Dueling with O-Sensei: Grappling with the
Myth of the Warrior Sage - by Ellis Amdur
Review by Robert M. Carver, Webmaster, BudoSeek Martial Arts Community.
the years, I have had the opportunity to read many excellent books
on the various aspects of the martial arts. For the most part, they
tend to be either an instruction manual or present a biased view of
history. In other words, nothing special. Ellis Amdur's book
Dueling with O-Sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage
however is in a unique category all by itself and it IS special.
Ellis Amdur himself is uniquely qualified to deal with the various aspects within this book. A graduate of Yale University, Amdur moved to Japan following his graduation where he lived for 13 years. He has studied Aikido, but also holds teaching licenses in two classical Japanese martial traditions, Araki Ryu and Toda-ha Buko Ryu. Outside the dojo, Amdur has founded a company called Edgework where he provides assessments of adults and children involved in child abuse and neglect, psychotherapy and consultation, and training concerned with people with severe psychological disorders. In his day-to-day work, Amdur has literally walked into the dark world where many of us would fear to thread and as a result of his martial arts training has done so from a position of strength and compassion. He has written articles that have been published in various martial arts publications such as Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Furyu, Aikido Journal, and Aikido Today.
The title may lead many to believe that this is a book that is critical of the founder of Aikido, Ueshiba Morihei. However, this book is really a look at how we as budoka live up to the standards and ideals of budo as well as ethics and morality as they apply to the martial arts. While it is written with Aikido in mind, it indeed applies to each of us who follow the Martial Arts and Ways.
This is a very well written and easy to read book that will grab your attention from the very beginning. It will bring forth a variety of emotions from the reader, from outrage to laughter and once you pick it up, it is very hard to put down again. Honest and to the point, Amdur explores the wonderful and positive sides of the Martial Arts and Ways. He also dares to go where few have gone before in discussing the shadowy world of physically and sexually abusive instructors. More than anything else, this book will make you think and explore your own heart.
In closing, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to every serious student and instructor of the Martial Arts and Ways. It is a book that will have a prominent place in my personal library and I will reread again many times in the future.
For information on how to purchase this excellent book, go to http://www.ellisamdur.com/DuelingwithOsensei.htm.
Robert M. Carver is a Jujutsu instructor at the Heiwashin Dojo in Baton Rouge, LA. A former Marine with 35 years in the Martial Arts, Carver Sensei is ranked in several styles of Jujutsu, Karatedo, Judo and Yudo. Additionally, he has also trained in Aikido and Arnis while living in the Philippines. He is the former Vice President of the United States Ju-Jitsu Federation (USJJF), and currently serves on the Board of Directors and on the Central Technical Committee of the USJJF. He is a founding member of the United States Martial Arts Federation and Martial Arts International Federation.