Advanced Stick fighting
By Masaaki Hatsumi
Published by Kodansha International, 2005.
Hardcover 208 pages
190 x 260mm 820g ISBN : 4-7700-2996-9 Price : $35.00
I was initially hesitant to write this review as I
am not a student of Bujinkan and was thus uncertain as to whether I
could adequately comment on this book. However as I thought on it
further I realized that I would be an ideal person to comment simply
because I was not a student of Bujinkan. I would bring no preconceived
opinions or biases to the table and I could be objective in my review.
In reviewing this book I’ve taken on the task of
looking at it as an instructional manual. The book tries to come off as
everything, to everybody. It has history, it contains the author’s
philosophical thoughts, it contains instruction, it tries to draw them
all together into one cohesive unit. I have little idea as to the
validity of any of the history contained within it, I make no comments
as to the effectiveness of the kata nor do I comment on the ability of
the individuals portrayed in the book. Quite honestly they are all
irrelevant to me. The most important question to me is, is this a well
written, well presented instructional manual?
The short answer to my question is, no.
I found the writing in the book to ramble on, taking
the reader on a long, and labourious journey to irrelevancy. Quite
honestly I found much of the writing to be disconcerting. I felt as if
the author would relate stories for no other purpose then to hear
himself speak. The content of these stores would have little or no
relevancy to the final conclusion of the section. They seemed to be
merely dryer lint. Interesting to look at, amusing to play with, but of
no real purpose.
The instructional part of the book is no better. The
photos are quite confusing. They are not numbered to show any sequence,
and at times the reader can easily be confused as to which way to go.
Many of the photos are multi imaged to show a range of motion, but it
doesn’t work. It only serves to confuse the reader, and create
ambiguity as to what the photo intended. The written instructions that
accompanied the photos also lack the detail needed to walk away with
any positive from this book.
This book could easily have been written with half
its original length. The author should have included more photos,
simpler photos, better organized photos, more detailed written
instruction, with much less filler material. As is, I would not
recommend this book for instructional purposes.