– Part 8: Hachihon-me by Alex Bennett
It’s not the Hokey Cokey - Seme by Stuart Gibson
sWords of Wisdom “Muso-no-ken” (The sword of no-contemplation) of Itō Ittōsai
Kumdo Demystified by Alex Bennett
Jukendo no Kata – Part II: Mokujū tai Tō-no-Kata by Baptiste Tavernier
Zen and the Martial Arts by Thomas Kirchner
Unclocking Japan – The Idiot Box by Lockie Jackson Phd
Miyako Kendogu by Alex Bennett
4th Dan: The Movie