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The Japan The Ultimate Samurai Guide
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About the Author

Alexander Bennett first came to Japan from New Zealand in 1987 as a 17-year old high school exchange student. On a whim, he decided to try his hand at kendo even though he had never seen it before, because it looked cool, like something out of Star Wars. Overcoming the initial language and cultural barriers, he survived many ruthless training sessions meted out by the club's sensei;and yet the more he learned, the more he sensed that there was so much more to Budo than meets the eye. Acutely aware that he had merely scratched the surface, he soon returned to Japan at the age of 19 to embark on a spiritual journey of personal discovery. Bennett has since immersed himself for the past 25 years in the world of Budo;the traditional Japanese Martial Arts. He holds the black belt grades of Kendo Kyoshi 7-dan, Iaido 5-dan and Naginata 5-dan. He has competed successfully in many international naginata and kendo competitions, taking second place in the World Naginata Championships in 2011, and best 8 in the team event at the World Kendo Championships in 2012. He co-founded and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Kendo World, the world's first English-language journal dedicated to kendo. He has received two doctoral degrees in Japanese literature and history from Kyoto University and the University of Canterbury (NZ). He is currently Associate Professor at Kansai University where he teaches courses in Japanese history, martial arts, and Budo theory. He is Vice President of the International Naginata Federation, International Committee Member of the All Japan Kendo Federation, Director of the Japanese Academy of Budo, and he represents NZ Kendo as the Head Coach.

Reviews

"Profusely illustrated throughout, impressively informative, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, Japan: The Ultimate Samurai Guide will be of special and particular interest to anyone intrigued by Japanese martial arts in general, and samurai traditions and legacies in particular. While especially and unreservedly recommended for dojo, community and academic library Martial Arts collections and supplemental studies reading lists." - Midwest Book Review
"...a very informative and interesting book about Budo, samurais, weapons and the Japanese culture. The book is full of colorful pictures, works or art, diagrams, and illustrations...Besides the interest in history and martial arts, this book's strength is for the visitor to this beautiful land. The pictures themselves make me want to go and buy a ticket immediately." -Man of La Book blog
"Each chapter proves informative in its own way, and the pages are filled with humor, as well as anecdotes and lists of things such as Bennett's favorite martial arts films that give the book a more personal touch. It is also fantastically illustrated, with hundreds of pictures depicting the evolution of martial arts to the present day. 'This book is supposed to be genuinely from the heart.' says Bennett. 'Without the pretense, bulls-, misconceptions or romanticization that often accompanies martial arts.' And that's the impression you get reading it; it's a work of passion, but one that is both honest and to the point." -The Japan Times
"[Japan The Ultimate Samurai Guide] is the first book that must be placed in the hands of the one who wants to enter the Japanese culture by the 'martial arts' door. I'm looking forward to the day I will be able to bring the same level of wisdom to the community." -Aikido Journal

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