PART 1: Read­ing Ma­te­rial

Black Belt - - SCREEN SHOTS -

Tao of Jeet Kune Do [by Bruce Lee]

The clas­sic is pub­lished by Black Belt Books, but that’s not why it’s first on the list. It’s first be­cause it con­tains so much good stuff — we’re talk­ing tech­ni­cal ma­te­rial, train­ing ad­vice, philo­soph­i­cal points and even what you might call spir­i­tual guid­ance — that it begs to be read by prac­ti­tion­ers of all arts. Once you do that, chances are you’ll find your­self re­turn­ing to it reg­u­larly for an­swers to ques­tions that pop up. Word to the wise: Go for the New Ex­panded Edi­tion be­cause it has nu­mer­ous im­prove­ments Shan­non Lee wanted to in­cor­po­rate. And con­sider get­ting the e-book. The search func­tion en­ables you to key in words like “rear hook” and in­stantly find ev­ery­thing Lee wrote about it.

RE­LATED! Bruce Lee’s Fight­ing Method: The Com­plete Edi­tion by M. Uye­hara: Also from Black Belt Books, this is the per­fect com­pan­ion for the Tao. Writ­ten by a close friend of Lee’s who also hap­pens to be the founder of Black Belt mag­a­zine, it’s a hard­cover com­posed of the four orig­i­nal vol­umes of tech talk — with bonus ma­te­rial by Shan­non Lee and Ted Wong.

Karate-Do: My Way of Life [by Gichin Fu­nakoshi]

Part his­tory, part phi­los­o­phy, part per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, this work by the founder of shotokan has served as the gate­way drug for count­less peo­ple who went on to a life­time of mar­tial arts train­ing. It’s not about karate tech­nique; it car­ries a deeper mes­sage, one that’s sure to in­spire even ex­pe­ri­enced prac­ti­tion­ers of other styles.

RE­LATED! Shotokan’s Se­cret: The Hid­den Truth Be­hind Karate’s Fight­ing Ori­gins by Bruce Clay­ton, Ph.D.: The au­thor lays down a fas­ci­nat­ing ex­pla­na­tion of the de­vel­op­ment of karate as used by royal body­guards in Ok­i­nawa. If the text is sold out when you look it up on the web­site of your favorite book­seller — in­ven­tory moves quickly — con­sider opt­ing for the e-book.

The Book of Five Rings [by Miyamoto Musashi]

Per­haps the world’s most fa­mous sa­mu­rai, the au­thor fought his first duel at age 13 and went on to en­gage in more than 60 bat­tles be­fore he turned 30. When he was an old man — by the stan­dards of 16th-cen­tury Ja­pan, any­way — Musashi de­cided to record all he’d learned for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. You’ll en­joy work­ing your way through the five main sec­tions: the Book of Earth, the Book of Wa­ter, the Book of Fire, the Book of Wind and the Book of Empti­ness.

RE­LATED! Zen in the Mar­tial Arts by Joe Hyams: This book is pop­u­lar across the arts, which is not sur­pris­ing when you con­sider that the au­thor trained un­der Ed Parker, Bong Soo Han and Bruce Lee. Its con­tin­u­ing ap­peal is a tes­ta­ment to the time­less na­ture of the life lessons Hyams con­veys.

Com­bat­ives for Street Sur­vival [by Kelly McCann]

The au­thor, a Black Belt Hall of Famer, poured his heart and soul into this no-holds-barred look at real vi­o­lence and the most ef­fec­tive ways of stop­ping it. McCann serves up ev­ery­thing a mar­tial artist might need to fill in the gaps in his or her tra­di­tional train­ing to make it more street ori­ented.

RE­LATED! The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker: Our com­mu­nity has been rav­ing about this book since it was first pub­lished. It drives home the mes­sage that when it comes to stay­ing safe, there’s plenty you can do be­fore the first fist flies in a fight.

The Art of War [by Sun Tzu]

This clas­sic dates from more than 1,600 years ago, and it’s as rel­e­vant now as it was then. In fact, you prob­a­bly al­ready know a few of its gems like “The supreme art of war is to sub­due the en­emy with­out fight­ing.” Read it for more snip­pets of war­rior wis­dom that are guar­an­teed to ex­pand your mind.

RE­LATED! The Art of Peace by Mori­hei Ueshiba: An­other best­seller, this book comes from the founder of aikido. He was a man known for his spir­i­tu­al­ity as well as his tech­nique, and that shines through in his words.

The Com­plete Mas­ter’s Kick [by Hee Il Cho]

A lot of tech­nique books are mere lists of moves taught in a given art. Not this one. The au­thor, a mem­ber of the Black Belt

Hall of Fame who’s re­garded as one of the world’s best kick­ers, dis­sects the most com­mon kicks and teaches them in de­tail. Note that the tech­niques are not geared for scor­ing in com­pe­ti­tion; they date from the days when taek­wondo was a pure fight­ing art.

RE­LATED! Fu­mio De­mura’s Karate Weapons of Self-De­fense: The Com­plete Edi­tion: De­mura’s five clas­sics — cov­er­ing the nun­chaku, tonfa, sai, bo and eku bo — are col­lected in one vol­ume. Whether you prac­tice for per­sonal de­vel­op­ment or com­pe­ti­tion, you’ll ben­e­fit from own­ing this. Even if you’re not into kobudo, you’ll ap­pre­ci­ate learn­ing about these ubiq­ui­tous weapons.

Com­pre­hen­sive Asian Fight­ing Arts [by Donn F. Draeger and Robert W. Smith]

Al­though a bit dated, this cross-cul­tural look at the world’s mar­tial arts pre­sented all the in­for­ma­tion that was avail­able be­fore the in­ter­net came along. It no doubt in­spired many read­ers to hit the road and see for them­selves what was be­ing taught in re­mote re­gions like Mon­go­lia.

RE­LATED! The Way of the War­rior by Howard Reid and Michael Croucher: This book also is guar­an­teed to fos­ter wan­der­lust. The au­thors ex­am­ine the in­dige­nous mar­tial arts of a va­ri­ety of na­tions with an ap­proach that’s more about his­tory and cul­tural an­thro­pol­ogy than fight­ing tech­nique. It makes for an en­joy­able read.

The Com­plete Michael D. Ech­a­nis Col­lec­tion [by Michael D. Ech­a­nis]

When they were writ­ten, the three books that make up this vol­ume — Ba­sic Stick Fight­ing for Com­bat; Knife Self-De­fense for Com­bat; and Knife Fight­ing, Knife Throw­ing for Com­bat — proved very pop­u­lar. For a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, the last ti­tle was re­moved from cir­cu­la­tion and sold only to mil­i­tary and law-en­force­ment mem­bers. When the pub­lisher fi­nally re­al­ized that it was un­fair to with­hold self-de­fense teach­ings from the pub­lic, the en­tire col­lec­tion was re­leased.

RE­LATED! The Filipino Mar­tial Arts as Taught by Dan Inosanto: Out of print and hard to find, this is an early clas­sic from the Black Belt Hall of Famer and pi­o­neer in the Filipino fight­ing arts. It of­fers a dif­fer­ent but equally valid take on blade fight­ing than the Ech­a­nis book does.

The Com­plete Kano Jiu-Jitsu (Judo) [by H. Irv­ing Hancock and Kat­sukuma Hi­gashi]

The grap­pling moves taught here date from be­fore 1905, when the book was first pub­lished. In­ter­est­ingly, the ma­jor­ity are stand-up tech­niques even though “judo” is part of the ti­tle.

RE­LATED! The Kyokushin Way by Ma­su­tatsu Oyama: The sub­ti­tle of this one, Mas Oyama’s Karate Phi­los­o­phy, re­veals why it’s a time­less text. When one of his­tory’s tough­est karateka talks, all mar­tial artists should lis­ten. Sadly, it’s been out of print for some time, but it’s worth buy­ing if you get a chance.

The Com­plete Ninja Col­lec­tion [by Stephen K. Hayes]

It’s been claimed that the six Ninja books writ­ten by this Black Belt Hall of Famer con­sti­tute the best-sell­ing mar­tial arts se­ries in the world. They’ve been wildly pop­u­lar since the 1980s, which is why they were up­dated and merged into one vol­ume. Even those who don’t har­bor il­lu­sions of be­ing a ninja will en­joy its in­sight on the mar­tial cul­ture of Ja­pan.

RE­LATED! War­rior Odyssey by An­to­nio Grac­effo: This mod­ern-day work from a Black Belt con­tribut­ing edi­tor re­counts the au­thor’s ex­pe­ri­ences learn­ing mar­tial arts in nu­mer­ous na­tions in Asia. It of­fers in­sights on a life most of us can only dream about.

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