A Book of Five Rings
By Miyamoto Musashi
This classic guide to strategy was written in the seventeenth century by one of Japan’s most renowned Samurai. He was known to the Japanese as “Kensai” or “Sword Saint”, having fought over sixty contests by the age of thirty and killing all of his opponents. Musashi then turned to formulating his philosophy of “The Way of the Sword” while living in a cave in the mountains of Kyushu, until a few weeks before his death in 1645. This book is a must for any practitioner of the martial arts from any style.
The Art of War
By Sun Tzu
Sun Tzu was a Chinese philosopher born in the fourth century, BCE. He was one of the first to realize that war demanded study and analysis; his is also the first known attempt to formulate a rational basis for the planning and conduct of military operations. The martial arts practitioner will benefit from Sun Tzu’s belief that the skillful strategist should be able to subdue the enemy’s army without engaging it—in essence the best way to win is never having to fight in the first place.
The Tao of Jeet Kun Do
By Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was one of the most popular martial artists in the world. His films made him famous, but his martial philosophy made him great. The Tao of Jeet Kun Do is invaluable as an insight to his understanding of the martial way. “To understand, you must study all of natural movement in all living things.” The book also contains many specific references to footwork, grappling, trapping, and takedowns.
Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts
By Robert W. Smith
Fighting arts have been a part of our basic understanding of ourselves since the earliest known civilizations. There are more styles of fighting arts in Asia than are commonly known and this book introduces the novice to many different systems of thought. From the more common ones, such as Judo and Kendo, to the more obscure, family-oriented systems, Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts explains the relationships between fighting arts, assesses their strengths and weaknesses, and presents new information for a broad understanding of the martial arts.
Zen in the Martial Arts
By Joel Hyams
Mr. Hyams began his studies of the martial arts at a late stage in his life and with some of the premier martial artists of our time, including Bruce Lee, Bong Soo Han, and Ed Parker. Here he records his daily thoughts on “being in the moment” and how the martial arts has affected his daily life. Zen in the Martial Arts is an excellent book for the novice or advanced practitioner.