View Full Version : Book: "Old School"

Dave Lowry
14th October 2002, 15:11
Mr. Amdur is a friend and since my judge of character is superior to my judgement of literature, I would tend to recommend his latest book, Old School, even if it was unalloyed crap. So any review I might give would be suspect. Instead, I will simply make the following observation:
If you have never trained in a koryu and wish to know what it is like, if you want to understand as much as possible, what is the process, the rationale, the spirit, and atmosphere, and mentality of koryu training and practise, then do this: Read the chapter on “The Method” in Donn Draeger’s “Classical Budo.” Then read the chapter in Old School that Amdur has written on keppan. These are, in my opinion, the two best pieces of writing about the experience of koryu that have been written in English.


Charlie Kondek
14th October 2002, 16:04
Thanks, man. I'm one of those persons to whom your post applies, a gendai practitioner who is curious about such things. Thanks for the tip!

14th October 2002, 17:40
I just got back from teaching a seminar in Seattle this past weekend.
I was able to het together with Ellis while up there and pick up a copy of the new book as well as a mild hangover:)

Anyway, let say that I began reading it in the airport and didn't stop reading it until i got home. It is a book chalk full of the realisims of training in koryu and martial arts in general. The pictures alone are worht buying it, but there is much more.

Check it out. It's a must read for anybody who is interested in traditional combative systems.



14th October 2002, 18:04
I am 2/3 through it and having a ball reading it. There are some great little gems and plenty of inspiration to be found inside. I really like that Ellis is willing to go a bit over the edge and offer some opinion (well marked as his alone) on his subjects. Too often writing in this area becomes too stilted as the author tries to make everything unassailable and scholastic. When reading it I have the feeling of a conversation with a really knowledgeable friend.

16th October 2002, 14:54
Hi all.
I am 2/3's through Mr. Amdur's first book "Dueling with O-Sensei"...I was late in catching up with it but I have to say that I find the chapters deeply honest, open and useful for me...And others undoubtedly.
I do not practise Aikido or a Koryu...But nearly all of the points that are raised in the book are very close to what I both have seen personally and heard about from other people. Generally it seems that the majority of authors tend to shy away from the 'dirty' elements of training in Budo (Any MA..) but the chapters on this subject in the book are deeply thought-provoking...Something that I knew 'of' but did'nt think 'about', and something quite personal to me also....If the new book is anything close to the first then it will cheer my christmas up no end! (Although really anything 'Koryu-related' tends to do the trick these days...:( Mention could be made here of 'Traditions' by Mr. Lowry..Another quite excellent example of the high quality books coming out recently).
I have only looked through briefly but the photos of the Maniwa Nen Ryu Kiaijutsu are worth the cost alone...That AND Mr. Draeger performing Shinto Ryu Kata? What else do you want...Thank you Mr. Amdur for one of the best books I have read for a while.;) (And thanks for your patience in answering my questions on the availability of them!...)

17th October 2002, 00:59
I received my copy last Friday at work and immediately started reading it. By 8:00 that evening and I had finished the book and was wishing for more. This book is just as good as I expected it to be. I would recommend it to anyone who studies any kind of martial art. For those in the koryu community it reaffirms, and adds insight too, many things that are already well known (and some things that aren't so well known). Everyone out there that studies an art that is relatively new or is a conglomeration of several arts should read this book as well to help them understand the roots of Japanese martial arts. Ellis has some very HOT opinions and pulls no punches.

My only complaint about "Old School" would be the relatively simple design and layout of the book. The front cover and overall design of the book does not do justice to the excellent content inside. I guess you should never judge a book by it's cover because the outside of this one looks like a lemon, but whats inside is pure "Gold".


Jim London
20th October 2002, 23:11

Where??? does koryu books have it yet?

Jim London

Jeremy Hulley
21st October 2002, 00:35

21st October 2002, 03:28
You can also buy it here SwordStore.com (