April 19, 2024



Karate Books – What Books to Use to Learn Karate

I guess at least for beginners. After tens of years of practicing Karate like I did, it doesn’t sound strange at all anymore. Here’s why:

Humans tend to learn quicker and easier when they are either very curios about a topic or if the brain is able to ‘connect dots’. This means that when the newly learned content fits in already learned material the brain is able to associate it with an existing context and hence it’s easier for the brain to retain the new material. And that’s exactly what a course in miracles offer: Background information and additional material to already existing knowledge.

Hence Karate books are a great way to enhance your understanding of Karate and to learn quicker because you understand and associate newly learned material with an already existing knowledge-context.

I tend to divide Karate books into the following categories:

  • Kihon
  • Kata
  • Kumite
  • Strategy
  • History
  • Dictionaries

Karate techniques can be covered in Kata, Kumite or Kihon books if they are style specific. Advanced techniques can also be covered in general Kumite or (Fighting) Strategy books which are also either style specific or Karate style agnostic.

What to Expect of Books in those Categories

Here’s quick rundown on what to expect if you are looking for Karate books in a specific section.

Kihon Karate Books

Books in this section focus on basics. The emphasis is on the correct stances and techniques. Correct techniques include punches (usually fist in beginner books or also open hand techniques or even more special two or one finger techniques like Ippon Ken).

Books in this section tend to either come as several volumes or as a single comprehensive book.

Karate Kata Books

Books in this section are highly likely to be style specific. The reason is that different styles tend to either have completely different Katas or at least different names for the same Kata (often the case if you compare Shito-Ryu and Shotokan Katas).

Kumite Karate Books

Book on Karate Kumite can be style specific or completely style agnostic. Usually pictures will show different fighting stances and positions of hands and movements, but in a style agnostic book it merely reflects the fighters liking.

Strategy Books

Strategy books are most likely Karate style agnostic. Those books usually teach about how to behave in fighting situations or how to behave in a Karate competition.

Karate History Books

Books in this category cover the history and early developments and all the Karate masters involved in the development. Depending on which style they cover and how far they go back in time they most likely will cover associated martial arts as well like e.g. Kung-Fu.