I see advertisements for a Martial Arts Bible every once in a while, and it’s a clever advertisement. I mean, the idea for a book that answers all questions, it’s a good one, and it’s necessary. Here are a list of books which I think need to be considered, with the last one really hitting the button.
The first book to be on the list would be Karate Do Kyohan: The Master Text, by Gichin Funakoshi. The reason this tome has to be considered is because it was the first to really offer a comprehensive look at the eastern combat disciplines. Of course, it is biased towards Karate, and it offers techniques and forms without really getting into concepts, but it is a good book.
The next book to hit the shores with impact was the George Mattson book on Uechi Ryu. This was huge, offered hows and whys, and even went into some of the legends and real possibilities of the arts. While it was of more depth than Funakoshi’s epic, it didn’t cover grappling or throwing in much detail.
Filling the space left by the first two books, and through the use of some of the most beautiful martial arts concepts ever inked, is Aikido and the Dynamic Sphere. While it goes too far in the opposite direction, not being concerned with any of the force arts, it is still a work head and shoulders above nearly all others. The book was scribbled and inked by Oliver Ratti and Adele Westbrook.
Here is a good snippet which illustrates how all arts an be used together.
The next book to be considered on our list is Yang Family Secret Transmissions. This bit of writing is not strong on form and technique, but absolutely fascinating when it comes to presenting concept. The trick is to be able to put these concepts to work no matter what art you study.
One of the little known Martial Arts scribblings is a rare book called Taiki-ken. While the title means Tai Chi Chuan, it actually deals more with the art of Hsing I. Interestingly, while this book is slim on words, it imparts immense wisdom, and it is one of those rare gems that a student must be ready for, or it will likely go right over their heads.
Last on the list, and the one that hardly anybody knows is The Master Instructor Course. It is a book, and it is accompanied by two DVDs which detail exactly what the author is talking about. Hard or soft, internal or external, punching or throwing, the author explains all, and enlightens any who read it.
In closing, there will likely be some disagreement as to what is necessary to make a martial arts bible. Still, the books on this list are pivotal to the eastern fighting disciplines, and well worth the read. Of course, bible or not, all are worthless in the hands of people who are not willing to read, to think, and to put to work on a dojo mat.
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