Guide Picks - Top Ten Books for All Martial Artists
No matter which martial art you study, you'll find universal truths across all martial arts. These books cover topics, issues, and techniques that are applicable to your art, whether it's silat or savate, judo or jojitsu, kung fu or krav maga.
1) The Art of War
The starting point for your journey into martial strategy. I carry this pocket-sized edition around with me for convenient reading while waiting in lines, stuck in traffic, or on boring airplane trips (like Passenger 57). Paperback.
2) Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Some folks worship Bruce Lee like a demigod. Others just feel he was a great martial artist, but not that special. Find out for yourself. Paperback.
3) Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts
Donn Draeger and Robert Smith were two of the first Westerners to document the martial arts of the world. Their work paved the way for all of us to study those arts in our home countries. Paperback.
4) The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia : Tradition, History, Pioneers
The most comprehensive encyclopedia of the martial arts available. Extensively covers the history of each art, tracing the path from the country of origin to artists around the world. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated in almost ten years, but for arts thousands of years old, that ain't bad. Hardcover.
5) Secrets of the Samurai
THE book on the history of the Japanese martial tradition. Wonderful pen-and-ink illustrations abound, accompanying the well-researched and comprehensive text. All Japanese stylists should read this book. Paperback.
6) Book of Five Rings
Another pocket-sized book of martial strategy; read this one when you've finished Art of War. Supposedly Musashi's text on how to fight with the samurai sword, in recent times it's been used as the battle text for the business world. Paperback.
7) Gene LeBell's Grappling World, The Encyclopedia of Finishing Holds
Everyone's grappling these days, so who better to teach you finishing holds than stuntman and judo champion Gene LeBell, "the man who gave Bruce Lee 'noogies'"? Gene shows you some seriously painful finishing holds. I never thought an arm could twist that way. Paperback.
8) Martial Artist's Way: Achieve Your Peak Performance
Glen Doyle, Canadian kung fu champion and figure skater Elvis Stojko's instructor, explains how to get the most out of your martial arts life in a relaxed, casual way--kind of like a friendly voice over your shoulder. Paperback.
9) Fighter's Fact Book: Over 400 Concepts, Principles, and Drills to Make You a Better Fighter
Ex-cop Loren Christensen has been teaching and training for more than 35 years. Christensen crams all that experience into this book--it is packed with drills, tips, motivators, and techniques. One of the best content-to-price ratios in martial arts books. Great resource for the novice to intermediate student. Paperback.
10) Martial Arts America
Bob Orlando debunks myths, skewers traditions, and applies an objective viewpoint to "the way it's always been done." The topics in this book are those you'll consider as you mature as a martial artist. This book covers many of the fundamental issues surrounding studying ancient fighting arts in the modern world. How should the martial arts adapt to a modern, polycultural world? Orlando tells it like it is. Paperback.
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