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Amdur, Ellis -- Dueling with O-Sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage
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Description: If there were an "ordinary martial arts book," this would be its evil twin. Unflinchingly honest, writing from a perspective both authoritative and unique, Amdur explores aspects of budo, its philosophies and dilemmas, its remarkable rewards and yes, its pathologies, in a way no other author has. He does so with humor, compelling creativity, and a wickedly sharp-edged insight that make this book a delight. -- Dave Lowry, author of Persimmon Wind
Keywords: Amdur Ellis Dueling O-Sensei


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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 

 
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Author: Philip Akin
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Philip Akin

First the disclaimer: I am not in any way associated with the author, his company or with this book.

"Dueling with O-sensei" is a self published book by Ellis Amdur that is quite properly subtitled "Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage". The book is a re-working of Mr. Amdurs' writings from the last few years. Some of the chapters I remember reading from his column in Aikido Journal and they so impressed me then that I, upon hearing of his leaving the magazine, immediately wrote to Stanley Pranin expressing how much I would miss Mr. Amdur's writings.

I loved this book for many reasons. First of all I appreciate the unflinching look that Mr. Amdur takes at his own life and actions and shows us how they can be defined through an aikido prism. I liked the way he defines that aikido prism so that it grapples with many of the concepts that we tend to shy away from.

The quote of Ueshiba defining aiki seems so simple and yet it has changed my perspective dramatically. It goes like this.."Aiki is a means of achieving harmony with another person so that you can make them do what you want".

There are so many shades to that expression and Mr. Amdur takes us on a vivid ride through many of those shades.

Everything from atemi to on mat brutality to abuse to Terry Dobson to concepts of manhood [and much more] all get an airing and none of it is ever simple.

I think that's what I liked best of all. That these are moral issues he is dealing with and whether you agree or not with his conclusions there is much to think about and to perhaps change how we have always viewed things. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who thinks about martial arts and aikido.

I particularly like the quote on page 21 that quotes from the "Tengu Geijitsu Ron" and for me pretty much closes the argument about principle vs technique.

As I said this is a self published book which sells for 20$ + s&h and is available at http://www.ellisamdur.com/duelingwithosensei/.

Philip
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
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Author: david manske
E-Mail: Send E-mail to david manske

I liked this book !

It has a very different view of aikido. It filled in some historical data I had not seen elsewhere, it told some interesting stories and made me look more critically at the art, senseis and my practice. I have seen very many sides to aikido in nine years and sometimes I love it and other times I have trouble with what it brings out in me and others, (especially some teachers). But it is an amazing art and tha more you do it,the more you will see this.

I also recommend it to parents and school counselors ( I am both).
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
Pros:
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Author: Ted Ehara
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Ted Ehara

I ordered this book because of what I had read about it on this web site. I wasn't disappointed.

I was especially impressed where he talks about Bruce Klickstein and John Lamont. With his background in crisis intervention, the author was able to give insights that a normal observer could overlook. He takes an honest look at things most other aikido writers would politely avoid.

He was also able to describes his journey through aikido. From a Kerouac "On the Mat" bohemian-type dojo, to training in Japan and Terry Dobson's vision of aikido. While Dobson welcomed the popularization of aikido, it seems that Amdur abhored it. Like the solitary ascetic/swordsman in "Seven Samurai", a movie he comments on, Ellis Amdur ends up practicing and teaching, not aikido, but a classical martial art Araki-ryu.

His honesty and passion comes through in these essays. You may disagree with the Amdur, but you will agree that the issues he writes about exists.
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Registered: April 2001
Posts: 1318
Review Date: Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

 
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Author: Tara Cazaubon
E-Mail: Send E-mail to Tara Cazaubon

I really enjoyed this book. The stories were vivid and personal, giving background information on Aikido personalities that I hadn't found elsewhere. Mr. Amdur is brutally honest about himself and his experiences, not sugarcoating or toning down the stories to make himself look better.

As a female reader, it also gave me a lot of insight into what manhood means and how that fits into martial arts training.

I highly recommend it for a completely different view than I've found in other Aikido books, and a very good read.
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