Books recommended for martial arts students

The Art of War, Sun Tsu

Classic book on stratigy of conflict. The book was written in ancient China to advise generals but the advice is current for individuals today.

A Book of Five Rings, Musashi

Famous book on sword strategy by the most famous Japanese swordsman.

The Unfettered Mind, Takuan Soho

This book is written by the Zen monk who was Musashi's adviser. It is an exceptionally clear description of the state of mind necessary for effective practice of martial arts.

On Killing, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

This is an enlightening description of aggression in human psychology and military training stratigies.

On Combat, Lt. Col. Dave Grossmano

More description of human reactions under stress and the techniques of training for that event.

The Zen Way to the Martial Arts, Taisen Deshmaru

Good description of the state of mind necessary for the practice of martial arts.

Strong on Defense, S. Strong

A very clear book on basic self defense stratigy. Good for readers with no martial arts experience.

Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts, Donn Draeger and Robert Smith

Classical Budo, Donn Draeger

Classical Bujitsu, Donn Draeger

Modern Budo and Bujitsu, Donn Draeger

These books give a good, general description of the history and practice of all Asian fighting technique.

Deadly Karate Blows, Brian Adams

Description of the physiology of various strikes.

The Fighting Spirit of Japan, E. J. Harrison

An early survey of Japanese martial arts traditions

The Sword and the Mind, Yagyu Munenori (trans. by Hiroaki Sato)

Sword manuals of three generations of family masters who were contemporaries of Musashi

Kodokan Judo, Kano

THE text on judo technique.

Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel

Description of a European's study of archery

The Sword and the Brush, Lowry

Very nice description of the meaning of common martial arts terms.

The Way and the Power, Lovret

Zen and the Way, Trevor Legget

The Theory of Dues, Richard Howell

My description of an effective attitude towards training for jujitsuka over 40. You can download it from the Kiai Echo archives

Fundamental Principles of Martial Arts, Richard Howell

A survey of basic principles that apply to martial arts performancerregardless of style. You can download it from the Kiai Echo archives


These books are in print and may be specially ordered at any bookstore. Support your local bookstore. They can order any book that the net stores do and you can talk to a person and look at the books.

If I have left out your favorite book please Email , Richard H Howell at and send me the author and title

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