View Full Version : Book Reviews Club

Budoka 34
28th May 2002, 12:16
Since returning to the arts several years ago I have found my search for knowledge has turned me into a bibliophile. On my return to the arts I had one or two books on Karate, Now I average one new book per week on all aspects of "Asian" martial arts and culture.
What I need is some help deciding what is worth owning and what is not. So if you all would be interested we could start our own "book club" (oh lord did I say that?). ;)
If you read something worth while pass it on, give a review and get some feed back.

I'll post my choice for the week later.
(Man I feel like Oprah!)

Budoka 34
28th May 2002, 12:57
Ok, I'll start out simple (and probably stay that way!:D ).

My choice for this week is for those of you who have children.

The Kid's KARATE Book by: Michael J. Dunphy, PH.D. Workman Publishing. New York 1999.

This is an interesting first book for children, lots of information on Karate and Tae Kwon Do. The book opens with a foreword by George E. Anderson of the USAKF. It gives simple clear explainations of basic technique along with tid bits about martial history, wisdom,and etiquette.
Terms are covered in both Korean and Japanese and the explainations are perfect for young children. I've used this book in my work with great success as the children enjoy reading it again and again.


Mark Barlow
28th May 2002, 20:35
I agree completely about Dr. Dunphy's book. It's a valuable source of ideas for anyone who teaches children. You may also want to try Forrest Morgan's book, LIVING THE MARTIAL WAY. Dave Lowry is good (if annoying at times) and anything by Donn Draeger is solid gold. For koryu information, the Skoss books are very worthwhile.

Budoka 34
29th May 2002, 18:01
Dr. Dunphy is also an amazing Instructor, I attended one of his seminars last year.

Feel free to review any of those or any other titles you may have read. I look forward to it!
I picked up a new book last nite. Its call "Secret Weapons of Ju-Jitsu". I'll try to review it as soon as I finish reading "Living the Martial Way".:D


Don Cunningham
29th May 2002, 19:18
Hi Budoka 34,

I just want to be clear that I didn't encourage or suggest the previous post. As the author, however, I would be very interested in opinions about my book, Secret Weapons of Jujutsu (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0804834229/).

The paperback edition by Charles Tuttle Publishing Company was just released this week. According to the editor's report on the Amazon.com web site above, though, the paperback seem to be selling so fast that they can barely keep them in stock.

Mark Barlow
29th May 2002, 19:41
It was an oversight on my part not listing Don's book. I've read the book and having spent time with Don, can attest to his knowledge of the material. SECRET WEAPONS OF JUJITSU would be a welcome addition to any MA library.

Budoka 34
30th May 2002, 11:18
It's great to have access to you! I haven't read it yet, have looked thru it and think it is very interesting (that's why I bought it!:D ).
I'm almost finished with "Living the Martial Way" and your book is next on the list. I'm looking forward to it!

p.s. Very glad to hear of your success!

Don Cunningham
30th May 2002, 20:07
Hi Mark. Good to hear from you again and thanks for the positive comments.

Budoka 34,

Living the Martial Way by Forrest Morgan was one of the most powerful and thought-provoking books about martial arts philosophy that I've ever read. I may not have agreed with some of his views, but they were all presented well. Take your time and don't rush through it, because there is a lot of really good material there.

Budoka 34
31st May 2002, 11:15
So far, I love this book "Living the Martial Way". It is a thought provoking work. I have been forced to question some of my beliefs and training methods while others have been validated(so to speak). I will take my time (not that I have choice, I read like a second grader:D ).
Have you noticed we don't seem to be attracting alot of interest in this section. I guess there aren't alot of "martial scholars" about.:D

Thanks again,

Mark Barlow
31st May 2002, 19:23
It looks like we're preaching to the choir but I'm willing to keep swinging if y'all are. I find myself going back to Draeger's BUDO&BUJUTSU trilogy time and time again. Does anyone here have a "must read" list?

Brian Twitty
1st June 2002, 23:29
Hi guys!

This is my "Must Read" list:

1. Living the Martial Way (which you already have :) )
2. Moving Toward Stillness by Dave Lowry
3. Karate- Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi
4. Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams
5. The Science of Martial Arts Training by Charles Staley

These are probably the 5 best martial arts books that I've found. I'm planning to check out some more of Dave Lowry's work because I really like his view of the martial arts.

Brian Twitty

2nd June 2002, 00:38
Originally posted by Brian Twitty

This is my "Must Read" list:

1. Living the Martial Way (which you already have :) )
2. Moving Toward Stillness by Dave Lowry
3. Karate- Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi
4. Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams
5. The Science of Martial Arts Training by Charles Staley

This is an excellent list. I have all but the last, and I intend to look into it. Dave Lowry is a good writer, but Moving Toward Stillness is my favorite of his. I looked through my MA library -- dozens of books -- and found nothing I would recommend over this list, including everything written by Hatsumi and Hayes. I will add a few more books that are not better than these, but have a different focus also worth reading, in no particular order:

* Kodo - Ancient Ways: Lesson in the Spiritual Life of the Warrior Martial Artist, by Kensho Furuya
* Zanshin: Meditation and the Mind in Modern Martial Arts, by Vince Morris
* Mind Over Matter: Higher Martial Arts, by Shi Ming
* Scholar Warrior, by Deng Ming Dao
* The Taoist Warrior trilogy, by Deng Ming Dao (essentially a biography of a 20th century Taoist warrior, trained in the Wudang mountain temples, who eventually came to America. This man's life was at least as colorful and amazing as those of Morihei Ueshiba or Toritsugu Takamatsu).

Mark Barlow
2nd June 2002, 00:53
Forrest Morgan's LIVING THE MARTIAL WAY should be on every martial artist's list. Whether you agree with all of the author's views or not, it is a thought provoking book that offers many insights into problems we all face as martial artists. Lt. Col. Morgan is another author who walks the walk. I've been impressed with his both his outlook on training and his attitude toward other martial artists.

Budoka 34
5th June 2002, 18:30
Lets hear more of your choice reads!
I think mine would go something like:

1. Living the Martial Way
2. Heart of Kendo
3. Japan's Ultimate Martial Arts- Ju-Jitsu Before 1882.
4. Anything by Lowrey! Love that guys stuff!
5. Sword of No Sword
6. Karate Jitsu
7. Secrets of the Samurai (don't laugh, I really liked it!):D
8. Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere
9. Any Thing by Draeger (is that spelled correctly?)
10. Karate The Art of the Empty Hand By: Nishiyama

Of course this list changes by the minute.:D

What do you like?

Budoka 34
13th June 2002, 12:33
I just found a (new in the sleeve) early edition of Oscar and Ratti's "Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" at a used book store!
Only $12 U.S..
While I didn't find this the easiest read the first time around, I love finding early editions, especially in new condition and in the sleeve!
I guess I'll have to add it to my reread list.:D


Mark Barlow
13th June 2002, 14:06
I'm curious as to everyone's reaction to ZEN IN THE ART OF ARCHERY by Herrigel. It seems to me that it is much more popular with aikido and traditional jujitsu/aikijutsu practitioners than tkd and karate. The experiences (especially the misunderstandings) the German has with his kyudo sensei mirror some faux pas I was guilty of with a few of my Japanese sensei. The breathing and centering explanations are classic and the German's inability to understand why Sensei doesn't appreciate his "shortcuts" also struck close to home.

How do the others feel about this book? I think it's definitely worth reading but understand why many don't agree.

13th June 2002, 14:13
Like R. Kite, I am also devouring books. I just recently got several from Bugei..although all are not specifically martial, they all should help me further understand Japanese thought and culture. These include:

Shinto: The Kami Way

Sho: The Art of Calligraphy

One Hundred Poems from the Japanese

The Unfettered Mind

So far I've only read Shinto, and it is an excellent little book not only in better understanding the religion itself, but gives a few insights into Japanese thought as a whole. It is easy to understand and not dry at all, written by a professor of Shinto studies. It was only $4 or so brand new. Even if one was not particularly interested in Shinto, it still makes for interesting reading.

I liked Living the Martial Way, and agreed with most of it. I have a little different idea of what the definition of 'warrior' is, so his constant 'warrior this' and 'warrior that' irritated me just a bit, but overall a book much worth having.

My list of must-have's (changes every so often!)

1. "Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts", by Draeger

2. "Code of the Samurai: a modern translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke", Cleary

3. "Martial Arts and Ways of Japan," which consists of three volumes: " Classical Bujitsu","Classical Budo," "Modern Bujitsu and Budo." by Draeger

4. "Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique & Practice", G. Warner and D.F. Draeger.

5. "Koryu Bujutsu", "Sword and Spirit", and "Keiko Shokon" by Meik and Diane Skoss

6. "Moving Toward Stillness", "Persimmon Wind", and everything else by Dave Lowry

7. "Go Rin No Sho" (Cleary Translation), Musashi Miyamoto

8. "Karate-Do: My Way of Life", Funakoshi

9. "Ideals of the Samurai", Wilson

10. "Living the Martial Way", Morgan

These aren't really in order, since the scopes and purposes of the books are a bit different. It's really hard to limit to ten and put them in order..so many good ones out there!

Maybe this little 'book club' should get it's own forum or subforum..I think it would be a good idea! Is Mr. Lindsey back from Japan yet?

13th June 2002, 14:39
Hi all.
One that is most certainly worthy of the read is G. Cameron Hurst's 'The Armed Martial Arts of Japan"..It is an excellent book that has a little more information than the Draeger series and complements them well (IMHO..).
Books more focused on Japanese History have become more a must read for me recently. Two off the top would have to be 'Japonius Tyrannus' by Jeroem Lamarrs (??)..An excellent history that follows the first of the three 'unifiers' of Japan, Oda Nobunaga, also it is suprising that so little has been written on the man before (In English anyway) as his role was a vital step for the following rulers to 'jump off'..Pity really, but one well corrected with the above book.
The second would have to be Stephen Turnbull's most recent volume on the Korean invasions during Hideyoshi's reign. The title is 'Samurai Invasion' (Sounds like a film title I know..) and the book has excellent research (Although more Japanese sources could have been located perhaps?) and some photos of the 'Turtle ships' that really put the point in:rolleyes: (Sorry.).
All of the 'Koryu books' team have produced exceptional additions to the work started by Draeger and will hopefully continue the trend. All of Dave Lowry's work is so 'delicate' that it can make you weep (Try 'Persimmon Wind'...My favourite) at the same time as having a life to it that starts you thinking "I should be out TRAINING. NOT READING!!" and Dr. Friday's two published books 'The Legacies of the Sword' and 'Hired Swords' are both excellent insights into two very seperate but unified sections of the 'quilt' of Japanese budo..Worth the read certainly.
Anything else comes up or to mind I will keep it posted here..And I second the vote for an extra forum for us booker-types!!

Budoka 34
14th June 2002, 10:30
Welcome, Welcome, Welcome!
If I would have know all we needed was a little advertisment I'd have done it long ago!:D
I knew there had to be more martial bibliophiles.
I'm gonna go broke trying to find all these titles! I can't wait!:D

I've found the same interest in all things Japanese. My collection is pretty eclectic, from ikibona to soba noodles, but I try to focus on the traditional Japanese/Okinawan martial arts and histories.:D

So, how do we go about getting our own forum?:confused:

Again, Welcome all!

14th June 2002, 11:03
I e-mailed John Lindsey after my last post asking about it. I think he might still be in Japan, so we might have to wait until his return. He may suggest that we just post individual book reviews in the forum to which the book pertains, but there are quite a few good books that aren't specific to a certain art, like Living the Martial Way already mentioned. I think it could be a real popular forum. If a moderator is needed, I'd be happy to do it ;) 100 instant karma points for all book club members!! MWAHAHAAHAAA! J/K

I've found the same interest in all things Japanese. My collection is pretty eclectic, from ikibona to soba noodles, but I try to focus on the traditional Japanese/Okinawan martial arts and histories.

Ah, a kindred soul! I've got all sorts of stuff..even if I don't actually practice a particular art, like Chado, for instance, I still like to read a bit about it. I focus on books on koryu, but will quickly be engrossed in pretty much anything Japanese, or Chinese for that matter.

14th June 2002, 16:09
Hmmm, how to pick a few of the hundreds and hundred of books that have somehow found a home on my bookshelf (and closet, and floor and...). These days I generally tend to lean towards works on Japanese history or budo books in Japanese more than anything, but if I had to pick a few English budo books, I guess the following would be on my favorites list (in no particular order)...

- The Skoss "Koryu Trilogy"

- Draeger's Budo/jutsu trilogy

- "Kyudo" by Onuma and DeProspero (probably the best budo book ever written in my opinion)

- "Persimmon Wind" by Dave Lowry

- "Legacies of the Sword" by Karl Friday

- "Armed Martial Arts of Japan" by G. Cameron Hurst (has a few problems with the readings of names and such, but still worthwhile overall)

- "Okinawan Karate - Second Edition" by Mark Bishop

- "Bubishi - The Bible of Karate" trans. Patrick McCarthy

- various translations of old texts

Regarding "Zen and the Art of Archery", I recommend this article put out by the Japanese Journal of Religious Studies last year.
The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery (http://www.nanzan-u.ac.jp/SHUBUNKEN/publications/jjrs/pdf/586.pdf) (note - this is a pdf file)

Time to step away from the bookshelf before it sucks me in further...

Rennis Buchner

Budoka 34
17th June 2002, 10:14
I found an interesting used Tae kwon do book this weekend. I'm trying to overcome a slight prejudice toward Korean arts so I bought it.
It's titled "Advancing in Tae Kwon Do" by Richard Chun.
Any one know it?


Budoka 34
15th July 2002, 12:25
Wow! You mention Korean arts and everyone runs away!:laugh: :laugh:

Has everyone stopped reading?:D

I've bought several new (used) Aikido books but it seems the other arts have dried up around here.:(

Oh well, I'll keep looking.

p.s. A review of "Living the Martial Way" should be coming soon.:cool:


Don Cunningham
15th July 2002, 16:22
I know it's sort of self-promotion, but there is a very good review of my book, Secret Weapons of Jujutsu, now posted on Best Judo's web site at:

Secret Weapons of Jujutsu (http://www.bestjudo.com/brsecretweaponsofjujutsu.shtml)

You may also want to check out many of his other excellent reviews at:

Best Judo (http://www.bestjudo.com/)

Just a note, but the Charles Tuttle edition is now available in paperback at fine bookstores everywhere.

Budoka 34
15th July 2002, 18:30
Self-promotion aside, If it's a good book, It's a good book!:D

So far, the friends who have borrowed my copy have loved it!!!
One of them actually went out and bought a copy! :laugh:


15th July 2002, 19:10
This is a great idea - how did I miss it before?

My favorite books are, not really in any order:

"The Unfettered Mind", by Takuan Soho
"The Judoka", by W.D. Norwood
"Aikido Sketch Diary - Dojo 365 Days", by Gaku Homma
"Sword and Brush", by Dave Lowry
"Zen in the Martial Arts", by Joe Hyams
"The book of five rings", the Overlook Press edition
"Code of the Samurai", trans. by Thomas Cleary
"Iron and Silk", by Mark Salzman
"Random", a novel by Jay McInerney
"Living the Martial Way", by Forrest Morgan

These are the general-subject books I could think of just sitting here. I have some technique-type books that I really enjoy, as well.


William Johnson

Budoka 34
16th July 2002, 10:49
Tell us about those books.:D

My wife says if I buy anymore books she will have to build a bigger house.:D

I collect mostly martial arts, japanese history and culture.
I have some Chinese and Korean arts, but Japan has my heart.;)


16th July 2002, 17:58
Let me see what I can tell you about these books - thanks for asking!

The Unfettered Mind by the Zen priest Takuan Soho (trans. by William Scott Wilson) is really a compilation of 2 letters and an essay by Takuan. The first letter is called "The mysterious record of immovable wisdom" and written to Yagyu Munenori, head of the Yagyu Shinkage ryu. The second part is called "The clear sound of jewels", which is an essay that talks about right-mindedness is daily life, and the third part is a letter that the introduction says was either written to Munenori or to Oto Tadaaki, head of the Itto ryu. Its a book that I've read easily over a hundred times (its short!), and usually accompanies me whenever possible

The Judoka by W.D. Norwood is part novel, part philosophy. It tells the story of a judoka who lives on a beach and plays judo, who meets a woman on the beach one day, and the conflicts they both undergo as a result of the meeting. (I'm making it sound much more dramatic than it really is.) Interspersed with the story is the author's views on judo, which are as interesting as the story. Unfortunately, I think its out of print - I found my copy through a used books dealer.

Aikido sketch diary is a great book written about the events and people at Nippon-Kan, an aikido dojo in Denver, Colorado. I remember reading this book for the first time and thinking, "This is the way a dojo should be!" Its very humorous, and has several funny line drawings, and the stories are all light and easy to read, but what I really enjoy about the book is that its all real - no overt philosophy but you can clearly feel it behind every story.

I'll write something about the others a little later.

Good reading!

William Johnson

17th July 2002, 14:58
Hi all.
I have been reading books on the history of Japan most recently (Or as soon as I had finished reading 'Keiko Shokon' by Diane Skoss et al and 'Secret Weapons of Jujutsu' by Don...Excellent book as I had guessed. Thanks for the read Don.;) ) And thought that a summation of the ones I most liked seemed the thing to do..
'Okagami' -Unknown author..A book that is an opus to the Fujiwara family and there reign at the height of Heian culture, told by two aged men at a priests recital and with great detail on the families origins and standing...Quite hard going though.
'Pillow book of Sei Shonagon' -Trans. Ivan Morris. Great book for a 'snide' kind of a look at Heian attitudes and life...Shonagon seems quite a lady and some of her comments on suitors are straight COLD...a good book for women to read up on how to insult 'failing' men in their lives, and or men to finally work out just "what she meant last night"!!
'Heike Monogatari' -Trans. H. McCullough. A true classic...Great story, great action and pretty good characters (Hehehe:D )...How anyone cannot have read this one I don't know..
Following that 'Yoshitsune' -Trans. McCullough. A little more fanciful and with more detail on character than the 'Heike' but is worth looking at for the stories of the monk Benkei alone I think...
'The tale of Genji' Trans. I. Morris. Again...a classic...The poems alone can win the girl of your dreams if you play them well and it is very good for 'escapism' into some kind of a dream world where cherry blossoms and snow mix with woodsmoke and rivers and relax the mind..One for the girls again also. (Sorry...NOT meaning to sound the way it does..My bad!)
Lastly...Two history books that should be mandatory reading for all into Japan...The 'Kojiki' and the 'Nihon Shoki' (Or 'Nihongi') Both are histories of the birth of Japan and the time of the gods, from Izanami and Izanagi to Amaterasu no Omikami....Legends that are fundamental to many of the earlier Ryuha and their understanding of their 'place' in the world....Great reads both.
On a sidenote...I loved 'Iron and silk' also...Written about the authors experiences in training in Chinese arts with some pretty remarkable Sifu...Quality book and one to read even if you really only like the Japanese arts...(Like me...).
Has anyone read 'Angry White Pyjamas' by Robert Twigger...It's about his experiences in the Japanese Riot police and has some great stories about his training in the Taihojutsu and Aikido they used in workouts...a funny look at it and a 'lighter' read than all the other serious books..:rolleyes:
Keep on reading and writing peeps...

Mark Barlow
17th July 2002, 16:44
If you're the type person who keeps a dictionary nearby, you'll appreciate TUTTLE DICTIONARY OF THE MARTIAL ARTS OF KOREA, CHINA & JAPAN and Louis Frederic's DICTIONARY OF THE MARTIAL ARTS. While my primary focus is on Japanese grappling systems, I want to know about all styles regardless of the country of origin. These two reference sources have proven invaluable for filling in the numerous gaps in my knowledge.

18th July 2002, 18:04
"Random" one of the books I listed earlier, is by Jay McInerney, the same guy who wrote "Bright Lights, Big City" and others dealing with the excesses of the 80's yuppies. Not a guy you'd expect to write about martial arts, and it is a little different that most books about the subject. The hero (for lack of a better word) of the story is the Random of the title, an American living in Japan learning Shotokan karate (I think, I haven't read it in a while and I can't find my copy right now). He has some shady history involving drugs and there's an undercurrent of his using the time to Japan as an escape from that. And the ending took me completely by surprise, and involves a sword fight with another American in a Japanese park. The description of the senior Japanese student at the dojo Random is a member of, is one of my favorite passages in any book.

Another great book is called "Moving Zen: Karate as a way to gentleness" (that's the original title. Its been re-published under "Moving Zen: One man's journey to the heart of karate"). Its an autobiographical account of C.W. Nicol's first years in Japan, learning shotokan karate and goes up to his shodan test. Its a beautiful book, and has stories from his time living in a house with Donn Draeger, but its mostly about his training and development as a human and karateka. I know its a popular book - I've owned three copies of the original and had all three borrowed - permanently!

William Johnson

Bruce Mitchell
18th July 2002, 18:52
In choosing books to purchase for a home library, I would say that it is important to take a balanced approach. A good budo library should contain a number of different types of books. These can be technical, psychological, biological, historical, and anecdotal (biographies). When looking at books about martial arts history, take a good look at the bibliography. If the list are short or reference only other martial arts books I would advise against it.Always take a good look at the qualifications of the author. Are they an acknowledeged expert in their field? Do they speak and or read the native language of the art they are writing about? Would their book stand up to academic scrutiny?
If you want to know about the history of a country that is the birthplace of your art, go to the History section of your local bookstore, not the martial arts section.
Read books about combat stress written by pyschologist, not martial artist.Books about zen written by experts on Zen (BTW I've heard it reported {NPR} that there are more books written about zen in the library of congress than any other single topic, seems there is a lot to say about nothingness).
Check out the International Hopological Society web site for an extensive reading list, I won't try to recreate it here. It is one of the best list I have seen, and I've spent the last four years using it as a buying guide and I have not been disappointed yet. I would also recommend the reading list compliled by Meik Skoss on the Koryu books web site.
I hope this is helpful.

19th July 2002, 04:05

The following may not be the best, or most authoritative books on oriental martial arts, history or culture, but they have provided much enjoyment and insight for me. These are all printed in American, if not English.


"Judo and AIkido" Kenji Tomiki
"Aikido: Tradition and the Competitive Edge" Fumiaki Shishida & Tetsuro Nariyama
"Shotokan Karate: A Precise History" Harry Cook
"Lives of Master Swordsmen" Makoto Sugawara
"Zen Combat" Jay Gluck
"Martial Musings" Robert W. Smith
"The Secrets of the Samurai" Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook
"Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere" Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook
"A History of Japan" (3vols.) George Sansom
"Traditional Aikido" (5 vols.) M. Saito
"Hired Swords: The Rise of Private Warrior Power in Japan" Karl F. Friday
"The Heart of the Warrior" Catharina Bloomberg
"Its A Lot Like Dancing" Terry Dobson/Riki Moss
"Budo Series" (3 vols.) Donn Draeger
"The Way and the Power" Frederick Lovret

Regarding Korean Karate, which I study (Chi Do Kwan), there is precious little that provides a solid non-nationalistic painting of its history. Most of the works available, buy the line of a national martial art that goes back, unbroken, for 2,000 years. I have not seen one good work, commerically available in book form, that delves into the influence of China, Okinawa and Japan on Korean arts, to any great extent. If any one out there is aware of a non-biased work on the history of the kwans, after WWII, please reply.

Enjoy the summer reading, and be aware some of the works listed above have flaws and some others are rather dry, but they educate and make one think.

Tom Militello
"Respect every time!"

Budoka 34
19th July 2002, 11:05

I hear ya (about TaeKwonDo). I've recently read some material where the author indicated that Korean arts may have influenced Japanese and Chinese martial arts and culture. The author indicated that the Hawrang(sp) may have influenced the Japanese developement of Bushido. That was the first time I'd heard anyone suggest that. I think it's in the new Dragon Times.
I'll see if I can find the article. :D


Budoka 34
24th July 2002, 13:49
Why is it whenever we mention Korean arts it gets so quiet in here?:D


3rd August 2002, 15:37
Good question Budoka34! From what I understand the face of the TKD has changed a bit since I did it in the 80's, with all the McDojo's, etc., but the art, as I was taught it, is very effective. My TKD school was just as traditional as my former Wado Ryu and Shotokai dojo, and my teacher respected in the community. I learned a lot from him. But the art to me is worthy of respect, at least the way I was taught. It is a shame that some individuals and organizations seem to have brought ridicule to it.

Budoka 34
8th August 2002, 11:17
Sorry it took so long for me to reply. I've been at a five day Qi-gong seminar.:D

I'm tyrying to over come a slight prejudice toward modern Korean arts.
I've had some bad experiences with TaeKwonDo and Hapkido instructors.
The whole McDojoizing of traditional martial arts is just really depressing.
Why do people have to lower everything to the lowest common denominator?
I met an instructor recently who said with pride, "Well I couldn't do that movement and make it look good, so I changed it".

Boy, do I need to get off the soap box!:D


Budoka 34
9th August 2002, 12:37
Some new stuff!
I just found a whole collection of books for sell at a local used bookstore. I chose about ten titles. One of the best is "Okinawa Karatedo Goju Ryu" by: Mario Higaonna. *note* I may not have the title exactly correct.:D

This is a great book! It has one of the best history briefs I've seen in a Karate title. Lots of Goju Ryu foundational material.
Truely one for the collection. Now if I can find the other two in the set I'll be thrilled. :D

More later.


Mark Barlow
29th August 2002, 03:02
Prof. Eliot Cohen's book SUPREME COMMAND, has gotten a lot of press since Pres. Bush praised it. It discusses the role of national leaders and their relationship with the military. Of special interest to me was that Cohen includes an excerpt from Forrest Morgan's LIVING THE MARTIAL WAY.

Budoka 34
29th August 2002, 10:47
I'll add it to my list of books to check out.:D


1st September 2002, 14:43
I know these aren't specifically on Martial Arts, but they do have a spiritual value, and have made me a better person:

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
2. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
3. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma

I'm going to be reading The Accidental Buddhist by Dinty Moore soon, and I will be re-living my childhood and re-reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse!

Hope this adds to the collection!

2nd September 2002, 05:56
Wow - this is great ! I picked up some good suggestions by reviewing this thread. I see the prices for used copies of "The Judoka" are quite high, but one of these days maybe I'll find a reasonably priced copy.

I'm listing 3 of my favorite books that I have not seen elsewhere in this thread. In no particular order:

1. "Dueling With O-sensei" - Ellis Amdur (available only on his web site). I can't believe this hasn't come up on this thread because a) It is one of the best MA books I have ever read and b) his book is listed in this forum ! The book is full of interesting (true) stories and insightful points. The author's background in psychotherapy, crisis intervention and a classic martial art (in addition to Aikido) provides for a very interesting perspective and many interesting stories, which cover a wide range of subjects relevant to the martial artist. His stories about training with Terry Dobson are quite interesting and his controversial questions about the history of M. Ueshiba are fascinating. Since originally written for Aikido Journal (and he is an Aikidoist) many of his examples/stories come from an Aikido context, however the issues are universal.

2. "There Are No Secrets" - Wolfe Lowenthal. This book is a series of brief chapters, which alternate between describing Lowenthal’s training with Professor Cheng, his recollection of Cheng’s philosophy about Tai Chi/life and various stories about the Professor himself. As a result, the reader comes to meet Cheng in some small way and also gain some understanding of what Tai Chi is all about. There is also a bit of information about Chinese culture slipped in. This is a small book with a great deal of content (and even has some nice pictures of the Professor), which I have found myself rereading on several occasions.

3. "Attack Proof" - J. Perkins, A. Ridenhour, M. Kovsky. This book has had the biggest impact on my understanding of the practical applications of martial arts. The book covers three critical areas: 1) Practical and specific advise about avoiding potentially violent people/situations 2) Time & battle tested basic techniques to increase your chances of survival if you absolutely must fight and 3) The basic ideas and drills from the art of Ki Chuan Do, which is a method of fighting that combines the balance & sensitivity of Tai Chi with the applications from WWII military close combat and a few other martial arts (including Native American fighting). The authors stress simple, devastating techniques made even more devastating by developing basic physical attributes (looseness, body-unity, balance & sensitivity) to a very high level. This book presents both skills & strategies necessary to survival under chaotic conditions and also provides a number of brief true stories that remind the reader why it is important to learn these skills.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to someone. I will definitely try to pick up some of the books mentioned elsewhere on this thread.

Brian Crowley

Budoka 34
3rd September 2002, 10:56
Great additions!
I'm hoping to purchase a copy of "Dueling with Osensei" very soon.
Gotta pay for all these seminars first.:D


Budoka 34
23rd September 2002, 19:01
I've recently picked up quite a few new books, I'll post a list soon as well as some information on each.

Budoka 34
23rd September 2002, 19:07
just trying to put up a new avatar.:D

Budoka 34
24th September 2002, 11:28
Ok I'll try again.:D

Paul Taylor
7th October 2002, 03:48
Just wanted to add a couple I thought were very important books. One is a serious pain to find in English tho.

Hagakure - Trans by W. Scott Wilson

Mind and Sword - Yagyu Munenori (It took me 3 months to find a copy.

I really feel a Japanese Budo Library would be lacking without these two.

Hagakure, which I first read in 1991 was the foundation for a very good movie called Ghost Dog.

But that is just my input.

Budoka 34
7th October 2002, 18:29
Interesting choices.
I use the Hagakure in my work.
I'll start looking for the "Mind and Sword" ASAP!:D

And the collection grows. :laugh:


8th October 2002, 14:04
Hi all.
Just a little note here...The book is called "The Sword and the Mind" and is a modern edition of the 'Heiho Kadensho' written by Yagyu Munenori and passed down in the Shinkage Ryu. There was another version that had it along with 'Gorinsho' and this may be easier to find (Try 'Thomas cleary'?) although the research in the Sato version is very good. It was translated by Hiroaki Sato for the Overlook press...That should at least help to start the search off 'proper-like'...
Sato also put together the book "Legends of the Samurai" (Penguin books) a pretty large compendium of various sources of Samurai legends (Yeah I know...Funny that... :rolleyes: ) and I would suggest that book also as one to have in the library.
Dave Lowry also has his new book "Traditions" out and it is an excellent book for views from both sides of the Koryu/Gendai arts divide....Basically a collection of his articles written a while back for various magazines ('Fighting arts illustrated' I think I can recall him in..Old age..;)) the book has a lot on offer and is worth the cash..
Keep em' coming.

8th October 2002, 15:02
Great books folks! I'll make sure to look into some of your suggestions. Here are a few of my favorites:

DEAD OR ALIVE, by Geoff Thompson




KODOKAN JUDO, by Jigoro Kano


Budoka 34
8th October 2002, 17:39

I'll read anything that Dave Lowry writes.

I believe Dave Lowry could write a menu and make it both informative and entertaining!:D

I'll probably have to actually pay retail for that one. :(

I'm saving my pennies now, to get Ellis Amdur's books. They sound great, and everyone I have spoken with regards them highly.

Keep the good stuff comming! :)


9th October 2002, 13:18
I'm totally drooling after reading this thread, so many books to buy, so little money to buy them and time to read them.

My favs are:
Book of five rings
Classical fighting arts of japan(excellently written and researched book)
One arrow, one life
i also enjoyed tao of jeet kune do

Budoka 34
9th October 2002, 18:10

If cost is a concern,as it is for most of us, try buying at used book stores. I've found some very collectable titles at used bookstore,CHEAP!:D
First addition, hard/cloth back, good condition, "Dynamic Karate" for $7.00 US.

Four different printings of "Book of Five Rings" $5.00 US each.:D

The list goes on and on. Just reached one hundred titles, and only forty left to read!:rolleyes:

I only buy new if it's something special, like E.Amdur's or Lowry's new books.

Best to you,

:smilejapa :smilejapa

9th October 2002, 23:59
For used books, consider abebooks.com. I got extremely lucky & found a copy of the Judoka for $3.95 ! I enjoyed it very much by the way - thank you William for recomending.

While I am here, I might as well post another recommendation:

Someone else mentioned Salzman's "Iron & Silk", which is an amazing book. He also wrote "Lost in Place - Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia", which is about his teenage years & his early obsession with learning Kung Fu. Although this book takes place in Connecticut instead of China, and therefore does not have the advantage of the interesting cultural angles of "Iron and Silk", it is a hell of a lot of fun to read. He has also written a few novels which I enjoyed also. I can't wait until he writes something else !


10th October 2002, 00:24
Thanx for the tip B34. Can you recommend any good used book sites on the web? I will try abebooks.com, thanx Brian

Budoka 34
10th October 2002, 11:12

I never thought I'd be the one to say this but,

please sign all posts with your full, or at least first initial and last name, per E-budo requirments. :o

Thank You,

11th October 2002, 01:51
Sorry about the name - I'll try including as a signature.

While I'm here, I'll recommend "The Secret History of the Sword" for the sword enthusiasts out there. This is actually an eclectic series of articles by J. Chritoph Amberger on topics ranging from the Patton sabre system to the ancient fighting arts of Greece. The illustrations and pictures alone are worth the cost of the book. The author has fought in Sabre Mensurs in Germany and is also a competitive fencer, so he brings an interesting perspective to his writing.

Mark Barlow
17th October 2002, 15:23
For an eye-opening look at how similar techniques can be developed without cultural crossover, take a look at MARTIAL ARTS OF RENAISSANCE EUROPE. The author provides a well researched and well documented study of bladed weapon and grappling attacks and some fascinating drawings and diagrams. I'm only a third of the way through but it's obviously superior to any other source on this subject I've run across.

Budoka 34
20th October 2002, 16:56

Is this a new title?
I'll have to search for it today, thanks for the lead.


Budoka 34
4th November 2002, 18:48
I had to rush to Pennsylvania(family emergency) last week.
thank goodness, every thing worked out well.
While I was up there I checked out some used book stores in the Youngstown Oh, area.

I came home with eight new titles including a first edition hard back of "The Karate way". :D

I'll post more as I go thru the books.

Also I've ordered several titles over the internet.
Now that Ellis is back from the motherland, I can't wait for my copies of "Dueling with O-Sensei" and "Old School"!

I just received "Shinkage-ryu Sword Techniques" by: Tadashige Watanabe.

I'll try to post reviews soon.


5th November 2002, 02:06

I've been busy, but just finished the subject book by Mr. Amdur. Excellent!!!! I encourage all those who have a real interest in the arts of Japan to read it. He writes with no punches pulled and with authority on the essay subjects he chooses.

Tom Militello

Budoka 34
8th November 2002, 11:34
After more than a year of searching I have found one of my "holy grail" books!

Doshin So's "Shorinji Kempo".:D

I found it at a price I could afford after a long search. This is the 1982 printing, supposedly in VG condition with dust jacket(G condition).
Is anyone fimiliar with this book?

This and several Mas Oyama, Yamaguchi, and Hiagonna books are what I consider some of my best finds.

Now if I can find a copy of D. Craig's first Iai book and Mattson's Ueachiryu at prices I can afford the collection will be complete!:D

Any info on the "Shorinji Kempo" or any of the other titles would be greatly appreciated.


8th November 2002, 21:24
A quick overview of the favorites in my library (a bunch have already been mentioned...):

"Living The Martial Way" - Morgan
"Moving Zen..." - Nicol
"Zen In The Martial Arts" - Hyams
"A Book Of Five Rings" and "The Art Of War" - both classics, pick a translator / edition
Anything Lowry

I'd also like to add "The Essence Of Okinawan Karate-Do" by Shoshin Nagamine. Although a lot is specific to matsubayashi-ryu, a lot of content in sections 3 - 5 is universal and very well written (and translated).

9th November 2002, 02:54
Hi folks, I have been following this thread with great interest. I have been acquiring books on budo since I began my studies in the late '60s..... and I agree with most of the recommended books.
There is, however, one book that I have enjoyed more than any of the others. It is written by a true warrior, who has had to defend his life by his carefully honed martial skills. He is modest and knowledgable..... and his analysis of his technique is second to none. I know that he had to use his martial skills in life and death situations, and often, and always persevered. Finally, his attitude toward his training and toward the lethal results is deadly serious, but his humor and humanity come through in his writings.
OK, well, I might be a little biased because I know he worked down here in Texas for a while..... and he trained dilligently on the aspect that I love, the "drawing and immediate use of his weapon."
The book is "No Second Place Winner" and the author is William (Bill) Jordan, considered one of the fastest and most accurate pistol drawers in recent times.
Check it out if you are lucky enough to find a copy.
Gerry Brown, thank you for your gift of this fine book. I treasure it.

Thank you,
John Ray

Budoka 34
22nd November 2002, 11:44
I finally found time to read our own Ellis Amdur's "Old School".

This book falls into the "Must Read" category! Whether you have an interest in Koryu arts or gendai this book offers a powerful and insightful view of Japanese martial traditions.

With ever line, I more wished I could study each art discribed. Ellis's writing style draws the reader in, making it easy to become involved in what has in the past been presented in dry historical terms.

Every section of this book offers insight and/or information useful to the modern practitioner of the Japanese martial arts.

If I had one complaint, it would only be with the binding style of the book! I would love to see (and own!) this book in Hardback!:D

Ellis, Well Done!


22nd November 2002, 17:37

I echo Budoka 34's sentiments. The only flaw I have with the work is its unavailabliity in hardcover. By the way, "Dueling with O Sensei" is another of Mr. Amdur's works that also should be in hardcover. In short, a great read!!!


Ellis Amdur
23rd November 2002, 01:33
TommyK, Randy -

Thanks for the good words on the book. I'd love to have a hardcover edition of each book - bigger size, so the photos could be displayed. Have a slight problem regarding inventory. I printed 3000 of Dueling, and recently 2000 of Old School. To date, have sold about 900 of Dueling and 200-300 (haven't totalled up the month yet) of Old School. So I've got a lot of boxes of books in the shed still. From what I hear, more than a few folks lend the book around to their friends until they fall apart, and then buy another. I would suggest that everyone try an alternative - now listen closely to my voice, you will find your eyes getting heavy, your hands heavy, the sword feels heavy in your hand (a little kanashibari here) - you want to buy lots of books - lots of books. Everything is so heavy, put down that sword, it's too heavy, there is only one thing you can lift - yes, it's your wallet. That credit card is so light, let it float, let the numbers waft on the whisper stream, let that money fly. Buy books, buy books for your family, buy books for your friends, buy books for everyone in your dojo and make them buy books too, buy books, buy books, buy books.

At the next sound in the room, you will awake - and you will know what you have to do.

BTW - I've still got the section here on e-budo on my books. Any and all are welcome if there are any questions, points of disagreement or discussion regarding info and opinion in the books. . . . .but to enter the discussions, you must do one thing. Listen to the sound of my voice . . . .your eyes are getting heavy . . .


Ellis Amdur

P Goldsbury
23rd November 2002, 13:44
Originally posted by Ellis Amdur
TommyK, Randy -

Thanks for the good words on the book. I'd love to have a hardcover edition of each book - bigger size, so the photos could be displayed. Have a slight problem regarding inventory. I printed 3000 of Dueling, and recently 2000 of Old School. To date, have sold about 900 of Dueling and 200-300 (haven't totalled up the month yet) of Old School. So I've got a lot of boxes of books in the shed still. From what I hear, more than a few folks lend the book around to their friends until they fall apart, and then buy another. I would suggest that everyone try an alternative - now listen closely to my voice, you will find your eyes getting heavy, your hands heavy, the sword feels heavy in your hand (a little kanashibari here) - you want to buy lots of books - lots of books. Everything is so heavy, put down that sword, it's too heavy, there is only one thing you can lift - yes, it's your wallet. That credit card is so light, let it float, let the numbers waft on the whisper stream, let that money fly. Buy books, buy books for your family, buy books for your friends, buy books for everyone in your dojo and make them buy books too, buy books, buy books, buy books.

At the next sound in the room, you will awake - and you will know what you have to do.

BTW - I've still got the section here on e-budo on my books. Any and all are welcome if there are any questions, points of disagreement or discussion regarding info and opinion in the books. . . . .but to enter the discussions, you must do one thing. Listen to the sound of my voice . . . .your eyes are getting heavy . . .


Ellis Amdur

Hello Ellis,

When we met at the Aiki Expo you kindly gave me a flier for "Old School", which, of course, I want to buy. However, as a result of bitter experience I am reluctant to send credit card details over the Internet and some of the credit card companies here in Japan actually tell customers not to do this. So, I usually send Stanley Pranin, for example, a fax or a telephone call, which is sufficient. Are you set up to receive credit card book orders by fax or telephone?

I was rather shocked to learn that you have sold only 900 copies of "Duelling with O Sensei", but I think it is long term seller, rather like a Bentley motor car: the quality is awesome but the fine details appeal to very few. And, of course, some of us still cherish the print copies of Aiki News / Aikido Journal...

Actually, my own feeling is that people are too uncritical of the books they cite in this thread. For example, I wonder how many English translations there are of the complete text of "Hagakure". I think there are none. Why? Because the full text is so turgid to read and there would be no point in reproducing all of Tsumemoto's meanderings in English. So, why would one need to read the "Hagakure" in connection with contemporary martial arts? As a piece of late Tokugawa history it is of great value (see the relevant sections of, e.g., Ikegami's "Taming the Samurai"), but as a comtemporary martial arts text it is of very limited value, in my opinion.

Best regards,

George Kohler
23rd November 2002, 14:46
Originally posted by P Goldsbury
Hello Ellis,

When we met at the Aiki Expo you kindly gave me a flier for "Old School", which, of course, I want to buy.

At the Aiki Expo talking with Ellis

Now listen closely to my voice, you will find your eyes getting heavy, your hands heavy, the sword feels heavy in your hand - you want to buy lots of books - lots of books.

Ellis Amdur
23rd November 2002, 15:27
So as not to hijack the thread, I'm going to copy the last couple of posts and reproduce them in the Old School Section. I'll reply to you, Peter, there.

Feel free to return to book reviews. On that note, recently read a book on Leavenworth called The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison by Pete Earley. Earley was given literally free run to walk around, visit, etc. in the late 1980's and he, in detail, describes the life and times of five men in particular. Remarkable descriptions of unredeamable men - one, Terrible Tom Silverstein, has been in solitary confinement, in a cage, with the lights on 24-7 since the late eighties until today. He's murdered three people in prison, including a guard - since Earley, he has eye-contact with only guards, and no one will speak with him. There are reproductions of his art work on Earley's site - he is apparently a titan of a man, bearded to the waist, muscled like an Atlas, and somehow, not broken - in a way, somehow having achieved a kind of peace/enlightenment - over 20 years in solitary, without seeing the sun, the sky or even the dark, speaking to no one except by letters, and still not psychotic or otherwise crazy. AND, still an incredibly dangerous man whom one could not imagine releasing into society or even the general prison population. One speculates that the same will and paranoia that makes him so dangerous has somehow kept him intact . . . as a talented artist and caracturist - and a flame-triggered violent being.

Also, a wonderful passage on zanshin, applied to specific environments. " . . . two dudes busted in on this guy in the cell next to mine and stuck him twenty-six times with shanks. He was sitting on the crapper when they killed him, and he couldn't fight back becasue his pants were wrapped around his legs. Stupid bastard. Anyone who don't know better than to take a leg out of his pants in prison before he sits down on a toilet deserves to die. Something you learn in here."


Ellis Amdur

27th November 2002, 14:35
Jujitsu, Japan’s Ultimate Martial Art by Darrel Max Craig
Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, Vt.

Aikido, The Way of Harmony - Rinjiro Shirata & J. Stevens
Shambhala Publications, Boulder, Co.

Aikido with Ki - Maruyama Koretoshi
Ohara Publications, Burbank, Ca

Aikido, Sword ﷓ Stick ﷓ Body Arts - Saito Morihiro
Minato Research & Publishing, Japan Trading Company, Tokyo, Japan

Volume I Basic Techniques
Volume II Advanced Techniques
Volume III Applied Techniques
Volume IV Vital Techniques
Volume V Training Works Wonders

Bushido, The Soul of Japan - Inazo Nitobe
Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, Vt.

Close Encounters - The Arresting Art of Taiho Jitsu, Kubota Takayuki
Dragon Books, Westlake Village, Ca

Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts - D.F. Draeger & R.W. Smith
Kodansha International, New York, N.Y.

I'll be happy to forward the full list to anyone that requests it. It runs to 22 pages, and was developed over 25 years ago. However, not all are MA books, they also include works dealing with Oriental art, culture and Japanese language


L Fitzgerald

Budoka 34
27th November 2002, 18:21

We are kindred spirits!:D

I have most of the titles on your (short) list.

I am focussing on out of print titles now, like D. Craigs "Center of the Circle" and "Iai-Jutsu/The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship" and George Mattson's "Uechiryu Karate Do".

That doesn't mean I'll pass on great current titles, like Ellis Amdur's "Old School" and "Dueling with O-Sensei", or Dave Lowry's "Traditions".

It seems, the more I read, the more I train! So I'm buying and reading anything that seems worth while.

If you have any reviews you'd like to post, we are more than interested in seeing them.:D


Joe Maurantonio
2nd December 2002, 22:27

My must read martial arts books:
- Living The Martial Way
- Moving Zen
- Autumn Lightning
- Dueling with O-Sensei
- Ninpo: Wisdom for Life
- Zen and the Martial Arts
- The Book of Five Rings (By Nihon Services)
- Way of the Peaceful Warrior (fictional)

And the article "Koryu Meets the West" by Ellis Amdur (appears
in "Koryu Bujutsu: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan" Edited by
Diane Skoss, Published by Koryu Books). I think that this article
but Mr Amdur on my radar screen. I can never recommend it enough.

- Joe

Budoka 34
3rd December 2002, 11:03

Thanks for the list.:D

I've also become an Ellis Amdur "fan".:rolleyes:

I'm in the process of rereading "Old School" and then I will start on "Dueling with O-Sensei".:wave:


13th December 2002, 15:09
I have read most of the books mentioned in these threads and there are definitely some great works.
A few years ago, I received a copy of Illuminated Spirit - Conversations with a Kyudo Master. This is a small book that can be read in a day. Essentially a book on everyday life from the perspective of a 33rd generation master - very enjoyable reading and seldom mentioned.
Another that I recommend but may be extremely hard to find is:
Quintessence of Japanese Classical Martial Arts (Historical & Philosophical Perspectives) by Dr. Tesshin Hamada of Old Dominion University

14th December 2002, 01:16
I read a post by Toby Threadgill on another forum about Old School. I'm going to read it for sure.

I recently read The Sword of No Sword by Stevens, about Tesshu. I'm with budoka34, reading stuff like that makes me want to train harder. I highly recommend reading about this ultra-badass from the restoration.

Speaking of which, anyone recommend Ryoma (somewhat recent publication, I think)?

I really liked Aikido for Life, by Homma. Read it for whatever reason; I recommend it for beginners or teachers of aikido. Homma has a great approach.

15th December 2002, 14:52
Hi all..
More to add:
Because it was asked about...I would certainly recommend 'Ryoma' by Romulus Hillsborough (Sp.???). I would also suggest a read of his other book 'Samurai Sketches'..I may have done before but can't see it so here it is.
Also (Via Mrs Skoss at Koryu.com) I have just finished 'Across the Nightingale floor' by Lian Hearn and have to agree with most everyone else I have heard on it...It is an excellent book. Well-researched and thought up, blending feudal Japan into a kind of 'Narnia' I think makes a good change and as there are two more follow ups to the first book it promises an 'epic' in the making. (Besides..I am making a determined effort to shy away from certain bespectacled young kids casting spells in 'other books'....Guess who?....;) )
I loved the book and seriously want more...How I don't know but look forward to its sequel..
Will keep this up...:cool:

19th December 2002, 04:26
these are my personal favorite books so far i hope to acquire and read many more.
(not in order of greatest to least favorite or in order at all)
1. aikido and the dynamic sphere
2. living the martial way
3. budo secrets(a compilation of stories and essays)
4. anything by bruce lee(unfortunately i havent read all his work
5. anything by loren christensen(he has so many ways to spice up your training.)
6. the book of five rings
7. the art of war
8. ultimate fitness through martial arts
9. fighting science
10.combat strategy
11.the art of throwing,the art of striking, the art of holding etc(unfortunately i cant recall the authors name or i would have made a point of writing it down.)
12.And a non martial art personal all time favorite the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy series by douglas adams.

c. abounayan

6th January 2003, 10:32
I just bought and read Budo Secrets, by Stevens, and have to agree with Chris that it's a wonderful read. I especially enjoyed the anecdotes at the end.

Budoka 34
11th January 2003, 18:57
Sorry I have not been posting as much as promised. As so frequently happens, my hobbies have become full time obsessions. ;)

I'm currently trying to find time to finish Ellis Amdur's "Dueling with O-Sensei".
Short of David Lowrey, I can't think of another martial arts writer who can so easily lead the reader to see, hear, and feel the experiences he transmits to paper. Ellis's writings in "Dueling" are eloquent and salient. I'm sure I'll be reviewing this material for my own teaching for years to come.


2nd February 2003, 14:04
Hello everyone . . .
I've been folowing this book talk and I thought I would throw in my two cents. I am reading LIVING THE MARTIAL WAY by Forrest E. Morgan. I would be interested in anyone's opinion on THE WAY OF AIKIDO by George Leonard. I enjoyed this book a great deal.

T.P. Walling

Budoka 34
2nd February 2003, 16:26

I'll have to check it ("The Way of Aikido") out and get back to you.
As to "Living the Martial Way", I thought it was a great read and that it is a shame that more Budoka don't take the ideas presented there to heart.
We all study for our own reasons.

I'm about twenty titles behind right now. :rolleyes:

Maybe if I stop training and just read!:idea:



14th February 2003, 22:07
I also like Kato Kiyomasa's writings...quote "any samurai caught country dancing or any other non martial pursuit will be ordered to commit seppuku"...makes you wish the guy who invented line dancing was a samurai. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Go rin no sho,Otake sensei's books on katori shinto ryu, Iwata sensei's books on MJER, and some of Suino's stuff isn't bad either!
I'm quite lucky, my friend runs a MA book shop so I get to see all the new releases as well as some of the more obscure old books... Northumbrian wrestling from 1860 would make your eyes water...

Tim Hamilton

Budoka 34
16th February 2003, 14:51

What a great/lucky position to be in! I spend about two hours a day online looking for the rare titles(at the right price) and another five or six hours a week in the local used book stores.:D

But I'm not obsessed or anything!:p

I've recently taken to ordering form the UK and the continent. You seem to have alot of great stuff over there.


16th February 2003, 22:02
This guy's house is wall to wall MA books, its amazing! Some stuff he wont sell, like really old Japanese language kendo and karate books, but he set away after he was made redundant. He can't be far off having the largest collection in Europe.
Send two 27 pence stamps for his latest booklist, its worth it... two catalogues at about 50 pages, with about 15 books per page...
His address is J. Sparkes, 27 Berkely road, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 5ED

I cant believe I'm advertising this, he should be doing it himself!!!

Tim Hamilton

Budoka 34
17th February 2003, 11:24

You're just a good man!(free advertising);)

I'll have to send for that list. :D

BTW: I finally found a copy of "What is Shorinji Kempo".:D

Now my Doshin So (Shorinji Kempo) section is complete!:p

Let the collecting continue.


18th February 2003, 00:11
[QUOTE]Originally posted by William
[B]"Random" one of the books I listed earlier, is by Jay McInerney, the same guy who wrote "Bright Lights, Big City" and others dealing with the excesses of the 80's yuppies.

I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read but one whose style painted clear scenes in the imagination. I thought the book was titled "Ransom". I lost my copy but could have sworn by the title.

Regards to all.

18th February 2003, 00:26
M. Skoss has a list of his recs on the Koryobooks.com website. He is clear on his opinions and I found his list extremely valuable. I admit up front to not having enough hard years of experience to make tachnical comments but I got quite a bit out of starting to read his suggested titles.


Budoka 34
14th March 2003, 22:09
Oh joy of joys!

I found a copy of Mas Oyama's "This is Karate" today at a local used book store. It is a first edition(revised) in very good condition with a good+ dust jacket.

My list of wanted books grows shorter by the day, much to the dismay of my wife.;)

Has anyone "in the know" read "Kamimoto-Ha Techniques of Muso Shinden Ryu" by Richard Babin.

I recieved my copy a week or so ago and it seems very complete, but not being a student of the JSA I can't really speak on the subject matter.



Prince Loeffler
28th March 2003, 19:31
A friend of mine got me this one. Its a great book written by Oyama Sensei.

28th March 2003, 20:43

Just finsihed "Aikido Shugyo", by Gozo Shioda, written 3 years of so before his demise. This work has been faithfully translated into English in a collaboration between Jacques Payet and Chris Johnson.

I am not a student of Aikido, but we do use 'Aiki' techniques, borrowed from Yoshinkan and Tomiki Aikido, in our school of Korean Karate and Self-Defense in NYC.

The center line of balance, focused power, breath power, and extension of technique which Shioda Kancho dwells upon have been echoed in our school for many years. Until I read this work I did not really understand the very close connection between Yoshinkan techniques and the 'Aiki' techniques we use in our school.

Descriptive stories, antcedotes and oft-times unique viewpoints on the early teachings of O-sensei are also revealed here. Kancho was a unique individual and his 'twist' on O-sensei's Pre-War Budo are interesting.

The book is available, as I found out on E-Budo, from Shindokan Books (www.shindokanbooks.com) and while a bit pricey at $27.50 and a $6 handling charge from Canada, is a worthwhile value. This hardcover book is nicely produced and includes photos of Shioda Kancho.

I recommend this book to all martial artists, especially Aikidoka of the 'soft side of the force'. Gozo Shioda made no bones about the value of atemi (a discussion held here before on E-Budo) and the need to generate a focused type of power in delivering techniques. His views on joint locks are also extremely interesting and illuminating!

Just my 2 cents from the hard side of NYC!


29th March 2003, 18:12
It's fun. The writing is sometimes first drafty and some of the characters kind of leaden, but it's got a lot of history woven in an intersting fashion. I enjoyed it a lot.

1st April 2003, 14:17
Hi all..
Here's another for the list..."Hokkaido Highway Blues" by Will Ferguson.....I am only half way through but it is one of the funniest books on Japan and the Japanese I have managed to find so far...He hitchhikes the length of Japan following the Sakura 'spread' from Kyushu...The stories in it are great...Funny, some serious and all showing a little more culture in Japan than most books out there...Well worth the read..(Although NOT Budo-related..).
And did I mention "Tales of the water trade"?...Another good book to read....
"And on...And on.."

Mark Barlow
14th May 2003, 21:20
While it doesn't focus only on asian weapon arts, Richard Cohen's BY THE SWORD: A HISTORY OF GLADIATORS, MUSKETEERS, SAMURAI, SWASHBUCKLERS AND OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS is a fascinating book. The dedication, sacrifice and physical punishment required to master the sword will be familiar to any hardcore martial artist.

Prince Loeffler
16th May 2003, 17:31
I found this book in a swap meet. The lady sold it to me for 50 cents. This book's author is Kisshomaru Ueshiba.

This book has pictures of the Founder in which I can assume is Morihei Ueshiba taken at the Noma Dojo in Tokyo 1936. This is actually the first that I have seen the Founder of this art in his younger year.

Anyone else got this book ?

Budoka 34
16th May 2003, 20:03

I'll have to check when I get home, but I think I have it.
I have some good pics of Osensei when he was in his fifties.
Check out "Budo" (Teachings of the Founder of Aikido). It has some great photos as well.

Enjoy the read? Post a review!


Prince Loeffler
16th May 2003, 22:39
Thanks Mr Kite, I will give my review in couple of weeks.

10th September 2003, 15:47
Hi all...
Well.....I have another EXCELLENT book that if you don't have you REALLY should have.....Fudebakudo have FINALLY released a collection of the best of the stuff they have shown online. Class. Pure class.....If you are unfamiliar with the art of the eploding pen then I suggest you try www.fudebakudo.com or www.explodingpen.com ....The book can be bought there too I believe....And it is well worth the tenner paid for it!..........
A pure gem of martial arts humour....I haven't put it down yet and every single page has had me laughing out loud so far...The "Tatami waza" jokes especially had me nodding...
If you haven't yet...Do....It is truly UNMISSABLE!!!...

18th September 2003, 20:12
So, you like it Ben? =P

19th September 2003, 07:48
Here is a couple of books that hasn't been mentioned so far.

Judo; Formal Techniques (Otaki and Draeger)
If you want to do the Randor No Kata and understand some of the finer points, this book is an absolut must.

Judo Training methods (Ishikawa (I think) and Draeger), although old it still has a lot of good techniques for the gym.

Born for the Mat (Keiko !!!uda). Some history, a very good explanation of Ju No Kata and the rarely seen Joshi Goshin Ho. Excellent stuff.

Finally, to show that I am not biased towards Judo in any way ;) : Zen and the ways (Trevor Legget)

(Ok so my bias shows)


19th September 2003, 13:02
Hi Dan...

So, you like it Ben? =P
...You could tell?......Hehe....Yeah, it really is the funniest book I've seen for a looooong time....Especially for Martial artists....We don't take the piss out of ourselves nearly enough....And Fudebakudo makes up for that extremely well...In my opinion...And the "Tatami Waza" jokes have MAJOR significance....Heh....
See you later...

19th September 2003, 13:36
OK I just noticed that one of the national treasusres of Japan has been found to be an obscenity. :rolleyes:

The author of Born for the mat is of course Keiko F_U_K_U_D_A.


2nd November 2003, 18:03
I hope this book stirs up some discussion on this thread, because there seems to be some controversy about the book & I would love to hear what other members think of it - especially any with first hand knowledge of the players.

The book "Steal My Art" is written by S. Olson, who was a live in student of T.T. Liang, a Tai Chi master who learned from many legendary Tai Chi teachers. The book has been trashed in a couple published reviews. Interestingly, Amazon actually quotes one of these bad reviews, but only a very innocuous part of the review that really doesn't comment directly on the book.

Personally, I enjoyed the book. It described Liang as very colorful and human - a prankster with various idiosyncrasies, habits, virtues and vulnerabilities. The book discusses his relationship with the late Cheng Man-Ching and also gives some perspectives on Cheng that are not seen in other books that I have read. Additionally, Liang's life outside of Tai Chi was fairly interesting.

Reviews of the book that I have seen, including one from Robert Smith, claim that the book is misleading and inaccurate. Obviously, if the book is misrepresenting significant facts, then it is garbage clear & simple. But truthfully, I'm not sure who to believe - could the reviewers (who have personal connections to some of the players) have their own biases or agendas ? For example, Smith gives a laundry list of alleged inaccuracies in the book. One such item is that Olson claims that Liang was tortured by the Japanese who used baseball bats on his feet. As a result, several toes were permanently twisted into odd positions. Smith claims this is inaccurate and that Liang's son has indicated that his father's feet were "absolutely normal". Well, why would Olson make something like this up ? Could it be that the son, knowing this was a source of embarrassment to his father, simply indicated his father's feet were normal when questioned (or some other explanation) ? I don't honestly don't know - it just seemed that the reviewer was almost trying a little too hard to cast doubts over the accuracy of the book.

Does anyone have comments about the book ? Any thoughts on the accuracy of the book or the reviews of it ?

I appreciate any feedback anyone has -

Budoka 34
2nd November 2003, 18:58

Robert Smith is a local here. He seems to be highly respected in this community. I know that several members of his teachers family have settled here.
While I do have the book I have not read it through.
So I'll refrain further comment except to say that Mr. Smith seems to be an upright and respectable gentleman.


14th November 2003, 02:21
I don't want to leave this thread hanging on a negative note so I'd like to deliver some good news. Mark Salzman (author of "Iron & Silk") recently released a new book called "True Notebooks". Fans of his writing will not be disappointed. I read it in about two days !

Salzman was doing research on juvenile delinquents to help him write a delinquent character in one of his novels. A friend offered to bring him to a writing class in a juvenile detention facility where most of the offenders were facing murder charges. Salzman tries to avoid even attending the class, but eventually feels obligated to go. Much to his surprise, he is so impressed by the writers in the class that he finds himself drawn into teaching a class at the facility for several years. "True Notebooks" describes his experiences teaching the class and contains many writing samples from his students. The book provides insights into the world of those living in this facility in Salzman's brilliant (& often humorous) writing style.

If you liked Salzman's other books, I think you will like this one too.

Budoka 34
7th December 2003, 04:18
Well I've been on a buying spree for the last month or so.
Some of the more interesting titles collected sofar are:

By Obata "Shinkendo", "Kama",and "Samurai Aikijujutsu".

"Tanto" by Maynard

"Masters Jiu Jitsu" by Clark

The guys over at Buyubooks sent me an interesting little paperback on "Kukishin Ryu Bujutsu". (yes I paid for it):(

And a decent copy of "More Fighting Karate" by Ashihara

I tried to focus on karate but found some great deals on Aikido, Jiujitsu/Judo, Nihon Kobudo, Okinawan Kobudo, and Iaido/Kenjutsu titles.
Opinions on the above titles or any Martial Arts related titles are welcome.

Some times it pays to be compulsive!:D


Tony Peters
26th October 2005, 10:41
My first three are Bilingual since I presently live in Yokohama however I know the first two are available from Peter Boylan

JODO, it's the seiteigata listing and is pretty good. I have an all Japanese book that is better photowise but I don't read Japanese so I use both. I've never seen the other book so I don't know the title

Newaza of Kashiwazaki: Awesome book from the ground folks...easilly compares to the BJJ books put out by the Gracies (often sold with and in competition with said book in bookstores of Japan). This book helped age and treachery win out over youth and energy regularly in my grappling group.

Aikido: Yurusu Budo by Shoji Nishio Sensei (available from Aikido Journal) my first art was Aikido and though I haven't practiced in 6 years I still like to keep abreast of where it's headed...Nishio sensei (may he rest in peace) had an interesting take on Aikido that technique wise is closer to what I learned than most US Aikido.

Canon of Judo was one that I've been waiting for...Just to have since it's so historical however it's also educational

I picked up a Bunch of MJER books but in truth the best is still Mitani & Mitani's that I got from Peter like 6 years ago, followed closely by Koryu Iai no Hondo (I think he has that one too) I shift between the two pretty often since my school has minimal english and I often have to look up the Kata's that I am taught

Budoka 34
26th October 2005, 16:08
Wow, I had forgotten about this thread. Thanks for posting Tony! :)

BTW, I'm looking for MJER titles right now.

I'm currently reading Mark Barlow's "JUJUTSU: Leagacy of the Samurai". Published by Fifth Estate.

While a somewhat brief publication that cover some kihon of Akayama Ryu technique, I must admit that I really enjoy Barlow's writing style. Descriptions are kept simple and straight foreward while still managing to be entertaining.

It is not the technical descriptions that makes this one worth the time. What does? Barlow's personal insights into training, philosophy, and history make this a title worth owning.

A truely enjoyable read. I hope he continues to write on the subject.

2nd November 2005, 03:36
My Favorites:

Samurai Aikijutsu : Obata (Dragon Books)
Aikido : Kisshomaru Ueshiba (Kodansha)

Sport Judo:
The Judo Manual : Hobbes & Reay (Tiger Books)
Exploring Sports Series - Judo : Kim & Shin (Wm.C Brown)

The Art of War : Trans: Griffifth (UNESCO)
The Japanese Art of War : Cleary (Shambhala)

Anything by Mas Oyama
Karate Basic Concepts & Skills : Wallace & Schroeder (Addison-Wesley)

Competition Karate (WUKO Type):
Karate The Complete Course : Morris (Guiness)

Philosophy & General Info:
Anything by Dave Lowry

2nd November 2005, 17:52
Lots of good info in this one.

Samurai : The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior by Clive Sinclaire

Andrew S
2nd November 2005, 21:35
Here's a review I wrote a couple of months ago. Unfortunately, the links to the site I posted it on (George Matsons Uechi Ryu site) are broken, so I'll attach it here.

2nd November 2005, 23:23
Another good one by Patrick McCarthy
Classical Kata


Mark Barlow
4th November 2005, 22:54

I'm really glad you're enjoying the book. I've gotten a contract for the next one and it will focus on the weapons of Jujutsu.