3 Must-Read Martial Arts Books in 2023

Sep 25, 2023
A. J. Riot

To paraphrase the words of Ben Okri, reading is one of the greatest acts of civilization because it takes the free raw material of the mind and builds castles of possibilities. This is the essence of book reading and why people read so many books even in today’s digital age. You can only go so far with watching videos or just by talking to people. At some point, you’ll have to pick up a book if you really want to broaden your horizons.

Martial arts is more than just kicks and punches, it’s an art form that teaches you several other things besides self-defense, including self-discipline, control, and humility.

If you were to learn any martial arts techniques, you may be inclined to watch videos online or join a dojo, but you shouldn’t sleep on books either. To make things easier, we’ve made a list of some of the best books you can read to learn more about martial arts classified into different categories. You don’t necessarily have to get a hardcover or a paperback when you can get most of these on Kindle and Audiobook for much cheaper and even free in some cases.

Since Kindle and audiobooks require a working internet connection to view and download the books, make sure your internet service is working properly. If you’re not particularly satisfied with your current internet service provider (ISP), consider switching to Comcast Xfinity, which offers blazing-fast speeds at amazing prices. Once that is out of the way, you can start exploring the following books.

Karate: The Art of Empty Hand Fighting – martial arts technique

Written by Hidetaka Nishiyama, this book revolves around Shotokan Karate, which is one of the most popular techniques used worldwide. The author starts with the history of Karate and moves on to the basic principles, training exercises, and various Karate techniques. You’ll also get to learn how to defend yourself against weapons.

What’s beautiful about this book is that it’s not just text. The book has over one thousand illustrations so you know the correct body form and techniques.

The author emphasizes the importance of starting from the basics and mastering them before diving any deeper. In addition, the book also focuses on behavioral elements like discipline, respect, and perseverance. It’s one of the most essential resources for anyone looking to learn more about Karate.

The Art of War – martial arts mindset and philosophy

This is probably among one of the most popular books worldwide that’s been translated into a lot of languages. It was originally written by Sun Tzu, a high-ranking military general, in Chinese, but you can easily find the English version. Keep in mind that this book was written over 2500 years ago, and it’s still being read even today.

The book was formalized as the Seven Military Classics by Shen Kuo in 1080, and it remains one of the most influential war strategy books in both East and West.

The Art of War has 13 chapters, each catering to a different aspect of warfare and how it applies to military strategy. The main idea is that actual victory in any war is achieved without fighting, and the author has discussed the strategies in detail. Obviously, you aren’t going to war, but the theme and strategies described in the book largely coincide with martial arts and you can just as easily use those here.

Fight Like a Physicist – the science behind martial arts

Authored by Jason Thalken, Fight Like a Physicist explores the science behind martial arts techniques and how you can turn these insights into becoming a better fighter. The book is divided into two parts with the first covering the basic principles like center of mass, momentum, and energy.

The second part integrates these principles into different martial arts techniques like punches, kicks, and blocks. The main idea is to familiarize yourself with the science behind these techniques so you can use them to your advantage. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about martial arts and the physics behind human movement.


This concludes some of the best books you can read in 2023 to learn more about martial arts. We’ve covered different categories from the techniques of martial arts to mindset, the science behind it, and of course some fiction from the world of martial arts. All of these books are available on Amazon, with most of them available in multiple formats for your convenience. Be sure to give them a read and if you’re interested in getting started with martial arts, you can explore the different articles and guides on our website.