Recommended reading: “Great Martial Arts Books” by Meik Skoss

The article below has been selected from the extensive archives of the Online Aikido Journal. We believe that an informed readership with knowledge of the history, techniques and philosophy of aikido is essential to the growth of the art and its adherence to the principles espoused by Aikido Founder Morihei Ueshiba.

I think Groucho Marx was the one who said it: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” This column is a short list of the books on the different martial arts and related subjects that have helped me in my own studies, and that I would like to recommend to you. Several are very well known, maybe even classics. Some may be obscure to people who haven’t read much about martial culture or military history. A few may even be a little far afield of the “usual” list of likely suspects in a martial arts rag and are examples of my personal taste. Still, I can honestly say that I think these books have been useful, thought-provoking, and good friends. Dunno if they’ll give you all the answers you ever wanted, but I’ll bet they will help you ask a few of the right questions.

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  1. Would add “The Book of Five Rings” – Musashi, “Hagakure” – Yamato, “Military Methods” – Sun Pin, “The Chrysanthemum and the Sword”- Benedict, and “Giving In To Get Your Way” by Terry Dobson.

  2. Tom Collings says:

    I would add to the list: How We Won The War by North Vietnamese General Giap, hard to find but worth the search.

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