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Over time we’ve read a number of books on various topics surrounding the martial arts. Below are the ones we’ve enjoyed, and think you may get something positive out of as well. As we read more, we’ll keep adding… and, if there’s any you think we’ve missed, drop us an email.
The Ultimate Book of Martial Arts: Tae Kwondo, Karate, Aikido, Ju-jitsu, Judo, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Kendo and Taido
By Fay Goodman
This book is a good starter for 10 for those wanting to find out about a range of different martial arts. It gives an overview of some of the major martial arts, with images of some of the principal techniques, stances and clothing worn.
A little dated now, but this book provides a good starting point for those with no prior knowledge of martial arts.
by Chris Crudelli
This is an excellent encyclopaedia detailing the major and less well known martial arts, by the presenter of the BBC’s “Mind, Body and Kick Ass Moves”. With stunning imagery throughout, and an unprecedented breadth of styles covered, this is a must-read for anyone wanting to delve into the vast array of martial arts practiced around the world.
A Fighter’s Heart
by Sam Sheridan
This is a true page-turner, in a way normally only found in thrillers. Sam Sheridan takes us with him on his journey through a number of martial arts. Beginning with a little boxing, he moves to Thailand to try his hand (and feet) at Muay Thai, back to mainland USA to train with Pat Miletich, the legendary MMA fighter and coach, before moving to Brazil to learn what he can of the near-science of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. With time spent with names such as the afore-mentioned Pat Miletich, Jens Pulver, Matt Hughes and Rodrigo Nogueira, fans of MMA and BJJ will love this book.
by Geoff Thompson
A Karate black belt, Geoff Thompson is best known for being one the UK’s best known and toughest doormen. In this book, Geoff takes us through his early years, his motivations for taking up door work and how he got through both the incidents he faced as well as their aftermath. Taking a cold, hard look at the fight/flight response to confrontation, and the psychology of fear itself, this is a both a thoughtful and exciting read.
by Goran Powell
In a similar way to Watch my back, this book, whilst walking through the author’s journey through various Karate styles (after beginning with Judo), deals with the mental preparation required for taking on the 30-man kumite (taking on 30 opponents, one after the other, in full contact). Less about the machismo of fighting, the book centres on the determination and heart required to walk into the dragon’s den.
by Sensei Neil Horton
For those interested in, or studying, a Japanese martial art, this book provides interesting reading. It details all of the Japanese martial arts both past and present (anyone else ever heard of Suiei-jutsu), the differences between “jutsu” and “do”, and a lot of the language and terminology used. With illustrations throughout, this is definitely worth investing some time into.
“First Steps in Martial Arts,” which is the perfect guide for those wondering about where to start, which martial art to do, how to find a class, and so on. It features the students of London Chinatown TaeKwonDo’s Founders class, not only demonstrating the different techniques, but telling their own stories. It’s a great read!