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, December 22, 2011

Etiquette Guide to Japan

DeMente, Boye Lafayette. "Etiquette Guide to Japan: Know the Rules that make the Difference." Tuttle. Vermont. 2008, 2009.

Review: Another well written book by the author of the kata book of understanding Japan. I felt this one supplemented the other and contributed to my continuing understanding of the cultures that bred karate.


DeMente, Boye Lafayette. "Kata: The Key to Understanding & Dealing with the Japanese." Tuttle. Vermont. 2003.

Review: Anyone who has read even a small part of my postings knows that I am a believer in the kata of martial arts. I have a plethora of books on the subject and have practiced, worked out and found many values and possibilities for the practice of kata. Never until this book did I imagine how pervasive kata really is far and beyond the martial arts systems of both Japan and Okinawa.

The title may mislead many into thinking it is a book that is meant for visitor's to the island of Japan. They would be part right, part wrong, and miss a great inspiring culturally informative book that will open the eyes to "kata" not only in martial systems but a far greater all-encompassing way.

Mike Clarke Sensei, as others have stated, kata is not a part of the martial arts. The martial arts are a part of kata. Read this book to find out. Note also that they give martial arts its due in the subheading of chapter 3, titled, "The Role of Martial Arts."

The Judo practitioners who read this will be pleasantly pleased to see how Jigoro Kano Sensei is given due credit for his contributions. In the true nature of Japan's "Shikata or kata-izing" Kano Sensei incorported Japan's Kata traditions to achieve greatness in the form of Judo.

Personally I am very pleased he did so for his influences also inspired the Okinawan masters of Ryukyu Ti and we have our karate today.

For those who think, thought or consider kata a waste, read this book then other books of kata such as, "The Way of Kata," by Wilder and Kane Sensei, and find out how much you are possibly missing in this truly traditional method of karate-jutsu-do!

A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly

MacYoung, Marc. "A Professional's Guide to Ending Violence Quickly: How Bouncers, Bodyguards, and Other Security Professionals Handle Ugly Situations." Paladin Press. Boulder, Colorado. 1996.

Review: Do not be fooled by the word, "Professional's," as this is not a view by a lawyer, a doctor or a journeyman carpenter - this is the view of someone who lived and breathed a world of violence who became a "professional" in the sense of a body guard, bouncer and security person.

Look at it as the Yang to Rory Miller's Yin where Rory Miller worked with violence through the professional system of prison/jail officer while Marc MacYoung worked the street then those interface professionals to mediate trouble between customers and clients with potential violent people and situations.

Marc MacYoung has a unique way of "splainin" things which is enjoyable, entertaining and instructional. A big emphasis on the instructional part. This book as with all the books of both are great for your personal library.


Kerr, George. "Okinawa: The History of an Island People." Tuttle. New York. 2000.

Review: This is the only book I have found that speaks to the history of the Okinawan people. Many martial arts endeavors attempt, without exacting historical documentation, to speak to the history as it relates to the martial arts or the Okinawan Karate system but this is the only one that appears to be complete.

There are others the write about more modern customs, the culture and tourism type materials but this is the one, in English, that has a more in-depth historical look. I would say read this one first to get a foundation, read the others to see Okinawa today and recent past then finally read the martial art books and piece it all together. Cool.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why We Believe What We Believe

Newberg, Andrew MD and Waldman, Mark Robert. "Why We Believe What We Believe: Uncovering Our Biological Need for Meaning, Spirituality, and Truth." Free Press. New York. 2006

Review: Martial Systems involve mental training but wouldn't it be wonderful to understand the brains operations so we can understand why learning is this or that, why teaching is this or that and the many ways in which our brains function allowing us to maximize the experience?

The answer is a resounding, "Yes!" This book allows you to "see," "feel," and "grasp" the functioning of the brain. So many questions were answered when I studied this book. Even some very important aspects of why I did, do or had done certain things in my life. This books makes a connection to many of the things written by persons such as Rory Miller and Marc MacYoung. A valuable asset to your library.

The Dance of Life

Hall, Edward T. "The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time." Anchor Books. New York. 1984, 1989.

Review: There is so much to learn from this book. I was amazed when I actually read references to both martial arts and to the Japanese way of doing things which lead me to other books such as the Kata book to understanding the Japanese. This tells us more about "time" than you might have thought existed but it is wondrous to find out how it all connects, how time as to the minutes, hours, etc. came into being from nature's clocks. How cultures determine how we perceive and use time. So much and it all applied to martial systems - cool!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shin Gi Tai

Clarke, Michael. "Shin Gi Tai: Karate Training for Body, Mind, and Spirit." YMAA Publishing. New Hampshire. 2011.

Review: What a wonderful presentation to express the importance of bringing about "balance" in following the way of the empty hand. Clarke Sensei carries his weight with this one. This is his third time at bat and another home run resulted. Add this one along side his book on Hojo Undo practices.

His experiences and knowledge are brought together in this inspiring work all martial artists regardless of system, style or branch of practice can benefit from in reading this sharp and well written book.

Becoming a Complete Martial Artist

Sutrisno, Tristan, MacYoung, Marc and Gordon, Dianna. "Becoming a Complete Martial Artist: Error Detection in Self Defense and the Martial Arts." Lyons Press. Connecticut. 2005.

Review: This one should reside adjacent to the karate way by Dave Lowry on your shelf. It must be noted that Mr. MacYoung and his wife Dianna both Martial Artists and both "professionals" who have the experience to walk the walk when they talk the talk. This book is also critical to a fledgling karate person starting out. It is also a great book for the experienced karate-ka or martial artist.

Marc MacYoung Sensei, Tristan Sutrisno Sensei and Dianna MacYoung Sensei have put together a great tome on the complete martial artists - highly recommended.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Karate Way

Lowry, Dave. "The Karate Way: Discovering the Spirit of Practice." Shambhala. 2009.

Review: Dave Lowry provides a non-martial artist valuable information to know "BEFORE" a person seeks out instruction in any of the MA disciplines. Down to earth and concise information about all aspects of the art of Karate. This is the book I recommend to anyone who asks the question, "I want to learn karate, can you help me?"

With this book and knowledge in hand you can seek out with out a doubt a good dojo to join. The world of karate or any martial art discipline can be and does provide a life time of study, practice and training that will span your entire life.

Meditations of Violence

Miller, Rory Sgt. "Meditations of Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence" YMAA Publishing. 2008.

Review: If you read my previous review for "Facing Violence" you already know the value I place on Sgt. Miller's expose' into the world of violence.

These are two different books. Don't assume because you read one the other is not  necessary. Sgt. Miller covers violence from two different perspectives. I also recommend his other eBook's as well as his blog, "Chiron."

Facing Violence

Miller, Rory Sgt. "Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected." YMAA Publishing. 2011.

Review: The mind can only tell the body to act if it has some sort of reference in its storage. If there is nothing to refer to then it drops down into survival instinct mode which today is inadequate. Sgt Miller will in all probability tell you that you need to know what violence is before you can train to combat violence. I believe this is true and this, along with his other book, is required for all fledgling karate-ka.

Sgt. Miller succently and concisely writes about all the varous aspects of violence and how to train for it. If you don't know about turn signals and the switch located on the steering wheel column how can you signal your intent to turn? If you don' know what your seeing or hearing or feeling how can you tell if it requires some strong response like a strike vs. just a hand shake?

This is a must have book for your library. It has some difficult to "digest" information you may scoff at or you may say, "this can never happen to me," but listen up folks because it can.

The Book of Martial Power

Pearlman, Steven J. "The Book of Martial Power." Overlook Press. N.Y. 2006.

Review: I found this of great value as both a Sensei and Student since many of the principles fully explained are in many cases simply "understood." Pearlman Sensei has taken many  of these and many unknowns and brought them into the light with outstanding definitions and full explanations.

No one in the martial arts world can not find this book an absolute necessity to them, their dojo and their practitioners. Amazon has an in-depth description with reader comments for review.