Ellis Amdur

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Ellis Amdur (born March 27, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is a writer, an American practitioner of martial arts and a crisis intervention trainer. He has published a number of books on martial arts, on crisis intervention, hostage negotiation,and fiction.


Amdur began his study of martial arts in 1968, learning karate and traditional Chinese arts. He started training in aikido in 1973, and after moving to New York, lived in Terry Dobson and Ken Nisson’s Bond Street Dojo. He also started training daily at Yamada Yoshimitsu's New York Aikikai school of aikido. After gaining a degree in psychology, Amdur traveled to Japan in 1976 to further his study of the martial arts, and while there, entered the Toda-ha Bukō-ryū and Araki-ryū, two traditional koryu. He is shihan (full instructor) in both these arts, one of only a few non-Japanese to attain teaching licenses in any koryu. He has also studied judo, Muay Thai and xingyiquan.[1][2] In recent years, Amdur has continued his training in several areas: an in-depth study of 'internal strength' paradigms, as suited to use within traditional Japanese combative arts; Arrestling, a mixed martial art specifically for law enforcement, created by Don Gulla; Amdur's 'new-old' development, Taikyoku Araki-ryu in which, in collaboration with established groups of expert martial artists, one or more 'modules' of Araki-ryu are studied in depth, and applied to the environment where the particular group functions (competitive grappling and law enforcement being two examples).

Based in Seattle, Amdur teaches courses for a variety of different venues, from law enforcement and corrections to mental health and families on crisis intervention.[3][4] He also consults on situations involving stalking, domestic violence or work-site safety.


Amdur is the author of several books on the martial arts (Dueling With O-Sensei, Hidden in Plain Sight, Old School) as well as twelve profession-specific books on crisis intervention and mental health which are published under his own Edgework Publishing imprint.[5][6][7] In addition, he has also published:

  • Shapshifting: Effective Scenario Training for Crisis/Hostage Negotiation Teams - two separate works: one for law enforcement & one for HNT teams in prison environments.
  • Body and Soul: Toward a Radical Intersubjectivity in Psychotherapy - a book combining phenomenological psychology and clinical encounters with people struggling to survive in desperate circumstances
  • The Coordinator: Managing High-Risk, High-Consequence Social Interactions in an Unfamiliar Environment
  • Girl with the Face of the Moon - A novel
  • Along with Neal Stephenson, Charles C. Mann, and Mark Teppo, he has also published a graphic novel, entitled Cimarronin.[8]


  1. ^ "Ellis Amdur". Araki Ryu Torite Kogusoku. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  2. ^ Erard, Guillaume. "Interview with Ellis Amdur". Life in Japan and Aikido Practice. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  3. ^ Busek, Amy (1 April 2015). "NAMI asks for education funding". Idaho Mountain Express. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  4. ^ Bermant, Charlie. "First responders, others get detailed training on diffusing domestic violence". Peninsula Daily News. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  5. ^ "Author biographies". Koryu.com. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  6. ^ Thomas A. Green; Joseph R. Svinth (11 June 2010). Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. ABC-CLIO. p. 580. ISBN 978-1-59884-244-9.
  7. ^ Flosi, Ed. "Book Review - The Thin Blue Lifeline". Policeone.com. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  8. ^ Armitage, Hugh. "Neal Stephenson makes comics debut with Cimarronin". Digital Spy. Retrieved 21 April 2015.