How Reading Helps Your Martial Arts Journey

One of the greatest things you can do for your mind is read. It doesn’t even matter what you read – fiction, non-fiction, comic books, newspapers, magazines, etc. Just read. Not only is it great for the mind, but also it is relaxing and makes you more intelligent. It can help you learn to read better, write better, and speak better. If you are not already an avid reader, I challenge you to start reading everyday even if it’s only 10 minutes a day for starters.

Martial arts are not just about physical training. There is just as much mental training in a qualified martial arts school as there is physical training. Since my primary art is American Kenpo, I will keep the theme of this article in that direction, but it doesn’t matter what style of martial arts you take, this all pertains to you as well. If you are a martial arts student and would like to learn more and get better, read martial arts books. You can start with books about your style. If you study judo, read as many books about judo as you can. If you study wing chun, read as many books about wing chun that you can.

In my students’ case, there are many great books out there regarding American Kenpo beginning with any book written by Ed Parker – the founder of American Kenpo. You may also want to read about other styles so that you can get an idea of what they are about. Always keep an open mind in the martial arts and don’t fall into the “my style is the best” routine. No style is superior. It’s more on the individual and the instructor. The style itself is only the tool. You have to learn how to use that tool correctly, and you have to have somebody who really knows how to teach that tool teach you how to use it. Some people know how to use the tool but don’t know how to teach it. They might kick okay but can’t teach very well. Then there are some who aren’t that great physically but they are awesome teachers and they can make you great. Once you know how to use that tool, now you have to be able to do it in a chaotic environment. So that shows you that the tool is just a tool. The style is just the style. There are a lot of really bad taekwondo black belts out there. Then there are some phenomenal taekwondo black belts as well. It’s not taekwondo. It’s the individual.

You should want to learn as much as possible about your style and reading is one of the best ways to do that. If you are unsure what books to buy, ask your instructor if he or she has any recommendations. To assist the American Kenpo practitioner, I will put a list of recommended reading at the end of this article. I will also include a direct link to my books, because they are obviously at the top of my list.

I hope you are all enjoying your journey and if you already read on a regular basis, good for you. Keep up the great work. If you aren’t much of a reader, give it a try. The more you learn about martial arts the better. If you have any questions feel free to email me at You can also check out Below is a list of recommended reading for the American Kenpo practitioner.

Martial Intellect – Michael Miller

Legends of Kenpo: Rainer Schulte – Michael Miller

Legends of Kenpo: Sean Kelley – Michael Miller

Infinite Insights Into Kenpo Volumes 1-5  – Ed Parker

The Zen of Kenpo – Ed Parker

The Encyclopedia of Kenpo – Ed Parker

The Journey – Tom Bleecker

The International Journey – Tom Bleecker

Lessons with Ed Parker – Lee Wedlake

Kenpo Karate 101 – Lee Wedlake

The Kenpo Karate Compendium – Lee Wedlake


There are others but this is a good start. Once you have read all of them, contact me and I will recommend more.

Here is a direct link to my three books on amazon (you will have to cut and paste it). Keep an eye out for my future books as well.