State of the Art(s):
A Brief Assessment of Some Recent Martial Arts
By Deborah Klens-Bigman, Ph.D.
I have been practicing martial arts and sports for nearly 28 years,
having started as a Western foil fencer when I was 22 years old. Later,
after moving to New York and spending several years fencing at the Salle
Santelli, I took up Japanese swordsmanship. Along the route I tried kendo,
naginata (Japanese glaive), both koryu and sport) and kyudo (long bow
archery). I have always kept Japanese sword arts at the center of my
practice, however, and I have done that for 20 years.
I began reviewing martial arts books for the Journal of Asian
Martial Arts in 1994, and have reviewed a number of books for them over the years,
as well as reviewing books and the very occasional video for FightingArts.com.
My training as a writer and researcher in the field of Performance Studies
has uniquely equipped me to take on a field that is widespread and involves
movement analysis, history, sociology and anthropology.
When I find a good book, I enjoy celebrating it. I have gotten more
than one thank you note from a publisher for a good review. I always
respond with a thank you of my own: the publisher and author provided
the good book; I was just spreading the good news.
I have also gotten some negative flack for telling the truth about not-so-good
books. More than once I have gotten an email from an editor asking if
there wasn't something "nice" I could say about a review subject.
At least one time I responded that I never did make it on to the cheerleading
squad in junior high school, and I felt no need to go out for it again
Eventually, I just began ignoring potential review subjects that were
too badly written or too inaccurate for me to say anything "nice." I
turned out happier reviews because I was reading better books. Editors
were happy. I was happy. Even publishers (and perhaps authors) were happy.
Of course, there were many fewer of these to review, and I could spend
my time on other subjects altogether.
But every now and then I come across something that is so poorly done
and/or inaccurate, I feel the need to look it over and report on it as
a sort of public service. It is probably the frustrated university teacher
in me, trying to get out. This essay began as one of those warnings,
but has ended up becoming something more: a sort of small, general assessment
of what is happening in my little corner of the field of martial arts
With more access to teachers from and in Japan, and with more information
than ever before available, and with English-speaking writers gaining
a shred more understanding of Japanese and Chinese languages, it has
become harder and harder to publish books and articles that are inaccurate.
The sense that "people won't know the difference if we just make
this part up," or of naïve interpretations, is slowly disappearing,
but not entirely. The boom in martial arts (thanks to all of the above,
plus the Internet and access to video and DVD's, and increased travel)
has created a hunger in publishers for more and more books. Very often
editors are not versed in the martial arts genre dealt with in a given
manuscript; or, aware of the boom in martial arts books in the age of
easy self-publication, barely-qualified authors set out their magnum
opus in the world. In either case, unexamined, the books go into print,
where the unwary find and purchase them.
There are many examples, but in this essay I have chosen one that illustrates
many of the common errors that seem to appear all too often. It is Ronald
and Patricia Knutsen's Japanese Spears (2004). First, it should be noted
that the subject(s) are excellent. There is not much written in English
about spears and polearms. The Knutsens and their publisher obviously
noticed that. The authors also bring a lot of enthusiasm to their subject,
but that is where their facility with it (the subject matter) ends. Enthusiasm,
by itself, does not replace decent writing, or decent editing. Nor does
it replace basic research, and making sure everything you put in your
manuscript can be backed up somewhere (and telling us where we can find
it), whether by reference texts, other scholars' works or even primary
research that done by the authors themselves. Japanese Spears falls apart
on every one of these levels, and on many mundane points as well. These
are almost too trivial to go into, but are so numerous and annoying I
will actually start with them.
I knew I was in trouble when a book entitled Japanese Spears featured
a photo of a naginata, a glaive with a curved blade, on the cover. Well,
the subtitle said "polearms," so I figured I would let the
error go. I did not know that the cover photo would be such a good indication
of what I was to find inside.
Fifty bucks later, I was wondering if there really was an editor for
this book, because the editing errors are so numerous. Many small publishers
now figure somehow that with word processing spell checkers, there is
no longer any need for a human to check a manuscript for organization
clarity and those pesky, annoying details of syntax and consistency that
when corrected make for a good reading experience. The Knutsens' book
contains many of these errors. Here's a short list:
Statistics. Since the book purports to be an overview of Japanese spears
and polearms from the earliest times to the Edo period, statistics regarding
size, origin and dates (if known) become sort of important. While the
authors do attempt some sort of classification of objects, measurements
of blades and shafts are given in centimeters in some places in the text,
feet and inches in other places, and the traditional Japanese measurements
of sun and bu in still others. Sometimes the Japanese measurements are
given English equivalents, sometimes there are equivalents in centimeters,
and sometimes not at all. This is editing 101 – the means of measuring
should be consistent. Centimeters are probably the most accurate. Moreover,
errors in measurement are repeated, thanks to cut-and-paste editing.
There may be other examples (I cannot be sure), but a gross proofreading
error noted that a nagamaki, a battlefield polearm larger than a naginata,
with a long, curved blade, should be defined as having a blade that is
over 760cm. That's the blade, not the entire polearm. 760cm is approximately
24 feet. This error occurs three times in the text and glossary.
Descriptive terms. The same historical periods are identified with different
names, for example, "Sengoku Jidai" shares space with the "Warring
States Period," the "Period of the Warring States" and
so forth. While any of these designations could be used, they should
be used consistently to avoid confusing the reader.
Organization. The text is organized haphazardly. Again, it would seem
if an editor was present, his or her advice was apparently ignored. Why
give historical background (I'll get to the content later), specifics
on development, shape and size, follow that up with a survey of spear
kata, the meaning of spears and polearms within the contemporary practice
of martial arts, throw in a section on fittings, and then backtrack to
a discussion of spear techniques? Chapters consist, very often, of two
or three pages, except for the section entitled "Yari Development
After the Onin War," which has 14 pages. (Okay, Chapter 13, on spear
techniques, has 22, but they are mostly photos).
References and bibliography. For a subject of this magnitude, the book
itself is surprisingly brief (100 pages of text, followed by captioned
figures and photos). The bibliography is even briefer. One of the few
historians writing about Japanese military history, Karl F. Friday, is
totally ignored, while other books which are not referenced in the text,
and do not necessarily have much relevance to the topic, are included.
Things that I would have expected to see are omitted. For example, in
one of many digressions, the authors mention "Anjin San" (William
Adams), an Englishman who became a pawn of Tokugawa Ieyasu (and was immortalized
in James Clavell's novel Shogun). A note at the end of the section suggests
one should read more about him, but there is not one source listed in
the bibliography for further reading.
The authors mention several scholars in their text that are not in the
bibliography. One individual, referred to only as "Sasama," is
mentioned several times, but we are given no clue as to what he has written,
or where we can find it. Some works not mentioned in the bib are cited
at the end of the tiny "chapters;" but some of the citations
are not complete. Why these scholars are important enough to be noted
there and not in the bibliography remains a mystery; but at least they
are in there somewhere, unlike the unfortunate Mr. Sasama, who still
languishes in obscurity.
The authors list George C. Stone's A Glosssary of the Construction,
Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and All Times (1934)
as a reference. This is a classic reference I loved lugging home from
the library as a kid. Unfortunately, Stone's book has been shown to have
inaccuracies alongside useful information. Without an annotation to that
effect, Stone is not a very helpful reference. Simple errors, such as
an author referred to as "Griffiths" in one place and "Griffith" in
another seem trivial by comparison (as does the profusion of commas in
the text. But, I digress).
At the end of the brief text, we find 65 figures. Only a handful of
them are referred to in the book proper. The rest of the figures parallel
the text, though not exactly. The origins of the figures are only given
from time to time. For example, we do not know if many of the sketches
were done by the authors or taken from a scholarly source or reference.
In at least one instance, the authors note that a sketch is based on
conjecture, but we do not know about many of the others. The photo sources
are slightly better- referenced, mostly if they are from a museum collection,
and occasionally, the authors' collection. Otherwise, we are similarly
in the dark.
Content is another matter entirely. One of the problems with books written
by enthusiastic people, regardless of their martial arts prowess, is
their lack of training and experience as researchers. Research involves
uncovering as many sources as possible about the subject. Sources must
be weighed and evaluated. Does this make sense? Why is this source saying
something different? Difficult choices must be made. Sometimes the subject
becomes limited because the source material is limited.
The most difficult decisions to be made are often regarding what must
be left out, either because it cannot be verified or because it tracks
away from the main subject of inquiry. The last thing any good author
would do is throw everything she knows about a given subject into a single
book. Not only would it be a confusing mess, but the good author knows
to save some stuff for the next book. It's the Gypsy Rose Lee theory
of entertainment: Make 'em want more and then don't give it to them (until
You must also admit, and act within, your limitations. I am a Performance
Studies scholar, but I am not an historian. Neither, unfortunately, are
the Knutsens. The first section of the book attempts to give an historical
overview of polearms as they may have made their way into Japan from
the Asian mainland, back in the mists of time. I am not qualified to
assess this section for historical accuracy, but the Knutsens lace their
prose with so many phrases on the order of "we assume" and "perhaps" that
I suspect there is not much substantive that can be said here. Moreover,
in describing some early polearms, the Knutsens are strongly convinced
that these items are actually arms and not perhaps farm tools. I see
no reason why something that, for example, looks very much like a kama (a sickle with a short handle for cutting grain) could actually be a
kama, but could also be used as a weapon. Chances are it was used more
for the former than the latter. I looked through some photos I took in
Japan recently, and some early woodworking tools look very much like
those sketched in the Knutsens' figures of early polearms.
Interpretation of some of the data does contain errors of which I am
somewhat qualified to speak. There are three themes or subtopics that
keep popping up in the text, and I will deal with them one at a time.
These subjects get more than their share of references in the text, according
to the tiny index. Interestingly, none of them really relate to the subject
of spears and polearms.
The first of these subtopics is the authors' treatment of yamabushi.
Yamabushi are often described as "mountain priests" or ascetics
who live alone and practice rituals that are collectively known as Shugendo
(though it should be noted that the practice is not confined to them
alone). Shugendo is a very complicated practice that includes aspects
of Buddhism, Shinto, Taoism and folk rituals. There are rituals for cursing
enemies (which seem to intrigue people the most), but in my limited understanding,
most of the practices are benign. It is related to in some ways, but
is not part of, Shingon sect Buddhism. Moreover (and more importantly
to our subject here), Shugendo is definitively not related to martial
arts practice in any way. One of my colleagues, a Shingon Buddhist monk,
spends a certain amount of his time answering email inquiries from martial
arts enthusiasts who want to add Shugendo to their repertories. He has
gotten more than one angry response when he patiently points out what
I just noted above.
My colleague, who has taken the Buddhist name Eijo, has suggested that
the erroneous attribution of martial prowess to yamabushi may have to
do with their use of weapons in early rituals. However, by the Tokugawa
period possession and use of weapons was highly regulated, which made
continuing ritual use of them, even by mountain ascetics, less likely.
The Knutsens do no one a service by perpetuating this set of inaccuracies,
but they are by no means the only authors who have done so. It is my
firm hope that those who read this article will believe me, and leave
Shugendo in the esoteric world to which it belongs. Further confusing
things, the Knutsens keep referring to "proto-yamabushi," apparently
some earlier group. The first reference shows up on page 3, and there
are numerous references thereafter, but we are never given a clear idea
of who the authors are referring to, or what they may have practiced.
The second major subject is tengu. Tengu are the mischievous, long-nosed
goblins of Japanese folklore. Some have wings and feathers, some have
more human features. Sometimes tengu are depicted wearing the garb of
(gasp!) yamabushi. The current connection to martial arts practice comes
from illustrated scrolls from certain schools that depict weapons techniques
in particular, in which a tengu often plays the part of teacher. Probably
the best known of these is the Chozan Shissai’s Tengu Geijutsu
Ron, which has been translated into German, and then English, and is
available in book form (see Kammer, 1978).
The Knutsens take the idea of the tengu-teacher to its not very logical
extreme. When introducing the subject, they soberly suggest that tengu may have been some kind of foreigners who were later "demonized" as
the strange creatures we have come to know, and were therefore, in some
sense, real (my colleague very much doubts this. Tengu seem to be a Japanese
folk invention). As we progress through the text, we find (of course)
that tengu are experts in martial arts practice, and that they even are
the "messengers" of technique sent by the "war goddess" Marishiten
(more about her later). In the glossary, which being alphabetical is
much more clearly organized than the text, we find the definition of
tengu includes the point that they are "…extremely important
in the transmission of the upper levels of the bugei in their capacity
as 'messengers'…of the war-diety, Marishiten" (Knutsen and
Knutsen 2004, 122).
The Knutsens also quote the old story that legendary warrior Yoshitsune
was "trained by tengu" (Knutsen and Knutsen 2004, 29). Since
the tengu, in the Knutsen's view, are "demonized" foreigners,
there is no indication in the text that this might be based on a story;
instead, this item is expressed as actual fact (in contrast to the vagueness
of the historical introduction to Japan at the start of the book). My
colleague confirms there are indeed stories of Yoshitsune being trained
by tengu, but no source I could uncover accepts the idea as actual fact,
or even that some foreign visitors well-versed in tactics, strategy and
weapons were on tap to train him in his youth.
Here's my speculation on the meaning of the tengu in martial arts scrolls,
and I freely leave it to Dr. Friday or some other similarly qualified
person to correct me: I take as a parallel the Flos Duellatorum, an early
15th century Italian manual of Western martial arts which includes everything
from empty-hand techniques to use of lances from horseback. In the illustrations,
the author, Fiore de Liberi, always shows the teacher as a man wearing
a crown. In more complicated techniques, where both advanced practitioners
wear crowns, the more skilled person also wears a garter below his knee.
Anyone quickly looking at the illustrations therefore knows which is
the winning technique without necessarily having to consult the text.
The point is, if the Knutsens were to look at Fiore's text, they might
assume that kings were highly skilled teachers of martial arts. We know
of course, that royal battle skills were as variable as the next guy's.
Royalty may have had access to better instruction than most, but they
did not necessarily take it as seriously, since there were others who
did much of the fighting for them.
My feeling is, therefore, that teachers were depicted as tengu for the
sake of being quickly distinguished from others in a given illustrated
scroll, such as the Tengu Geijutsu Ron. I believe the use of the tengu character is intended to be affectionately humorous, since Japanese traditional
teachers are notoriously strict even to this day. One could even draw
a parallel in our own time by the character of Yoda in Star Wars. The
humor in the depictions of tengu in the scrolls should not surprise anyone
who is familiar with Japanese art, where visual puns and amusing metaphors
entertain collectors to this day. I could be wrong; but my conjecture
at least makes more sense than just figuring that the feathery critters
were really out there training Yoshitsune and other notable warriors
of Japanese history.
Finally, we get to Marishiten, the third subtopic in Japanese
The Knutsen's text repeatedly extols her as a "goddess of war" or
even, oxymoronically, the "Buddhist goddess of war." Minimal
research shows that Marishiten’s chief attribute is invisibility,
and her folk function is to confer prosperity on those who seek her favor
(JAANUS 2005, 1).
According to my colleague, Marishiten, as well as Bishamon ten and other
minor deities, were demons recruited from other faiths, for example,
Hinduism or the Tibetan Bon religion, who are convinced by means of Buddhist
compassion to abandon their bloodthirsty ways and become guardians of
There are doubts that such a "warrior cult of Marishiten” actually
existed to any real extent. Eijo san notes that sometimes monks might
call upon Marishiten's ability to become invisible but what they are
referring to is a sense of spiritual invisibility. Such invisibility
allows them to confront the hungry ghosts that prey on the faithful without
harm to themselves, to spiritually feed them and preach lessons of Buddhist
compassion in order to turn them from their evil ways.
The Knutsens base their interpretation of Marishiten largely on material
by David A. Hall. In his “Marishiten: Buddhist Influences on Combative
Behavior” (in Skoss, 1999), Hall suggests that Marishiten's various
attributes, including a certain ferocity and the ability to become invisible
made her a natural choice as a goddess to whom medieval warriors could
appeal for guidance. Aside from Hall’s work, however, an admittedly
cursory look at available research suggests there is no particular evidence
that a warrior cult of Marishiten existed. In 20 years of trips back
and forth to Japan and numerous visits to temples in different parts
of the country, I have seen little or no evidence of her as a distinct
entity for worship in the form of temples, paintings or sculptures. My
colleague, who, as a monk, has handled innumerable sacred art objects
over an even longer period of time, has seen only one or two examples
of votive images of Marishiten. Surely a goddess of war in what became
a society dominated by warriors would be better represented?
Here we have another research pitfall, putting faith in others' incomplete
research. There are no other sources besides Hall indicating a widespread
cult of Marishiten. That in itself does not mean there wasn't one, but
it makes it less likely. As a researcher, it is always better to evaluate
as many sources as possible. Where only one source exists, tread carefully.
In addition to the three subtopics mentioned above, there are a number
of small points that also suggest a lack of research. The Knutsens fall
into the trap of assuming that nanori, the act of declaring one's name
to one's enemies at the start of the battle, and beseeching a worthy
opponent to come out and fight, was actually part of how ancient warriors
conducted themselves on the field (2004, 35). Again, many other writers
have assumed the same. Dr. Friday has pointed out that the trope of nanori
is a staple of old literature that probably originated in China (2004,
n.p.). In the days before battlefield reporting, the naming sections
allowed reciters, who told the tales of warriors, to show off their poetic
skills. It is very highly unlikely that any warrior was actually in the
habit of calling attention to himself before a fight, since that would
probably bring a response from a lowly archer rather than an opponent
more worthy of his skills. But the fact is, we simply don’t know
The Knutsens totally botch telling the story of the Ako Ogishi (also
known as Chushingura, or the 47 Ronin story). This is a real historical
incident from 1702-03, in which a young lord, Asano, from the remote
province of Ako, attacked Kira, a senior shogunal official while in the
palace, wounding him. Asano was sentenced to die the same day for his
rash act. After his death, Asano's loyal retainers plotted and carried
out a revenge in which Kira was killed, and they subsequently offered
themselves up for execution in turn. In their telling of the story, the
Knutsens state that Lord Asano was publicly embarrassed by Kira, and
then drew his sword in anger. In making this statement, the Knutsens
seem to be solving one of the big mysteries of Edo period history. In
his excellent Legends of the Samurai (1995), Hiroaki Sato has translated
the investigator's report of an interview with Asano regarding the incident.
The report notes that Asano emphatically refused to say what had caused
his quarrel with Kira, and that he kept the secret even to his death
(Sato 1995, 307-10). Since then playwrights, filmmakers and commentators
have speculated endlessly about Asano's motives. One of the possible
motives, as expressed in the film Chushingura: The Loyal 47 Retainers (Toho, Inc. 1962), was that Asano was publicly embarrassed. The film
does not make it into the Knutsen's bibliography, but that could be the
source of this interpretation.
Compounding the error, the authors further state that playwright Chikamatsu
Monzaemon's play, "Chushingura" is "still quite popular" (Knutsen
and Knutsen 2004, 55). Chikamatsu never wrote a play called "Chushingura." The
most popular play still performed is entitled Kanadehon Chushingura ("A
Copybook of Loyal Retainers"), and it was written by Takeda Isumo,
Miyoshi Shiroku and Namiki Senryu, over 40 years after Chikamatsu's death
(Keene 1982, 10). In the play, Asano is goaded, but not publicly embarrassed,
by Kira, who is avidly (but unsuccessfully) courting Asano's wife (See
The larger problem of course, is, how we can believe anything in the
book with errors that can be picked up by a moderately informed person
(who, okay, just happens to know a little more about the Ako Ogishi than
some). Do I really need to say it? It is better to leave history to the
historians, and write about what you know, or at least to rely upon reputable
historians to support any points you make. And if there is no data available
to support your assumptions, it is better to remain silent. The Knutsens
seem to have a collection of Japanese spears and polearms. I cannot tell,
from the book, exactly the scope or quality of their collection. Japanese
Spears would have been a much better book if the Knutsens had stayed
with the topic that is reflected in the title, examined, dated and classified
their collection and the holdings of others, and created a useful, truthful,
factually accurate book. If they had wanted to cut loose at the end and
write about the meaning and/or importance of spear techniques in contemporary
Japanese martial traditions, or even throw in a few warrior stories (tengu
and all), then that material would have been situated against a useful
and coherent backdrop. As it is, I was left with the impression of not
knowing what, if anything, in the book could be believed, which is unfortunate,
because I truly believe that was not the authors' intention at all.
So, who is writing decent stuff about Japanese traditional martial arts
and related subjects? There are a few, as I said, written by people with
solid backgrounds in Japanese language, history and martial arts practices.
Consider this a short list that would be a good backbone to a decent
library dealing in Japanese traditional martial arts:
Davis, F. Hadland
1992 Myths and Legends of Japan. Mineola, NY: Dover
This facsimile version of the original 1913 text provides
a viewpoint on traditional Japanese tales unmediated by modern scholarship
- a unique
turn-of-the-century Western sensibility.
Donohue, John J.
1994 Warrior Dreams: The Martial Arts and the American Imagination. Westport,
CT: Bergin & Garvey.
An anthropological analysis of Americans’ fascination
with martial arts practices. Among other images, Donohue draws parallels
to the movie
Shane and the romantic notion of the solitary hero.
Friday, Karl F. and Humitake, Seki
1997 Legacies of the Sword: The Kashima Shinryu and Samurai Martial Culture.
Honolulu: Univ. of Hawaii Pr.
Friday, Karl F.
1992 Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power. Stamford: Univ.
of Stamford Pr.
Karl Friday is a unique individual as both historian and a menkyo kaiden
(license holder) of the Kashima Shinryu. His work always seeks to debunk
misconceptions about samurai culture. Sometimes complicated reading,
but worth it.
1998 Armed Martial Arts of Japan: Swordsmanship and Archery. New Haven:
Yale Univ. Pr.
Hurst traces the development of both archery and swordsmanship. While
necessarily brief, the book is very useful. Hurst also chronicles the
decline of traditional swordsmanship after the beginning of the Meiji
era, which can make for tough reading for traditional practitioners.
Consider it medicine.
Jansen, Marius B.
1994 Sakamoto Ryoma and the Meiji Restoration. NY: Columbia Univ. Pr.
Jansen’s well-informed biography is probably the best source
available in English on this enigmatic 19th century figure and his
role in Meiji restoration politics.
Jones, David E.
1997 Women Warriors: A History. Washington: Brassey’s.
A sometimes laundry-list compilation of women warriors’ exploits
throughout (mostly Western) history. Explodes numerous myths about women’s
fitness for combat, including the uncomfortable truth that female military
leaders could be just as cruel (or more so) than men.
Mitford, A.B. (Lord Redesdale)
1966 Tales of Old Japan. North Clarendon, VT: Tuttle Pub.
Lord Redesdale served as inspiration for the English gentleman character
in The Last Samurai. He was stationed in Tokyo for England’s
diplomatic service during the transition from the Tokugawa to Meiji
eras. His book
offers insights into a society in major transition from feudalism
to modern empire. The sections on the 47 Ronin story should be required
reading for anyone interested in sword and samurai.
Legends of the Samurai. New York: The Overlook Press.
Sato profiles famous samurai warriors and commanders from the 8th century
CE to the end of the Tokugawa era by translating passages of original
accounts paired with insightful commentary, including an exploration
of the 47 Ronin debate.
Skoss, Dianne, Ed.
1997 Koryu Bujutsu. Berkeley, NJ: Koryu Books.
Skoss, Dianne, Ed.
1999 Sword and Spirit. Berkeley, NJ: Koryu Books.
While some of the articles are uneven, both of these books offer
insights by well-known koryu (lit. “old style”) martial
artists, and offer outlines of many traditional forms still extant
2004 Miyamoto Musashi: His life and writings. Boston: Shambhala Pub.
Tokitsu explores virtually every source there is, and interviews contemporary
practitioners of Musashi’s Niten Ichi ryu seeking insights into
Musashi’s life, work and legacy. Includes color illustrations of
Musashi’s works of art.
1994 Warriors of Japan as Portrayed in the War Tales. Honolulu: Univ.
of Hawaii Pr.
Varley outlines several famous Japanese war tales and then seeks to
place various figures and events in historical context. A great antidote
to some of the more romantic depictions out there (not to mention the
The author wishes to thank Eijo san for his invaluable assistance in
the preparation of this article; however, any errors are entirely my
2005 Personal correspondence with the author.
Friday, Karl F.
2004 Lecture at Columbia University (October).
Hall, David A.
1999 “Marishiten: Buddhist Influences on Combative Behavior in
Koryu Bujutsu” in Skoss, Diane (Ed.) Koryu Bujutsu. Berkeley, NJ:
Koryu Books p. 87-120.
JAANUS – Japanese
Architecture and Art Net Users System
1978 Zen and Confucius in the Art of Swordsmanship: The Tengu-geijutsu-ron
of Chozan Shissai. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
1971 Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers. NY: Columbia Univ.
1982 “Variations on a Theme: Chushingura” in
Chushingura: Studies in Kabuki and the Puppet Theatre (Brandon, James
R., Ed.) Honolulu:
Univ. of Hawaii Pr. pp1-22.
Knights of the Wild Rose
n.d. Fiore De Liberi., Flos Duellatorum.(The Flower of Battle) www.varmouries.com/wildrose/fiore/fiore.html
Knutsen, Roald and Knutsen, Patricia
2004 Japanese Spears: Polearms and Their Use in Old Japan. Folkstone,
Kent: Global Oriental.
1995 Legends of the Samurai. Woodstock: Overlook Pr.
1962 Chushingura: The Loyal 47 Retainers (film). Video from East-West
Classics and Image Entertainment (1998).
About The Author:
Deborah Klens-Bigman is Manager and Associate Instructor of iaido at
New York Budokai in New York City. She has also studied, to varying extents,
kendo, jodo (short staff), kyudo (archery) and naginata (halberd). She
received her Ph.D in 1995 from New York University's Department of Performance
Studies where she wrote her dissertation on Japanese classical dance
(Nihon Buyo). and she continues to study Nihon Buyo with Fujima Nishiki
at the Ichifuji-kai Dance Association. Her article on the application
of performance theory to Japanese martial arts appeared in the Journal
of Asian Martial Arts in the summer of 1999. She is married to artist
Vernon Bigman. For FightingArts.com she is Associate Editor for Japanese