Intro to Book

Introduction

My life has been steeped in the history and practice of the traditional Japanese martial arts over the last twenty seven years. They have had a major impact on me from a spiritual, physical and mental point of view. The many things that I have experienced, both in and out of the dojo, have also played a significant role in my attitude to life and people.

In some ways, it has been like living a second life as I have continually developed new perspectives about the Far East, its peoples and their cultures.

Unfortunately, these days, relatively few people practise the traditional Japanese martial arts and their pervasive philosophies about living life. It takes lot of time and commitment and not everyone is prepared to do this type of training.

One of the results of this situation is that many of the older styles have become more sport orientated. To a large extent they have lost the true essence of their martial art system as the traditional techniques of the old masters have been “modernised”. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing trend in our so-called modern society.

Some years ago, I came across a few words of the Kalahari San people and I realised how quickly the memory of the traditional martial arts can be lost in our modern society.   It left an indelible impression on my mind, apart from the fact that it is a deeply poignant piece of philosophy from Southern Africa where I have lived all my life.

“THE DAY WE DIE, A SOFT BREEZE WILL WIPE OUT OUR FOOT PRINTS IN THE SANDS.  WHEN THE WIND DIES DOWN, WHO WILL TELL THE TIMELESSNESS THAT WE ONCE WALKED THIS WAY IN THE DAWN OF TIME”

(From the ancestral villages in Southern Angola of the !UE and KHWE tribes of the San people.)

In their own way, the present day students of the traditional martial arts are like the tellers of these arts that have been carried forward into today’s modern world.  These students are inextricably committed to tell the “timelessness” about the great martial arts masters that walked these ways, in the dawn of time.

I firmly believe that the traditional martial arts and their masters must never be forgotten. In their own way, they have cast a deep shadow over our modern civilisation that has affected the way we deal with each other in times of war and in times of peace.

My main purpose for writing this book is, in some small way, to ensure that the soft breeze does not wipe out the footprints of the traditional martial arts, in the eternal sands of time.

This book is essentially a telling of my experiences in the world of the traditional martial arts called YUISHINKAI KOBUJUTSU and the effect they have had on my life. Although this is a book about the traditional martial arts, it is not a martial arts book in the strict sense of the word.  It does not show a lot of pictures or give brief explanations of martial arts kata and techniques, such as blocks, punches, kicks and locks.  It does not show you secret techniques or any special movements.  In any case, you can never learn martial arts from a book.

This book is something different. It is mainly about one of my visits to Japan for martial arts training. It was a very special trip in 1996 for a memorial service for Inoue O’sensei, who, in Japan, was the highly respected founder and master of Yuishinkai Kobujutsu.

Intertwined with the telling of these events, are thoughts on the meaning and significance of the traditional martial arts, their history, their methods and concepts and the impact that they have had on my life.

You will also get to know how these traditional martial arts have been carried forward over hundreds of years into the 21st century. This is important because the philosophies behind the traditional martial arts of the Japanese Samurai and their connection with the zen part of Zen Buddhism are an inseparable part of today’s traditional martial arts.  You will also learn how much of this is tied to the history of Okinawa

And further more………

You will also find excerpts from the history of a great warrior family, the Tanakaminomoto and how they have affected me on my martial arts journey.

As you read the book, your questions will inevitably be “Did they really live? Did the events that I describe really take place?”  Well, this is something that I will leave you to answer for yourself.

If you are willing to “empty your cup”, this is a book that will not only take you beyond martial arts technique, it will actually help you to follow the foot prints of the masters who have walked across the sands of time – in the traditional martial arts.

The Contents

The contents intertwine with each other all through this book – yet all connect in the end.

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