Recommended Reading

While there are literally thousands of books published on martial arts and karate in particular, the following texts have been selected for their timelessness and relevance to the philosophy of our dojo. These recommendations have been reviewed by the Instructors with commentary provided those who have brought specific works to our attention. We encourage students to expand their knowledge through the study of the history, culture, and philosophy of our art.

Click on the title to learn more about the book from or the corresponding publisher.

Karatedo: My Way of Life


Karate-do: My Way of Life
Gichin Funakoshi
Kodansha International

Gishin Funakoshi is said to be the founder of modern day karate and was an instrumental figure in bringing Okinawan te to Japan. The ninety-year-old author recalls stories of his own adventures as
well as of other well known karate masters. This book is an easy-to-read account of the beginnings of
his Okinawan training and how its teachings became his way of life. Recommended for all ages and levels.



Martial Arts—General

Martial Arts Reader


The Overlook Martial Arts Reader
Randy F. Nelson, Editor
The Overlook Press

A collection of martial arts essays ranging from the technical and historical to the philosophical and personal. An excellent way to acquaint yourself with the wide and colorful variety of Japanese martial systems and training methods.





Zen in the Martial Arts


Zen in the Martial Arts
Joe Hyams

Joe Hyams wrote this book based on his own 25-year experience as a dedicated student of the martial arts, studying nine different disciplines and attaining the level of black belt in karate. In these pages he documents the mental and spiritual journey that lies at the heart of martial training. He shares his own growth with grace and humility, subtly inviting his readers to apply the universal truths of Zen to their own lives. An easy and enjoyable read.



Zen in the Art of Archery


Zen in the Art of Archery
Eugen Herrigel

A classic. A westerner's attempt to master the Japanese art of archery which, like all Japanese arts, contains paradoxes that make mastery seem impossible. A treatise on patience, humility, and ordinary enlightenment.






Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat
Patrick McKarthy, Translator
Tuttle Publishing

Known as the “Bible of Karate” this ancient Chinese text remained a secret until modern times. A storehouse of information on healing points, killing points, herbal treatments, philosophy, and training methods. A sometimes difficult text but interesting to peruse.




Sword and Brush


Sword and Brush: The Spirit of the Martial Arts
Dave Lowery

There is a sense in which all the classical Japanese arts fall into the same category of endeavor: the rigor of their discipline leads to personal insight and an evolution of the self. Japanese calligraphy is not merely an aesthetic. The relationship of brush, ink, paper, and practitioner blend with the meaning of the ideogram. Understanding deepens with mastery of the art. In this book David Lowery explores the meaning of martial concepts by correlating brush mastery with sword mastery. The discipline and beauty of martial practice become a foundation for a deeper and more meaningful life.






Eiji Yoshikawa
Kodansha International

The novelized life story of the legendary Miyamoto Musashi, Japan's most famous martial artist. The five parts to this paperback are a highly entertaining “must read” for those interested in the romance and spirit of Japan's era of the samurai. All levels and ages.





Tao De Ching

Tao Te Ching
Lao Tsu
Stephen Mitchell

Harper Collins (and many others)

Obscure, inscrutable, essential. The quintessential treatise on yin and yang—the ubiquitous symbol for the martial path. One of the great works of human literature.


The Art of War


The Art of War
Sun Tsu

The Chinese classic on the philosophy of military strategy. Read by those who wish to be successful in any endeavor that involves an opponent.





The Book of Five Rings


The Book of Five Rings
Miyamoto Musashi
The Overlook Press

By age thirty Miyamoto Musashi had killed over sixty men in single combat. In his later years he retired to a cave and wrote this summation of battle tactics, strategy and philosophy. This book is revered by modern day Japanese businessmen as a guide for
daily decisions.





The Unfettered Mind


The Unfettered Mind
Takuan Soho
Kodansha International

Takuan Soho was the spiritual advisor to Miyamoto Musashi. These letters to Musashi describe the psychological approach to martial practice both on the level of training and on the level of action. A very interesting discourse on Mushin—no mind.







Yamamoto Sunetomo
Kodansha International

The seventeenth-century treatise on the code of Samurai behavior and ethics. This book brings the philosophy of martial arts to daily life. Like many of these books, best read in small doses.





The Zen Way to Martial Arts


The Zen Way to the Martial Arts
Taisen Desimaru
E. P. Dutton

“Jump into the river of modern civilization.” As any Zen man should be, Desimaru is a true original.
Here the fundamental discourse is on the relationship between practical sitting meditation and martial practice. Unique insights on mind-body linkage, presence in the moment, and the importance of raising a strong spirit for life and death.




General Reading

Into Thin Air


Into Thin Air
Jon Krakauer

The adrenalin raising account of the 1992 Everest expedition in which nine people, including two of the world's foremost high-mountain guides died. In the context of our training this book presents a vivid portrayal of what can happen when achievement of the goal overrides attention to core principles. When you finish this go directly to...



The Climb


The Climb
Anatoly Boukreev
St. Martin's Press

One of the guides on the tragic 1992 Everest expedition who labored heroically to save lives under unimaginable circumstances. Read in tandem with Into Thin Air, this book provides us with clear insight into the fundamental value of a classical approach to training. Getting to the top is not always an indicator of success whereas discipline in the process can generate meaning and satisfaction regardless of outcome.



The Endurance

The Endurance



Endurance Endurance

F. A.


Alexander: good story, great photographs. Worsley: great storytelling. If you only ever read one survival story, read this one.