Recommended reading for the martial arts. This is my personal library list. I practice Okinawan Te or "Ryukyu Ti." My system is derived from two others, one being the main influence of Shorin-ryu and the second Goju-ryu. The branch under Shorin-ryu is Isshin-ryu as developed by Shimabuku Tatsuo Sensei.

I wanted to create a library reference blog where I can provide a listing of the books I have in my library, present and past (past in that some have been lost in transit over the years). I will provide a graphic, if available, a short description, if available, and the bibliography. When possible a link to Amazon will be provided.

"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon

Reader's of this Blog

Wednesday, 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?