Budo is the spiritual path of the martial arts that all practitioners must follow if they are to be true martial artists. Budo includes an array of martial arts developed in Japan, among them Aikido, Judo, Katratedo, Kyudo, and Kendo, but transcends simple combat techniques to ultimately attain a world of peace. In The Essence of Budo, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, the world-famous Ninja grandmaster, explores the very soul of the martial arts, delving deep into their revered histories and hidden teachings to unravel some of their most arcane secrets. The essence, or gokui, is not something specific that can be attributed to a single school or method; rather it is a living, breathing phenomenon of Budo, in constant flux and movement, and only through patient devotion to the martial arts can one begin to glimpse its intricacies.
Following from his bestselling The Way of the Ninja, Advanced Stick Fighting, Japanese Sword Fighting, and Unarmed Fighting Techniques, Dr. Hatsumi brings the reader his boldest and most profound exploration into the very heart of Budo to date. With his characteristic enthusiasm and intimation, Hatsumi draws the reader into an elusive, mutating, and evolving world of Budo, resonating with the teachings of the masters of old. Rather than providing the reader with a practical guide to the more esoteric techniques of Japan’s martial schools, Hatsumi conjures a world of images and allusion, created to impress upon the reader a sense of Budo’s venerable and intangible essence. The author’s intimate knowledge of all aspects of Japan’s martial history is painstakingly imparted throughout the pages, and he also demonstrates a range of important techniques relating to Budo’s essence that penetrate to the core of Budo, encompassing a panorama of truth, falsehood, justice, and religion from a martial perspective.
The author also shares anecdotes that fondly recall his beloved teacher Toshitsugu Takamatsu, elucidating the words of his former master and the influence they had on Hatsumi’s life. In his long quest for truth and justice, the author writes passionately about his own experiences and how they helped shape his philosophy on Budo and its essence. Including some four hundred pictures depicting the author demonstrating his techniques, and around three hundred pictures of rare works of calligraphy, illustrations, and hidden documents on the martial arts and their role in Japanese culture, this book will be relevant and insightful to practitioners of all martial traditions including Judo, Aikido, Karatedo, Kendo, Kenjutsu, Jujutsu, and Iaijutsu, among other various fighting arts.