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David A. Hall, one of today’s leading experts on Japanese combative culture, combines hands-on experience in a wide variety of martial traditions with an academic and religious background to produce this landmark work. The Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts is an exhaustive, impeccably researched reference offering information about everything there is to know on the subject, from “adauchi” (a vendetta) to “zanshin” (state of focused vigilance before, during, and after executing a technique or combative form).

The volume opens with several sections to help make using the Encyclopedia as efficient and effective as possible: Abbreviations, Quick Guide to Weapons and Systems, Historical Eras, guides to the Entries and Lineage Charts, and A Note on the Japanese Language and Communication Style. The Encyclopedia itself, which runs for more than 625 pages and contains around 4,000 entries arranged alphabetically with bilingual entry headings and concise definitions, covers all aspects of the many different martial arts that have developed in Japan.

Following the main portion of the work are several Appendices (Traditional East Asian Numbering Systems and Ancient Period Military Organization), as well as a Selected Bibliography, and Character Indices (General, Chinese, English, and Sanskrit) containing around 6,000 terms.

With its vast wealth of information and practical organization, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts is sure to become the essential reference for the beginning martial artist, as well as for the advanced student who wants a deeper understanding of the subject. Additionally, the book is perfect for scholars and researchers, who will appreciate the access to material previously unavailable in English; and for reference libraries and Asian studies and language departments.

David Hall introduces the Encyclopedia on this video. Check it out!


About the Author

David A. Hall studied martial arts in Japan and continues to train and teach. Hall is also an ordained Buddhist priest, and received a Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies/Military History from UC Berkeley.He is the author of many published papers on both martial arts and Buddhist studies, and is currently a professor at Montgomery College in Maryland, where he is also a Director of CyberWatch, a National Science Foundation-supported center dealing with information assurance and security.


"This book is an exhaustively researched, important and authoritative resource on the Japanese martial arts and the rich historical and social tapestry within which it is embedded. . . . What distinguishes this encyclopedia is its rigorous authenticity. The text synthesizes Hall's unique background, education, multi-language ability, research, and experience in the martial arts, Japanese culture and religion into a well-organized and formidable text. If you are interested in Japanese martial arts, its history or tradition, this is an important reference. I found it fascinating. I would recommend it. . . ." - Fighting Arts

"This book is a treasure trove of information for the student of Japanese martial arts and the scholar alike. It lives up to its name as an encyclopedia of the martial arts of Japan. The book contains entries on a broad range of subjects. . . . it fills an important gap in the available information due to its level of detail and Asian language references. . . . The book will appeal to a broad spectrum of Japanese martial arts enthusiasts from the dedicated student looking for detailed information on a specific term, art or person to the scholar or researcher looking for authentic information for use in an article, novel or film." - Aikido Journal

"An impressive reference book. . . ." - Black Belt Magazine

"I just received a copy of the most amazing book: Encyclopedia of Japanese Martial Arts. As with all Kodansha books, this one is beautifully well made [and] easy to use. . . . This book is a gem. . . . will stay close to me on my writing desk for easy reference as it is now an indispensable tool." - Examiner.com

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