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CLOUDS IN THE WEST is a thought-provoking look at the essence of traditional Asian martial arts--and how it has been adapted, misunderstood, sometimes perverted, and sometimes enhanced in the West.
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Thanks to movies and novels such as The Last Samurai and Shôgun, manga and anime, as well as ubiquitous "MacDojos" in almost every strip mall in North America, no one can escape being exposed to the martial culture of Japan. However, even as Westerners have become captivated by budo, the traditional martial arts of Japan, they've become more sophisticated. Once content with instructional manuals or tall tales of martial prowess, many readers today are searching for the deeper concepts of budo. In Clouds in the West, Dave Lowry continues the fascinating, lifelong philosophical journey through the essence of traditional Japanese martial arts that he began years ago in Autumn Lightning and Sword and Brush, and developed more fully in Moving Toward Stillness. Here Lowry addresses a variety of topics that demonstrate how varied and multifaceted are the lessons and insights gained from training, how the budo are integrated into daily life for the serious practitioner, and how they resonate, from ancient times to today.
Among the topics that Lowry explores in Clouds in the West:
Why Zen has very little to do with Japanese martial arts
Why johinsa, or "a cultured refinement," is as important as a good front kick
Gaman, or "perseverance"
Nakaima, or the "Eternal Present"
Austerity-the dominant aesthetic of martial culture
Kosei, or "individualism," in the context of martial arts
What martial arts and the art of flower arranging have in common
And much more, including discussions on the mythic origins of the ninja, creating kata, and kata as a protection against the arbitrary.
DAVE LOWRY has been involved in a study of traditional and modern Japanese martial arts and Ways since 1968, and he is among the most prolific of writers on the subject in the West. In addition to eight books on budô, he has written for Karate Illustrated, International Fighting Arts, and Inside Karate and has written a monthly column for Black Belt magazine since 1986. He has also written for a number of other magazines including Playboy, Cosmopolitan, and Winds, the in-flight magazine of Japan Air Lines. Among his books are Autumn Lightning, Persimmon Wind, Moving Toward Stillness, and The Sushi Snob, A Connoisseur's Field Guide to Sushi. Lowry lives and works near St. Louis, Missouri, where he is the restaurant critic for St. Louis Magazine.
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