Further Reading

The Sword Polisher's Record

Reviewed by Joseph Williams, Second Degree Instructor:

Hsu's work is not a how-to, but a series of articles dealing with fundamental elements of traditional Kung Fu. Forms, fighting, and philosophy are equally treated. Well-written, it is an excellent book for new students as well as seasoned practitioners.

The Unfettered Mind

Reviewed by Ravi, Third Degree Instructor:

Three letters from the 17th century Buddhist Master Takuan Soho, to his contemporary, Yagyu Munenori, swordsmanship instructor to the Tokugawa Shogunate. This book presents a spectrum of meditations on the mind and way of a martial artist from the practical to the esoteric, that will be meaningful to any martial arts student, and especially useful to newer ones.

Men of Steel Discipline: The Official Oral History of Black Pioneers in the Martial Arts

Reviewed by Rannames Eloheim , Third Degree Instructor:

This book profiles ten of the most influential black instructors in the early days of eastern martial arts’ introduction to America. Their stories illuminate not only the unique and significant contribution of the African-American community to the American martial arts scene but also provide an exciting glimpse into how the scene evolved and what it looked like in the 50s and 60s.

Iron and Silk and Lost in Place

Reviewed by Noah A. Barth, Third Degree Instructor:

These two memoirs of a Caucasian man studying Chinese martial arts provide insightful, adventurous and often humorous insight into cultural identity, dedication and self-discovery. Iron and Silk chronicles Mr. Salzman’s 1982 journey to China to teach English and eventually study Wushu with the renowned Master Pan Qingfu. Lost in Place steps back to his 1970s childhood in suburban Connecticut, growing up awkward and studying with a sadistic yet inspiring local master.

All Men are Brothers

Reviewed by Eddie F. Lee, Third Degree Instructor:

All Men are Brothers (also known as “Outlaws of the Marsh” and “Water Margin”) is considered one of the 4 great novels of classic Chinese literature. It is centered on the adventures of a band of 108 outlaws in a time of corruption in ancient China- think Robin Hood with Kung Fu. The novel provides insight into historical Chinese and martial culture, as well as a peek into Eastern philosophy and values, all while delivering entertaining, butt-kicking action!

Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey

Reviewed by Joseph Williams, Second Degree Instructor:

This work provides an excellent historical overview of Chinese martial arts followed by an examination of secret Chinese training manuals. The first half of this book is worth the purchase for one of the few even-handed treatments of Chinese martial arts history printed in English. Very interesting and very well researched.

Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching

Reviewed by Ravi, Third Degree Instructor:

For students of martial arts who seek to delve into the philosophical origins of Chinese Martial Arts, Red Pine's translation of the Tao Te Ching is incredibly clear and poignant. He uses crisp, simple language, avoiding unnecessarily flowery or obtuse embellishments. Making this book even more amazing, for each of the 81 chapters, the translator also includes a series of commentaries by noted philosophers, from Lao Tzu's contemporaries on up through centuries of Buddhist and Taoist thought.

Kung Fu: History, Philosophy, and Technique

Reviewed by Julio Colon, Second Degree Instructor:

This volume is a terrific introduction to Kung-Fu. It provides an accurate, easy to understand overview of the history, philosophy and basic nature common to all systems and styles. At the end of the book the author spends some time showing basic techniques, which while "how to" is valuable in that it orients the reader to "what Kung Fu looks like" and how it functions. Probably the first book on Kung Fu I ever read.

Martial Musings: A Portrayal of Martial Arts in the 20th Century

Reviewed by Gale Clement, Second Degree Instructor:

The memoirs of probably the most significant American martial arts writer. Smith interestingly began his study with Judo, western wrestling and boxing and after living in Japan eventually turned his attention to Chinese arts. Filled with stories and anecdotes, this book gives some great insight into the nature of the arts and learning. It’s also highly entertaining and makes me want to travel!

On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace

Reviewed by Norman Lanes, Fourth Degree Instructor & MD:

Military research on people's differential performance in conflict revealed insight on the role of one's heart rate and adrenalin surge. People initially did better, then quickly deteriorated from loss of fine motor skills until becoming totally dysfunctional. This book explores the body's progression of shut down and techniques to control the process through emphasis on realistic training and breathing and meditation. Fascinating insight into the very real effects of conflict and the mind/body connection.