If there were an 'ordinary martial arts book', this would be its evil twin. Unflinchingly honest, writing from an unique, insider-turned-outsider's perspective, Ellis explores aspects of budō, its philosophies and dilemmas through the lens of aikido, a modern martial art whose founder is discussed in reverential tones and wrapped in quasi-religious mystique. Looking at the idea of budō-as-way-of-life and a path to personal perfection, Ellis confronts the real-world complexities and contradictions behind these simplified stereotypes, revealing insights which hold value for any martial artist or even a non-martial artist with an interest in the darker aspects of human nature.
— Dave Lowry, author of Persimmon Wind
If you are a long-time martial artist, you have likely been either the recipient, the victim - or both - of the 'wise old master' phenomenon, whereby budo students reverentially enfold their teachers as martial, moral and mystical juggernauts sans reproach, in which case, this book will make you clench your fists and laugh out loud, often while reading the same sentence.. Iconoclastic, rebellious, yet fiercely holding to some of the most traditional values of Japanese martial culture, Amdur brought something new to martial arts writing - a startling honesty about the flaws, not only within martial arts culture, but also within its practitioners, often using himself as an exemplar of the latter.
Originally published in 2000, and now fully revised, with eight new chapters, new artwork and photography, Dueling with O-sensei, Revised and Expanded Edition will be an invaluable addition to the library of old readers and new alike.