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Dueling with O-sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage
- Revised and Expanded Edition

Dueling with O-sensei was published in 2000. It was a ground-breaking book then, and with its upcoming 2nd edition, promises to be so again. 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. With eight new chapters, and his writing honed over thirteen years, this book will make you clench your fists and laugh out loud, often while reading the same sentence.

If there were an "ordinary martial arts book," this would be its evil twin. Unflinchingly honest, writing from a perspective both authoritative and unique, Amdur explores aspects of budo, its philosophies and dilemmas, its remarkable rewards and yes, its pathologies, in a way no other author has. He does so with humor, compelling creativity, and a wickedly sharp-edged insight that make this book a delight.

— Dave Lowry, author of Persimmon Wind

Table of Contents:

  • The Knights of the Moldy Rope
  • Ukemi from the Ground Up
  • My First Days at the Headquarters Dojo
  • Aiki: A State of the Union
  • Tenchi: Head in the Clouds and Feet in the Muck
  • Aiki is Not Always Pretty
  • The Use of Weapons in Aikido Training
  • A Conversation with Daito-ryu’s Other Child
  • Atemi: Striking to the Heart
  • Cutting the Circle
  • Hiding in the Shadows of the Warrior
  • Toward Simple Morality
  • Otoko (Manhood)
  • The Best of Their Time
  • So How Tough Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?
  • Life as a Movie
  • The Ring is Where You Draw It
  • Setsuninto— Katsujinken
  • Kamae: Taking a Stand
  • Bushi no Nasake
  • Did You Ever Meet O-sensei?
  • Forever Young
  • Oniisan (Elder Brother)
  • Afterward Twice Told


BudoSeek! Martial Arts Community. This is a very well written and easy to read book that will grab your attention from the very beginning. It will bring forth a variety of emotions from the reader, from outrage to laughter and once you pick it up, it is very hard to put down again. Honest and to the point…this book will make you think and explore your own heart. Full review.

Iaido-L, a web-based discussion group for Japanese Marital Traditions. The anecdotes are well-told and well-placed, and Amdur is so at ease at showing how not "at ease" he has been that the readers can identify and sympathize with his shortcomings…Amdur's variety [of humility] does not grow from easy excuses, and will charm the reader as it provokes thought and laughter. Full review.

AikiWeb. Full review.

The Ernest Becker Foundation Newsletter. Full review.


Greek Language Edition of Dueling with O-sensei
Hungarian Language Edition of Dueling with O-sensei

Dutch Language Edition of Dueling with O-sensei



New Edition:  Publication Pending, Winter, 2014

Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing the Roots of Ueshiba Morihei’s Power
Dueling with O-sensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior Sage
Old School: Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions


UKEMI from the Ground Up


A Review of the Draft of the New Edition of Dueling with O-sensei