Bad Martial Arts Books


I 'hang out' on the rec.martial-arts newsgroup, and once in a while, someone writes something that deserves a wider audience. I asked the author of this commentary, Mr. Busman, if I could post this here, and he agreed. If it saves you the worthless price of one book, it will have been worth it.


Please Post YOUR least favorite martial arts titles and why!!

****Below is My Opinion Only!****

"World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets" by Count Dante (aka, John Keehan). This book promises a lot, and delivers crap. Count Dante shows you 1001 ways to rip the skin off your opponents face. Booklet sold to adolescent kids (who didn't know they weren't getting the real thing) through comic books during the '60's & '70's, illegally reprinted by Ashida Kim (real name: Chris Hunter) in the '80's & '90's. Reading level: Grade 2

"Shaolin Kung Fu" by Choo Meng. Lousy drawings, professes to teach techniques with names such as "Shaolin Fist of Fury". Gag. Reprinted later by McLisa Publications without giving credit to original author by H.C. Chao, and retitles "Shaolin Internal and External Kung Fu". Reading level: Grade 3.

"Book of the Ninja" by Christopher Hunter (aka "Ashida Kim"), anything else by "Ashida Kim". A partial rip off on Dante's earlier 88 page schlockfest, introduces new ninja myths during the ninja boom. Worth having to see how silly Christopher Hunter really looks, especially in the "Author" shot in the end of the book with his little mustache, Chinese sword, and funny tunic. A chuckle indeed for the depressed in need.

"Dragon's Touch", "Advanced Dragon's Touch", etc. ANYTHING by Hei Long. This stuff is tae kwon do packaged as an "Ancient martial art". The first book shows models dressed in fancy white ninja uniforms complete w/face masks - and executing TKD type strikes on one another. Later editions show the same unoriginal techniques with boring no-frills drawings - which wouldn't be so bad if they were of any use.

"The Secret Man" by Frank Dux. Dux describes his secret spy and ninja fantasies in detail, including missions he DIDN'T do for the CIA and secret death matches that NEVER happened. Publisher has since dropped his contract in light of his inability to be truthful.

"Atemi: The Forgotten Art" by Irving Soto. This book is comical - the author studied generic forms of jujutsu in NYC, and then concocted a story about having been trained by Japanese monks in laundromats as a kid, a Shaolin Monk in NYC, and eventually becoming the TOP DISCIPLE of a "Grandmaster Yamamoto", a guy who's first name he says he can't remember although he studied under him for 18 years in Japan. Funny, because the cover of his book includes badly copied gibberish kanji, and he constantly mixes up and misused common Japanese terminology for kenjutsu and kendo. Soto has copied Dux in claiming to have fought in "Kumite" matches in Japan, but in actuality never set foot in the land and when queried about being able to supply proof of his endeavors, responds with the bristling threats of a spurned porcupine. Badly written sad book by a man who proclaims on the back cover, "I am the last heir to the secret lost art of Atemi". Hey Irv - Atemi is a concept, not an "art".

"Mitose's In Search of Kenpo" by James Matayoshi Mitose. For some reason this book sells for mucho dinero on e-bay. It is a badly written plagiarized 60 page booklet with large print, bad stories, and unflattering illustrations. The attempt of a convicted felon (murder, conspiracy to commit murder, etc.) to teach morality. To be fair, Mitose's English was said to be none so great, and this book appears to be more of a tribute by his dedicated second generation students--and as such (and being out of print), a collector's item.

Bruce Tegner Books, although they served their purpose in their day and are not completely without value. There are some errors in the judo book (misnaming of a technique), and the karate book includes a section on kata which appear to be VERY unpolished for Tegner's rank (well, he only had an HONORARY 5th dan in Shukokai Karate...), although this may be due in part to primitive photography.

"The Art of Jeet-Kung-Tao" by Jack T. Tsirakis. post-Bruce Lee (1977) half-arsed kung fu crapola. The section on training kids features the author's little son, and borders on cruelty and abuse (not beating the lad or anything - just stupid, unsafe methods). Uniforms complete with generic kung fu patches, walls complete with Bruce Lee posters. Awwwright....

"Introduction to Universal School of Street Fighting Art Of Survival" by Frank de Gourville. Mixes, matches, and mixes up Korean and Japanese terminology, evidently out of ignorance. Dan ranks, from 1-10 are: sho, ni, san, sa, oh, chil, yup, pal, hachi, kaiden. 9th dan is called "hachi" (which is actually Japanese for 8). Some techniques appear questionable, but the models are young and vigorous. Author at least admits, "I mastered my own system by visiting dojos around the United States and overseas, and by observing the performances of great martial artists, including Master Moses Powell, Master David Brooks... Benny Urquidez, Master Joe Lewis, and Mr. Steve Sanders (BKF). I have studied the art of Jiu-Jitsu for over 8 years, and presently hold the rank of Chil-Dan (6th degree black belt)." Chil-dan is Korean for SEVENTH dan.

Most early mail order and WWII era "jiu-jitsu" booklets, such as "Police Jiu Jitsu" and "50 Simple Tricks..." but they don't actually outright lie. "Ketsugo" is another one--any of the "teach yourself" pulp booklets (I'm not referring to the modern Teach Yourself series, which includes good basic info for beginners of karate and judo).

"The Pinnacle of Karate" and " Karate do: The Supreme Truth" by Robert Trias, which are printed on low-quality photocopy paper, also "The Hand is my Sword" by Robert Trias. Trias may have been a karate Pioneer in being the first person to publicly teach in the U.S. but it is debateable as to how much he actually knew when he began teaching. Virtually all of his ranks were political gifts from Japanese masters wishing to make inroads in the U.S., Trias never tested for a rank. Much of the knowledge in his books is a hodge-podge of facts and myths mixed together, rarely citing sources. Some of the methods for executing techniques are questionable (and have since changed). Good for those interested in U.S. Karate Movements, bad for those seeking a "legitimate lineage" (reaching back to Japan) karate, as Trias's system is not traceable but a unique blend of systems, most of the kata being learned from fellow US martial artists.

"The Zen of Kenpo" by Ed Parker, Parker's 5 vol. "Infinite Insights" kenpo series. "Zen" is little more than a personal glossary of fuzzy quotes. The 5 vol. series is far from a complete waste, but offers a bunch of "kenpo zone" theories & such with no attempt to offer a formula. It seems that a man with Parker's years could have done better and included more in such a lengthy series.

"China's Ninja Connection" by Lin Kuei. Another white guy taking a Chinese pen name in an attempt to pass of his six months of training in "Chinese Kenpo" as mastery in ninjutsu (see Christopher Hunter, Ashida Kim). Badly written and downright embarrassingly SILLY. Who publishes this stuff? Oh, Paladin again....

"The Martial Arts and Real Life" by Fred Villari. Says absolutely nothing in 100+ pages. Written by another self promoted expert kenpo 10th dan.

"The Boddhisatva Warriors" by "shifu" Nagaboshi Tomio (real name: Terrance Dukes, no apparent relation to Frank Dux other than problems telling the truth). Founder of the homemade Mushindo Karate movement, never studied under a legitimate teacher, or any martial art teacher, never set foot in Asia, completely disproven, shown to have plagiarized many photos and other materials from other published written sources. Of course he claims to have studied under masters in Tibet, and been a disciple of Okinawan Karate teachers - since disproven by such worthy sources as Gorge Mattson, et al. Was involved in an abusive sex scandal with several female students a few years back ("Sleep with me and I'll enlighten you" kinda thing), uses abusive and coercive tactics to control what ex-students say at him, a propaganda liemaster. This book is awful--he quotes secret manuscripts relating to Gichen Funakoshi's teachers, yet has a record of plagiarizing and can't name a single organization in Asia that exists which recognises or remembers him. Not worth your money. Worth seeing some of the Phony Mushindo websites though for the evidence!!

Well, that's a partial list. I really need to get some shuteye.

Take Care All,

M.C. Busman