What we're reading is made up of books, articles and other reading materials across all fighting disciplines, philosophical perspectives, strategies, tactics and other topics we think you will find of value. We chose these topics because we believe they will help expand your thought process on how to think about training, competing, and living a budo lifestyle.

TAO of Jeet Kune Do

By Bruce Lee

4.7 out of 5 stars

This important work opens the door for understanding the genius that was Bruce Lee. The book has no photos but includes hundreds of illustrations with hand-written notes supporting his deep dive into technical material that is separated into four chapters.

Lee begins the book with Zen Buddhism quotes, then moves on to discuss all aspects of fighting including philosophy, strategic principles, conditioning, more technical aspects that are separated into four chapters including warm-ups, basics, footwork, evasive techniques, striking, kicking, grappling, and Jeet Kune Do’s five types of attack. On the Kindle version, the drawings and notes are extremely small. Buying the print edition is recommended.

TAO of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Moving Towards Stillness

By Dave Lowry

4.5 out of 5 stars

Moving Toward Stillness is a philosophy focused book comprised of 45 essays set up like chapters that guide us to a deeper understanding of the social values and moral imperatives that are at the ancient heart of budo. Each essay connects the universal nature of those ancient values together with their current relevance in the modern West.

Lowry begins each essay with an anecdote or quotation that he then masterfully expands upon, deeply contemplating its true meaning and importance while interweaving its application to budo. His musings tackle some well-known martial concepts such as, "one encounter, one chance." This book is perfect for those searching for a deeper meaning and philosophy than is received in most training. Lowry’s book helps martial artists, and anyone contemplating life, to appreciate the deeper values and culture of old Japan.

Moving Towards Stillness | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Grapple Strong

By Josh Bryant and Adam benShea

4.3 out of 5 stars

In Grapple Strong the authors combine their training and fighting wisdom and intense backgrounds to create this comprehensive guide for building power, endurance, and grappling strength. They give specific exercises to mimic various movements in grappling, and then teach how to program these movements into a personal, customized routine.

Grapple Strong believes most grapplers have weak foundational strength, lowering their fighting ability right from the start. It tells how to achieve excellent foundational strength, then segues into focused training methods to increase strength specific to the unique requirements and movements of grappling. 

Grapple Strong | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Mastering The 21 Immutable Principles Of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

By Paulo Guillobel

4.6 out of 5 stars

Guillobel’s extensive knowledge of BBJ as a martial art, and masterful ability to transmit that knowledge is clearly shown in his writing. This masterwork effectively and comprehensively explains the most fundamental and immutable principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It teaches essential fighting concepts which do not depend upon youthful strength and athleticism in order to implement.

Understanding the 21 principles revealed in this book will make any BJJ student able to discover the invisible details behind any technique, and understand why those techniques are being utilized. Paulo Guillobel’s Mastering the 21 Immutable Principles of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a one-of-a-kind book that goes deep into the foundation of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques and strategies.

Mastering The 21 Immutable Principles Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | Fighting Arts Health Lab

The Life Giving Sword

By Yagyu Munenori

4.8 out of 5 stars

Yagyū Munenori was a legendary 17th century Japanese swordsman, and founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū. He was a military and political advisor to two shoguns and was a rival to the great Miyamoto Musashi.  Munenori spent his life studying and practicing Zen. This study formed the approach for his deeply spiritual approach to sword fighting; Munenori was able to visualize through sword practice a way to transform the student into a total human being.

The central themes of the “Life-Giving Sword” is the idea of controlling one’s opponent by spiritual readiness to fight rather than by actual fighting—and “No Sword,” which is the idea that the mind must be free of everything, even the sword itself, in order to get to the place of complete mastery. Munenori’s ideas are essential reading which can be applied to business and relationships as well.

Life Giving Sword | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Karate-Do: My Way of Life

By Gichin Funakochi

4.7 out of 5 stars

This is the autobiography of Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate, and a fascinating glimpse into the life of a karate master. Gichin Funakoshi was responsible for bringing karate to Okinawa and the rest of Japan, which allowed it to disperse throughout the world following World War II.

Karate-do reveals the true nature of a gentle and reasonable Taoist that was Funakoshi as he shares fascinating stories of his unusual life. Funakoshi's idea was that Karate trains your body and mind and is thus a way of life. The message from Funakoshi allows a deeper understanding of the true meaning and values of karate, including commitment, respect, endurance, and strength.  All martial artists, especially students of karate, will want to read this book.

Karate Do My Way Of Life | Fighting Arts Health Lab

LA CANNE: J. Charlemont’s Defensive Cane Method

Translated by Mathew Lynch

3.7 out of 5 stars

La Canne clearly illustrates the deadly effectiveness of a cane as a serious weapon, both for swift attack, and for self-defense. The art of cane fighting uses techniques derived from saber fencing that include defensive moves, offensive strikes, and stabs.  La Canne is clearly and logically written. It is presented and illustrated with grey-tone photos that are fascinating to peruse.

These are original photos of the time period, and present impeccably a time when every gentleman carried a cane, and often the ladies, too. Canes were considered an important fashion accessory in 1899, and many a gentleman took advantage of that by designing canes with a knife or rapier concealed in the ends. J. Charlemont shows that the concealed rapier was not required for defense of those skilled in the fine and little-known art of La Canne. This is an intriguing and unusual read.

LA CANNE J Charlemonts Defensive Cane Method | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Kyudo: The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery

By Hideharu Onuma, Dan DeProspero & Jackie DeProspero

4.8 out of 5 stars

Kyudo: The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery is a masterpiece. Kyudo the oldest of Japan’s traditional martial arts is the standing meditation practice of Zen archery, using a bow and arrow. It is also the martial art most closely connected with bushido, the Way of the Warrior.

This ultimate kyudo manual includes the history, hundreds of detailed illustrations, and rare photographs of Master Onuma while he demonstrates the fundamental techniques and daily practice of "standing Zen." Kyudo delves deeply into the form, philosophy, spiritual, and practical aspects of the art of kyudo. This book is required reading for those interested in understanding what is described as the "right mind." Kyudo is an incredible reference source for those interested in Japanese martial arts. It is truly a five star resource.

Kyudo: The Essence and Practice of Japanese Archery | Fighting Arts Health Lab

The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee

By  John Little

4.7 out of 5 stars

This philosophical compilation is pure inspiration, showing the deepest depths of a great mind, and illustrating the truest nature of a man the world honored primarily for his martial arts prowess. He was a powerful philosopher who considered every aspect of life, energy, spiritual connections, death, illusion, power and reality while searching for self mastery and contemplating his own inner philosophical truth. His deepest personal understanding of truth honored the power and beauty of knowledge and promoted total self mastery.

Lee created a complex personal philosophy that completely synthesized both Eastern and Western ideologies. His writings tackle the totality of life, discussing how to put things into perspective, how to see the balance within all things, and understanding the conceptual truth of Yin and Yang. 

The Warrior Within | Fighting Arts Health Lab

The Essential Guide to Judo

By Jigoro Kano

4.7 out of 5 stars

This essential guide is a uniquely comprehensive and most authoritative treatment of judo ever published. Jigoro Kano mastered swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat over a hundred years ago, and decided to create a new martial art reflecting the underlying concept of maximum efficiency in the use of physical and mental energy.

This definitive judo textbook teaches the classical principles of Judo, both in terms of technique and philosophy. This is the textbook on Judo that every judoka must acquire, including sequential photos of each technique, discussions of principles, techniques, and spirit of judo. This definitive text about Judo will be appreciated by students and instructors, and martial arts aficionados of every type, as a historical reference, fully illustrated reference, and techniques reference.

Kodokan Judo The Essence Of Judo | Fighting Arts Health Lab

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman

By Takuan Soho and William Scott Wilson

4.7 out of 5 stars

The Unfettered Mind was written during the time of the samurai by 17th-century Zen master Takuan Soho (1573–1645). This classic philosophical manifesto served as a guide how to approach sword fighting and life as an honorable samurai with 'mindfulness'. Soho thoroughly explains the Buddhist approach to life as regards to the samurai and swordsmanship.

It clearly shows from a historical perspective how the Zen philosophy merged seamlessly with the martial arts. It gives insightful perspective on the concept of clearing the mind as not to be forced. Instead of making your mind empty it suggests allowing all thoughts to flow by, like sitting on the bank of a river watching the waters flow. The directives within these pages hold true and apply very well to all martial arts study,

Unfettered Mind Guide to Mindfulness | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Kendo: The Definitive Guide

By Hiroshi Ozawa

4.4 out of 5 stars

Kendo is the Way of the Sword, one of Japan’s most ancient and revered martial arts. Kurosawa’s movies brought Kendo and the fascinating and illustrious Samurai onto the world stage, exciting renewed interest in the Way of the Sword, and a broader interest in Kendo, which was originally a form of swordsmanship, and has now emerged as a very competitive worldwide popular sport.

This book includes an introduction giving the history of kendo, its basic principles and philosophy, which alone makes this an interesting and absorbing read. Another unique aspect of Ozawa’s book is it contains appendices giving the rules at international competitions, important information about Kendo clubs outside of Japan, along with guidelines for running practice sessions, making it a unique resource.

Kendo Definitive Guide | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Complete Krav Maga

By Darren Lavine

4.6 out of 5 stars

Krav Maga is an Israeli military fighting system derived from a combination of techniques taken from aikido, judo, karate, wrestling, and boxing. Krav Maga's founder Imi Lichtenfeld, endorses the Complete Krav Maga author. Lichtenfeld says, “Darren Levine has my unqualified support and gratitude for his contributions to Krav Maga.”

Complete Krav Maga is dense with instructions and images, organized move by move, with excellent photos that make every movement easily followed. While the photos are black and white, they are clear and capture the right moment when illustrating a technique. Krav Maga works by teaching students to protect themselves by exploiting attacker’s vulnerabilities, and will work for anyone regardless of size, age, or gender.

Complete Krav Maga | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Hagakure: The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai

By Yamamoto Tsunetomo and Alexander Bennett

4.6 out of 5 stars

Hagakure was written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo almost 300 years ago and is the pivotal piece of Japanese texts on bushido. This essential book epitomizes the distillation of the Japanese samurai warrior spirit, or bushido. Dr. Bennett’s translation is the first to include the complete first two books of the Hagakure, along with most important and authentic passages from the third book.

This unique combination of readability and scholarship gives this version a distinct advantage over all previous English editions. The world described by Tsunetomo can often seem very alien and the underlying meaning of many passages may not be obvious to the modern reader. A must read for anyone who has an interest in the samurai culture, Japanese martial arts, and the Tokugawa-era, providing important historical context and perspective for today’s practitioners.

Hagakure The Secret Wisdom of the Samurai | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Jiu-Jitsu University

By Saulo Ribeiro, and Kevin Howell

4.9 out of 5 stars

Saulo Ribeiro is a six-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, and holds world records in five different weight categories, a feat that is yet to be beaten. He is famous for his flawless technique and complete understanding of functional jiu-jitsu knowledge.

His masterful, revolutionary system of grappling, is laid out in detailed specs that carry you from white belt to to black belt. Ribeiro’s tactics have genius, teaching the art of survival, not sweating submissions, ups motivation, and sets expectations. He teaches students to master survival first, pay those dues, knowing the chance will come to hit submissions and reversals. Jiu-Jitsu University will revolutionize the way this martial art is taught.

Jiu-Jitsu University | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Koryu Bujutsu: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan

By Diane Skoss

4.3 out of 5 stars

Koryu Bujutsu is an impressive volume consisting of eight essays on the arts of the Japanese samurai. These eight essays are a very informative group of essays about classical warrior traditions or the koryu. The koryu were primarily arts created by warriors, for warriors, of the warrior class during Japan's feudal period.

Those few traditions still existing today that were actually used back then on the battlefields of pre-Tokugawa Japan held effectiveness of the killing technique to be of primary importance. This volume delves deeply into the fascinating world of the classical warrior ways of feudal Japan. Not only does it function as a preparatory guide to these arts, but it also will improve any reader’s understanding of the culture and thinking of the martial artists who practice and teach these arts today.

Koryu Bujutsu Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Japanese Swordsmanship: Technique and Practice

By Gordon Warner, and Donn F. Draeger

4.6 out of 5 stars

Japanese Swordsmanship is one of the best and most authentic volumes of Japanese sword techniques. It explains how the art evolved since the times of the samurai into what it is today, why people still practice this ancient and deadly martial discipline. No other culture has been able to create a sword with the razor sharp edge and supple spine of an authentic Japanese sword like the smiths of Japan.

The katana still serves as testaments to their incredible metallurgical talent and their rich history. Through the ages, these swords were refined, and so were the methods of making and using them. This book includes chapters on tradition and history vital for an understanding of the practice of Iaido. Many of these fascinating traditions are hundreds of years old and still practiced today.

Japanese Swordsmanship Technique and Practice | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts: Bushido - The Way of the Warrior

By Donn F. Draeger, Robert W. Smith

4.6 out of 5 stars

Asian Fighting Arts is considered a standard and definitive text in the field of Combat Arts. It explains the relationships among the fighting arts, methods and techniques found in eleven Asian countries and a wealth of anecdotal material to illustrate some of the 'deadliest' fighting systems.

The authors present numerous fighting arts in a clear and easy to read manner, from the accounts of Pakistani and Indian wrestlers, to the grappling arts of judo, jujitsu, to the striking arts and weapon arts of Japan and China. These two authors are credited with being the first serious early researchers of Asian fighting systems and bringing their knowledge to the American public through their books. This classic provides a sound foundation for the Asian Fighting Arts practitioner.

Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts Bushido The Way of the Warrior | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Bruce Lee: The Authorized Visual History

By Steve Kerridge

4.8 out of 5 stars

Bruce Lee’s intense charisma, powerfully enigmatic and energetic personality, intelligence, humor, and perfect physique all shine through in the thousands of photos he took during his lifetime.

Even though Bruce Lee died in 1973, he remains the most famous and influential martial artist of all time. This breathtaking photographic compilation also includes his poetry and film scripts, intelligent musings and philosophical musings. The broad range of photos guarantees that there will be new, never-before-seen images for fans and followers as many are previously undiscovered and never-before-published.

Bruce Lee: The Authorized Visual History | Fighting Arts Health Lab

The Sword & the Mind: The Classic Japanese Treatise on Swordsmanship and Tactics

By Donn Draeger & Robert Smith

4.7 out of 5 stars

The Sword and the Mind is a compilation of brief, 16 - 17th century works, handed down within a family, from a samurai in Japan's Sengoku period famous for creating the Shinkage ryū school of combat, Kamiizumi Hidetsuna, It is a deeply penetrating treatise on strategy, philosophy, and Zen.

The exacting swordsmanship instructions for positioning, striking with one and two swords and defending against opponents are excellent. During this period samurai warriors wrote sword-sharp contemplations that are applicable to any type of competition or conflict, including business and political arenas. The Sword & the Mind is a highly advanced study on the psychology and philosophy of not only mastering swordsmanship but Zen.

The Sword and the Mind The Classic Japanese Treatise on Swordsmanship and Tactics | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Book of Five Rings

By Miyamoto Musashi

4.1 out of 5 stars

The Book of Five Rings was written in 1643 by renown wandering samurai swordsman and painter, Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645). He was an undefeated Japanese swordsman who developed the two-sword style of fighting and won more than 60 sword fights while traveling throughout Japan.

Musashi details his personal philosophical approach to kenjutsu and martial arts in general in this short book on tactics and movements which is considered the definitive book on samurai philosophy. Musashi establishes a "no-nonsense" theme in the book.

He also continually makes the point that the understandings expressed in the book are important for combat on any scale, whether a one-on-one duel or a massive battle. The book includes an introduction by Thomas Cleary which delves into the spiritual background of the warrior tradition.

Book of Five Rings | Fighting Arts Health Lab

Championship Fighting

By Jack Dempsey