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“The Swordsman’s Handbook”

by George Mattson



swordsmanThe Swordsman’s Handbook is the definitive collection of writings that reveals the study of swordsmanship not only is essential to life and death, but as transcendent of life and death as well. All of the authors of this book taught that dealing with conflict is an art that requires grace and courage. In this way, their words speak to us today with surprising immediacy and relevance. Included in this collection are writings by Kotada Tahei Toshitada, Takuan Soho, Yagyu Munenori, Miyamoto Musashi, Matsura Seizan, Issai Chozanshi and Yamaoka Tesshu.

Always place the sword in the sheath of the mind, and where it in the sash of etiquette.”

What is it about the art of swordsmanship – whether it be kendo or Iaido – that makes it the popular practice that it is, not only in nearly every small village in Japan, but in many cities in the United States and around the world? Unlike karate, judo or aikido, it is not immediately practical for self-defense. As opposed to marksmanship, the weapon it uses cannot be learned in a few weeks, months, or even years, and cannot be carried concealed on the street for one’s own protection

Yet there is a grace, dignity and etiquette to swordsmanship, accompanied by techniques that demand both mindfulness and physical coordination, that seemed to manifest the immediacy of the human condition – both physical and spiritual. And this while handling a blade that symbolizes the fine line between existence and non—existence.

Translated and edited by William Scott Wilson, who also translated best-selling Japanese and Chinese classics, Hagakure, The Book of Five Rings and The Lone Samurai, a biography of the legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi.

Published by Shambhala Publications, Inc.
320 pages, $19.95/$23.95 Canada

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