Recommended reading for the martial arts. This is my personal library list. I practice Okinawan Te or "Ryukyu Ti." My system is derived from two others, one being the main influence of Shorin-ryu and the second Goju-ryu. The branch under Shorin-ryu is Isshin-ryu as developed by Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei.

I wanted to create a library reference blog where I can provide a listing of the books I have in my library, present and past (past in that some have been lost in transit over the years). I will provide a graphic, if available, a short description, if available, and the bibliography. When possible a link to Amazon will be provided.

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon


Reader's of this Blog

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach," by Chris Wilder and Lawrence Kane

Bibliography:
Kane, Lawrence and Wilder, Kris. "Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach: Powerful Leadership for Leaderless Times." Stickman Publications, Inc. Amazon Digital Services. February 2014.

Review: I am reading "Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach," by Chris Wilder and Lawrence Kane. Excellent book. The following is a quote from that book and I wonder what other think when they read it (made a few minor changes to suit my martial arts theme). 

"We all want acknowledgement. Fame and fortune have a certain allure, but the world really does not care about your work ethic, your hours in the dojo, the hours you invest to become a sensei, the degree(s) and certification(s) you have earned, or the sacrifices you made to earn the martial arts rank that you have obtained. To assume that at some time you will be acknowledged and rewarded justly for your efforts is tantamount to building a house so that others can burn it down. ... Recognition does come with the job, but you cannot count on it. All you can really control is how and when you recognize others. Set a good example and who knows, things may sort themselves out better than you expected." ~ Kane and Wilder, Sensei Mentor Teacher Coach.

This is only a small excerpt from that book. I won't be doing any more quotes except for the occasional one I want to add to my favorite quotes blog post elsewhere. This is only one small part of the world they are inviting folks to experience, the world of leadership. Even if you don't plan on being in a leadership role this book provides a huge amount of suggestions that make for a better growth potential. In my view, even if you don't want or plan on being in a leadership role you are one anyway. Everything you say, do and believe are projected in how you go about living be it home, work or play. When folks do take notice they tend to perceive you from things you don't say but from the actions, over time, you take living life. If you do want and plan on taking a more active leadership role then this is a primary book for you to study and add to your ongoing/permanent library. 

Read also: Breaking the Mold

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Karate 1.0


Bibliography:
Quast, Andreas. "Karate 1.0: Parameter of an Ancient Martial Art." Lulu Publishing (Self-published). December 2013. 

Impressions: I was only hesitant because I was ordering this self-published book from outside my normal channels for books, etc. I was also hesitant since it said it was a "hard bound" book. Most self-published that I have received tend to be spiral bound photo copy oriented books. Not to diminish one or the other but as a book lover I tend to gravitate toward books with nice bindings.

This was an impressive book publishing. First, the binding is very good. Similar to binding I have found on larger books that fit the description of "coffee table bound books." 

Now, as to the work of Mr. Quast. I have not read past the introduction but can say that if the introduction is any indication of the effort of Mr. Quast this is going to be a great source for Okinawan Martial history. 

I have paged through the entire book. I do this because I want to get a sense of what I can expect as I read. I am impressed once again at the perceived details of this book. It is well laid out, has excellent photos, tables, and other materials used to support the main content, the written word. I get a good sense because of the introduction and the page review this work will be a mainstay to the study of Okinawan martial arts, karate. I would put this one right up there with the history book on Okinawa by George H. Kerr as well as the Book of Martial Power by Stephen J. Pearlman. To me, karate would not be karate without the knowledge gained from the study of these two books - and I haven't even read the Karate 1.0 yet!

As I read the book, it is huge and detailed, I will provide my reviews in the next section. I am taking this extra effort simply because of who recommended this book to read and to the work of both the author Mr. Andreas Quast and the production of the Lulu press system. 

Review: I have read through two chapters. It occurred to me that this book is not just about karate but rather about Okinawa and that includes their culture and beliefs. In the first two chapters I have discovered that the influences on Okinawa, its people and their culture and beliefs are vast, i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian nations. This began long before the Satsuma 1600 invasion.

Another aspect I was not fully aware of is Okinawa's considerable military ability. This also long before the 1600's. It seems that the Okinawan's are similar to American's in the mix of cultures and belief systems that they were exposed to.

In a nutshell this books goes much deeper into the martial history of the island and as we later find in the ending chapters it had its influences on the karate of the times.

As I continue to read this fine book I find little tidbits of information that help connect karate to Okinawa history. Take for instance there is a reference to a type of device that uses the modern karate bo. It may be the precursor to the karate bo used today. It had a device on the end that used powder and shot to shoot a ball as a type of weapon. What it was called, etc. is not the point for this review. It is about your curiosity to see and learn more about the history and culture that produced karate.

Some other interesting tidbits from this book, karate was actually a prerequisite to weapons training. Ti has been confirmed as the all round term for the empty handed systems of Okinawa but there is also another older term that was used, you have to read the book to find out that term.

Empty handed systems were primarily a fitness and preparation system to learn discipline, etc. along with combat skills that were necessary for leaning weapons techniques, tactics and strategies. Read more in the book.

In reading this book I also came across the hachimaki color system used to designate officials of the court. I also spent some effort to try and discover the Okinawan belt system they created some where around the 1950's. I find that maybe the color of the belts may have been derived from their history, might. Worth reading the book to find out, right?

To close out this review, this book give me, personally, another perspective as to the origins and historical genealogy of karate of Okinawa. I can say that this book, if it is as accurate as I feel it is, redefines how I think of the history that brings us to the modern practice of karate. It answered some questions that always nagged at me from the subconscious. Considering that written history is not as solid as one might think then when references refer to dances and stories within you start to believe that historical information was kept by the Okinawans, just not in the form we would expect. This author has tapped into all the available sources making this a very solid book of history for me. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Breaking the Mold


In a recent posting by Rory Miller, "Out of the Box," he asks a question that has had me thinking for several days not, i.e. "The people looking for books on leadership are not looking for those names." This is about Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder's new book, "Sensei, Mentor, Teacher, Coach." It comes down to what is associated with their names, i.e. martial arts. 

In the martial arts world people who are not in that world tend to make quick assumptions. They see the title with "Sensei" in it then they look it up and find out it is a title for the martial arts and they swing right to the word "karate or MMA or some other martial art" then the assign the title "sport" to it and then move on not pausing long enough to see within the pages more than merely another martial art book. 

This seems in my mind a lot like the martial arts community where we all see the majority of martial arts books as economically driven money makers with little substance then when someone like these two gentlemen as well as a few others put out a book it sometimes gets left in with all the other "stuff."

Take for instance "The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense." This series of books would never have come across my radar if not for the books on violence that Rory Miller has published for us. Dr. Suzette Haden wrote them in the eighties and until I read about the book in Rory's bibliography I never heard of her or her work. Then, thinking of the title I almost discarded getting a copy but considering what I had just read in Rory's book I decided to gamble and get a copy. I will never regret it and I have all six of her series and found them of great value. Not just for my martial arts studies but for things both personal and professional in my life, i.e. my personal life at home and my professional life at work (i.e. I don't make a living off of martial arts but work in IT, etc. to make a living). I am still finding out more about myself from those books as well as books like Sensei, Mentor, Teacher, Coach and Conflict Communications.

Now, back to how one would transcend a singular model or mold, i.e. the heading of either "martial arts" or "sports." How to get all those non-martial artists and non-sport activists to read these books. As I stated at the beginning I have been contemplating this for a while since I read it in Rory's blog post. 

Human instinct is about groups and survival. In one group we collect like minded folks together to survive (not literally as in keeping out the lions, tigers and bears). This instinct is strong and to gain access takes a considerable amount of work and luck. Rory in his book ConComm speaks of how new folks enter into a new group at work and perceptions as to that person makes a difference in how they are accepted. He breaks it down into gender (pardon me, but gender does matter even if we consider ourselves both male and female as equals - I do, but still we are different). When a woman connects with a new work group she is expected to do things a certain way. When a man connects with a new work group he is expected to do things a certain way. Both are as different as Mars from Venus. 

Then there is in general how we all have our cultural groups and this seems to me to work the same as to categories of books, movies, etc. If a movie is listed as science fiction and you hate science fiction you are in all likelihood not going to see it. An example is the movie "Salmon Fishing in Yemen." My wife and her friend asked me if I wanted to go see this movie with them. Initially, I read the title and thought to myself, "What the f*&^ would I find in a movie about fishing in Yemen?" Well, I decided that for other reasons I would go with them and worst case scenario get a good nod off in a dark theater. I was very pleased to find out that once I got past that title, got in the theater and the movie began that I was very pleased I came, the movie was a great one. 

This seems to be the issue with books like Mr. Wilder's and Mr. Kane's. The title and the category that the book is listed under pretty much pigeon hole it right in that location where if someone looking for a leadership book just happens to read this post or read a post somewhere else where the topic of leadership, etc. is prominent then maybe that person will do like I did with Dr. Haden's book, get it, read it and then find it of great value even if it is a martial arts book under the misnomer category of "sport." 

I mean if these two gentlemen were actually famous "football or basketball coaches" who wrote a book on their respective disciplines as a book on leadership there is a much greater probability that someone looking for just a leadership book would find these gems. 

Now that I have given my opinionated opinion I can see that the only path toward breaking out of the box these books are put into by publishers that the best way to get this moved into a more mainstream diverse readership is to get someone prominent outside of martial arts and sports who has a reputation in leadership, etc. to promote this with  that category of readers. Like Wim Demeere's blog post, this is a simple answer with a complexity and difficulty level very, very high. There is also "luck."

Personally, when I make recommendations in my library reviews I may sound like I am giving "advice." Unsolicited advice is ofter a "no-no" and often causes the recipient to "shut down" and not listen saying to self, "who the f*&* does this guy think he is?" Another ceiling to break through. 

The only time I believe advice is acceptable is when it comes from authority expert figures who are already well-respected by the masses without barriers. One as an example is "Oprah Winfrey" and her book club. Now, if you got her to read these books and to make a recommendation then the entire world would flood Amazon to purchase a copy. Now, this would be really cool. What is the likelihood? You never know, right. Maybe my suggestion is to see if her book club allows recommendations and then make one that is more generic toward leadership over just "another martial art sport book." 

Who in the leadership community with a wide audience of followers could you contact and possibly get to read a copy and promote it from their end. Does anyone know of such a person and would they consider making the suggestion. After all, there is a series of books that only made it to the best seller list because a publisher just happened to pick up the submission on a lark to read at lunch while waiting for a client, right. This book and the following five followups became a best seller and transcended gender as well as age obstacles and was read by just about everyone. If that submission had been underneath another it may have never been printed (think wizards and a wizard academy ;-).

I know from experience that all these authors who I would recommend to everyone be they martial artists or just a person who wants to find ways to improve who they are already but how to get them to make that purchase is another story as well. 

I have spent at least the last ten years working on improving myself. I am talking about as a martial artists but also as a person. Come on, a good Sensei has to be a good person too. If not, you don't get the good of martial arts, just learn how to dance around, etc. and maybe win a couple of trophies. A good sensei has to have the same principles of leadership as any other discipline. 

I have read only a small part of Mr. Kane's and Mr. Wilder's book so far. I have read almost the entire Conflict Communications book from Rory Miller. I can tell you, personally, there is a lot more than information about martial arts, self-defense and violence in these books as they all are based on some sound foundational fundamental principles that transcend any one discipline. 

Like I profess on fundamental principles of martial systems it is the same with these books, the principles are relevant and important to any endeavor of mankind, of humans and transcend any group, cultural and belief systems. 

If I could get everyone who reads this to go the distance, buy the books and read them with an open mind and then just a few of their friends and their friends would do the same all of them would find benefits beyond what they would normally expect in a book listed in a category that is limiting. 

Anyway, maybe I have some answers here and maybe I don't but I can tell you that their, these authors and others, influences have helped me "see and hear" beyond the cover of the book. I look at the content for value for the category and for outside the category - you just never know. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ConCom: Conflict Communications

Bibliography:
Miller, Rory. "ConCom: Conflict Communications A New Paradigm in Conscious Communication." Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2014. 

Review: I am always amazed at how people, especially authors, can communicate. Especially so in the written forms. I can only guess this is why Mr. Miller published this new Kindle edition book about Conflict Communications. 

I am especially pleased to readily see how this information can benefit my personal life as well. Mr. Miller has managed to put together something that not only has relevancy to the professionals out there but also to the individual even when not involved in a professional way. 

I am pleased and excited to recommend this book highly, as I seem to do for all his works, to everyone be they martial artists or just a person dealing with a variety of conflicts from work, home or in society. 

This work is well worth the measly price of the Kindle edition linked here and if you are not a kindle fan the printed versions will be available in the very near future. 

And, when you find this book of value just wait because Marc MacYoung is working on a new book as well and that one will be on this site when published and read. :-)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking


Bibliography:
Gladwell, Malcolm. "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking." Bay Back Books. France. 2007.

Review: I am always amazed, I shouldn't be by now, at what is out there that teaches us why we do what we do. Blink is one of those books that turns a light on inside my mind. 

In martial arts we talk about the mind, the state of mind-no-mind, and about being present in the moment but there is more to that then these teachings. We talk about the mind, conscious and unconscious (the logic mind, the monkey mind and the lizard mind, etc.), but we don't really spend much time learning how the unconscious mind actually works and the why it works to well especially when we need snap judgement and instantaneous responses or actions. 

Blick helps open the door to that process and explains just how much we depend on the unconscious, a faster processing part of the brain, to achieve instant answers or in the field of martial defense - actions. 

The rub is once you understand how it works and learn how to acknowledge it for what it is you, like in mind-no-mind, simply forget about it and then be more accepting as to its purpose, function and use in life and in defenses as they apply to life. It is an amazing journey. I started reading and could not put it down till the end. I am at this writing starting the second reading of this fine book. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Violence: A Writer's Guide


Bibliography:
Miller, Rory. "Violence: A Writer's Guide." Pacific Northwest. Wyrd Goat Press. 2012.

Review: Again Sgt. Miller has coupled his life experiences in a violent work world into something educational and useful, for a writer as well as a person learning about violence for self-defense. This book, as is his other efforts, is well done. It refreshes about information from his other efforts as well as provide solid clues on how to write about it with authenticity and accuracy. 

Example of content: The three essential elements of self-defense he provides in this book are a good primer for anyone seeking self-defense training. Knowing of and about these elements gives a person ammunition to seek out good self-defense training. When you couple this with the information Sgt. Miller provides in this book as well as his other efforts you have a good foundation to separate the chaff from the wheat of self-defense instruction. 

What are the thee essentials? Awareness-Initiative-Permission. I could give you my view of this but prefer recommending you read his book as mentioned above. His explanations are far better than mine. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

When the Fight Goes to Ground


Bibliography:
O'Connell, Lori; Hiscoe, Steve; Weintz, Jennifer. "When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-Jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense." Vermont. Tuttle Publishing. 2012. 

Review: First, I am not a ground fighting expert. I am not even a novice. I have some grappling experience from my early days but nothing that should be taken for expert or even very proficient. I just wanted to get that out there. Second, I believe more now than ever before that it is important for anyone practicing any type of martial art for self-defense that they address ground fighting simply because there may be moments, if you encounter violence, when you end up on the ground. 

Where I received a recommendation for this book is lost to me at the moment of publication of this post. I can tell you that whomever it was is someone I respect for their experience and abilities especially in regards to going to ground in self-defense. 

This book lays out what I perceive as solid self-defense fundamentals that will enhance any martial art, not directly associated with ground work to begin with, for self-defense. I like the way it is laid out and the simplicity that is promoted within the pages. It should be fairly easy to learn from the book if you are an experienced martial artist with SD experience. You can enhance the effort by including the DVD that is sometimes sold with the print edition or you can get the kindle edition in conjunction with the DVD. 

If your a novice I still recommend it but with one strong caveat, make sure you get clarification and experience in practice from a qualified and experienced martial artist. This is good with any pairing of literature and media for learning and sometimes is recommended even for the experienced martial artists with no background in ground work. 

This book and DVD are a very good basic starting point regardless. Couple that with hands on training as I mention and you can gain a solid foundation of ground self-defense. Hopefully you will never have to use it for real but remaining basic as this one does should provide you the tools to end the encounter and allow you to seek safety and security. Provided, of course, your avoidance and deescalation strategies and tactics fail. 

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quiet


Bibliography:
Cain, Susan. "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking." Broadway. New York. 2013. 

Review: Reading this book led me to some things of interest for training and practice but more importantly the SD aspects. It deals with how we are programmed by both genes and environment. It deals with whether a person is either a high-reactive or low-reactive person. It deals with introversion and extroversion along with the amygdala storage and later influential abilities (lifetime of stored associations). 

It must be understood that these influences matter and that one can train themselves to overcome them but occasionally it does not work leaving you subject to those stored associations. What the ? am I talking about?

Well, you will have to study the material yourself to get the full picture and idea behind this post. I know instinctively that this matters and it may help sensei work with practitioners to achieve the best results possible in their training and practice toward self-defense. Knowing how this entire model works within those persons be they of an introverted or extroverted nature (and all levels in between) or of high-reactive or low-reactive nature will tell you how you can possible gear things toward greater understanding and ability in a SD situation. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially those who teach be it martial arts or any life discipline. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Power of Intuition


Bibliography:
Klein, Gary. "The Power of Intuition: How to Use Your Gut Feelings to Make Better Decisions at Work." Doubleday. New York. 2003.

Review: Awareness, one of the many fundamentals of self defense especially through the martial arts, classical or traditional. Intuition, subconscious, cues and patterns are but a few terms you will encounter in this excellent book. Highly recommended to read and use in reality based training and practice. 

I found this book most enlightening and discovered many ways to explain how we develop these traits to better serve in the combative and defensive arts. 

Friday, March 22, 2013


Bibliography:
Howe, Paul R. Msg U.S. Army. "Leadership and Training for the Fight." Authorhouse. Indiana. 2006.

Review: This one I found on Rory Miller's Blog site, "Chiron." Anything he recommends can be counted on to support and inform what he writes in his own books. After reading the first chapter on the OODA I can relate it to some of Rory's information in books and electronic media. As for myself, I find it an outstanding addition to my library. 

This provided me many connections, and I am not hardly finished reading it either, that help my mind relate to things necessary to know how things work. It is outstanding and an awesome supplemental book in support of Rory's efforts as well as other authors of note on this subject. 

Well worth the expense.