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paolo_italy
19th November 2004, 09:39
Hello all,

Obviously, every warrior has/had to face death, both of himself and of his (...) enemy.

I'm tying to find some material about the mental and spiritual aspects of that, in different cultures and times.

Yes I know my request is a little bit ambitious... :p

bye,

Joseph Svinth
20th November 2004, 03:22
For WWII, try "Quartered Safe Out Here" by George MacDonald Fraser (of Flashman fame), "With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa" by Eugene V. Sledge, and "Requiem for Battleship Yamato."

For across time, in English culture, try "Face of Battle" by John Keegan.

Soulend
20th November 2004, 10:50
Try "Code of the Samurai", Cleary's translation of the Bushido Shoshinsu. Bit of stuff about facing death in there.

paolo_italy
21st November 2004, 10:31
hi all,

thanks for the hints...

I hope to get a better overview of what were/are the "methods" the establishment (religion, society, state, etc) invented in order to let the warrior accept death of and by himself. And, more important, how people deal "on-site" and after the facts with the concept of death.

Take care,

P.

Geoff
21st November 2004, 12:29
Have you seen "Code of the Warrior" by Rick Fields? It's good cross-cultural introduction, although too general for scholars interested in a particular region.

I second Joe's recomendation of Keegan's work - it is almost unique in it's field.

If you are interested in particular examples of men who faced up to their demons in battle you could do worse than to look at biographies of Richard Burton and Teddy Roosevelt.

Geoff Wingard

Ogami Itto
22nd November 2004, 16:52
Books I found useful in the in the study of the warrior and the mind are:

Hagakure The Book of the Samurai
The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
The Unfettered Mind Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman
The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
I Ching The Book of Changes
Bushido - The Soul of Japan
The Life-Giving Sword - Secret Teachings from the House of Shogun
The Lone Samurai - The Life of Miyamoto Musashi

All of these books have different views on the aspect of life and death. They helped me a lot to understand the meaning behind budo and the philosophy behind it.

Best regards,
Thomas Haldorsen

Paul Genge
23rd November 2004, 09:36
On his last course in the UK, Michael Ryabko (Russian Martial Arts Master) was asked how he prepared himself for combat. His answer was obvious when you realise he is an Orthodox Christian, "I take confesion and holy communion because I might die."

Michael and his students from Russia have a lot of experience of death and warfare from their time in the millitary.

When I spoke to one of Michael's senior students, who was a special forces soldier, he stated that special forces troops are either very messed up or believed in god. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that the majority of martial arts that have been tested in battle have a religious undertone. As Michael is fond of saying, "There are no athiests in the trenches."

Until recent history what religion you followed was down to the culture you were brought up in. Through the martial arts we are exposed to other culture and their religions. It is up to us to decide what parts of this we take on and make our own.

Paul Genge
www.russianmartialart.org.uk (http://www.russianmartialart.org.uk)

Chuck.Gordon
23rd November 2004, 10:23
Originally posted by Paul Genge

When I spoke to one of Michael's senior students, who was a special forces soldier, he stated that special forces troops are either very messed up or believed in god.


So was he saying that a soldier who doesn't believe in god is 'messed up'?


Originally posted by Paul Genge

As Michael is fond of saying, "There are no athiests in the trenches."


Sorry, all due respect to an old myth, but there are many atheists in foxholes. I know several ...

More often than not, when coming under fire, the comments may reference god, but there in no way respectful, and are often quite profane ...

Chuck

Chuck.Gordon
23rd November 2004, 10:29
Originally posted by Ogami Itto
Hagakure The Book of the Samurai
The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
The Unfettered Mind Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman
The Art Of War by Sun Tzu
I Ching The Book of Changes
Bushido - The Soul of Japan
The Life-Giving Sword - Secret Teachings from the House of Shogun
The Lone Samurai - The Life of Miyamoto Musashi


Nice broad spectrum of approaches to the budo mindset, but I'd keep 'Hagakure' only with knowledge that it represented a very narrow slice of thought, and was written by a mid-level bureaucrat who'd never engaged in combat. He was mainly pissed because he was denied the 'privilege' of committing suicide when his master died.

I'd toss out Nitobe's 'Bushido' ... it's an interesting read, but was really written as an apologia to reconcile Nitobe's Christian beliefs with his Japanese heritage. AFAIK, he never trained in budo at all and was really using the theme of bushido as a recruitment tool to reach potential Japanese converts.

I'd add Karl Fridays' books (there are three, two addressing Japanese warfare and the samurai generally, and one about Kashima Shinryu specifically). The Koryu trilogy edited by Diane Skoss is a superior resource as is Ellis Amdur's 'Old School' ...

Chuck

Paul Genge
23rd November 2004, 13:43
Chuck,

I'm not looking for an argument. I am simply quoting some people I know that are martial artists, with experience of combat, who have a view of the way it fits with religion.

If you don't agree with what they said that is fine by me. Each to their own.

Paul Genge

Joseph Svinth
24th November 2004, 05:38
As for SF, most of the folks I knew were alcoholics. Lots of alcoholics in the trenches.

Paul Genge
24th November 2004, 19:23
I'll drink to that....

Paul Genge

MCOLBOURNE
10th November 2006, 01:42
Zen in the Martial Arts - Taisen Deshimaru.

ScottUK
10th November 2006, 15:54
"Requiem for Battleship Yamato."A wonderful book - I also recommend this. Very 'matter-of-fact' about the horror that the sailors on the Yamato faced. One of the few books i couldn't put down...