The peace that comes from balance and flexibility represented by two tongues of fire balancing, surrounded by a flexilbe ring of bamboo.
Arlington Budoshin JuJitsu Dojo: Self Defense for the Rest of Us
 
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Technical


Jujitsu
Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art

JuJitsu - Basic Techniques of the Gentle Art (cover)Amazon.comThis is the first book you should read for class. To some, Professor Kirby is considered the founder of our Ryu, although he follows the teaching of his teacher, Seki Sensei, that “there are no styles of Jujitsu, just the art itself.” In any case, many of the basic techniques we work on in our class are described in this book. Don’t skip over the first forty pages, as some students do, to get to the “good stuff.” There is much of value, in the words at the beginning. Sometimes the key to progress in your art will be found in those words rather than in another technique.
George Kirby
Ohara Publications, Incorporated
1983

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JuJitsu
Intermediate Techniques of the Gentle Art

JuJitsu Vol. 2 - Intermediate Techniques of the Gentle Art (cover)Amazon.comAt twice the size of his first book, Professor Kirby provides many more techniques along with history, vocabulary, philosophy, and an index cross-references to both the Beginning and Intermediate books. Again, do not rush past the first forty pages. While your body needs many repetitions to make a technique automatic, without an understanding of why you are doing it a certain way your Ju-Jitsu will be little more than a collection of techniques without substance or continuity.
George Kirby
Ohara Publications, Incorporated
1985

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Small-Circle Jujitsu

Small-Circle Jujitsu (cover)Amazon.comThis is an excellent suppliment to the above Budoshin text books. Many of the techniques are repeated with a different point of view and a different emphasise that helps bring insight into the workings of Ju-Jitsu techniques. We don’t recommend this book because it has lots of techniques (though it does), but because it presents, throughout the book, a consistent reminder of the underlying principles in body mechanics.

And if this book doesn’t help you understand the effectiveness of a little pressure in just the right place, volunteer to be Professor Jay’s Uki at one of his seminars!


Wally Jay
Ohara Publications
1989

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Japan’s Ultimate Martial Art:
Jujitsu Before 1882
the Classical Japanese Art of Self-Defense

Japan's Ultimate Martial Art (cover)Amazon.comThis is not an easy book to classify. Part overview, part history, part philosophy, part technical. The other has a love for his subject along with an articulate and flowing narrative style; an engaging combination.

“In today’s society, we can’t rely solely upon this trick or that to protect us, for everyone seems to have a gun. Rather, we should study martial arts today for perfection — of the mind, of the body, and of the spirit. Through endless effort of practice for perfection, you will find the ultimate in protection. As you practice these techniques, remember: it’s not the art you must master as much as the discipline in the art.”


Darrell Max Craig
Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc.
1995

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Kodokan Judo

Kodokan Judo (cover)Amazon.comJudo is, by far, the most widely practiced style of Ju-Jitsu, though most people (including Jigoro Kano near the end of his life) view Judo as a separate Martial Art from Ju-Jitsu. Kano did two things that help popularize his style: he eliminated many of the more dangerous techniques to allow Judo to be practiced as a sport and, more importantly, he systematized the teaching of falling.

Because of Judo’s popularity, Judo terminology has begun to filter back into other styles of Ju-Jitsu. While many styles will have different names of the same technique, discussions between styles will often use Judo terminology as the common vocabulary.

This book is the basic text for Judo. Every technique is described, usually with clear pictures. Most of the Judo Kata are well described and annotated. This book is a must for any advanced Ju-Jitsu student.


Jigoro Kano
Kodansha International
1994

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Training


Stretching

Stretching (cover)Amazon.comFor the first couple weeks of each session we begin our classes with warm-up and stretching. For the remainder of the session we usually will not include stretching for two reasons: 1) it’s fifteen to twenty more minutes for practice and 2) Stretching only twice a week will have little long term effect. To be effective, stretching should be done daily. This book is the best resource we’ve found for the hows and whys of stretching. It includes specific routines for many activities, including Martial Arts.
Bob Anderson
Shelter Publications, Inc.
1980

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Mastery

Mastery - The Keys to Success and Long-term Fullfillment (cover)Amazon.comThis is not a martial arts book, at least not overtly. While the author is a long-time student of martial arts, he is just as likely to us examples from tennis or music to illustrate a point. Yet any one intending towards a path of mastery will find this book invaluable. Anyone with a desire to understand the roots of success — in anything — will find this book enlightening. This book will tell you how to become a martial artist. It illuminates the path.
George Leonard
Plume
1991

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Women


Her Wits About Her: Self Defense Success Stories by Women

Self-Defense: Steps to Success (cover)Amazon.comEvery woman should read this book. It is a truly inspiring collection of close to a hundred stories by normal every-day women from all walks of life, ages, ethnicities, lifestyles and physical abilities. What they all have in common is that they all managed to defend themselves in a wide range of situations through a variety of innovative techniques, feminine wiles, and spur-of-the-moment tools. Apart from being a truly uplifting read, what this book demonstrates is that any woman can successfully defend herself and that the most important self-defense tool is keeping your wits about you.
Denise Caignon & Gail Groves, editors
Perennial Library, 1987
1987

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Self-Defense: Steps to Success

Self-Defense: Steps to Success (cover)Amazon.com If you are going to train on your own without an instructor, this book is essential. The exercises the book provides are good basic self defense techniques, but the author then follows the exercise with a self evaluation of what worked and what didn’t and the corrections you need to make. In general, martial arts are difficult to learn from a book without an instructor, but this book does an excellent job of closing the gap.
Joan M. Nelson
Leisure Press
1991

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Martial Arts for Women

Martial Arts for Women (cover)Amazon.comMartial Arts have as much, if not more, to offer women as they do men. Unfortunately, there are far too few women in most dojos, possibly because of the perception that these are men-only arts. Ms. Lawler dispels that notion, along with a number of other myths about women in the martial arts. She talks about what to expect, how to pick a good school and instructor, how to practice and train.

Once you decide to study a martial art, this book provides solid advice on the day to day aspects of being a female martial artist. It addresses issues as diverse as what type(s) of clothing to wear to class, whether or not to wear makeup, how to deal with male bullies, whether to take class when you are having your period or when you are pregnant. This is an essential “how-to” guide for training. The book covers the whole range of training and does so from a woman’s perspective.

The drawback to this book is Ms. Lawler’s limited view of martial arts. She practices Tae Kwon Do; her knowledge of other styles is limited. Her discussion of the specifics of training, especially sparring, often do not apply to a Ju-Jutsu dojo, and especially not the Arlington YMCA dojo. However, her general observations are helpful and pertinent to women interested in training in a martial art.
Jennifer Lawler
Turtle Press
1998

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A Woman’s Guide to Martial Arts
How to Choose a Discipline and Get Started

A Woman's Guide to Martial Arts (cover)Amazon.comIf you decide you want to study a martial art, but you are not sure which one best suits you, this is a good overview of the different styles. It also offers practical advice on how to select a school and an instructor; that is, what to look for and what to avoid. In addition, this book covers much of the same issues as Martial Arts for Women providing insight into the day-to-day aspects of martial arts training from a woman’s perspective, but the author provides some different observations. For example, this book explores several “Martial Myths”:

This book is a good complement to Lawler’s book providing another woman’s view and balancing out some the shortcomings of the Lawler book.
Monica McCabe Cardoza
The Overlook Press
1996

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Women in the Martial Arts

A Woman's Guide to Martial Arts (cover)Amazon.comThis is a collection of essays written exclusively by women, of all ages and backgrounds, and covering a wide variety of styles. Since not everyone is a natural athlete, these essays will serve as inspiration to those who struggle with their own feelings of being too old, too fat, too lazy, etc.

From Cultivating the Senses for Optimal Self-Defense (Janet Gee) “This exercise can help the student cultivate a penetrating look that comes from her power center. Being able to ‘stare down’ a potential assailant might help eliminate the threat of becoming a victim.”

From Transforming the Victim Role (Karla Grant): “We can’t continue to teach a woman to do nothing when a man attempts to violate her, and then tell the man it is the woman who is responsible for what he has done to her. ... Instead our society needs to teach both genders equally that (1) every individual has the birthright to self-preservation (i.e., self-defense), and (2) every individual is responsible for his/her own behavior.”

From Aikido and Illusion (Susan Perry) “The process of cutting through illusion is a heady experience. In the first response, Lucy sees thorough her false beliefs and by doing so she actually empowers herself. She will see that standing up for herself comes naturally and that she is her best self-protection.”
Carol A. Wiley (editor)
North Atlantic Books
1992

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Philosophy


Mastery

Mastery - The Keys to Success and Long-term Fullfillment (cover)Amazon.comThis is not a martial arts book, at least not overtly. While the author is a long-time student of martial arts, he is just as likely to us examples from tennis or music to illustrate a point. Yet any one intending towards a path of mastery will find this book invaluable. Anyone with a desire to understand the roots of success — in anything — will find this book enlightening. This book will tell you how to become a martial artist. It illuminates the path.
George Leonard
Plume
1991

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Living the Martial Way

Living the Martial Way (cover)Amazon.comDo not be put off by the book’s subtitle “A manual for the way a modern warrior should think” this is not a cult tract. Major Morgan provides a practical, pragmatic, and honest view of the opportunities available to you in the martial arts, but also what is required of you to take advantage of those opportunities. If you are looking for, or interested in, more from your training than just a few self-defense moves, this is a good place to start. This book will tell you what it means to be a martial artist.
Forrest E. Morgan, Maj. USAF
Barricade Books
1992

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The Book of Five Rings

The Book of Five Rings (cover)Amazon.comThe translation of the book is actually called The Martial Artist’s Book of Five Rings : The Definitive Interpretation of Miyamoto Musashi’s Classic Book of Strategy. In spite of the hubris of the title, the translation of one of the most accessible. This is a book of strategy, but also, as is true for most of the older classics, can be read as a road map for personal growth. This translation is definitely biases towards the strategy view.

“Attitudes are contagious. To impress your attitude on the enemy is to force him to think in terms that are to your advantage. When you understand your own abilities, you are able to pass them along to others in the same way a teacher can pass along correct and incorrect ideas and teachings. If you show the enemy that you are agitated then he may become calmer and, at that instant, attack with the utter resolve and conviction that will kill you. You must have success in your heart and mind in order to know whether information is true or false. If you cannot do this, then you must take the time to study further.”


Miyamoto Musashi
Translation by Steve Kaufman
Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc.
1994

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Budoshoshinshu
The Warrior’s Primer

Budoshoshinshu (cover)Amazon.comThis is one of the most practically oriented texts, that gives both insight into the life of the warrior at the beginning of the Edo period. It is written as an instruction manual for “those intending to become warriors”. There is a mix of both practical (“...paying attention to the coloration and markings of a horse’s coat is a matter for warriors of the upper classes. For a warrior of the lower classes it is essential to understand that he should simply search out a horse that is good...”) to philosophical (“...there is no doubt that the function of the warrior is to bring peace of mind to the other members of society. Thus, it is unreasonable for men called ‘warriors’ to act in injust and excessive ways towards the other three classes.”) to political (“keep a respectful distance from the administration of financial affairs”). Even in the areas that may appear unrelated to modern life there is great value in the point of view offered. While “The Everyday Care of Armor” may appear to be unrelated, still are responsible for our gi and, in a broader sense, all the tools of our life.


Daidoji
Translation by William Scott Wilson
Ohara Publications, Incorporated
1984

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Bushido
The Warrior’s Code

Amazon.com This is an historical look back at the feudal age of the samurai from the view of someone who spent most of his life in a society still uncertain of it’s identity after centuries of samurai prominence (the Meiji Restoration came when he was just five years old). As with all historical texts, this is shaded and colored by the author’s own personal experience as he tries to make sense of, and to explain, the Soul of Japan.


Inazo Nitobe
Ohara Publications, Incorporated
1979

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History


Japan’s Ultimate Martial Art:
Jujitsu Before 1882
the Classical Japanese Art of Self-Defense

Japan's Ultimate Martial Art (cover)Amazon.comThis is not an easy book to classify. Part overview, part history, part philosophy, part technical. The other has a love for his subject along with an articulate and flowing narrative style; an engaging combination.

“In today’s society, we can’t rely solely upon this trick or that to protect us, for everyone seems to have a gun. Rather, we should study martial arts today for perfection — of the mind, of the body, and of the spirit. Through endless effort of practice for perfection, you will find the ultimate in protection. As you practice these techniques, remember: it’s not the art you must master as much as the discipline in the art.”


Darrell Max Craig
Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc.
1995

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Three Budo Masters

Three Budo Masters (cover)Amazon.comThe teacher. The pragmatist. The mystic. The three men that have done more to ensure the survival of the martial arts — both in spirit and in action — than anyone else in the past century. Kano: the developer of Judo, Funakoshi: the promoter of Karate, and Ueshiba: the founder of Aikido; these three men shared a devotion to their practice unparalleled by most, but each was as different in their histories and approaches as could be possible in ones who achieved so much. If you want to begin to understand the differences between Karate, Aikido, and Judo, you will need to begin to understand these three men. Start here.


John Stevens
Kodansha International
1995

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Reference


Tuttle Dictionary of the Martial Arts
of Korea, China & Japan

Tuttle Dictionary of the Martial Arts (cover)Amazon.com A true dictionary, this books gives concise definitions of more Japanese martial arts terms than most other reference books available. While all the different languages are mixed together, the layout is easy to follow with each term clearly identified by language. In addition, the book makes an attempt to classify words by their category of usage (style, weapon, school, etc.). The definitions used appear to match more closely to the common usage that shows up in Japanese general usage dictionaries, though it is hard to say if these meanings are the ones intended when the term is used in any particular traditional martial arts school.


Sun-Jin Kim, Daniel Kogan, Nikolaos Kontogiannis,& Hali Wong
Charles E. Tuttle Company
1995

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A Dictionary of the Martial Arts

A Dictionary of the Martial Arts (cover)Amazon.com More encyclopedic than dictionary, the author often provides in-depth explanations, descriptions, and histories that are more enlightening than a straight dictionary translation (the entry for Judo Rules runs over 16 pages). In addition to extended text, there are also numerous illustrations. This is an excellent companion book to the “Tuttle Dictionary of the Martial Arts”, which has more entries.


Louis Frederic
Charles E. Tuttle Company
1991

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The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary

The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary (cover)Amazon.com More encyclopedic than the Kim book but less verbous than the Frederic book, this book fits between the above two Tuttle offerings. There are a few illustrations, but not nearly the quantity — or instructive quality — as Frederic’s book. One of the big advantages, particularly to the beginner, is the inclusion of pronunciation with each word (the newer Tuttle book provides a chapter on pronunciation at the beginning; the older Tuttle book offer’s nothing).

The odd part with Overlook’s book is the cross referencing. Example: “Mawashi Geri” refers the reader to “roundhouse kick” while “Mawashi Zuki” provides a full definition. “Roundhouse punch” also provides a definition, though not as lengthy as ether “roundhouse kick” or “Mawashi Zuki”. The layout does encourage you to do more checking — and cross-checking.


Emil Farkas, John Corcoran
The Overlook Press
1985


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