TESTIMONIALS & BOOK REVIEWS
"My formative years were spent learning techniques and mindsets of Japanese sword masters of the Showa Era. They taught kenjutsu the way they were obliged to perform it. Overtime, I learned those same mindsets. When asked for more knowledge, those masters handed me the book called Go Rin no Sho stating, “you study this well and you will understand swordsmanship better.” I read this book cover to cover many times.
Returning to the USA, I started to utilize the knowledge I learned in Japan and, in doing so, I realized that to understand Japanese mindsets, one had to read the book Go Rin no Sho authored by Miyamoto Musashi for the complete understanding of swordsmanship. It was not until I read Hanshi Stephen Kaufman’s interpretation of Go Rin no Sho, written for the average martial artist, that it happily explained the book in its entirety.
Many scholars have transcribed the words of Miyamoto Musashi, but Kaufman’s interpretation created the same images my masters instilled in me; I even felt like my instructors were actually standing over me, explaining each mindset in Japanese, but thankfully this was in English. Kaufman does a superb job of translating ancient Japanese to modern English while still maintaining the original mindset and teachings. This book is a must for the serious person who wants to pursue kenjutsu while gaining a better understanding of 'the spirit of the thing.'"
Shihan Dana Abbott
"I first contacted Hanshi Kaufman (years ago) after reading his translation of The Book of Five Rings (which I HIGHLY recommend). I was studying the exploits of Miyamoto Musashi and had some questions. There was an email address at the back of the book, so I used it. I've been hounding him ever since. One of the most knowledgeable men I've ever spoken with. He's like a university professor with a New York edge. I also HIGHLY recommend his translation of Sun Tzu's Art of War (best translation I've read) and the Shogun Scrolls. I am honored to call this man, Hanshi. I am fortunate to call him Mentor."
Master Mark Liverio -
Founder of Willow-Oak Martial Arts, FL
Book of Five Rings
"I have enjoyed reading the reviews of Kaufman's interpretation. They have been insightful and in many cases extremely witty and thought provoking. The intelligence behind some of the comments verges on genius. Well done. I have given this book 5 stars for one reason only. I am a full time sports coach and coach professional athletes at a world class level. Kaufman's interpretation is the only translation / interpretation that I have been able to use 'in the field' specifically to enhance the 'frame of mind' of the athletes I coach before the ultimate testing ground; competition. As a tool for learning and applying strategy as well as improving 'frame of mind' in the realm of professional sport I have found it invaluable. Since I am not an academic I really couldn't care less about who's translation / interpretation is the most accurate. I only use what works."
Dr. Haydn Ellis
I attended Grandmaster Irving Soto's Live Martial Arts Masters event in New York City on May 19, 2012. It was an amazing gathering of true masters in the martial arts. I have been around the world many times and have met just about everyone of merit in the arts; no need to mention names, you all know who I am and the validity of my reputation. However, I was not, in any way, shape, or form prepared for meeting with Hanshi Stephen Kaufman. To say that this man is "special" is without question. For those of you who are not aware of his contribution to the arts, I can say with all due respect and reverence that Hanshi Kaufman is truly responsible for the inordinate consciousness raising of all of us, whether you want to admit it or not. I first learned of Hanshi Kaufman when some time back, a friend handed me a copy of The Martial Artist's Book of Five Rings — The Definitive Interpretation, and said, "Check this out, somebody may actually know what they're talking about." Of course, I looked at it and said, "Yeah, right, another master." I started to read it considering the source who had given it to me and it blew me away! This was not another martial arts book or Japanese business reference. This could only have been written by someone who lives the life and doesn't just practice punches, kicks, and clever little self-defense techniques. What he knows and the manner in which he teaches is nothing short of astonishing. Since that time, I have come to read most of the books written by this legitimately great master; each one seeming to be more and more profound.
Hanshi Frank Dux
The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings: The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi’s Classic Book of Strategy by Steve Kaufman (Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 1999)
"Steve Kaufman, a karate expert living in New York City, has produced a responsible translation of Miyamoto Musashi’s classic. Although there is little in terms of historical context and background, Kaufman does an excellent job of translating the text. Not as concise as Harris translation, Kaufman nonetheless avoids the wordiness of the Nihon Services version. Kaufman points out in his introduction that “this is not another book about Japanese business strategy, pointing to the obvious, yet often ignored, difference between “not getting a deal signed and having your head cut off.” It would be safe to assume then, that Kaufman would not be too pleased to learn that the back cover of the book has “Martial Arts/ Business” written on it. Aimed at “martialists” (not to be confused, Kaufman adds, with discussing martial-artists, for the concept of “art” in the context of battle can be problematic), the book conveys a vital sense of physicality in its writing. This version pays additional attention to passages that discuss individual combat. As compared to other translations, Kaufman goes into much more detail when discussing the “martialist” material in the book.
In the section titled “Holding the Long Sword," Kaufman gives a very descriptive account on how the swordsman should conduct himself: “It is important for you to understand the proper manner in which to hold the long sword. The grip should be both loose and tight at the same time. What I mean by this is that you should hold the sword firmly and resolutely, yet at the same time your hand and wrist must be pliable. Hold the sword as you would a fishing rod and strike with it as if you were casting a fish line. Hold the sword tightly with the bottom two fingers to give yourself the added support you need to wield the long sword correctly. Direct the sword with your thumb and forefinger." Kaufman’s long-winded translation contrasts sharply with Harris brevity as he omits the first half of the passage: “Grip the long sword with a rather floating feeling in your thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger neither tight nor slack, and with the last two fingers tight. It is bad to have play in your hands." Overall, Kaufman’s translation comes out sounding precisely like it was written by the man he claims to be, one who has practiced karate for over forty years and studied the “rings" for another ten."
Dr Henry D Smith, Professor of East Asian Lang/Cult
Columbia University, NYC
"The Sword in the Boardroom" is better than the author’s "Sun Tzu’s Art of War." Sun Tzu is back in the new book, but this time the Chinese general, strategist, and philosopher wears a pinned-striped suit. Both books have provided pillars of instruction within my leadership classes. Based on experience, it is clear that Mr. Kaufman builds his view for leaders and CEOs by extrapolating his insights for practical organizational application. Sword in the Boardroom addresses many workplace issues such as job satisfaction, work motivation and productivity. Of course, martial arts provide an interesting, efficient, and effective roadmap to successful leadership. Also, the book has a highly valuable self-assessment component as readers are probed to respond to situations—and to keep a diary within the pages. Overall, strategy is a key take away for leadership development and personal development. Kaufman divides his book into five sections of strategies. Each offers a part of his thesis; each part fuels the trajectory of his message, delivered with a triad of Sun Tzu, Musashi, and Kaufman. Executives would do very well to read this book. Moreover, re-reading would reinforce the message. Re-read Earth on Monday, Water on Tuesday, Fire on Wednesday, Wind on Thursday, and No-Thing on Saturday to reinforce the importance of leadership and the importance of leadership development. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the shadows on the wall are not reality. The author encourages readers to examine their belief systems and incorrect interpretations as a way to see beyond the shadows and perceive reality. Indeed, the road forward to successful leadership experiences goes through the pages of The Sword In the Boardroom."
Dr. Daniel R. Cillis
Molloy College, NY
Hanshi Kaufman's Ultimate Guide to Self-defense
From my own view point, Hanshi Kaufman's Ultimate Guide to Self-defense touches the very essentials of the martial arts and empowers one to achieve that which they might think they cannot. The many scenarios discussed should prepare anyone for whatever situation they might be confronted with in everyday life and, without joking, even the Zombie Apocalypse.
I am glad that you wrote it. It's like a summation of your decades of knowledge and expertise as well as a mental and physical must have, in a book that doubles as a training manual. I wish I had it 50 years go, but am glad that my children and, subsequently, their children now have it. With all that is coming and that has already arrived, I know that if they adhere to your teachings and follow your direction, they will be prepared, where so many others will not be.
Bob Judd, Martial Arts Master