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My Recommended Reading List

Discussion in 'The Martial Arts Forum' started by Roundeyesamurai, May 15, 2005.

  1. Roundeyesamurai

    Roundeyesamurai Sensei Member

    Jul 15, 2004
    Upstate New York
    At the request of a few members, I am providing a list of books I recommend for martial artists.

    When asked this question, the first thing that usually pops into my mind is, "What sort of reading are you looking for?"- some people ask for a reading list, and are looking for technical manuals (I don't put much stock in manuals as training aids, mind you); some people are asking for celebrated works by martial artists (which are fine, if you're looking for someone else's opinion of what you should be feeling and doing); and others are asking because they just aren't too sure of where to start in the martial arts, and asking for a reading list is a painless way of asking "What should I study?".

    But then there are some who ask this question, because their intrepidity in studying the martial arts jas progressed beyond a speed with which their instructor can keep up; the members who have asked me the question in that manner, are those for whom I am posting this.

    The list is short, but (in my opinion) intense:

    - "It's A Lot Like Dancing" by Terry Dobson- This book is, to my mind, the seminal work on the impact of the practice of aikido on one's personal development, and it is as invigorating to read, whether one is an aikidoka or not.

    - "In Search Of The Warrior Spirit" by Richard Strozzi-Heckler- I consider this book to be the antithesis of the above-mentioned book, in that it is (in my mind) the seminal work in the impact of one's personal development on their practice of aikido. It examines alot of questions which we ask ourselves (all warriors, aikidoka or not).

    - "The Art Of War" by Sun Tzu- This is, to the martial arts, what "Atlas Shrugged" is to political literature- the book everyone says they've read, but very few actually have (or, at least, very few have finished). But the insights in this book are as relevant now, as they were when it was written. If it can be found, I most highly recommend the Thomas Cleary translation.

    - "The Tao Of Jeet Kune Do"- by Bruce Lee- This is another book that, it appears, everyone claims to have read and very few actually have. I recommend it because it is a wonderful insight into the inner workings of one of the greatest martial artists of all time. I have discovered that many people read the middle of the book (the illustrated portion, about Bruce's individual fighting method), and ignore the beginning and the end; I recommend it be read the other way around, with the beginning and end being most important, and the middle being less so (although, I wouldn't recommend skipping it).

    That's it, just four.

    I figured, if I put up a list much longer than this, no one would sit down and read every single book I recommended. So, I am leaving the list short, simply because I hope those who have requested the list, will read each of the books, completely, and then set out to find more on their own.

    Remember also, that you're sitting in front of a pass to the greatest library in the history of the world- the internet. There's an incalculable amount of material on the internet.
  2. bluemeanie

    bluemeanie Lospeedhidrag

    Ahhh, long awaited and much appreciated. Technique manuals leave me cold unless I have been trained live in a technique and am searching for a different perspective.

    I'll begin by sitting down and rereading The Art of War while I wait on the Dobson and Strozzi-Heckler titles to arrive.

    I'll have to dig Tao of Jeet Kune Do from the box 'o books in the garage and see if I can get into the proper frame of mind to read it.

    Thanks, RoundeyeSamurai. If you get a chance, can you compile that list of "Winning Mindset" books we discussed earlier?