View Full Version : An Interview Concerning the Release of Old School - Expanded Edition

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Ellis Amdur
02-07-2015, 05:58 PM
Here's an interview (http://tinyurl.com/owhto5j) concerning the release of Old School - Expanded Edition (http://www.freelanceacademypress.com/). I'll be happy to respond to questions about the interview to any so inclined.
Ellis Amdur

Demetrio Cereijo
02-08-2015, 09:19 AM
Hello Ellis.

Is this second edition going to be published in spanish like the first one?

Ellis Amdur
02-08-2015, 10:54 AM
Hi Demetrio - I don't know. (I do have one extra copy of the old version (http://www.amazon.com/Koryu-Escuela-tradiciones-marciales-japonesas/dp/8496894010/ref=sr_1_22?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423414562&sr=1-22&keywords=Ellis+Amdur+in+Books) for sale on Amazon, if anyone is interested).

The Spanish edition is an unfortunate story. Fernando Axia, who published it, did a fine job, but stopped contact with me in 2010, including stopping payment of all royalties. He sent one explanation of being cheated by someone else, but then stopped response to any communication. The money he owes me is small, but there is a matter of honor, something he apparently lacks.

For this reason, and also to update my work, I very much hope to have a new translation of the book. We have someone who may be able to do the translation, and we are considering the possibility of only doing a digital version, which would be much less expensive for customers, as well as in production costs. I'll keep the community posted.


Demetrio Cereijo
02-08-2015, 12:23 PM
The money he owes me is small, but there is a matter of honor, something he apparently lacks.

Ninjas... damn.

Robert Cowham
02-08-2015, 02:02 PM
Thanks Ellis - great interview.

I am interested in what your experience in revisiting/expanding Old School has done for your views on Aikido, whether origins/history, teaching/training methods or the future?


Ellis Amdur
02-08-2015, 07:13 PM
Hi Robert - well, all my training happens together, so along with any changes in viewpoint that I may have germane to Old School, I'm still training, in ways that effect every martial art and study I'm engaged in. ....all of which is rather vague, isn't it?
Specifically, though, now that I've finished Old School, I'm also finishing up a revised edition of Dueling with O-sensei. I've added about eight chapters, and have a few others pending. Dueling with Osensei, as most know, focuses on an examination of the moral values embued in budo (or their lack), often using Ueshiba Morihei as a focal point, as well, as using myself as a second focal point. (Hoping for a release in late spring, early summer, and like Old School, it should be at least ⅓ new writing/chapters).
And as I've only got about 150 copies of HIPS in this print run, I'm considering republishing it, with new, updated material. That'll probably be early next year - which means there will be a period when HIPS is also out of print, and people will be selling it on eBay for hundreds of dollars :cool:
And another area of development - Bruce Bookman and I are currently engaged in an examination of aikijo, using established forms as a base, and "tightening the bolts," so to speak. We are rigorously examining where a technique would actually not work as 'programmed' in the kata, and trying to refine some kata to be simultaneously as powerful and effective as possible while embodying aikido's values, as we understand them (each kata ends with a mutual neutralization, rather than a winner and loser). Working with Bruce has been one of the most interesting and powerful creative endeavors I've ever been able to participate in.
So, the larger answer to your question is that yes, all of my studies, from koryu to internal strength training, as best as I understand it, are affecting my view of aikido profoundly.

Robert Cowham
02-12-2015, 08:36 AM
Hi Ellis

I was hoping that your enthusiasm for revising your books would extend to Dueling/HIPS :)


Robert Cowham
02-13-2015, 03:14 PM
p.s. Hints or teasers as to the focus of your new content might even prod people to sign up for said books :)

Ellis Amdur
02-13-2015, 04:25 PM
Robert - Thank you. I need more people like you in my life. I'd probably be a more successful writer.

First of all, I'm rearranging the order of the chapters (and adding new chapters - most, but not all, focused on the enactment of principles of martial studies, including aikido, in my professional life . . .aka, more cool 'war' stories). Older chapters have been polished, and in some areas, rewritten. This is very tentative, but currently:
1. The Knights of the Moldy Rope
2. Ukemi from the Ground Up - a new chapter in the essence(s)
3. My First Days at the Headquarters Dojo - from IHTBF, some polishing
4. Aiki: A State of the Union
5. Tenchi: Head in the Clouds and Feet in the Muck - expanded, rewritten, new info - Ueshiba and the right wing
6. Aiki is Not Always Pretty
7. The Use of Weapons in Aikidō Training - rethought, rewritten
8. A Conversation with Daitō-ryū's Other Child
9. Atemi: Striking to the Heart - rethought
10. Cutting the Circle
11. Hiding in the Shadows of the Warrior - rewritten somewhat
12. Toward Simple Morality - updated
13. Otoko (Manhood)
14. The Best of Their Time - rewritten from IHTBF
15. So How Tough Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up? - updated
16. Life as a Movie
17. The Ring is Where You Draw It - on "real" martial arts - some old anecdotes, spliced together
18. Setsuninto—Katsujinken
19. Kamae: Taking a Stand - New, an encounter between an eagle and a couple of kids
20. Bushi no Nasake - New, true compassion is often very harsh
21. Did You Ever Meet O-sensei? - Expanded
22. Forever Young - On Kuroiwa
23. Oniisan (Elder Brother)
24. Afterward Twice Told

I'm also working on at least one more chapter, entitled, "The Decadence of Shugyo" which will be a critical essay on how Zen-infected martial arts, where training is an end in itself, often lend themselves to both abuse and to pathological characters.
And this is a serious offer, if anyone has a subject you'd like to see my take on, send me a private message, and if it intrigues me, I may write on it as well. ("Internal Strength," however, would go to HIPS, not Dueling).

Ellis Amdur

02-14-2015, 12:33 AM
Are we going to be able to buy from you directly (perhaps signed copies?) Sounds like a great book.

Ellis Amdur
02-14-2015, 12:46 AM
Not directly. I'm publishing this edition, like Old School (http://www.freelanceacademypress.com), through Freelance Academy Press. Similarly, there will be 100 signed copies when published. I'm guessing late summer, early fall, 2015.

02-14-2015, 08:24 AM
how Zen-infected martial arts, where training is an end in itself, often lend themselves to both abuse and to pathological characters. 
Zen infected :)
could you give a short example? Usually zen is not often associated with such qualities...

Ellis Amdur
02-14-2015, 10:05 AM
Wait for the book.

But my views are underpinned by Zen at War & Zen War Stories. (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Zen+at+War&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AZen+at+War) to get started. Pretty much all of the major leaders of Zen in the mid 20th century supported and rationalized Japanese war efforts. Omori Sogen, author of Zen and the Art of Swordsmanship for one example also associated with Buddhism.
Zen was conflated in Japan with Neo-Confucianism Wang Yangming sect (both were seen as valuing the purity of intent rather than the value of the act itself).

That said, I shan't debate this now. When the book is released, I'll be happy to discuss that chapter in detail. Old School has engendered controversy before it's release with people upset about things they imagine I said or mean and writing to argue with me about things they imagine-which I haven't written at all.

Ellis Amdur

Albert Simonson
02-14-2015, 10:23 AM
Would like to be the first on the list of any book you publish. Love your writing on any subject. Have you started such a list? Might even show your publisher that you deserve that advance. Kickstarter?

Ellis Amdur
02-14-2015, 10:37 AM
Albert - Thank you very much. Well, here are two links:
1. FACEBOOK (https://www.facebook.com/EDGEWORK.Books.of.Ellis.Amdur) - This has notices and information on books as they are published, etc.
2. My website: EDGEWORK (http://www.edgework.info) - if you click links, you'll either have access to published books on my site, or be linked to the publisher (fiction on Amazon, Old School at Freelance Academy Press).
3. Besides Dueling with Osensei: Expanded Edition, I'm just finishing up two books right now. One of them is called Cooling the Flames. It's a comprehensive guidebook to calming and de-escalating aggressive, possibly mentally ill individuals for firefighters and EMTS. The other, called Shapeshifting, is a book on scenario training for hostage negotiators.