Book Review – The Swordmaster’s Apprentice

by Edward Burke (Penguin) ISBN:9780143527978

Edward Burke sets off on a year-long journey of self-discovery and brutal training to be mentored under one of the greatest masters of martial arts.

He leaves his corporate job in London to train as a live-in student of the legendary Chiba Sensei, a master of aikido. From a business man accustomed to the freedom and independence of London, Edward now finds himself sharing tight living quarters at the back of the dojo, scrubbing floors and dusting, all to have the honour of training under Chiba Sensei.

The way he describes the training and his immense passion for it, encompassing fear and pain with beautiful skill and artistry is gripping to read. Whether you are a fan of martial arts or not you can’t help but develop an appreciation for it as you see it through Edward’s eyes.

The power in the subtlety of movement, the discipline required as well as the fear and dedication almost become real presences in the book they are so prevalent in the author’s writing.

Intertwined with intense training, Edward learns profound lessons and gains a new awareness of identity. The pure joy of the physical exertion, fitness and fleeting moments of pure connectedness are enticing and makes the reader want to discover an inner peace of their own.

Kylie Crichton and Shanel Munger

Posted on: 22nd November 2011