In the Dojo

In the Dojo: A guide to the ritual and etiquette of the Japanese martial arts
Dave Lowry
Weatherhill, 2006
Purchase from Amazon (paid link)

In the Dojo is yet another “must read” from accomplished author, Dave Lowry. In it he explores the whys and wherefores of many non-technical aspects of training in a traditional Japanese martial arts dojo. What are in the containers set in front of the kamidana? How do you know where the juniors are supposed to sit? Why does a hakama have five pleats? Why is it gauche to call an omamori a “doo-dad”? Why is there so much formal etiquette? How do you perform a proper bow? Will you ever be comfortable in seiza? How and why did our common training weapons develop?

You may be pretty sure that you already know all the answers to these questions, but I’ll bet you that there’s at least one detail in this rich (and entirely new) collection that will surprise you. It certainly was true for me!

Why am I so delighted that Dave wrote this book (and to thus answer the query implied in his dedication)? To put it quite simply, it saved me time and energy–this book is so essential to the Western practitioner of traditional budo that it had to be written, and I just haven’t had the time to do it myself (nor, I hasten to add, do I have any delusions about being able to surpass this tome in quality–I could not). In the Dojo is now at the top of our list of required reading for new members at the Shutokukan Dojo. If you are an instructor of a Japanese art it should be on your list too!

Read an excerpt, Bowing: Ojirei.


Copyright ©2004 Diane. All rights reserved.