Umm if it's the same series I'm thinking of it had a total of 8 episodes and aired on the BBC in 1983. Did they have one of the same name in the 70's?
Seconded. Motion carried.
Oh, and while I'm here, there are some to avoid as well (this gets contentious, as personal biases come into it, probably more than in recommendations!). Personally, I'd avoid most stuff by Stephen Turnbull, especially anything he has to say on "ninja", he tends to look at everything with very Western eyes, and it colours his interpretation of everything, leading to some rather inaccurate accounts and theories. Serge Mol has a few books out (Classical Fighting Arts of Japan, Classical Weaponry of Japan, Classical Swordsmanship of Japan) that are very interesting, but flawed in a few ways. So they would be recommended later, when you know what you're looking at a bit more. Oh, and things like Samurai Fighting Arts by Tanaka Fumon, again interesting, but not really a recommendation for a number of reasons. Pretty pictures, though!
For another good one, in the late 70's there was a documentary series on the BBC called Way of the Warrior. It covered a whole range of arts, from a number of different countries, and included Katori Shinto Ryu when looking at Japanese Swordsmanship (it also covered Karate, Aikido, Naginatado, and lots more [non-Japanese] arts as well). If you can find the documentary itself (I think it's in pieces on you-tube), that is great, there's also a book companion to it which is still in print.
Just checked the publication of the book, 1983 is right. I'm probably getting mixed up with Budo: The Art of Killing! (gotta love that title!). Still a big recommendation, though!
Thanks, lots of interesting books to hunt down and read in this thread. Makes the train rides so much more fun to and from work
Just a quick note on the series though, Episode 8 was "The way of the Warrior: Samurai" and that's the one that featured Katori (Otake version) and included scenes of training in the Otake dojo if I'm not mistaken. If the OP is particularly interested in Kenjutsu that'd be the way to go
The chapter in the book is quite interesting as well... most of the information is in both (including Otake Sensei going through some Kuji aspects, and a number of old stories, which I like), but the book also contains some of the very few pictures of Katori Shinto Ryu Shurikenjutsu as well.
Hey Chris, can you give an example as to how some of those western authors come to inaccurate conclusions because they are looking at it without the correct cultural mindset?
Heaven lies under the sword.
The different authors have different issues with their works. Turnbull, for instance, seems unable to get his head out of the way he wants to see things, rather than what is actually present. On a History Channel documentary from 4 or 5 years ago, Steve Hayes (and a few others) highlighted that, from a Ninjutsu/Ninja perspective, escape was not only valid, it was ideal in many cases. That was followed immediately by Stephen Turnbull saying "For a Ninja, it was kill or be killed!", showing he really had no understanding of what he was talking about. He seems to look at the historical events, and think about whether or not it makes sense to him, rather than if it would make sense to the actual people involved.
Serge Mol, on the other hand, does seem to "get" the mindset a fair bit more, so it's not a case of applying his Western sensibilities, it's more a case of some flaws in the works themselves. For example, his criteria for what makes a "Koryu" system (in his first book) is "...the books discussion is limited to those Jujutsu styles that were founded before the Meiji period, or to those schools that are legitimate continuations of the pre-Meiji schools." (bolding emphasis mine). This loophole seems to be have been included to allow Serge to discuss his own school, the Katayama Hoki-Ryu, which was reconstructed in the early 90's after being extinct for over 70 years. And that reconstruction was not without controversy itself. A review of the book is found here: http://www.hoplology.com/reviews.asp?id=4
Another look at some of the issues with Serge's books is the following review by Rennis Buchner, who is himself a practitioner of Hoki Ryu itself: http://acmebugei.wordpress.com/2010/...-by-serge-mol/
(For the record, Serge's teacher is Nakashima Atsumi, the man described by Antony Cummins as "the most knowledgable and respected Ninjutsu researcher and historian in Japan".... which is, to say the least, far from the reality).
For what it is worth,
Hi Rennis, great to have you here!
Thanks for the clarification, that's what I meant there. I wasn't aware that the Hoki Ryu Iaijutsu was sometimes refered to as Katayama Hoki Ryu, which is why I didn't differentiate there, good to get more info!