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, December 18, 2012

Happy Holidays Everyone

As the week progresses we get a bit closer to the annual celebration we call Christmas. Since there are many who celebrate in different ways I tend to just wish every one a happy holiday since regardless of beliefs those who reside here in the America's tend to take that time as a holiday I felt it generic enough to express happiness and joy for the season while, hopefully, not offending anyone.

I will be at work till this Friday which means I will be in the Bloggersphere but after Friday until the morning of the second of January "2013" I will be on holiday with my wife, three cats and poodle dog. Have a great holiday everyone if I don't hear from you; I wish us all the best for 2013!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Study of China Hand Techniques

Itoman, Morinobu and McKenna, Mario (translation). "The Study of China Hand Techniques." Mario McKenna Publisher. 2012.

Review: A very interesting and validating book to say the least. Mario McKenna has gone to a good deal of trouble to translate this book from a copy that is apparently on display at the Hawaiian Karate Museum run by Charles Goodin. I find this book a refreshing one and recommend it for your collection of karate or martial arts library. 

The only drawbacks is the clarity of the snapshots but assume they are copies of older and less clear shots when this book was originally published. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Leading the Way

Bown, Tim and Miller Rory. "Leading the Way: Maximize Your Potential as a Martial Arts Instructor." Rachelle Bown. Kindle. 2012

Review: Rory Miller was right, this is a solid book all martial arts sensei should read, and, read again and again and again. I would have loved to see what Tim Bown would have produced in other writings if not for his untimely passing.

I agree with Bown Sensei that this professional teaching requirement is missing from many dojo, training halls and gyms. It is a shame that upon earning the coveted black belt those new yudansha don't or have not already acquired the ability to "teach or lead the way" and often fall back on inadequate teaching methods simply because it was the way my sensei did it so it is good enough for my students.

Get this book, make it a part of your studies and then deliver the benefits to your students. 

Campfire Tales from Hell

Overland, Clint; Anderson, Drew Dr.; Kane, Lawrence; Trahan, Terry; Burrese, Alain; Demeere, Wim; Eisler, Barry; MacYoung, Marc; Miller, Rory; Miller, Kamila. "Campfire Tales from Hell: Musing on Martial Arts, Survival, Bounding, and General Thug Stuff." CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012.

Review: What can I say, another effort headed up by Rory Miller. There is not much else that anyone can say about the efforts he has made in this genre and those other authors have their own expertise that is passed along in this book. I thought to myself, what else can be said in the subject of violence than another book arrives on Amazon and I am blown away once again. 

This book is worth every penny. It is something to be used as a teaching guide to anyone who is working in the profession or who is teaching about defense against violent conflict. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scaling Force


Review: I just got this book yesterday, the 3rd of October 2012, and have read only one foreword, by Clint Overland. That one foreword was enough to get me thinking about self-defense, violence and martial arts if not for the previous books by Rory Miller, Lawrence A. Kane, and others - impressive credentials on violence and impressive articulation of the importance of this book and how all of us perceive  self-defense, fighting and violence. 

It feels like one of those fictional page turners you spend the next forty-eight hours straight reading - no sleep, no shower, no food but the book. It is one of those, for me, that tunes me out of this world and takes me into another whole different world. I sit here now writing this review with such anticipation that I will stop now and get back to reading the book. 

Do I need to say any more? Thanks Mr. Overland for you outstanding foreword, it made a difference and I will take your advice and truly study this book. Domo! ありがとう

Friday, September 7, 2012


Aiello, J. "Zensho." A Warriors Broadcasting Network. 1994.

Review: It has been a while since I read this one so the review is going to be terse in nature. This book interested me as it presents a view from the author into a bit of the culture that inspired the ancient masters who created the various systems.

It states that the author is a modern Zen master who has been inspired by his studies and attempts to bring the ancient cultural beliefs he perceives to have existed in those ancient dojo or for Okinawan's the tombs, yards, and fields where they practiced the empty hand called "Ti or Toudi."

A good read and worth the money if you can find a copy.

My Library Listings - work in progress

I still have a good deal of books to add to this blog. I have lost many books over the years but have a list of one hundred and seventy-eight on hand and listed in an excel document. 

I will be adding them one at a time with reviews starting with the "A's" and skipping over the one's that are already listed below. I will add the data first and then put in a photo of the book cover's later as time permits.

I look forward to sharing my reading of books and hope to hear some suggestions from the blog members. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Myths of Light

Campbell, Joseph. "Myths of Light: Eastern Metaphors of the Eternal." New World Library. Novato, California. 2003.

Review: If your taking a route toward understanding the culture that brought us the martial arts then you have already studied the Ancient Classics of Japan, Okinawa and China. To dig into China's cultural beginnings, i.e. those influences that changed China's culture long, long ago, then study the culture's, myths and symbolism's of India.

This book cuts it all down into a terse explanation of those cultural beliefs that must have been carried across the borders by Bodhidharma into the Chinese province that hosted the Shaolin Monastery where some believe all martial arts of Okinawa and Japan began.

This book covers it nicely and if you have studied the ancient classics along with ken-po goku-i, bubishi, etc. then you will readily see the connections. Worth the effort and money to get a copy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Speed Training in Martial Arts

Christensen, Loren W. "Speed Training: How to Develop Your Maximum Speed for Martial Arts." Paladin Press. Boulder. 1996.

Review: Go for it. Don't hesitate, arghhh, too slow already. Don't hesitate and make if fast - buy this book :-). Simple, easy and it will increase your speed using simple physics, common sense and a positive affirmative mind-set that with this book you will get fast.

Christensen Sensei has presented a means to achieve speed but you have to expend some costs yourself. Costs? A positive attitude and lots of hard, hard work. I have slow twitch musculature but have picked up speed and I am fifty-nine years young.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Timing in the Fighting Arts

Christensen, Loren W. and DeMeer, Wim. "Timing in the Fighting Arts." Sante Fe New Mexico. Turtle Press. 2004.

Review: Another outstanding accomplishment for martial artist everywhere from both Loren W. Christensen and Wim DeMeere. Don't let the title fool you as they cover, in great detail, many subjects that either directly or indirectly influence the timing necessary to achieve dominance in the fighting arts including both defense/fights/combative and all those under the heading of sports.

This is well written it seems sometimes to me like a great action book you just can't put down until you reach the ending. In this case the ending of the book opens the door to many features you can incorporate into your training and practice to achieve a reality based training system.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Katas

Tokitsu, Kenji. "The Katas Meaning behind the Movements." Shambhala. Boston & London.

Review: There are many awesome materials out there on kata that are exemplary in their content and meaning. I have listed my favorites on this blog and my web site recommended reading list.

I applaud the works of:

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

Kane, Lawrence A. and Wilder, Chris. "The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide for Deciphering Martial Applications." YMAA. New York. 2005.

Wilder, Kris. "The Way of Sanchin Kata: The Application of Power." YMAA Publication. New York. 2007.

And, we must not forget the references to kata in the  many books listed here and elsewhere that promote the understanding of kata.

This book takes up the cultural basis of the martial art kata as it has meaning to budo. This also speaks to kata in light of both the art of the sword and the writings/teachings of Miyamoto Musashi as understood by Sensei Kenji Tokitsu.

His approach is different and from the expertise of a Japanese martial artists of note. It is highly recommended and can answer many of the questions toward the depth and breadth of kata practice. 

A must read, a must have and a must place it in your library!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Inner Art of Karate

Tokitsu, Kenji. "The Inner Art of Karate: Cultivating the Budo Spirit in Your Practice." Shambhala. Boston & London. 2012.

Review: This book is an outstanding choice to provide a different perspective toward the practice of karate. It also speaks to the implementation of budo from Japan into the Okinawan art of Karate. This one is an excellent addition to any karate or martial art library.

Tokitsu Sensei has far exceeded my expectations upon finding this fine book and taken the explanations often assumed by western practitioners and placed them directly within our grasp for us to assimilate and apply in karate goshin-do (budo oriented practice).

He extends meaning in terms and their implementations and applications in an easy westernized format that can and will change how martial artists perceive karate and other budo oriented martial arts. He even uses the sport/combat sport aspects to make his point valid and obvious to all those practitioners as well. 

This book stands tall among such books as the Book of Martial Power and it should be read immediately - get your copy today, click the title above in the Bibliography.

High recommendations to all karate practitioners!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Complete Book of Five Rings

Tokitsu, Kenji. "The Complete Book of Five Rings." Shambhala Publications. Boston. 2000.

Review: I have several translations from several translators on the Gorin no Sho but this one is a bit beyond those in context, content and understanding. I am in the process of reading it yet felt it a large contributor toward understanding budo, etc. and felt it was a library addition of note.

It is a book with a unique definition and historical time-line on the concept of "budo." A more modern term that speaks to the warrior and the way, etc. A very interesting viewpoint on this single term often used and abused in modern circles of martial arts.

This book has a section at the back in "notes" that discusses the difficulties in translations. It is worth the effort to read this section with diligence simply because the writing of kanji/kana is based from feudal times and influences the culture and beliefs of the Japanese which by direct and indirect influences either comes from or adds to the Okinawan's and Chinese cultures and beliefs. 

More to come .....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Martial Arts Spiritual Dimension

Payne, Peter. "Martial Arts: The Spiritual Dimension." Crossroad. New York. 1981.

Review: This particular book has many benefits to include the insight of the author. There are some sections that don't seem to fit a philosophical view and don't seem as clear as I understand and would like but it is worth the funds just the same.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The China Study

Campbell, T. Colin and Campbell, Thomas M. II. "The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-term Health. BenBella Books, inc. Texas. 2006.

Review: This book is important not just for martial artists but for any human being who desires to maximize their potential, both health and martial, through fueling the body and mind with proper foods, etc.

This one was earth shaking for me. I had an incident a few years back and was told to go on medications, etc. and I refused. I already knew there had to be some way around those recommendations and all they would subject to my mind and body as to complications, etc.

I changed my diet but even then it was not enough even when the specialist said diet would not do it. Now, today, I have come to the conclusion that I would refuse both bypass heart surgery and/or angioplasty, etc. along with the drugs and am moving to the diet explained in the China Study. I am almost totally on a plant based diet except for fish. I am going to move away from fish as well and get what I need and what the body truly desires from a plant based whole food diet.

This is something I believe wholeheartedly and the first time I have seen the facts and figures in print that say, this stuff is meant to be how I nourish my body. The stories involved are inspiring and bring me great hope for a long, healthier and happier life way into the hundreds. I want to be a karate-ka who exceeds the hundred ten years mark.

This book is a must read for everyone. You can read some of the stories within the pages and come to understand that this study is earth shaking news and changed my way of seeing my health, fitness and well-being.

ADDENDUM dtd May 18, 2012: I have read this book and find it illuminating yet at the same time I believe that unless you read it with an open mind you will find it ...... it is earth shattering, earth shaking and confirms my growing suspicions about our medical and food industries.  I have changed my diet, I have joined the Dr. McDougall web site and I will live a long and healthy life because I have been presented the information which I CHOOSE to incorporate into my life as my wife will do as well. Thank you Dr's Campbell and Dr. McDougall for going the distance, stepping up to the plate and attempting to do what no one else has the intestinal fortitude to do - create a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Key [鍵]: Opens [開く] the Door [戸] to Potential

Often I think to myself what it is I am trying to do here on the blogosphere. Am I trying to teach a dogma that is mine regarding martial systems? Am I preaching the gospel according to Charles? Am I forcing my perceptions and beliefs on those who read my mindless meanderings?

No, what I am trying to accomplish is to give a esoteric gift to those who read my stuff. The gift is a key. This key is to open the door of each person's potential. It is to open the mind so it will think for itself.

I don't want folks to follow anything I provide here or in practice but rather to assimilate all that I have to offer and then decide on their own as to its validity and to its value to that individual, that person, YOU!

I am not saying that anything I provide is either true or false, fact or fiction, or good or evil but rather information that may be or at least seems to be "different." It is not right or wrong, good or bad, true or false - just different.

The sages of China teach that a cornerstone of any great structure is the knowledge gained in its building, creation and foundation. It has to be the kind that is subject to reflection and change as to the moment, the person and the environment, etc.

I hope all who read this and my output are discovering the key and using it to open their door to their potential.

Force Decisions

Miller, Rory. "Force Decisions: A Citizen's Guide." YMAA Publications. NH. 2012.

Review: I ordered this book yesterday, the 31st of April 2012, and look forward to the read.

This is another "hit" for Rory Miller. In light of the recent news hoopla on the Florida Trayvon and Zimmerman case this is one book every single person who shouted out their indignation toward the police handling things should read, read, and read again.

Mr. Miller provides a lot of information on how Police, generally speaking, work and handle things, i.e. force situations, etc. and does so in a format easy for anyone not a police person can understand.

This is another one for the required reading and understanding rule of any self-protection system including the various forms of martial arts. 

The modest price on Amazon makes this must read book very easy to acquire - get it and read it soonest. :-)

p.s. I just finished Rory Miller's new book. I can state, "When I read of an officer using force I have a better understanding of the circumstances that drove it and the rules, fundamentally, the officer works under. "

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Tao of Pooh & The Te of Piglet

Huff, Benjamin. "The Tao of Pooh." Penguin Books. New York. 1983.

Review: When I first was told of the Taoist Philosophy through a recommendation to read the tao of pooh I just laughed. When I saw the person's eyes and they shined a seriousness I said, ok, I'll bite.

I have found it to be my most favorite book on Taoist philosophy. The second book of this particular boxed collection, the te of piglet, is a bit of a disappointment. Mr. Huff, to my reading, was a bit put off because the popularity of the Tao of pooh was so successful they kept at him to put out another, i.e. the te of piglet.

Regardless, both have value with the Tao of pooh as the best but the Te of piglet is still worth the costs. As a martial artist I have worked diligently to learn about the cultures and philosophies of those who created the arts, i.e. Taoism, Buddhism, Shitoism to name a few, finding this one on Taoism to be a great primer for further readings.

Go for it, it is fun and informative.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Durckheim, Karlfried G. "Hara: The Vital Center of Man." Unwin. 1988.

Review: This is the first real definitive book on the subject of "hara" that I had come across at the time. It is often referenced in other works on various topics such as martial systems and cultural words of Japan and China. Well worth the cost if you can get a copy.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Best of Dave Lowry

Special Posting: I am lumping all of Mr. Lowry's books into one post with one review simply because of the quality and quantity of his publications. His efforts are most appreciated by this practitioner of karate and I give a highest possible recommendation all of his efforts be added to your library.

The Best of Dave Lowry
Lowry, Dave. "The Best of Dave Lowry: Karate Way Columns 1995 to 2005." Black Belt Communications. New York. 2005.


Persimmon Wind
Lowry, Dave. "Persimmon Wind: A Martial Artist's Journey in Japan." Koryu Books. New York. 2005.

Autumn Lightning
Lowry, Dave. "Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai." Shambhala Publications. Boston. 1985.

Lowry, Dave. "Traditions: Essays on the Japanese Martial Arts and Ways." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2002.

Sword and Brush
Lowry, Dave. "Sword and Brush: The Spirit of the Martial Arts." Shambhala Publications. Boston. 1995.

Moving Toward Stillness
Lowry, Dave. "Moving Toward Stillness: Lessons in Daily Life from the Martial Ways of Japan." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2000.

Review: Koryu, a term most have either not heard before or if they do they have no clue as to what it means for their practice of the martial way. Dave Lowry provides those outside the "Koryu circiles" a glimpse into this most "traditional form" of training and practice. In my view it is another wonderful insight into the culture, beliefs and ways of the Japanese Martial Arts.

As readers of this blog and my other blogs know, seeking out the knowledge of the cultures that originated this form we practice called, often incorrectly, martial arts that to not have his publications in your library is a "missing link" to your training, practice and way.

There are a couple of other most excellent sources to the "Koryu (core-you) Ways" but none to date have placed so much in the hands of the neophyte of martial systems than Mr. Lowry.

Try the first in the list if you doubt me. This is a compilation of the articles he writes for black belt magazine. It is the only redeeming quality of that publication that brings me to the newsstand otherwise I prefer CFA magazine. (another personal opinion ;-)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Looking Glass God

Stiskin, Nahum. "The Looking Glass God: Shinto, Yin Yang, and a Cosmology for Today." Weatherhill. New York. 1972.

Review: This book is mostly available through third party used book suppliers in the Amazon system. I can begin my review by saying with enthusiasm, "get this book before it becomes obsolescent!" I have barely gone through it for the very first time and I am greatly impressed as to the depth and breadth of its explanation toward its subject matter.

How did I find it? A good story. Once a while back the author Rory Miller in his bibliography added an unprecedented paragraph on a book he read. This paragraph led me to that book and all the other in that series which has benefited me on a very personal level as well as my understanding toward the art of avoidance in self-defense.

While reading another great book the author did something unusual when referencing this book above by stating he got it, read it four times straight and recommended it highly. Like Rory's paragraph it was like a "neon blinking sign" stating, "you should get it bub cause I bet it is going to be good, real good."

I did what the sign said, got it and now gladly with highest of recommendations convey the benefit of getting a copy for your library.

One caveat, get the second revised edition of 1972. The original printing in 71 was less that what the author himself states so go for the revised edition of 72 for a more comprehensive/complete version. You will not regret it.

In closing, I will be reading this again and again at least three times before going on to another source book, etc.

ADDENDUM dtd Wednesday, March 7, 2012:

The Looking Glass God - Shinto, Yin-Yang, Cosmology

Bibliography (Heaven):
Stiskin, Nahum. "The Looking Glass God: Shinto, Yin Yang, and a Cosmology for Today." Weatherhill. New York. 1972.

Normally a bibliography is presented to the reader at the end of the publication but today I place it front and foremost to achieve a place of importance for this posting. If the question, "Why?," is then presented one can achieve the level of the answer as paramount toward "action" whereby action is "to purchase a copy of this book."

When I read what I perceive as an important publication I have both highlighter and pen in hand. I mark and hilite words, sentences and those parts that tend to speak to my cultural beliefs with specificity toward particular subjects, i.e. martial arts, etc. I did not do so in the case of this particular publication, book. I sensed in the first couple of pages a "need" to read it frequently therefore to hilite or mark the pages would distract my repeated readings and therefore my repeated attempts at full understanding of the depth and breadth of this terse tome on the aspects of Shinto.

Bibliography (Humans):
Stiskin, Nahum. "The Looking Glass God: Shinto, Yin Yang, and a Cosmology for Today." Weatherhill. New York. 1972.

Since I began with an idea I would expand my understanding of the concepts for yin-yang and Shinto I soon realized that it is much more. I find it applies to life first and all others as secondary or with a connectedness to "life." I believe the reader with an open-mind and proper attitude will gain a plathora of knowledge and understanding whereby they will become aware of the mirrors that encompass the way we live life, the way we practice and the way we train - and all that encompasses, includes and blends.

Therefore, after only "one reading" I can truly say that this publication has far exceeded my needs, desires and thirst for more in my way of living, way of learning and way of teaching. I look forward to returning to the very first page, after this post, and beginning once again. I see the need to come full circle many times, like the many lives of humans, to gain more momentum toward enlightenment.

Bibliography (Earth):
Stiskin, Nahum. "The Looking Glass God: Shinto, Yin Yang, and a Cosmology for Today." Weatherhill. New York. 1972.

Addendum: Since I began studying this book I have discovered today, the first of June in the year 2012, that with about ten readings or more under my belt that I discover new things at every reading.

Friday, February 17, 2012


McCarthy, Patrick. "The Bible of Karate: Bubishi." Tuttle Publishing. Rutland, Vermont. 1995.

Review: No one who practices a system like karate does so without some exposure to the "Bubishi" and the only one out there that I am aware of is this translation.

Get a copy. At a minimum you will find it interesting and there is a variety of gokui information in it as well, one spot direct and others more indirect.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

People Skills

Bolton, Robert, Ph.D. "People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts." Simon & Schuster. New York. 1979, 1986.

Review: I am only about 4/5th the way through this book on the first go-round but felt strongly it required a review and listing on this library if only to get it to you quicker as it is "critical" in learning how to defend yourself in conflict/hostilities.

Yes, it does do wonders for one's people skills as an enhancement on your already superb skills. I have found things here I had never heard before or realized would promote a better person that is me and would answer self-imposed questions as to why folks "react to me" in the way they do and this is on top of my discoveries from Dr. Elgin's Verbal Self-Defense series.

This book covers a variety of hostile situations or themes along with the hostilities that result from a lack of people skills, etc.

I cannot say enough of how much this book has done for me personally and I have a long way to go. If you truly wish to "avoid conflicts and hostilities that lead to physical encounters" then read this book - several times.

It is worth the time and practice to achieve what this book says it can. It will not happen quickly. It is the kind of data and practice like karate that needs lots of it and it is a continuous practice that will make the changes for the improvement of already very good skills.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stoic Warriors

Sherman, Nancy. "Stoic Warriors: the Ancient Philosophy behind the Military Mind." Oxford University Press. New York. 2005.

Review: Why I decided to read about this subject started when someone very close asked why I wasn't expressing emotions, i.e. this person couldn't actually read how I felt through my face and body language, etc. I realized that the Marine Stoic Facade was a key so sought out something that would provide the reasons of "why stoicism."

This book provides the context, past and present, of the military cultures and beliefs that promote the stoic discipline necessary for military which I also feel transcends just the military and reaches out to the male gender, all of the males.

It denotes the culture that encompasses traits like "honor," "discipline," and "control of emotions with an emphasis on anger. If you can see this is what I would perceive that martial artists who have to protect and defend in civil environment, as professionals, would benefit from knowing and understanding.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Budo Mind and Body

Suino, Nicklaus. "Budo Mind and Body: Training Secrets of the Japanese Martial Arts." Weatherhill. Boston. 2006.

Review: Mr. Suino was the first author that provided me insight into a "koryu" based or traditional martial art of Japan. It opened a lot of doors in my mind to understanding the culture that is Japanese and Japanese martial arts.

It was a percursor to my desire to find more about the cultures that drove many to the practice and teachings that are the arts and crafts of Asia. Well worth the addition to your library.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kodo Ancient Ways

Yes, this is a portrait of Musashi.
Furuya, Kensho. "Kodo Ancient Ways: Lessons in the Spiritual Life of the Warrior/Martial Artist." Ohara Publications. California. 1996.

Review: It has been a long while since I read this book. I can tell you this much, I read it about four time consecutively, it was that good and well written. I actually got in contact with the author who had a manuscript, rough, in the works for a follow up book but much to our loss he passed on to the greater dojo above and now practices with others like Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei.

His philosophical outlook was inspiring and this book is worth not only the money but the frequent readings and references.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Unspoken Way, Haragei

Matsumoto, Michihiro. "The Unspoken Way, Haragei: Silence in Japanese Business and Society." Kodansha. New York. 1988.

Review: I cannot express how badly I interpreted this "haragei." I, like others, assumed it had meaning in regards to martial arts only to discover that it far exceeds just martial arts but encompasses an entire "culture."

The book explains, as well as can be in English, the many facets that are haragei. It is wonderfully written that will convey a fundamental understanding of haragei and the Japanese culture. Well worth the effort to obtain a copy of this book.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Way of Kata

The cover is kinda cool too!
Kane, Lawrence A. and Wilder, Kris. "The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide to Deciphering Martial Applications." YMAA Publications. Boston. 2005.

Review: Anyone who had read my blog in karate-jutsu-do knows I believe in kata in the transmission and practice of the empty hand. When I read this book I just sat back and told myself, "Wow, about time someone conveyed the way of kata and so well done it would refute all those naysayers who speak of kata as if it were some ancient ritual with no present day value.

This book puts that thought back where it belongs, in the trash. If you practice any Okinawan system of the empty hand and weaponry then start off with this book. Sensei on Okinawa may not be as forthcoming to the novice and even the advanced so answer all those unasked questions with this wonderful "tome" on the "Way of Kata!"

p.s. yes, this is a dup but what the hey, look at it as a testimonial to the worth of this book.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Opening the Dragon's Gate

Kaiguo, Chen, Shundhao, Zheng, Cleary, Thomas. "Opening the Dragon's Gate: The Making of a Modern Taoist Wizard. Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 1996.

Review: This particular book was recommended by our acupuncturist who happens to be a Taoist and a practitioner of Tai Chi Chuan. He has made extensive trips back to China to practice and study with this master or "Modern Taoist Wizard."

This is where I learned to visualize, meditate and breathe properly. It opens many doors to the present practice and to the past that created the systems practiced throughout the world today.

It is a wonderful read, interesting and most informative. Since martial karate and martial arts in general are derived from a culture that was influenced by Buddhism, Confucianism, Zen-ist and Taoism it will brighten and enlighten your knowledge of this area. Make it a must for your library.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Japanese Samurai Code

DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Japanese Samurai Code: Classic strategies for Success." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2004.

Review: First, don't be fooled that the title is going to say this book is solely about samurai and samurai strategies but do assume that the influence of samurai culture and its resulting strategies of feudal times apply to business of today. It is not a martial art book but rather refers to martial arts and other cultural concepts that come from samurai culture of the 1600's and beyond.

This book often goes into concepts we may assume relate strictly to martial arts and that is a mistake. It does relate and the information in this book will trigger connections in your practice and your training.

It is awesome and enlightening and fun and informative and enlightening .... said that one didn't I. A welcome addition to my library, what about yours?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Tao of Pooh

Hoff, Benjamin. "The Tao of Pooh." Dutton. New York. 1982.

Review: I was studying the various translations of the Tao Te Ching when my wife mentioned this one. I was intrigued as I assumed it would take a comical Poohish view of the Tao. I was right. I was wrong.

Mr. Benjamin Huff was a serious person who had studied the Tao Te Ching and took the opportunity to teach about it through the eyes, ears and touch of Winnie the Pooh.

This book is a must if you are studying the Chinese classics to gain insight to the culture and beliefs of both Okinawans and Japanese regarding Zen, Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism.  Mr. Huff through Pooh provides a perspective that enlightens and while your having fun doing it, what a combination.

Seven Military Classics of China

Sawyer, Ralph D. "Seven Military Classics of China." Westview Press. Colorado. 1993.

Review: A one stop shopping for the classics of China to include the Art of War by Sun Tzu. If your not particular about the author/translator then save some bucks with this one book vs. seven distinct ones.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Art of Hojo Undo

Clarke, Michael. "The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate." YMAA Publications. NH. 2009.

Review: This book was my introduction to Sensei Mike Clarke's efforts to provide traditional practice information to the world of Okinawan Karate-do. I had been introduced to these traditional implements of health, fitness and improvement while stationed at Camp Hansen Okinawa but I rather dabbled then made use in a serious fashion. After all, like most Americans the equipment in the special services gym were modern and had greater results.

I now understand that it was not those particular results that mattered it was the process and the connection, much like practice of kobudo, that connected me to the Okinawan Internal systems.

I find it like using free weights vs. weight machines ..... it is just different. I would advocate both actually, these ancient tools and the modern equipment.

This book as the next I will review, Shin Gi Tai, are outstanding and should be a part of your library if for no other reason than to learn of the culture, the beliefs and the traditions of those who came before us.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What Every BODY is Saying

Navarro, Joe. "What Every BODY is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent's Guide to Speed-Reading People." Collins. New York. 2008.

Review: You think you can detect the "tells" of aggression, violence and attacks but you are wrong. There is so much to body language and that is if your restricting yourself to one culture. Take into consideration all the cultures that are mixed in our society today and the task is a daunting one.

Agent Navarro spells out how to read people but don't be fooled by the title. The title is to promote and "sell" the book. It is a complex issue that is alleviated a bit by this book.

If you put this to work for you along with reality based training you can learn a lot. I mean, a lot. Give this some space on your library shelf. Incorporate what he says in your training and practice.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How to Win a Fight

Kane, Lawrence & Wilder, Kris. "How to Win a Fight: A Guide to Avoiding and Surviving Violence." Gotham Books. New York. 2011.

Review: Perspective, these guys - Kane and Wilder - seem to have a unique perspective on fighting and there is a good reason why. Just read the back or description of the book. These two guys, together and singularly, have written one after another great works in books.

Shit, just go out and buy the books with their names on them and save yourself the trouble of reviewing them all separately - well spent money, time and effort on your part. Yea, just do it!

p.s. I really appreciated the art work that this book uses, really great.

The Japanese Art of War

Cleary, Thomas. "The Japanese Art of War: Understanding the Culture of Strategy." Shambhala. Boston. 1992.

Review: I read the "art of war" long ago for the first time. I read it again many times after but one day I said that I should try and find out of the Japanese had their version of the art of war. I realized long ago as well that Miyamoto Musashi's book of five rings was, more or less, the art of war or swordsmanship that filled that bill but what if they had a book of war similar to Sun-tzu's art of war.

Leave it to good ole Amazon to have one and leave it to good ole Thomas Cleary to have seen the need for an English book on this exact subject, whalla and here is the book.

In order to address any comparison, etc. I would need to read it again. Till that time arrives again I can say that my feelings indicate it was an excellent book and worth the cost to add it to your library.

After my recent studies I am not sure it relates to the Chinese art of war or even the go-rin-no-sho but that does not matter for Mr. Cleary, much like Mr. DeMente, has extensive experience and knowledge that makes this book a value to your practice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

On Killing

Grossman, Dave LtCol. "On Killing: The Physiological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Back Bay Books. New York. 2009.

Review: What is most important about this book all martial arts connections aside is its value to our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who are or have served in combat. I include those civilian combatants such as Police, Jail Officers, EMT's, Firemen, etc. who go into harm's way here at home too.

The best review I can provide is a story, My close friend, a Marine retired, who served in combat over there in Viet Nam was beginning to experience "stress" and I recommended Col Grossman's books both this one and another I will review later.

He wrote me back and said thanks for the books because it made a huge difference. It resulted in his seeking more from the VA and resulted in many venues that have since aleviated the "ghosts (my word)" that seemed to haunt him today.

I would say this set of books by Col. Grossman should be required reading by all military in boot camp, at pre-deployment training, during combat and upon return home.

We as a society "require" our military to go to war so we should also provide them all, I mean all, services and education/training to combat the enemy, both within and on the field of battle.

Bibliography for On Combat:
Grossman, Dave Lt.Col. Christensen, Loren. "On Combat: The Physiology and Physiology of Deadly Colnflct in War and Peace." Warrior Science Publications. 2008.

Review: See above.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hidden Differences

Hall, Edward T. and Hall, Mildred Reed. "Hidden Differences: Doing Business with the Japanese." Anchor Books. New York. 1987, 1990.

Review: Shimabuku Tatsuo-san spoke to learning the culture and beliefs of Okinawa. He was a wise person for his time. This book, coupled with other books on the Asian culture, adds a bit of frosting to the cake.

Often we Westerners assume what we see, the cover of the cultural book called Japanese, is what we get but that is far from the truth. We must not allow our view of those "outward manifestations" confuse us as to the basic underlying culture. It can be more of an illusion and when you gain a bit more insight to such things as "face" you will truly begin to "see" the underlying "face" that is Japan and by osmosis Okinawa and finally China.

A wonderful book for the library and don't be fooled by its cover for it is more than merely teaching one about doing business with the Japanese.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Way of Sanchin Kata

Wilder, Kris. "The Way of Sanchin Kata: The Application of Power." YMAA Publication. New York. 2007.

Review: Sanchin is a core kata in my system as well as in the Goju-ryu system that Wilder Sensei teaches and practices. I have found over the years many variations on this kata. I have observed many variations on its performance and practice. This book is outstanding for anyone who wishes to learn, know and understand more in regards to Sanchin.

I cannot recommend this and other books by Wilder Sensei with more enthusiasm, buy them and add them to your library! You will not regret it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Origins of Human Violence

DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "The Origins of Human Violence: Male Dominance, Ignorance, Religions and Willful Stupidity!" Phoenix Books. Kentucky. 2010.

Review: I, as can readily be determined, am reading yet another book by Mr. DeMente. I am reading his view of Violence. I must say that his view is a bit "different" yet actually the same as others I have experienced. He has a lot to say about "men/males" along with their dominating role in violence. I recommend it as it supplements all the other material nicely.

I mean I had not gotten past the fist two paragraphs before I had to grab the highlighter and highlight both paragraphs. I was flabbergasted and enjoyed those first two immensely.

A teaser: "Throughout human history there have always been elements of ignorance and stupidity in the mindset and behavior of males that have inflected incredible violence and suffering on most of mankind since day one. " - Boye LaFayette DeMente

I am so looking forward to reading all of his thoughts and idea's.

p.s. reader beware, his voice and message can be challenging when you read this one. He really hits hard, fast and without gloves pointing to many uncomfortable views.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Samurai Strategies

DeMente, Boye LaFayette. "Samurai Strategies: 42 Martial Secrets from Musashi's Book of Five Rings." Tuttle Publishing. Vermont. 2008.

Review: Mr. DeMente takes his vast knowledge of Japanese culture along with his expertise and association with Michihiro Matsumoto on Samurai and Musashi Miyamoto to bring clarity to the seven traits of the Samurai and the Book of Five Rings.

Like all his books on the culture of the Orient this opens the door to the relations between the feudal era that brought into being the culture, customs and beliefs that drive the Japanese today to the interpretation of the book of five rings along with close insight to the personality of the "sword saint" Miyamoto Musashi.

The book of five rings can be a bit difficult for us to connect to our martial practice but this book brings a strong spot light on that issue illuminating and educating with benefits to all of us be martial artists or just curious.

A Must have book!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Lone Samurai

Wilson, William Scott. "The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi." Kodansha USA. 2004.

Review: A library would not be complete if nothing were on its shelves about "The Sword Saint," Miyamoto Musashi. I started withe the fictional rendition many years ago and then found the book. A complete joy to read.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Way of Kata

Kane, Lawrence A. and Wilder, Chris. "The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide for Deciphering Martial Applications." YMAA. New York. 2005.

Review: My first book on kata and what an eye opener. I had read things in the past and had arrived at my own conclusions but this book put many labels and idea's on what I knew and most importantly what I did not know. The gap between the two was not balanced with a much larger gap on the not know side.

If you are trying to work out the why of kata, begin here. Yes, there are other books, etc. on the subject and many are good and informative but this one is great for the first venture into a very complex world of martial art kata (notice I specified martial kata vs. Shikata of Japan).

The only thing better, a solid Sensei who has a solid hold on kata, kata practice and most important teaching kata.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Okakura, Kakuzo. "The Book of Tea." Dover Publications. New York. 1906, 2010.

Review: Not until today have I come across a better expression of the many facets of a custom, culture and belief system. This is the "first" piece I would recommend be studied for it will connect everything into one cohesive understanding - a beginning.

This is something, similar to the go rin no sho and I Ching, that warrants many readings of which my first is occurring in the present. I can feel that my studies warrant a re-read from time to time just to open the door a bit wider and gain increased understanding.

First, I discover a greater depth and breadth to kata. Second, I lean of specific terminologies that transcend the narrow functions of the dojo allowing for a wider view of life. Third, it provides the results from the origins, i.e. Confucianism, Buddhism and Zen-ism.

Let me introduce you to "The Book of Tea" written by Okakura Kakuzo Sensei. Reading his background leaves me not doubt as to his ability to convey sometimes mystically enshrouded customs, cultures and beliefs of a society. This lead into a culture that gave birth to such as martial arts is illuminating.

Rhinoceros Zen

Brooks, Jeffrey M. "Rhinoceros Zen: Zen Martial Arts and the path to Freedom." eCommunities LLC/ 2005.

Review: Well written and wonderful account of one's travels in the martial arts direction with additional insight toward the Zen aspects.

One of the favorites in my library. I have read it twice over the years since it was published. Gaining views and thoughts from as many as possible provides the brain data for retrieval and analysis where it comes into play for practice and eventually application. Well worth the few bucks to purchase.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Angry White Pyjamas

Twigger, Robert. "Angry White Pyjamas: A Scrawny Oxford Poet Takes Lessons from the Tokyo Riot Police." IT Books. 2000.

Review: I read this one a while back and remember I enjoyed and learned a lot from this writer's experiences in Japan. Now that I am discovering some more about the culture in general and some specifics toward martial arts this book becomes clearer and although well explained - more explainable to some spaces between the stories.

This book has many values I can't remember here but I found it a valuable asset to my library and you will too.

Just another indication that a library shall be large simply because no one source can explain such things that took the Asian's centuries to develop into its society, culture and customs. Enlightening ..... besides I kind of like the cover of the karate-gi empty of human's, there is some symbolism here I think ;-)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In The Dojo

Lowry, Dave. "In the Dojo: A Guide to the Rituals and Etiquette of the Japanese Martial Arts." Weatherhill. New York. 2006.

Review: I can not say enough about the contributions Mr. Lowry has provided by his writing about the many aspects of martial systems. This one in particular is a good start point for the uninitiated before taking on the daunting task of finding a good training facility (dojo).

While your at it, as I will be listing here as we progress, you will find his "Koryu" views meaningful and inspiring. Add this along with the many other recommendations and you can build a good solid foundation of knowledge to build your own martial arts knowledge base.

Remember, the brain needs some data to asses when working so this is a good point to begin encoding such important data but remember it is always, always, open for change, interpretations and new belief systems.