(from dust jacket)
Bujutsu, Japan's classical systems of martial training, taught the warrior how to gain complete mastery of his weapons and of himself. While judo, kendo, karate-do, and the other martial ways known as budo are now well known, few people even in Japan realize how much these owe to their great progenitor-bujutsu.
Evolved during Japan's medieval period of almost constant civil war, the bujutsu taught the feudal warrior to use his weapons with the greatest assurance and precision, instilling lightning-quick reflexes and perfect unity of thought and action. unlike the later budo, the bujutsu trained the warrior to use his weapons in actual combat. both technical and psychological training prepared him to confront death at any moment while remaining in full control of himself.
Speed, versatility, and flexibility were the hallmarks of the master of bujutsu. A warrior had to know how to use many weapons and how to meet an enemy armed differently from himself-how to fight a nine-foot spear with a sword, or a sword with a short wooden stick. These rigorous disciplines were codified into formal traditions called ryu, with each ryu striving to perfect its own style of weapons mastery. No useful weapon or fighting method was ignored, so that by the seventeenth century there were almost nine thousand ryu teaching some sixty different fighting systems.
Classical Bujutsu, whose author is an expert on combat arts and belongs to several ryu, including the oldest one extant, emphasizes the pragmatic nature of the bujutsu. Having access to secret training manuals, he accurately describes sixteen major martial arts using a variety of weapons--from sword, spear, halberd, bow and arrow, and hard wood staff to the less familiar iron bar, sickle and chain, and chen the iron folding fan.
Horsemanship, combat swimming, grappling, and methods of quickly but securely tying a struggling foe are also covered. One of the most difficult arts described is the dramatic iai-jutsu: drawing the sword, slashing, wiping the blade, and returning it to the scabbard-all in a matter of seconds. Rivaling this is the spectacular yadome-jutsu: deflecting a volley of arrows with only a sword.
This book also places the classical bujutsu firmly in the context of history. the author outlines the political and social tensions that gave rise to a professional warrior class, and describes the growth of the technical refinements and stern ethical code that together make the warrior so formidable.
Rare action photos of modern masters illustrate the weapons and techniques described. Complementing these are reproductions of original woodblock prints that depict famous warriors of the past using the bujutsu in battle. The combination of an authoritative text by an actual bujutsu exponent, photographs of experts in action, and authentic prints makes this book unique in its field.
Donn F. Draeger, formerly a regular officer in the US Marine Corps, is a research historian, author, and lecturer on Asian martial culture. He is recognized as a world authority in the field and is regarded as the leading scholar and exponent of the Japanese classical martial disciplines, in which he holds a large number of expert ranks and teaching licenses. He has lived in China, Mongolia, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan, and presently makes Tokyo his base. Mr. Draeger publishes a journal on the martial arts, is an editor of Judo Illustrated, and contributes regularly to a number of other periodicals. His previous books include Judo Training Methods, Practical Karate (6 volumes), Asian Fighting Arts, Judo for Young Men, and Pentjak-silat. He is currently preparing two companion volumes to the present book, one dealing with classical budo and the other with modern martial disciplines. He is also engaged in research for his doctoral dissertation in hoplology, the science of weapons.
I The Combative Rationale
Japan's Martial Tradition
The Classical Warrior in History
Development of the Bujutsu
II The Weapons and Their Use
Bladed Weapons--Kenjutsu;I ai-jutsu; Sojutsu; Naginata-jutsu
Staff and Stick Weapons--Bojutsu; Jojkutsu; Tetsubo-jutsu
Cokmposite Weapons-Ninjutsu; Kusarigama-jutsu; Tessen-jutsu
Grappling-Yoroi Kumi-uchi; Hojo-jutsu
Auxiliary Arts-Bajutsu; Yadome-jutsu; Suiei-jutsu
Epilogue: Classical Bujutsu Today