There are many different ways in which we learn, during our development in Tang Soo Do. We learn by watching, listening, doing, feeling, etc. One way to expand our knowledge is to read well-written, relevant books. I have compiled a list of a variety of books that are interesting, well written, and relevant to our training.

Other valuable and well-written books for the martial artist:


Classical Texts on Strategy

The Art of War. Written by Sun Tzu in the 5th century B.C. This is THE CLASIC text on military strategy. There are now many translations of this work. Cleary is a good place to start.

The Book of Five Rings. Written by Miyamoto Mushai in the early 1600’s. Mushai is considered a sword saint in Japan. This classic text on combat strategy describes sword techniques, but more importantly, talks about the nature and resolution of human conflict. There are many translations available; Kaufman and Cleary both do a very good job.

Muye Dobo Tongji. Written in 1789, translated by Sang H, Kim, Ph.D. is the comprehensive illustrated manual of Martial arts described in our Gup manual. Now available in English, from Turtle Press ( Be the first kid on your block to have your own copy. This is where the illustrations on our uniform come from.

The Unfettered Mind. Written by Takuan Soho in the early 1600’s. A series of famous writing from a Zen Master to a Sword Master that examines the relationship between the mind and (sword) combat.

Heiho Okogisho (The Secret of High Strategy). Written by Yamamoto Kansuke and translated by Toshishiro Obata. A rare text, with illustrations and original calligraphy. This text examines the essence of strategy, with a variety of weapons.


Classical Texts on Philosophy

The I-Ching: The book of Changes. There are many translations of this work. Thomas Cleary does an excellent job, as does Wing. Describes and examines the rules of harmony and change in our lives.

The Tao Te Ching. Written by Lao Tsu in the 6th Century B.C.   Many translations are available. Cleary does a good job, as does Feng and English. 2,500 years old and still one of the most translated books in the world. The book that every traditional martial artist should absolutely, positively, read. And read again, and again.

All Men Are Brothers (also known as Outlaws of the Marsh). The best translation is by Pearl S. Buck. Available in paperback published by Moyer Bell, 2006.There are also many other translations out there.


Books on Ki Gong and Health

The Root of Chinese Quigong. Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming (1989). Excellent text, as are all of his many books. A serious look at the theory and practice of traditional health exercises. YMAA Publications,

Quigong, The Secret of Youth. Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming. The advanced text, YMAA Publications,

Still As A Mountain, Powerful As Thunder. Y.P. Dong (1993) Taoist exercises for healing, vitality, and peace of mind. Shambhala Press.

The Web That Has No Weaver. Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D. (1983) A really good overview of the theory and practice of Traditional Chinese medicine. The points and meridians, 5 element theory, pulses, medicinal foods, acupuncture, acupressure, and much more. This book is a great place to get an overview of traditional Chineese Medicine, and is quite understandable. You will keep going back to this one. Congdon and Weed, Pub.


Books on Pressure Point Technique

Dim-mak Death Point Striking. Erle Montaigue (1993) This book gives history, theory. and practical techniques for pressure point striking. Montaigue (a Tai Chi practitioner) has also written a number of other informative books on this topic. Paladin Press.

Advanced Pressure Point Fighting of Ryukyo Kempo. George Dillman. Pressure point applications from many of our forms and 1-steps. Theory, etc. He has also written two other books on this topic.



Karate Breaking Techniques. Jack Hibbard (1981). A classic in the field. Charles Tuttle Co. Pub.


Living the Martial Lifestyle

Living the Martial Way: A manual for the way a modern warrior should think. By Forrest E. Morgan, Maj. USAF, Barricade Books

Karate-The Art of Empty Self. Terrance Webster-Doyle (1989) Published by Martial Arts for Peace Association.

Many of these books are available in the PSMAG library. The books can also be ordered on line through Asian World of Martial Arts (, Century Martial Arts, Paladin Press (, Turtle Press (, YMAA Publications, of course

–Master Michael E. Kaye