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, September 2, 2014

The Samurai Capture a King

Bibliography:
Turnbull, Stephen and Hook, Richard. “The Samurai Capture a King: Okinawa 1609 (Raid).” Osprey Publising. Westminster, MD. 2009.

Review: Another of those obscure books that you come across by accident. This one was referenced by Andreas Quast, author of Karate 1.0, in one of his articles on the Internet. I have read a small portion so this review is going to be short but sweet. It is an excellent book on the Okinawan history as to the Japanese invasion of the Satsuma clan in 1609. 

Unlike a lot of "dry" history books this one remains interesting, well written and the facts are supported although the author will express the tenuousness of those historical facts since they were pieced together from three major sources. All those sources are also subject to the embellishments of the authors, i.e. similar to how it is believed that history is often written by the vanquishers rather than the vanquished so it may be a bit biased.

Yet, this book is interesting and informative to say the least. 


More to come as I read the rest of the book. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Manwatching

Bibliography:
Morris, Desmond. “Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behavior.” Harry N. Abrams. April 1979. 

Review: Listen, when I was first informed that this was a good book I thought, “Sounds like the old girlwatching fad of the seventies.” I was incorrect and only decided to look at this again when it was recommended, several times, in the book by Marc MacYoung, In the Name of Self-Defense." Once I started to read this ancient book I then realized what a gem it is especially toward someone who has a high interest in self-defense as well as martial arts. 

This is an excellent add on to your library. It goes into depth as to the reasoning for such knowledge and is a great book to use as a study of a second book called Emotional Intelligence. He does an outstanding job associating such things to those emotions such as anger as well as how this all works regarding our lizard brain regarding instinctual actions, etc. 

The only drawback is that it is out of print with used copies available through Amazon as I am sure are available through other book sources. I found a good copy for a used price of only $1.87 so adding it to your library should be easy. 

When you couple this book to Emotional Intelligence as well as other books such as:

In the Name of Self-defense by Marc MacYoung
Conflict Communications by Rory Miller
What Every BODY is Saying by Joe Navarro
The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense series by Suzette Elgin


You get a good start on reading more than the words spoken by a person. You begin to understand the complexities of active listening not of just the words spoken but the sounds, the rhythms, the cadence of words as inter-connected to facial and body languages that are actually more important than the words spoken. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Taking It to the Street

Bibliography:
MacYoung, Marc (Animal). “Taking It to the Street: Making Your Martial Art Street Effective.” Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1999.

Review: Mr. MacYoung does it again. Not saying this is a new book cause it ain’t but it came to my attention only recently and due in no small part because of his reputation as a person and as a writer of a most difficult subject - the melding of martial arts into street defense. I highly recommend all martial artist add this to their library and place it right next to his book, “In the Name of Self-defense.” 

I tend to lean today heavier to the fundamental principles of martial systems that also apply to any and all systems that could, would or should be used in a self-defense situation. This book is another aspect of fundamental principles as they apply to just applying the physical of martial arts to defense on the street. He does an excellent and professional job conveying these martial defense techniques to anyone be they professionals or just starting out. Knowing the information, having that knowledge gives you an edge when seeing out self-defense in today’s myriad collection of so-called professionals who don’t even come close to the credentials in experience and education that Marc does in his works. 


Add this one to your library and spend the time studying them closely while applying it to your training and practice in martial self defense. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Emotional Intelligence

Bibliography:
Goleman, Daniel. “Emotional Intelligence: 10th Anniversary Edition [Kindle Edition].” Bantam. January 11, 2012.

Review: In the book by Marc MacYoung, i.e. In the Name of Self Defense,” he made a recombination that one read this book so, I bought it and found that, as he is generally, right. I have reviewed other recommendations such as the one from Rory Miller, The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense, where I now find that to fully understand those books you really need to supplement both together to get a better picture.

In our efforts to deescalate ourselves, required to deescalate others in conflict, that having both are instrumental and thus instrumental to avoidance and general self-defense (long before we allow it to go physical). 

I am so please with the information provided in this book that I ended up buying the hard cover edition just so I can high light, underline and makes margin notes to help me study it and myself.

Give you a “for instance,” I found out that in one sense I was a “verbally violent man.” That was an epiphany to say the least because in the book by Marc MacYoung he delves into this type of personality so I was a bit flabbergasted to admit that I had this issue. This and Marc’s book are critical for anyone who practices martial arts and/or takes self-defense training.


Here is the best part, this book takes you into a world of intelligence that will put what you learned on its ear. We use to think IQ was the marker for true intelligence but apparently the research leads us toward a balance of IQ and Emotional Intelligence that means more. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the Name of Self-Defense

Bibliography:
MacYoung, Marc. “In the Name of Self-Defense: What It Costs. When It’s Worth It.” Marc MacYoung. 2014.

Review: Wow! Let me say that one more time, “Wow!” Guess what, I say “WoW” because all I have read to this point is the “introduction.” Wow, I can hardly wait to dive into the real meat of this book. 

I am a martial artist of thirty-seven plus years. I “thought” I taught self-defense but many years ago by reading things from folks like Marc MacYoung I discovered I was “missing a lot” of stuff. I am so happy that those I had taught never had to deal with all of self-defense outside the training hall. 

I can truthfully say that everyone, everyone who teaches, trains, practices and learns a self-defense system can benefit greatly just from reading the introduction alone. It sheds all on its own the complexities and obstacles you will encounter if you have to go physical. It provides solid information, in the introduction mind you, that avoidance is really the greatest thing you can do for yourself regarding self-defense. 


So, with that said, take a moment and go to Amazon and get your copy. Even if you are not in the SD industry as a provider or a customer reading the book or even just the introduction (bet you a buck when you read the intro you will read the remainder of the book :-), you will benefit from it. Go get your copy, well worth the pennies you will pay.

Read also: Our Brains on Self-Defense

dtd, September 15th, 2014 at 10:00am - Reading the second go round of this one. You also get the idea reinforced that it is always a good idea to give things a second, third and even more thought so as to make sure you get the entire and complete picture. On my second go-round many, many things I missed or misunderstood are coming to the top like the cream in a good wholesome full bodied milk.

When you read something as full bodied as this book along with use of tools, i.e. a high liter and pen with ruler, etc. you get a bit more clarity. You really need that clarity for something as important and life changing as Self-defense.

Let me be clear here, this is not a dry book of facts but a real page turner that just happens to be non-fiction but is written with the flare and interest one would get with a good fictional tale. In some studies the second or third time round tends to be harder but to date this one is just plain fun to read and study - that is real important here.

I get the same sense from other books by other professionals with the same type of credentials as this author but for the size and word count in this book, which is awesome in so many ways, are page turners both the first time and second time round. So much so I am looking forward to reading it again - and again - and again. Like I have said, "A Must Read!"

Addendum dtd October 9, 2014: Just read the last page on this bear. Ready for third go-round. When done, I think it is time to take a break, let it settle, do some thought meandering and contemplations, then return once again like an old friend and go another round with this book. Maybe, in support of his efforts, I will purchase another clean copy and start over again. I feel strong that if you want to talk or write about this stuff, if you want to teach SD using this stuff and if you are seriously going to have it available to see the norm vs. the abby-normal of this stuff you really have to spend time on it. Consider it this way, if you want a BS in some discipline you have to spend the time, effort and sweat over time to achieve the required results - that is my goal.

Through out his book he mentions stuff his editor axed from the final copy, I just wonder what that could have been that caused the publishers to "leave it out?"




My copy of the "In the Name of Self-Defense" book written by Marc MacYoung. It is beginning to show a bit of wear and I have not had the print copy more than a month or so. This is what it looks like as I finish it for the "SECOND" go round. Next, on the third go-round, there will be a lot of underlining to go with the high lighting and the yellow post-its marking some interesting parts I have read to date. Now, after the third go-round I figure to read it again and transcribe my self-notes onto a notepad at my computer. Once I do that, then I figure to print that out and while re-reading it again, transcribing my notes with more notes - by hand to paper - I just "MIGHT" start to truly understand it on a very fundamental level. Marc MacYoung and others who have read it are really right on, it does take a bit to really get a sense of all that he has tried to convey. It is a really and truly awesome piece of work. You don't just make this shit up!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dirty Ground

Bibliography:
Wilder, Kris; Kane, Lawrence; MacYoung, Marc; Miller, Rory. “Dirty Ground: The Tricky Space Between Sport and Combat.” YMAA Publishing. New Hampshire. 2013.

Review: This is a definite addition to a person’s self-defense library. Self-defense as in any and all disciplines that would teach you how to defend yourself. The reason is simple, these guys provide you the information and knowledge necessary to tell the difference between sport, combat and that in between they call the “Drunkle.” 

I found valuable advice, etc. in the forwards then the introduction clarified many details for me that may have been missed even tho I have been studying this aspect for about a decade now. You may say to yourself that you have all the books these find authors have written and that this one can only cover the same stuff but you would be wrong. 

This is a new book that does something the others only allude to in their editions. This difference is critical to anyone who even thinks that what they practice is self-defense. The differences may seem either vague or non-existent but that “critical point” could mean the difference between freedom/life or incarceration/death. 


Come on, the price for either a paperback or the kindle is nothing compared to the value you will receive from the content of this book. And to think, I almost let this one go by me. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My eBooks

I am still working on them when time permits (I plan on retiring from my real job next July so if I am not done by then, then I will have all kinds of time to complete the project). I have two that are going through their final edit stages and will soon be published. One is a terminology book and the other is the gokui book. I also plan on having them printed in hard cover through Lulu. 


I have added a huge amount of terms in the fist book and the second is in its polishing stages. Look for the eBook at Smashwords and the printed versions at Lulu. 

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.

Almost done reading the first go round for this book. I would like to provide some interesting facts found within the pages:

The Bo and Sai were symbols of law and order; Bushi also means "masters of historical karate"; Channan, a person shipwrecked on the island of Okinawa, taught a number of kata to various Okinawan's that were handed down; Hanashiro Chomo (1869-1945) was the first to write karate with the modern kanji, soldier, gymnastics and karate teachers at the Shuri Middle School; Kusanku and Miyagi Chojun's reference to the transmission of Kenpo in 1828; Kumiaijutsu is a descriptive word or term for the Chinese Kenpo introduced to Ryukyuans in 1756 but the Chinese military officer, "Kusanku."; Kumiuchi-ho describes the methods of wrestling and scuffles of old style Martial Arts from the Kojo Clan that was based on Chinese techniques.

Overall, as I get closer to the end of this first read I must say that this book is a wonderful addition to your martial art or karate library. Get ready to have your understandings of karate and Okinawan history questioned. Get it today, worth every penny.

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.