Reading List of the Best Karate Books of all Time

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Best Books of all Time on Karate

Interested in learning everything about Karate? Check out the complete reading list of the best Karate books of all time for great book recommendations.

The page is a reading list sharing the best books to read on Karate based on many hours of reading and research. You can be sure that each one is fantastic and will be worth your time.

About Karate

A martial art called karate was created in the Ryukyu Kingdom. Under the influence of Chinese martial arts, notably Fujian White Crane, it evolved from the native Ryukyuan martial arts. The majority of modern karate methods include striking, including punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, as well as knife, spear, and palm-heel strikes. Grappling, throws, joint locks, restraints, and vital-point blows are also taught historically and in certain current systems. A karateka is a person who does karate.

9 Books on Karate 👍


1. Karate-Do: My Way of Life

Gichin Funakoshi
Publication Date: February 1, 2013
Gichin Funakoshi, known as the “Father of Karate-do,” bridges the gap between the period when karate was a solely Okinawan form of self-defense cloaked in the utmost secret.

He put off writing this autobiography out of modesty and didn’t get around to it until he was over 90. After years of study with the greatest masters and training in the Confucian classics, he gave up his job as a schoolteacher to devote the remainder of his life to the spread of the Way of Karate. Under his direction, karate progressed into a legitimate martial art, with updated and improved methods and terminology as well as an emphasis on the spiritual side of the discipline.


2. Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat

Patrick McCarthy
Publication Date: June 21, 2016
The Bubishi is a traditional Chinese text on philosophy, strategy, medicine, and technique as they apply to the martial arts, and has been prized for ages by the finest masters of karate.

The Bubishi, referred to as the “bible of karate” by renowned instructor Chojun Miyagi, was a secret manuscript transmitted from master to pupil for hundreds of years in China and then in Okinawa. The renowned masters of karate have all read it, put its principles into practice, or copied sections from it. The Bubishi has had the most profound influence on the creation and growth of karate than any other classic text.


3. The Essence of Karate

Gichin Funakoshi
Publication Date: June 7, 2013
As the creator of Shotokan karate, the most well-known form of Japanese karate with millions of practitioners worldwide, Gichin Funakoshi is a historical figure.

In The Essence of Karate, Funakoshi crafts a description of contemporary karate in his own words. In addition to recalling his own training, previous karate masters, and the martial art’s past, he also describes the intellectual and spiritual foundations of the martial art. He also talks about the value of defeating an opponent without using physical force and why many great martial artists get better with age.


4. The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate

Gichin Funakoshi
Publication Date: February 8, 2013
The ultimate goal of karate, according to Gichin Funakoshi, sometimes known as the “father of karate,” is the development of each participant’s character.

The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate, often known as Gichin Funakoshi’s karate quotations, is a sizable book that contains the guiding principles. For almost a century, it has legally functioned as the karate textbook. It comprises 20 chapters, speaks about the niju kun (20 principles), and gradually explains what the karate art is.


5. The Shotokan Karate Bible 2nd edition: Beginner to Black Belt

Ashley P. Martin
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
An authorized manual that contains all the information a karate beginner may possibly require. This book is arranged and created to lead the learner step-by-step through the growth of the martial art, taking each belt in turn.

There are other karate styles, but Shotokan is the one that is most frequently practiced outside of Japan. The fundamental technique, kata, or the sequencing of techniques to fictitious opponents, and Kumite, the actual fighting with an opponent, are the three main components of karate training. Gradings are the tests required to advance to the following level. Normally, it takes three months to complete each grade.


6. The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate

Michael Clarke
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Improve the power of Karate fighting technique.

Hojo Undo, which translates to “supplementary training,” is essential for enhancing the karate techniques’ lethal force. A practitioner cannot develop the profound strength levels necessary for a lifetime of karate training without Hojo Undo. This book explains how to build and utilize a variety of training instruments, offers precise mechanical drawings, thorough training techniques, and historical context for why Hojo Undo was developed in “ancient” Okinawa.


7. Moving Zen

C W Nicol
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
A well-known tale of a man using karate to battle his inner demons.

The fascinating tale of a young man who traveled to Japan to learn the art and philosophy of karate is told in Moving Zen. After becoming a member of the Japan Karate Association, or Shotokan, Nicol learned that, although being quite aggressive, Karate also required respect for others and a sense of mutual trust and responsibility. He discovered that the more powerful the Karateka, the more likely he was to treat others gently. The hazardous practitioners are those who have developed a certain level of competence but have not yet reached spiritual maturity. After learning kata, Nicol came to understand that all martial arts ultimately aim to achieve tranquillity and that these forms are essentially moving Zen.


8. Black Belt Karate: The Intensive Course

Hirokazu Kanazawa
Publication Date: June 21, 2013
Hirokazu Kanazawa, the most revered person in the karate community, gives a systematic approach to fundamental karate in Black Belt Karate and delivers a rigorous training program.

No matter your age or gender, you may learn karate at any point in your life. Karate is a martial art that anybody can learn. The three fundamental components of the karate training system are Kihon (basics), Kumite (sparring), and Kata (forms). Kanazawa gives readers a thorough self-study training course that is suitable for both beginners and intermediate readers by using minutely detailed explanations and illustrated photographs. A practitioner can get black-belt level skills if they train consistently and diligently for a year.


9. History and Traditions of Okinawan Karate

Tetsuhiro Hokama
Publication Date: December 2, 2009
You will learn unique Okinawan katas from Master Hokama.

Tetsuhiro Hokama will take you on a tour of his Okinawan martial arts museum and show you priceless old-school master photographs by Funakoshi, Chibana, Miyagi, and the others. He is regarded as one of the few who have continued Okinawan karate and kobudo’s heritage and customs.


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