Traditions: Essays on the Japanese Martial Arts and Ways
Dave Lowry
Tuttle, 2002
Purchase from Amazon (paid link)

I’m going to stick out my neck and hazard a guess that most folks who read are not big buyers of Black Belt Magazine. I’m also going to predict that a fair few of you have picked it up on the newsstands from time to time to quickly read Dave Lowry’s column, “The Karate Way.” Thankfully, Dave has begun collecting those essays in book form; Moving Toward Stillness was the first such, and the new Traditions: Essays on the Japanese Martial Arts and Ways continues that welcome trend. So if your favorite column didn’t appear in Moving Toward Stillness, chances are that you’ll find it here.

From Japanese roofing tiles (how to break according to Jigoro Kano), high hips, and kachinuki to public restrooms, feudal democracies, and wooden boats (“fair curves”), Dave shares his eclectic perspectives on the Japanese martial arts. As always, he punctures a few cherished hot-air balloons with his jaunty prose and trademark quirky juxtapositions, and invites the reader to truly reflect on the traditions of their training. For those who don’t have access to these Japanese cultural traditions in the form of a traditionally schooled sensei, these fifty-three essays can help complete the picture. And there are still surprises in store for those who fancy themselves already to be thoroughly educated in the Japanese classical arts.

In short, if you are a fan of Dave Lowry’s writings, or if you haven’t yet sampled his work, then this new book is for you (read an excerpt here). You won’t be disappointed!

Diane Skoss

Copyright ©2002 Diane Skoss. All rights reserved.