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

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!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Hard-Won Wisdom from the School of Hard Knocks

Burrese, Alain., “Hard-Won Wisdom from the School of Hard Knocks.” TGW Books. October 2013. 

Review: Found this book through a share on Marc MacYoung’s Facebook wall and very glad I did cause it is “Good.” I can say this from reading just the first part, the Introduction. I can get a good feel for a book from the introduction and to date have not found any book to fall down or apart after reading the intro. This book falls into that good category with a solid expectation of reaching the “Must Have” level very soon. I look forward to a follow up review of this fine publication once I finish it - soon. 

As I get caught up in this one the first thought that occurs to me is one I would use for a best seller, "A reap page turner!" Oh, wait a minute, this is a best seller or rather a best in library. If it were not for dry eyes and fatigue after long days it would be finished already but it is nice to know that I have a great book to study when I rest and wake for a new day. This is one of those books.

I would go so far as to add it to my self-defense prerequisite books list or bibliography, it is that well done. Give me a few more days and I will continue to write about my views, review if you will, of this most excellent addition to my martial library. Hell, a fine addition to my overall library!

Addendum: Mr. Burrese doesn't fool around, he hits the main and critical points or principles then moves on quickly. Every chapter is full, complete and comprehensive without resorting to wordy explanations that confuse. He sticks hard to those aspects that make a difference for your self-defense. It is the fundamentals of knowledge that supports and connects to other mainline professional authors who also teach about self-defense.

I wrote an article for my blog expressing how important it is to get perspectives and perceptions of such professionals from a diverse professions view and perceptions, i.e., a street thug, a corrections officer with lots of hard core violence experience and a military professional facing violence from both spectrums, i.e., the military and civil social violence source. Mr. Burrese fits in there with the top professionals from a background that is indisputable, professional and experienced.

Hey, look at Mr. Burrese's book as a plan on how to create a good, solid and applicable self-defense lesson plan. No one goes into anything worth while without a plan so use his and other books I mention to create a solid self-defense lesson plan. If you only taught what he suggests in your self-defense course you would be giving your students the most excellent teachings of self-defense that exceeds most anything you can get through many martial arts self-defense programs.

This is an outstanding book everyone who trains for self-defense MUST HAVE in their SD libraries, get yours today and you will be very pleased. Thanks Mr. Burrese, much appreciated!

One particular chapter of his book that really stands out to other such efforts is the chapter on health, fitness and its importance in applying self-defense. He discusses the importance of strength, speed, agility, durability, dynamic balance and other aspects toward surviving in an attack. You hear about other programs that recommend but Mr. Burrese goes further to recommend methods that are important to the practice of martial arts especially toward self-defense, fighting and combatives. 

Monday, June 22, 2015


Benforado, Adam. “Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice.” Crown Publishing. Random House. June 2015.

Review: A very unique perspective of human nature with emphasis on how that affects our judicial system. A must read to the self-defense martial arts teacher and practitioner as a supplement in dealing with the aftermath, especially legal, when forced to use physical force in self-defense. I would add this book to the book by Marc MacYoung, In the Name of Self-Defense, as a gift to your attorney because this stuff is just like Mr. MacYoung’s stuff, something seldom known of and understood by attorneys. I have already formed a new view on video and photo evidence as it may be used and how it would effect those who make judgements in legal proceedings.

I just finished the book and have to say I got a ton of information out of it. I am not a professional nor a lawyer who has experience and knowledge of the world of self-defense, both reality and legal, and I would still want to vet this stuff with other professionals yet the base or essence of the material all apply in martial arts self-defense. I found a lot of what is provided validates other source material concerning the legal ramifications when you apply self-defense.

Another point of importance is knowing the in's-n-out's along with all the biases and human fallible traits that permeate the entire legal system helps to understand what you face when you apply self-defense. Since most legal professionals are in the system and often do not see those obstacles it helps you steer your attorney toward a better view when defending your self-defense. This is another excellent source of legal material that should be a part of your self-defense martial art library with one caveat, i.e., always and I mean always seek professional qualified legal advice before you have too.

Note: I always look to the bibliography to see what sources were used to write the book as a sort of validation as well as a means to verify and validate through other views, etc. and this book as seventy-four pages of bibliography. A lot of material to reference and use to verify and validate. The sources as to expert type research and so on lend a bit more validity to the studies, at least I find it beneficial.

Note II: The section where the author discusses human memory as it might apply is awesome, learned a lot about memory and the mind there but the one aspect that didn't appear is how that memory and mind work in the adrenal stress conditions of violence. I find it alludes to the minds foibles but not directly toward how the adrenal dump adds to those obstacles making them tougher to deal with especially when you have to defend your self-defense. Knowledge is power and this book gives you a bit more power as a teacher, practitioner and in the application of self-defense martial arts. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

On Writing Violence Series

MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #1: Getting Shot.” NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2014.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #2: Getting Stabbed.”  NNSD. Amazon Digital. 2015.
MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #3: Getting Hit and Hitting.” Amazon Digital Services, inc. NNSD. April 20. 2015.

I have these find eBooks and from the perspective of martial arts (discipline) I can tell you that these books are a lot more than merely writing good verse or story with realism, they are also the best, to my view, primers to learning martial arts, systems or styles. 

Example: I have practiced a striking discipline for almost forty years. I assumed I knew a lot about striking yet when I read, three times to just get it, the third installment of writing violence, getting hit and hitting I found out just how much, “I didn’t KNOW!” It explained far better than I ever could or did about hitting and being hit, striking or punching, etc. It took some of my beliefs and turned them completely upside down to my benefit.

There is so much to learn and these particular terse lessons will get you there be it for martial arts, other combative type systems and especially in apply the physical part of self-defense - primers. I would recommend to anyone and everyone these books (and future editions that come out pretty fast and regular) if they desire to learn a fighting skill, well worth the money, time and study!

Firefly Quotes:

Mal: It's nothin'.
Simon: I expect there's someone's face feels differently.
Mal: Well, they tell ya, never hit a man with a closed fist, but it is on occasion hilarious.

If Mal says it is so, then it is so. Just adds validity to Marc MacYoung’s Writing Violence III: Getting Hit and Hitting, right? :-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Law of Self Defense

Branca, Andrew F. “The Law of Self Defense: The Indispensable Guide to the Armed Citizen.” Law of Self Defense LLC. 2013.

Review: This one was quickly added to my self-defense reference list. Although geared toward self-defense as an armed citizen the advice and information is relevant to self-defense in general be it open-handed or weaponized. There is a lot of well written and solid information along with state specific references and data that will assist you in seeking advice from legal professionals not to forget to mention what you can add for value in your self-defense course of instruction. 

I have already added many aspects, etc., to my book on martial arts self defense instruction manual. Not to take thunder from this book but to direct my readers, students and instructors to a more robust way to teach martial arts and self-defense. I highly recommend adding this to your library. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Writing Violence #3: Getting Hit and Hitting

MacYoung, Marc. “Writing Violence #3: Getting Hit and Hitting.” Amason Digital Services, inc. NNSD. April 20. 2015. 

Review: Strikers, punchers all, get ready to rock your world because this book provides you a lot of information that will change the way you look at your striking arts system, like karate. 

Over the years I began to understand that what I perceived as power in karate or martial arts was not actually all that powerful. Then I read the short book by Marc MacYoung, Writing Violence: Getting Hit and Hitting where the following quote slapped me in the face and provided me a way to explain why what I was seeing and even practicing actually did NOT mean I was powerful. Mr. MacYoung’s quote,

“Just because it has the external form doesn’t mean it has the internal mechanics that make it work. To the untrained eye, every blow looks brutal, horrible, and damaging. In reality, the level of force is hardly more than pushing or slapping someone - if that.” - Mark MacYoung, Writing Violence: Getting Hit and Hitting

I am barely through one-third of his book and I not only understand my striking system a lot better I can also articulate things better as well. Sometimes coming up with the proper words to describe things that are right as well as the all important things that are wrong is critical in teaching and learning. This book may be a way to write fiction fighting with more realism but it also, in my view, adds truth and realty to how one practices, trains and applies their striking art in reality. 

Get this one karate-ka, get this one you self-defense people and get this one you fledgling fiction action hero authors - it is worth all 2.99 pennies you spend for the kindle version :-)

Firefly Quotes:

Mal: It's nothin'.
Simon: I expect there's someone's face feels differently.
Mal: Well, they tell ya, never hit a man with a closed fist, but it is on occasion hilarious.

If Mal says it is so, then it is so. Just adds validity to Marc MacYoung’s Writing Violence III: Getting Hit and Hitting, right? :-)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Musashi’s: Book of Five Rings

Quinn, Peyton. “Musashi’s: Book of Five Rings” Quinn Communications. Amazon Digital Services, inc. 2011.

Review: I have several interpretations of the book by Miyamoto Musashi, the sword saint. All of them are about translation of the original text, if the text is truly original to Musashi but in this instance it is a perspective, perception and contest toward modern fighting and self-defense. In his colorful way he provides the modern martial arts community, the modern self-defense community, with his rendition toward Musashi’s tenants on war, combat, and fighting in general. He does well in pulling those ancient anecdotes to a modern perspective that assists in creating a mind-set/mind-state of the modern SD warrior.

I can say, emphatically, that the prose as well as the substance of this book is amazing. The following quotes, redacted to fit a modern form called karate, will help tell this story of most excellent substantial prose that speaks to both a historical understanding of a great warriors writings as well as applicable substance of combat in modern times.

“Modern dojo are too far removed from the reality and simplicity of defeating an adversary and ten to make it ore complex that it really is. Sensei do this to maintain students and their fees. There are not that many ways to fight a person. You don’t need the many techniques such as martial arts schools might teach when you are in a real violent situation. Develop a since spirit, a willingness to engage and enter on the adversary and end the fight.” - Redacted from a quote by Peyton Quinn, Musashi’s Book of Five Rings

“Styles are just styles, styles of practice created by people who often have no real or limited experience in actual fights or self-defense situations. Practitioners who look good in the dojo but who would be defeated by a true fighter if that practitioner’s training had been NOT directed toward adherence to a style, but only on the pragmatic ways to fight and defeat an adversary. The practitioner must perfect the few techniques/tactics actually needed in a fight as the fight dictates, those that are not fancy or complex.”  - Redacted from a quote by Peyton Quinn, Musashi’s Book of Five Rings

“One develops skill in martial arts by awareness, observation and above all the correct practice.”  - Redacted from a quote by Peyton Quinn, Musashi’s Book of Five Rings

"A pleasant surprise and a wonderful addition to a martial art library. Upon choosing this as my next read I was somewhat hesitant but only after a few minutes found it to be one of the more important additions to my martial art library and martial philosophy." - Me 

Just finished the book of five rings as presented from the point of expertise Peyton Quinn, the author. I am starting from the beginning again to work through the entire thing and that says a lot. Normally, I wait a while then re-read to get a fresher perspective that sees from another angle but this one is just plain good and just plain relevant to modern martial systems be they sport, the Way or combative.

I really appreciate how Mr. Quinn related and inter-connected the historical aspects so that the modern martial practitioner can see and feel how closely history has repeated itself in the training, practice and teaching of modern martial systems. There were many, many "Oh Shit" moments through out the read.

Stay tuned, more to come ….