Years ago, when I was 12-15 years old, the Japanese cultural craze was starting to hit America and Samurai swords were all the rage. I would read anything I could on Japan’s ancient warriors. To this day I keep my bokken (木剣, bok(u), “wood,” and ken, “sword”), a wooden sword most commonly in the shape of the katana, as my weapon of choice by the bed.
During this period I got my hands on a copy of Dave Lowry’s book, Autumn Lightning. Dave Lowry has written articles for years for Black Belt Magazine (yes, I had a subscription at the time). In his book he chronicled his coming to hear about a Japanese sword master that lived in his neighborhood, and his subsequent work to become a student, along with many of the things that he had learned.