“Ellis Amdur’s writing on martial arts has been groundbreaking. In this volume, Amdur has radically reworked his iconoclastic essays first published on the website of Aikido Journal. Here, he attempts to establish the existence of something all but lost in Japanese martial arts — a sophisticated type of training, encompassing mental imagery, breath-work, and a variety of physical techniques that offered the practitioner the potential to develop skills sometimes viewed as nearly superhuman. Commonly referred to as “internal training,” and usually believed to be the provenance of Chinese martial arts, Amdur asserts that not only was it once common among many Japanese martial traditions, but elements of such training still remain, passed down in a few martial arts — literally “hidden in plain sight.” As always, Amdur reminds us that this is a human endeavor and he provides vivid, even heartbreaking portrayals of some of the great practitioners of these skills, men who devoted their lives to an obsessive pursuit of power.”
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