Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Recommended Reading: Sho: Japanese Calligraphy

Product Description

Christopher Earnshaw illuminates the techniques, history and philosophy of calligraphy with over 300 illustrations in Sho: Japanese Calligraphy. Calligraphy, along with poetry and painting, has been for centuries a discipline that all students of culture had to master. Brush writing reflected inner character, and many great masters of calligraphy were respected Zen priests, warriors and emperors. From practical lessons on brushwork to hints about exhibiting finished work, this beautiful volume is the fledgling calligrapher's best reference source. Its meditations on the philosophy of calligraphy will also offer new insights to students of Japanese culture and character.

About the Author

Born in Oxford, England in 1953, Christopher Earnshaw studied calligraphy and Japanese studies at Daito Bunka University in Tokyo and classical Japanese and Chinese through London University. He has held several exhibitions both privately and as the group Terakoya, in Japan and abroad. Receiving his master's license Shodo Kyojusha Shikaku Ninteisho in calligraphy in 1978, he exhibited several times in the Mainichi exhibition, the first time being in 1979 and received a gold prize in the twentieth All Japan Calligraphy exhibition. Presently he lives with his family near Kobe, Japan and works for a British pharmaceutical company.

Recommended Reading: Modern Bujutsu & Budo (Martial Arts & Ways of Japan, Vol.3)

This is the final book in the Martial Arts & Ways of Japan series written by the late Donn Draeger. It covers the modern martial arts that evolved from the earlier martial disciplines mentioned in Classical Bujutsu and Classical Budo. Covering arts like judo, karate-do, aikido, kendo, iaido, and others, Modern Bujutsu & Budo is important reading for anyone interested in tradtional Japanese martial arts.

This three volume series established Donn Draeger as perhaps the ultimate Western authority on the history and evolution of koryu bujutsu and modern budo.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Recommended Reading: Classical Budo (Martial Arts & Ways of Japan, Vol.2)

Product Description

Donn Draeger was one of the most famous and well-respected martial artists of the twentieth century, and he was a pioneer in bringing Asian martial arts study to the West. Here, he illuminates the compelling historical, political, and philosophical events that gave rise to the development of the budo arts. The classical budo, or "martial ways" are not combat systems like their forerunner, bujutsu, or "martial arts"; nor are they sports like modern judo, kendo, or karate. They are first and foremost spiritual disciplines, whose ultimate goal, achieved through the most rigorous mental and physical training, is self-realization in the tradition of Zen Buddhism. The author details the history, philosophy, and methods of a variety of these "martial ways," some using weapons and some weaponless, and reveals how they evolved from their combative roots. The book includes fascinating artwork from classical sources, and archival photographs of modern budo masters in action.

About the Author

Donn F. Draeger was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and a historian of martial arts disciplines, in which he held a variety of expert ranks and teaching licenses. He was technical director of the magazine Martial Arts International and author of many books on the fighting arts of Asia. He died in 1982.

Recommended Reading: Classical Bujutsu (Martial Arts and Ways of Japan, Vol. 1)

Product Description

Evolved amid the incessant warfare of medieval Japan, bujutsu, or "martial arts," provided the warrior with the technical and psychological training that prepared him to use his weapons in actual combat. Classical Bujutsu emphasizes the intensely practical nature of these martial arts. The author describes sixteen major forms of bujutsu, employing a variety of weapons and techniques.

About the Author

Donn F. Draeger was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and a historian of martial arts disciplines, in which he held a variety of expert ranks and teaching licenses. He was technical director of the magazine Martial Arts International and author of many books on the fighting arts of Asia. He died in 1982.

Recommended Reading: Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers

An excerpt from Wabi-Sabi:

Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of what we think of as traditional Japanese beauty. It occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West. Wabi-sabi can in its fullest expression be a way of life. At the very least, it is a particular type of beauty. The closest English word to wabi-sabi is probably "rustic." Webster's defines "rustic" as "simple, artless, or unsophisticated . . . [with] surfaces rough or irregular." While "rustic" represents only a limited dimension of the wabi-sabi aesthetic, it is the initial impression many people have when they first see a wabi-sabi expression . . . Originally, the Japanese words "wabi" and "sabi" had quite different meanings. "Sabi" originally meant "chill," "lean," or "withered." "Wabi" originally meant the misery of living alone in nature, away from society, and suggested a discouraged, dispirited, cheerless emotional state. Around the 14th century, the meanings of both words began to evolve in the direction of more positive aesthetic values. The self-imposed isolation and voluntary poverty of the hermit and ascetic came to be considered opportunities for spiritual richness. For the poetically inclined, this kind of life fostered an appreciation of the minor details of everyday life and insights into the beauty of inconspicuous and overlooked aspects of nature. In turn, unprepossessing simplicity took on new meaning as the basis for a new, pure beauty.

Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation

Based on the eclectic Western-Eastern teachings of Nakamura Tempu Sensei, Japanese Yoga: The Way of Dynamic Meditation is a step-by-step introduction to Japanese yoga (Shin-shin-toitsu-do). It presents stretching, healing, and meditation exercises designed for mind/body integration. It is the first book in English to detail the life and teachings of Nakamura Sensei. In Japanese yoga, which is based on mind and body unification principles, the ultimate goal is enhanced concentration, calmness, and willpower for a longer, healthier, and fuller life. H. E. Davey Sensei also shows how Japanese yoga relates to various classical Japanese arts as part of a tradition of spiritual practice with spiritual and aesthetic roots in India, Japan, and the West. Illustrated, with a glossary and reference section.

The Japanese Way of the Artist

The Japanese Way of the Artist:Living the Japanese Arts & Ways, Brush Meditation, The Japanese Way of the Flower

By H. E. Davey

512 pp
6 x 7.75"
135 B&W illustrations and photographs
ISBN 978-1-933330-07-5

Now in a single volume, three essential works on Japanese aesthetics, spirituality, and meditation.

Living the Japanese Arts & Ways: 45 Paths to Meditation & Beauty

“Davey uses words with clarity and simplicity to describe the non-word realm of practicing these arts-calligraphy, martial arts, tea ceremony, painting-and the spiritual meaning of such practice. . . . A wonderful complement for practitioners of meditation, especially Zen.”
Publishers Weekly

The Michi Mission: From chado—“the Way of tea”—to budo—“the martial Way”—Japan has succeeded in spiritualizing a number of classical arts. The names of these skills often end in Do, also pronounced Michi, meaning the “Way.” By studying a Way in detail, we discover vital principles that transcend the art and relate more broadly to the art of living itself. . . . Books in the Stone Bridge Press series Michi: Japanese Arts and Ways focus on these Do forms. They are about discipline and spirituality, about moving from the particular to the universal.

The three works anthologized here are essential to understanding the spiritual, meditative, and physical basis of all classical Japanese creative and martial arts. Living the Japanese Arts & Ways covers key concepts—like wabi and “stillness in motion”—while the other two books show the reader how to use brush calligraphy (shodo) and flower arranging (ikebana) to achieve mind-body unification.

In the Michi series, H. E. Davey explores the mind/body connection that lies at the heart of traditional Japanese arts and culture. Mr. Davey is Director of the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Free Month of Japanese Yoga & Martial Arts for Kids!

For a limited time only, the Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts is offering a free month of instruction for children age five and above. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you'd like to get more details about this offer, call 510-526-7518 (evenings). You can also drop by Martial Arts & Kids (

The Sennin Foundation Center for Japanese Cultural Arts has a special program for children. Since 1981, we've specialized in teaching young people traditional Japanese yoga and martial arts via fun, carefully structured classes. These classes present effective methods of controlling an opponent without excessive violence, and our overall emphasis focuses on the realization of each child's full potential. We stress learning to unite the mind and body in daily activities through practicing Japanese yoga and martial arts (jujutsu), which can in turn result in the discovery of our greatest human power.