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The Sword of No-Sword: Life of the Master Warrior Tesshu
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The Sword of No-Sword: Life of the Master Warrior Tesshu

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  123 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Master swordsman, calligrapher, and Zen practitioner, Yamoaka Tesshu is a seminal figure in martial arts history. John Stevens's biography is a fascinating, detailed account of Tesshu's remarkable life. From Tesshu's superhuman feats of endurance and keen perception in life-threatening situations, to his skillful handling of military affairs during the politically volatile ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published August 28th 2001 by Shambhala (first published 1984)
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Anne Beardsley
This is about the only comprehensive biography of 'the last sword saint', Yamaoka Tesshu available in the English language.

The author, a highly dedicated and intelligent man, researched for 10 years to write it.

Sadly, he had an agenda (he always does), and carefully built a book around it. He has this platonic perfect ideal of a Warrior Sage, and does his level best to make flawed but skilled mortals like Ueshiba Morihei and Yamaoka Tesshu fit into it. Knowing something about the life of
...more
Richard
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
I rated this book as highly as I did mainly for the subject matter and the liberal presentation of original sources. Yamaoka Tesshu was a fascinating person--he helped lead Japan into the modern age and put an end to the samurai as a class, yet was a proud upholder of samurai tradition. He was widely regarded as one of the finest swordsmen who ever lived, founding the Muto Ryu (the "no-sword" school) yet embodied the principle of swordsmanship as just another path, not to martial skill, but to ...more
Mark Hardy
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about an artist, philosopher, spiritualist, and Samurai.

Many great quotes, which I've also come across in other areas of my life
Marci
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was far more of a hagiography than a biography and no sources are cited for any of it.
Emtee
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Tesshu was quite an amazing man, and his story has inspired me to work harder in my martial arts, my religion, and my calligraphy.
Steve Wilson
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
The guy was a calligrapher who also happened to be a master with the sword. I like the thought he leaves with us: "Where are you now? Climb the treasure mountain and do not return empty-handed."
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

John Stevens (1947- ) is a Buddhist priest and Aikido teacher.