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Summary

The study of budo, or the Japanese martial arts for self-cultivation, is a lifelong path toward perfection of character. Here, Dave Lowry, a sword master who has practiced and taught budo for over 40 years, addresses the myriad issues, vagaries, and inconsistencies that arise for students of karate-do, judo, kendo, kenjutsu, aikido, and iaido as their training develops. He examines such questions as:

  • What is the relationship between the student and teacher, and what should one expect from the other?
  • What does rank really mean?
  • How do you correctly and sensitively practice with someone less experienced than you?
  • What does practice look like as one ages?
  • Why do budo arts put such an emphasis on etiquette?
  • And many others

Lowry also gives practical advice for beginning and advanced students on improving structural integrity in posture and movement, focusing under stress, stances and preparatory actions before engaging with an opponent, and recognizing a good teacher from a bad one.

©2010 Dave Lowry (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Essence of Budo

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Profile Image for Joseph
  • Joseph
  • 26-02-16

I just sat in a Dojo of the mind.

Would you listen to The Essence of Budo again? Why?

Yes. This book was like sitting in a dojo or tea house with a wise, strong, but relatable Sensei. I found each chapter better than the last. The insights and observations are practical ,insightful, and even convicting. As a westerner, I had no idea how many misconceptions I had about Budo. As a martial artist, I am richer from David Lowry's guidance. Last but not least, Brian Nishii did an EXCELLENT job of narrating. He captured the author's intent near perfectly. I look forward to listening to more of his work. I am also an audiobook narrator so I can learn from listening to good narrators too.

What other book might you compare The Essence of Budo to and why?

I can only compare this book to other's I've read by David Lowry such as Traditions or In the Dojo. David Lowry style of writing instructs on the true Budo, exposes mythical influences, and helps us dispel them from our lives. He does so with a smile almost it seems. I find myself often saying "thank you" for the training he puts into his words. I wish I could meet and talk to the author in person.

Which scene was your favorite?

I particularly enjoyed the last chapter where he gave insights into the development of Budo in the 1900's, the comparison of the Japanese mindset as a Sensei vs. Western, and so on. Very enlightening. The chapter on choosing a Sensei was also excellent. I was amazed at how much influence popular media has had on what a true instructor should be like and not. I found this chapter alone to be worth the price of the book and something I will revisit.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A Return to Budo: Unmasking the Myths That Could be Hindering Your Martial Way

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend this book/audiobook to anyone who practices martial arts. I especially recommend to anyone who teaches them. You will find yourself thanking the author too for his guidance. Thank you Sensei Lowry for this outstanding book and thank you Brian for helping to bring it to life.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-07-21

Great for Serious Practitioners

With both modern and historical interpretations/examples of Budo and setting historical context in proper order.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gvido
  • 18-07-17

The real thing

Great insight into the history and essence of budo. Superb to the bone clearing up of what is fantasy, romantic east, and down to earth martial art practice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-06-21

Impressive

Late comer to Lowry. Presents Budo with humility, balance, and deep personal understanding. At times edgy and humorous. His appreciation for Japanese culture is apparent, and David Nishii continues to animate every performance with intimacy. An impressive spiritual collaboration. I’ve picked up another title.

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  • Jonathan D.
  • 14-05-21

Budo

Not only is this book well written but it also has a fantastic reader who puts a lot of emotion into the book.
I'd say this book was meant to help a western audience get a better grasp of japanese martial arts.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-04-21

enformate and enjoyable

Very good read worth the time and effort to read. Eye opener into Japanese marshall arts.

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  • Dr. William Kennedy, psychologist and self-protection trainer
  • 17-04-21

I've heard about dao of Japanese fighting arts

this was by far the best breakdown I've heard of overarching concepts of Japanese martial arts. It left me with an improvement in my understanding as well as several questions to ask myself regarding the arts that I teach and train, my way of learning, teaching, and presenting myself. this book dispelled many myths and misconceptions. it also introduced an air of logic and reason in looking backward at the "Noble Samurai," while simultaneously offering credit as credit is due.

The choice of a narrator for this book was perfect. I was worried that having a Japanese narrator for an American author would sound cheesy and disingenuous. it did not. it was not. all around, this was a very good book.

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  • SaveSlot
  • 24-11-20

Demystifying martial arts

The book reads as a long critique of the American dramatization of martial arts with a decent history review packed in. It lectures sternly and has a quite a few nuggets of wisdom on how to approach martial arts as a curious student.

I do not practice martial arts, but fighting games share some important similarities when it comes to mindset. The Essence of Budo has given me clarity as to why it is hard to improve in games I enjoy and the importance of a cooperative structure.

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  • Adam S Goldman
  • 01-11-20

didn't work

the book started of great half way through the book it stopped working terrible absolutely terrible

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-02-20

Overall good information

I enjoyed the book for the most part. It seemed at time he was speaking out of both sides of his mouth. One moment he is saying something is bad, then saying it’s good. And vice Versa.