We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.Β Learn more.

Step onto the mat and immerse yourself in tales where karate’s discipline and dynamism unfold in text.

Explore the wisdom of senseis and the personal growth of karatekas through our handpicked collection, offering insights into the art’s deep teachings, intricate techniques, and spirit.

Ready to engage with the finest karate literature waiting to be discovered?

Best Karate Books:

  1. Karate-Do: My Way of Life
  2. Karate-Do Kyohan: The Master Text
  3. Best Karate, Vol.1: Comprehensive
  4. The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate: The Spiritual Legacy of the Master
  5. Dynamic Karate
  6. Karate Fighting Techniques: The Complete Kumite
  7. The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do
  8. Karate: The Art of “Empty-Hand” Fighting
  9. Moving Zen: Karate as a Way to Gentleness

#1 Karate-Do: My Way of Life

  • ✍️ Author: Gichin Funakoshi
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1975
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Biographies and Autobiographies

In “Karate-Do: My Way of Life,” Gichin Funakoshi, the father of modern karate, narrates his journey and the evolution of karate. This autobiography offers readers insights into not just the technical aspects of martial arts but also its philosophy and the life lessons it embodies.

It is an inspiring read that provides a deeper understanding of the discipline and dedication behind karate, making it an essential book for practitioners and enthusiasts alike.

#2 Karate-Do Kyohan: The Master Text

  • ✍️ Author: Gichin Funakoshi
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1973
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching

“Karate-Do Kyohan: The Master Text” is a comprehensive guide by Gichin Funakoshi, regarded as a seminal work in karate instruction. This manual provides detailed explanations of techniques, kata, and the philosophical principles of karate.

An indispensable resource for students and instructors, it captures the essence of the art as envisaged by the master himself and serves as an authoritative reference for the Shotokan style.

#3 Best Karate, Vol.1: Comprehensive

  • ✍️ Author: Masatoshi Nakayama
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1977
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching

“Best Karate, Vol.1: Comprehensive” by Masatoshi Nakayama is a detailed introduction to the fundamentals of karate. As the first volume in an extensive series, it covers basic techniques, etiquette, and exercises, providing a solid foundation for beginners.

The book is richly illustrated and offers clear, step-by-step instructions, making it an excellent resource for students and instructors seeking guidance on the essentials of karate practice.

#4 The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate: The Spiritual Legacy of the Master

  • ✍️ Author: Gichin Funakoshi
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1938 (Japanese); 2003 (English Translation)
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching, History

Gichin Funakoshi’s “The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate” delves into the philosophical and ethical foundations of karate. Translated into English long after it was originally written, the book outlines the twenty precepts that all practitioners should follow, blending martial artistry with a moral compass.

This thought-provoking work transcends physical practice, offering wisdom and perspective on the mental and spiritual aspects of karate, and is considered an essential read for any serious karateka.

#5 Dynamic Karate

  • ✍️ Author: Masatoshi Nakayama
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1966
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching

“Dynamic Karate” by Masatoshi Nakayama offers deep insight into the techniques and movements that define Shotokan karate. Intended for practitioners seeking to refine their skills, the book emphasizes the importance of form, balance, and power.

Complete with photographs and descriptions, it serves as a detailed guide for those dedicated to mastering the dynamism and effectiveness of karate techniques.

#6 Karate Fighting Techniques: The Complete Kumite

  • ✍️ Author: Hirokazu Kanazawa
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 2004
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching

In “Karate Fighting Techniques: The Complete Kumite,” Hirokazu Kanazawa, a renowned karate master, focuses on kumiteβ€”the sparring aspect of karate.

This instructional book provides a systematic approach to understanding and applying the tactics and strategies necessary for successful combat. With detailed photographs and Kanazawa’s expert commentary, this book is a valuable resource for those looking to elevate their fighting skills and comprehension of kumite.

#7 The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do

  • ✍️ Author: Shoshin Nagamine
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1976
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching, History

“The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do” by Shoshin Nagamine presents the history, techniques, and spirit of Okinawan karate. It is an in-depth exploration of this martial art, offering a rich blend of historical context and practical application.

Nagamine, a highly respected figure in karate, shares insights into kata, self-defense, and the philosophy that elevates karate beyond mere physical exercise.

#8 Karate: The Art of “Empty-Hand” Fighting

  • ✍️ Author: Hidetaka Nishiyama and Richard C. Brown
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1960
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Strategy and Coaching

“Karate: The Art of ‘Empty-Hand’ Fighting” by Hidetaka Nishiyama and Richard C. Brown stands as one of the most influential books on karate in the English language.

This comprehensive guide covers a wide range of topics from techniques and training methods to the philosophy behind the martial art. Ideal for both beginning and advanced students, it remains a classic reference that effectively conveys the depth and breadth of karate.

#9 Moving Zen: Karate as a Way to Gentleness

  • ✍️ Author: C.W. Nicol
  • πŸ“† Year Published: 1975
  • πŸ“˜ Genre: Biographies and Autobiographies

“Moving Zen: Karate as a Way to Gentleness” is a captivating account of C.W. Nicol’s personal experience with karate.

This biographical narrative takes the reader on a journey through Japan as he immerses himself in the culture and discipline of karate, ultimately discovering the art’s potential for promoting inner harmony and gentleness. This book is an enlightening exploration of the transformative power of karate on the human spirit.

For auditory learners, complement your reading with insightful discussions found in the best karate podcasts.

FAQ

What are the best Karate books of all time?

“Karate-Do: My Way of Life” by Gichin Funakoshi, “Karate-Do Kyohan: The Master Text” by Gichin Funakoshi, “The Twenty Guiding Principles of Karate” by Gichin Funakoshi, “Karate Fighting Techniques: The Complete Kumite” by Hirokazu Kanazawa, and “The Shotokan Karate Bible: Beginner to Black Belt” by Ashley P. Martin are the best Karate books of all time. These books offer deep knowledge about the philosophy, techniques, and history of Karate.

What is the best Karate book for adults?

“Karate-Do: My Way of Life” by Gichin Funakoshi is the best Karate book for adults, as it provides a detailed look into the life and philosophy of the master who brought Karate to the modern world.

What are the best books for Karate fundamentals and strategy?

“Karate-Do Kyohan: The Master Text” by Gichin Funakoshi and “Karate Fighting Techniques: The Complete Kumite” by Hirokazu Kanazawa are the best books for Karate fundamentals and strategy, providing comprehensive instruction on techniques and their practical application in combat.


Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments