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Thought-Provoking Books

Here is a listing of some books related to the martial arts and martial art styles of thinking that I think are very good. Most of these I own myself, and enjoy immensely. They are on a variety of topics, though I've attempted to group them somewhat. Enjoy!



The Martial Spirit : An Introduction to the Origin, Philosophy, and Psychology of the Martial Arts, by Herman Kauz

Living the Martial Way : A Manual for the Way a Modern Warrior Should Think, by Forrest E. Morgan

Zen in the Martial Arts, by Joe Hyams

The above books contain very different ways of saying some of the same things----mostly about the virtues of the martial arts, and more importantly, how to work on and enhance your own understanding of those virtues. Hyams' book is perhaps the easiest to read, for lower rank belts, though higher ranks might find it annoying in it's tendency to name-drop. (On the other hand, it's interesting to read stories about some of the well-known names.) Morgan's book, is excellent, as long as you don't take too seriously how great "Warriors" are supposed to be. Kauz's book is also good, though it helps to have a little information and experience in the martial arts first, though it isn't completely necessary.
The Zen Way to the Martial Arts, by Taisen Deshimaru

Moving Zen, by C. W. Nicol

The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff

Again, three VERY different books. Moving Zen is simply one man's story of his path in the martial arts---interesting, but not as "teaching oriented" as some of the other books. The Tao of Pooh while highly humourous, is a good basic introductory primer to some of the concepts of the Tao---and more importantly, simply explains the philosophy of Tao, as opposed to the religion. Excellent book.

And of course, if you want to learn about Zen from someone who knows, then a book by Taisen Deshimaru is what you want to read.

Martial Arts America : A Western Approach to Eastern Arts, by Bob Orlando, Dan Inosanto
I really enjoyed this book. Matter of fact, one of the things I appreciated the most about it was in the beginning, when he said this book is for people who practice martial arts primarily for self-defense---and that if you don't, this book either won't make sense, or won't relate to you at all. That kind of refreshing honesty and bluntness characterizes this book, which is a good thought-provoking commentary on modern teaching of martial arts. Worth reading, in my opinion.
Beyond the Known : The Ultimate Goal of the Martial Arts, by Tri Thong Dang

Toward the Unkown : Martial Artist, What Shall You Become, by Tri Thong Dang

While these are perhaps not the best-written books in the world, every once in awhile they take a convoluted, difficult, complex concept and express it in a simply, concise, and easily understandable way that just makes SENSE---which is something we need more of in terms of the martial arts and thought. Worth buying for those parts.

Everyday Tao: Living With Balance and Harmony, by Deng Ming-Dao

An interesting book that uses the derivations of the chinese symbols to explain their meanings, and uses THAT to explain some of the concepts of Taoism. Very good, and highly interesting.


Hope you find some useful works in the above!

If not, you can use the below search box for attempt to find specific titles not listed above----good luck! (And if you find any other Thinking-type books that look interesting, please let me know.)