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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sun Tzu: The Art of War

Griffith, Samuel B.. “Sun Tzu: The Art of War.” Oxford University Press. New York. 1963.

Review: I have many versions or translations of Sun Tzu’s Art of War but this one escaped my notice until now. I was studying Colonel Boyd’s works when his reading list came up in the thesis written by Frans Osinga, a most excellent paper - the best written on the Colonel. He stated that Colonel Boyd found Mr. Griffith’s version to be the best written, most comprehensive and insightful translation of Sun Tzu to date. It is this reason I found a hard cover copy and am not studying it along with Clausewitz and Machiavelli - to name just two others.

I have barely gone past the introduction and find his writings to be clear, concise and inspiring. I have already begun taking notes in my work to analyze the art of war then to synthesize it into a form plausible and relevant to karate, martial arts and self-protective disciplines like self-defense. 

Well into the fourth chapter, easy to understand, easily explained and relevant to every day life strategies let alone those for karate, martial arts and protection disciplines - even toward the product from Colonel Boyd, USAF and his patterns of conflict, the Boyd Cycle or the OODA loop. :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Mind of War

Hammond, Grant. “The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security.” Smithsonian Books, New York. 2004.

Review: Let this be the next read in your library toward a fuller, better and more concise study of Boyd’s Cycle (the OODA Loop). Mr. Hammond fills in a lot of gaps in other efforts, not intentional but more depth toward understanding the man and how he came to create his strategic art of war or what he called, “Patterns of Conflict.” 

My Karate and Martial Arts aficionado’s will wonder what this has to do with karate and martial arts and self-defense and, “Competitions,” and I can say, “plenty.” Take the authors I often promote for study, Marc MacYoung and Rory Miller, whose works convey many valuable aspects of the OODA for self-defense and the professional disciplines like Police and Military. 

Yes, it started about fighter pilots in combat but it grew into this thing tantamount to the works of Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and Clausewitz. I am discovering more by this study and connecting karate and martial arts for self-defense to the OODA, etc. I find this not just amazingly interesting but a valuable data study of how we can better utilize our studies, practices and training of karate, martial arts and self-defense. It should be its own principle in the fundamental principles of defense methodologies, etc. Yeah!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot

Coram, Robert. “Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War.” Back Bay Books. New York. 2004. 

Review: You may be wondering why this book is listed in the library of a karate and martial art self-defense library but it becomes apparent since this man took us out of the dark ages of human conflict and into the future where one aspect of his teachings is used, the OODA Loop. 

Reading another article by Rory Miller expressing a greater understanding of the true intent in the OODA loop inspired me to seek out more so that I bought this book. It is a new way to see the art of war that spans from the individual to a nation at war. So much so that his doctrine of “Patterns of War,” has been adopted by all our military as well as many of the military in other nations (once it was declassified, etc.). 

“Wars take place between nations, every person experiences some form or war; conflict is a fundamental part of human nature. To prevail in personal and business relations, and especially war, we must understand  what takes place in a person’s mind.” _ Col. Boyd

Colonel Boyd speaks in this one quote how conflict is in our very genes, it is as he states “Human Nature.” I feel that this speaks the truth and wanted to add this book to the library as a study of the art of war according to Boyd for every karate-ka, martial artist and self-defense proponent because as it has proven in its implementation in the military and in business, it works. It transcends, much like the Sun Tzu Art of War, time, space and socially driven cultural beliefs of all humans. A great deed done say I of Boyd’s work. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Brain: The Story of You

Eagleman, David. “The Brain: The Story of You.” Pantheon Books. New York. 2015

Review: I am currently studying this one but just in regard to aging and the brain I found the material most beneficial to K&MA (Karate & Martial Artists) toward health, fitness, well-being and so on. The book also discusses how our belief systems are created and work, how our memories contribute toward our character, personality and belief system and finally how they all contribute to the changes our minds and brains encounter in every moment of life. Well worth the purchase and study of …

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Shu Ha Ri: The Aikido Journey

Davies, Cath. “Shu Ha Ri: The Aikido Journey: The Metamorphosis of Form.” Shoshin Press. Amazon Digital Services. 6 April 2014. 

Review: There are a lot of defining articles out there on shu-ha-ri and for those who still wonder as to its meaning in their training and practice this find kindle book on the subject is a great explanation toward its use as to forms or kata. It is the only book I have found, in English, that does a bank up most excellent job of describing the use of shu-ha-ri in training, practice and the application of karate and martial arts. Well worth the mediocre price of the kindle book.

More review once I finish reading the book, stayed tuned …

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Brain and Emotional Intelligence

Coleman, Daniel. “The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights.” More Than Sound LLC, Northhampton MA. 2011.

Review: Who would have said that learning about the brain as it applies to emotional intelligence would be so beneficial to teaching, learning, practicing and living the discipline of karate and martial arts especially toward its mastery for self-defense. As with his book on Emotional Intelligence the author connects so much of importance toward self-mastery - that includes the self-master of the discipline. 

His enlightenment of how our brains work is laid out in a manner that all laypersons can understand what works in that lump of gray matter we call our brains. This book will enhance any teachers ability to understand the mind and therefore create more effective teaching models that will help any practitioner to understand a very complex discipline. So worth the costs and effort to read - get yours now. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Eagleman, David. “Incognito: TheSecret Lives of the Brain.” Vintage Publishing. NewYork. May 2012. 

Review: When I first picked up this book my goal was to learn more about how the brain works to answer some personal questions as to why we humans do certain things and to try and find out if malicious intent were a part of some more nefarious deeds done unto others or to self. It turns out many other aspects are explained herein like how the mind perceives things and how that translates into the motor reflexes used to take actions in life be it for every day stuff or toward the practice of karate and in self-defense. Why it is not listed in my bibliography. 

I highly recommend this book be added to the martial art and karate library as it provides a certain type and level of understanding necessary to achieve goals in life and in understanding the complexities of the human mind and its mind-set and mind-state. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Musashi’s Dokkodo

Kane, Lawernce; Wilder, Kris; Burrese, Alain; Anderson, Dan; Christensen, Lisa and Smedley, Wallace. “Musashi’s Dokkodo (The Way of Walking Alone): Half Crazy, Half Genius - Finding Modern Meaning in teh Sword Saint’s Last Words.” Stickman Publications, inc. Internet. Novenber 2015

Review: It is apropos that I received my copy of this book just a day after reading an article that actually says, in a more terse manner, exactly what these find Martial Artists and Authors say herein. I have been captivated by their writings, perceptions and perspectives toward this concept we use as to the epitome of martial arts strategies and tactics. It makes me wonder about a lot of things currently accepted as true vs. what is merely legend and stories to entertain and attack believers. 

It is just one more possible presentation of reality that many will take homage to just because it refutes their core belief system as to martial arts much like hearing that, “Karate is not a martial art,” tends to send karate-ka climbing the walls with indignation. It is just one of those possibilities that tells us that things may not be what we think or would like but it does say that finding reality is critically important, important toward understanding what it is that we do.

These guys do a bang up job informing us of the other side to a one-sided story. In the study or karate principles there is the discussion and study of yin-yang where the original story is the yin that makes it exciting and believable while the yang side as presented herein brings out a more realistic perception of who and what this man is and was with a more realistic view of his writings. 

This is an awesome book and should be an important addition to your library. You may not agree and you may want to argue the points but at the very least if it makes you think, consider and continue an open-minded type of study than regardless you are a better human for it. 

p.s. as an aside, I have a feeling if the authors go further to see the variations of translations they can achieve a new goal of several books on this very subject. I did some research on the Dokko-do by Musashi to find what appears as, "Different," interpretations and translations into English. The differences I detect on meaning do change according to who translate so if these guys feel it, they can do follow up books on this same subject. Now wouldn't that be really cool - a collection!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The True Believer

Hoffer, Eric. “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.” Harper Collins e-books, May 2011.

Review: When I began reading this book I was just trying to understand the how and why of human nature but when I got to the chapter on dying and killing many of the quotations that follow just stimulated my mind and feelings. It seemed just in these short quotations that a lot about conflict and violence and human natural behaviors are what they are. It gave thoughts toward many aspects of conflict, violence and self-defense that simply supported all of what I have come to understand about these long, difficult and complex disciplines. 

Dying and killing seem easy when they are part of a ritual, ceremonial, dramatic performance or game.

There is a need for some kind of make believe in order to face death unflinchingly. 

To our real, naked selves there is not a thing on earth or in heaven worth dying for.

It is only when we see ourselves as actors in a staged (and therefore unreal) performance that death loses its frightfulness and finality and becomes an act of make-believe and a theatrical gesture.

It is one of the main tasks of a real leader to mask the grim reality of dying and killing by evoking in his followers the illusion that they are participating in a grandiose spectical, a solemn or light-hearted dramatic performance.

The indispensability of play-acting in the grim business of dying and killing is particularly evident int he case of militaries. Their uniforms, flags, emblems, parades, music, and elaborate etiquette and ritual are designed to separate the soldier from his flesh-and-blood self and mask the overwhelming reality of life and death. 

In battle orders the military leaders invariable remind their soldiers that the eyes of the world are on them, that their ancestors are watching them and that posterity shall hear of them. The great general knows ow to conjure an audience out of the sands of the desert and the waves of the ocean. 

Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience - the knowledge that our mighty deeds will come to the ears of our contemporaries of “of those who are to be.” We are ready to sacrifice our true, transitory self for the imaginary eternal self we are building up, by our heroic deeds, in the opinion and imagination of others. 

There is no doubt that in staging its processions, parades, rituals and ceremonials, a mass movement touches a responsive cord in every heart. Even the sober-minded are carried away by the sight of an impressive mass spectacle. There is an exhilaration and getting out of one’s skin in both participants and spectators. The desire to escape or camouflage their unsatisfactory selves develops in the frustrated a facility for pretending - for making a show - and also a readiness to identify themselves wholly with an imposing mass spectacle.

- Eric Hoffer, The True Believer

Being a (Inactive) Marine I never really understood many of the things we were required to learn, train and apply as Marines. Even later when I read the books “On Killing” and “On Combat” it didn’t really sink in. I guess this is why accumulative learning, understanding and experiences are so darn critical when it comes to conflict and violence. 

It also confirms that humans, generally, avoid instinctively those things that would result in grave bodily harm and death. This falls under survival instincts and how we fit in nature’s animal kingdom. Very interesting!