Book Recommendations

 

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Martial Arts Books

Rating
Image

Title

Style
Reviewer's Comments

Red Belt
The Way to Black Belt: A Comprehensive Guide to Rapid, Rock-Solid Results
Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder
Martial Arts
Alright, I'm biased about this one! After all, the authors used a very large quote from me and provided full credit! But seriously, this is one great book. I'm a fan of Lawrence Kane. A number of months ago, he contacted me about a post I made on another martial arts board. He asked permission to use it in a book that he and Kris Wilder were writing. It's out! With my name and narrative included! I have finished the first four chapters. I highly recommend it! The book will provide a great deal of insight into, not just into martial arts, but learning as well. Many business type concepts are included, enough to make this valuable for anyone even if they aren't martial artists!

Red Belt
cover

Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles, and...

Mark Bishop

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate

From the moment I saw this one, I knew I needed to have it! Full of lineages, pictures and interviews, Mark Bishop has managed to fill this book with the historical context of the various styles from this pivotal island. Almost all Okinawan styles will find the name of someone that is pictured on their dojo wall within its covers. Sensei Miyahira and Iha, as well as many of the masters that were here for the 25th Anniversary can be found in this. (Mark)

Red Belt
cover

The Bible of Karate: Bubishi

Patrick McCarthy

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate

This is a terrific book for those with an interest in any of the Okinawan or Japanese branches of Karate. It provides an excellent summary of the methods by which this key text arrived in Okinawa from China. The author, Patrick McCarthy, has written numerous books on Martial Arts History and is well respected for his thorough research and documentation.(Mark)

Black Belt
cover
Karate's History and Traditions

Bruce A. Haines
Asian Martial Arts
This is a great introduction to the history of the Asian Martial Arts. It covers a wide variety of styles by country and is a good starting point for those getting started. I use this is my starting point before moving on to more specific and indepth books about a style. It helps me to place the style in context with the rest of the arts.(Mark)
Not Yet Rated
cover

Tales of Okinawa's Great Masters (Tuttle...

Shoshin Nagamine,
Patrick McCarthy (Translator)

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate

Black Belt
cover

Karate-Do: My Way of Life

Gichin Funakoshi

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
This Autobiography of Gichin Funakoshi provides a great deal of background on the introduction of Okinawan Karate into Japan. (Mark)
Not yet rated
Okinawan Karate, The Secret Art of Tuite
Javier Martinez
Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
 

Black Belt

Kodo Ancient Ways: Lessons in the Spiritual Life of the Warrior/Martial Artist
Kensho Furuya
General Martial Arts
Based on a series of articles, Furuya Sensei has used a narrative of experiences and ancient stories to share the heart of the martial arts. A bit repetative, but provides some solid concepts to think about. Easy to read a chapter at a time, even if it is weeks between opportunities. (Mark)

Black Belt

 

Karate-Do Kyohan
Gichin Funakoshi

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
One of the first published texts on Karate. This outlines some of the key basics with explainations and much of the history of early art. A good read and a great reminder of the sequence of kata. (Mark)

Black Belt

Ancient Okinawan Martial Arts: Koryu Uchinadi (Tuttle Martial Arts)
by Patrick McCarthy

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
Patrick McCarthy has made some of the key historical documents available to those that aren't able to read the original Japanese. Not exciting reading, but certainly solid back ground and fascinating! (Mark)
Brown Belt
Brown Belt
 
The Weaponless Warriors
Richard Kim
Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
"An Informal History of Okinawan Karate" according to the cover. A collection of short stories with historical basis and some limited lineage charts. Footnotes and good bibliography. (Mark)
Rating In Progress - This will be at least Brown Belt!
cover

The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do:... (Shorin-Ryu)

Shoshin Nagamine

Okinawan Karate
 

More Martial Arts Books

Rating
Image

Title

Topic
Reviewer's Comments

Black Belt

Black Belt

Zen in the Martial Arts

by Joe Hyams

ZEN

Excellent light reading serving as an introduction to the concept of Zen. Includes an inside look at some of the martial artists in Hollywood, including Bruce Lee. I find myself re-reading this one every couple of years. (Mark)

Red Belt
 

Bunkai Jutsu

by Iain Abernathy

Application of Kata into Practice
If anyone ever doubts the value of kata, this book will change their mind! Filled with practical application of kata into combat situations, this is an easy to read and well illustrated volume.
Black Belt
Book of Five Rings
Musashi

Martial Arts
Other

(You should have it!) - Written by the sword master Musashi, this book provides an overview of tactics that can be applied in lif and business as well as the martial arts. Many versions and translations are available.
         

Black Belt
Black Belt

Living the Martial Way
by Forrest E. Morgan
Applying Martial Art to Life
I haven't finished this one, though I know Richard Royal has read this. It came highly recommended from other martial artists. So far very thought provoking. Starts so many different trains of thought that you have to go slow! (Mark)
Yellow Belt
Yellow Belt

The Martial Artist’s Way – Glen Doyle

Getting Started in the Martial Arts

Picked this up on a sale table. Includes a forward by Elvis Stojko. If you are already a martial artist, most of this will be irrelevant to you. If you haven't started your journey yet, this is worth a read.

Rating Explanation

Red Belt

Outstanding! Top of the list, must have book for the style. If you don't have a copy, get one now!

Black Belt

Excellent! Highly recommended for both reading and purchase.

Brown Belt

Good book that provides good historical knowledge or provides some good material for reflection. It may provide some excellent sources of new techniques to try. Well worth reading and adding to your library.

Green Belt

The book provides some solid background history in addition to explainations of technique. Good reading and the skills can be helpful for students of the style. This catagory is a good starting place for those new to the martial arts and not ready for an indepth study.

Yellow Belt

Books with this rating may be worth reading for those trying to learn a specific style or technique, but the historical value is limited. Most 'Welcome to Our School' brochures would contain as much historical info. Starting point for those thinking about getting into the Martial Arts.

White Belt

Borrow or skim a copy if you're really bored. Certainly not worth buying!

Other books in the Webmaster's Library that will get full reviews eventually:

   
The Karate Road to Power Kozuki
Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
 
   
Karate - The Essentials Guide – Sanette Smit
Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
 
   
Martial Arts Teachers on Teaching – Wiley, ed.
Teaching
(Excellent!) - I have not read all of the chapters, each written by a different instructor. I picked up a lot of useful tips on teaching children from one chapter!
   
The Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate McCarthy
Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
(Looks good!)
   
The Book of the Samurai Hagakure
Japanese Martial Arts
 
   

The Way of Kata
Kane and Wilder

Okinawan Karate
Japanese Karate
 
   

Best Karate Fundamentals

Nakayama

Japanese Karate

Okinawan Karate

 
   

Best Karate Bassai, Kanku

Nakayama

Japanese Karate

Okinawan Karate

 
   

Best Karate Heian, Tekki

Nakayama

Japanese Karate

Okinawan Karate

 
   

Shoto-kan Karate

Ventresca

Japanese Karate

Okinawan Karate

 
         
   

 

   
        A dozen or so of these have been consolidated, brought up to date and published as an article, Putting Flesh on the Bones, available through Amazon.com.

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Copyright 2004, Mark W. Swarthout

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The last update to the page was on October 10, 2010
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