Martial Arts: Book Reviews
Encyclopedia Of Japanese Martial Arts
By David Hall
Reviewed by Christopher Caile
This book is an exhaustively researched, important and authoritative resource on Japanese martial arts and the rich historical and social tapestry within which it is embedded. Within its 682 pages lie over 4,000 entries, many with extensive commentary. Entries include information on hundreds of classical martial arts systems and their more modern derivatives such as Judo, aikido, kendo, karate, etc., terminology, etiquette, history, weapons, spiritual traditions and combat culture. Also included are the historical influences by Buddhism, Shintoism and Shugendo on Japanese culture and the martial arts. The text is richly illustrated with photos, charts, line drawings and lists.
What distinguishes this encyclopedia is its rigorous authenticity. The text synthesizes Hall's unique background, education, multi-language ability, research, and experience in the marital 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 book. I found it fascinating. I would recommend it for a library or any serious martial artist.
David A Hall, Ph.D., a professor at Montgomery College in Maryland, is one of the foremost Western experts on Japanese martial arts and its social and cultural history. It stems from knowledge gained from over 45 years of education and experience. An ordained Buddhist priest, Hall received a PH.D. in Buddhist Studies/Military History from the University of California, Berkley. Hall continued his extensive research in modern and classical Japanese, Classical Chinese, Sanskrit, English, Pali and French, and the book contains reference sections in the first four of these languages. Hall also served as the director of the International Hopological Society which studies combative behavior, systems and performances. He was awarded a Fulbright fellowship for study in Japan and has been the author of numerous publications on topics related to martial arts and Buddhism.
After training in several other martial arts, Hall began training in Shindo Muso Ryu (jodo) under Donn F. Draeger, and in 1977, continued that training under 25th headmaster Shimizu Takaji. Dr. Hall received the full transmission of this system from Draeger's personal disciple, Karunakaran s/o R. Chindan, in 1989, and a license in the system in 1993 from Shimizu's direct disciple, Nishioka Tsuneo. In 1978, Dr. Hall joined the Kashima Shinden Jiki Shinkage Ryu under 18th headmaster Namiki Yasushi and received several licenses over the next 10 years. In 1985, he began formal training in Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Heiho under 21st generation lineal headmaster Yagyu Nobuharu Toshimichi.
About The Reviewer:
Christopher Caile is the founder and Editor of FightingArts.com.