This is a great book: enjoyable, entertaining, and enlightening. Craig's basic premise is that the way of kendo is something different to each and every student who picks up a Japanese sword. While traditional Kenjitsu had no rules per se, modern (sport) kendo does. He has fascinating insight into the differences and similarities between the two, asserting that to learn kendo properly practitioners must not think of it (or practice it) as a sport. If you don't already know, kendo uses bamboo shinai and padded armor for practice while kenjitsu uses live steel. To get the most out of these arts, Craig believes that you must think of them as a way of life, a perspective promulgated by most of the leading sword arts practitioners such as Dave Lowry as well.
Craig's writings will advance your sword skills imparting knowledge of equipment, exercises, applications, and kata (including the last three kata of the All Japan Kendo Federation, which use the wakizashi short sword). More specifically, topics include kendo clothing, equipment and care thereof, fundamental movements, advanced waza, and kodachi katas. There is also great information about samurai sword collecting, care, maintenance, and terminology. The illustrations enhance the text and facilitate the reader's ability to understand and internalize Craig's excellent points. I think that the target audience is experience practitioners so it might be a bit beyond some beginners though. Regardless, this is a great book, a worthy addition to any martial arts library.
Darrell Craig really knows his stuff. He holds a exceptionally impressive list of black belt ranks in several different martial arts, including kendo (renshi), karate (kyoshi), jujitsu (kyoshi); iaido (godan), kobudo (godan), judo (yodan), and aikido (yodan). He has worked as a martial arts choreographer on a number of feature films and is the author of several other martial arts books as well.
Author of 'The Way of Kata' and 'Martial Arts Instruction'
Reviewed by Bob Spears
Publisher and Chief Reviewer
The author has written a definitive work on the subject. Kendo, using padded armor and split-bamboo swords, is a sport. He covers its essentials. Kenjitsu is the much older code of sword fighting, which has no rules and uses real, metal swords for practice.
The book is remarkably well illustrated and the text provides excellent information on the topic. The author provides not only the movements, descriptions, and customs, but what to look for in collectible swords and other equipment.