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Kendo: Culture of the Sword

4.68  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Kendo is the first in-depth historical, cultural, and political account in English of the Japanese martial art of swordsmanship, from its beginnings in military training and arcane medieval schools to its widespread practice as a global sport today. Alexander Bennett shows how kendo evolved through a recurring process of “inventing tradition,” which served the changing ide ...more
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published July 31st 2015 by University of California Press
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4.68  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Feb 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: stopped-reading
It's an interesting book but dry I guess. I never trained in Kendo (though a group was practicing near the Taekwondo group I was with). To me, martial arts are similar in their goal, which is, making better people, train mind and body, teaching discipline and instilling confidence. I guess the thing is I didn't feel I need to dive deeper into the history of Kendo :)

Here are some excerpts I liked from the book:

It is better to spend three years finding the right teacher than to start three years s
Nanseikan Kendo
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Kendo: Culture of the Sword is the new book by Alex Bennett, founder of Kendo World, NZ team coach and the go-to guy if you want to know anything about Budo culture but can't speak or read Japanese very well (just ask Anthony Bourdain and Terry Schappert), or even if you can but you need to have an expert on hand (ask Nicholas Pettas and even the national broadcaster NHK).

But Alex is much more than a TV tarento (celebrity), he is a bona fide academic in the area of Kendo and related martial arts
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: martial-arts
Los que estéis acostumbrados a leer libros sobre artes marciales notáreis enseguida que esta obra es diferente al resto.

Lejos del planteamiento típico en que el autor, normalmente una autoridad reconocida en tal o cual estilo o disciplina marcial, va exponiendo todas las virtudes y bondades que la hacen superior (o al menos diferente) al resto de manera un tanto idealizada. Alexander Bennett, por el contrario, nos ofrece un riguroso y exhaustivo estudio sobre la historia del kendo, desde sus or
Jordan Bone
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent resource for anyone looking to know more about the history and development of kendo. It can be a bit of a dry read at times, but this is in keeping with the academic tone and somewhat inevitable given the detailed research shared in some sections. I wouldn't recommend this for a casual reader looking for a basic understanding of kendo, but it is well worth the time to someone invested in its practice.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was great because it combined the history of kendo with aspects of cultural Japan through history. I liked the copious and useful notes, as well as the diagrams.

The index wasn't as great as I initially thought. That's the only problem I have with the book.
Tom Menke
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
excellent data
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Note: I received a free copy of this book through the GoodReads First-Reads program.

In Kendo, Alexander Bennett follows the technical and cultural evolution of Japanese swordfighting from the days of the samurai warrior class to its current status as one of the “sportified” martial arts (budo). In detailing this history, Bennett also gives an overview of the basics of performing kendo; however, this is not an instruction manual, and the descriptions of the moves, rules, and equipment are very ba
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Prof. Bennett's historical retracing of kendo's beginnings is both educational and eye-opening for me, in that it broke the recurring misconceptions or romanticized ideals I keep hearing or reading about with regards to how kendo is a centuries-old, samurai practice of honor, discipline, and an all-out commitment to face death in battle, when it is in fact an invented 'modern' tradition utilized during the World War as a militaristic propaganda to instill "Japanese-ness" and die hard patriotism/ ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An account of the development and history of kendo. Well written, informative and analytic. It might become a must-read for kendokas.
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Alex Bennett was born in 1970 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

He graduated from the University of Canterbury in 1994. He received his Doctoral degree from Kyoto University in 2001, and another from the University of Canterbury in 2012.

After working at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, and then Teikyo University's Department of Japanese Culture, he is currently employed as an As