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The Demons Sermon on Martial Arts

written by Issai Chozansi, William Scott Wilson

Kodansha International Ltd | ISBN 9784770030184

Hardback – 160 pages


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Chozanshi was a swordsman with a deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Shinto. "The Demon's Sermon" is a masterful syncretic treatment of these philosophies and religions, bringing their central meanings to bear on the essence of the martial arts. The demon delivering the sermon is the long-nosed half-man, half-bird Tengu, a terrifying but not necessarily malevolent figure who inhabits the recesses of Mount Kurama. Opening this volume is a selection of short, humorous tales from Chozanshi's "The Hayseed Taoist" ("Inaka Soshi"). The stories are lessons about spontaneity and non-attachment, and prime the reader philosophically for 'The Demon'. The final section is a translation of "The Mysterious Technique of the Cat" ("Neko no Myojutsu"), also from "The Hayseed Taoist" and a traditional favourite of the martial artists of Japan. The section summarises the entire work and adroitly illustrates Lao Tzu's dictum that "The master acts, relying on nothing."

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