Let’s agree on one thing right away – Christmas is way too over-commercialized. I don’t watch a ton of TV, but every time I turn it on from October through December I am subjected to generic versions of Santa giving away cars, toys, jewelry…you name it. If I have to see one more teary eyed engagement ring commercial (Ohh my god! Yes! This proposal is so surprising and spontaneous!) I’m going to cut my TV in half with a single clean katana stroke.

tv cut

Despite our persistent cultural momentum of ruining things that are nice, the actual spirit of gift-giving remains pure. Showing thoughtfulness and insight in a gift remains just as valuable as monetary cost, despite marketing efforts to prick our egos into believing otherwise.

It’s with that spirit in mind that I would like to present some martial arts gift ideas for this holiday season. Books on Bruce lee and famous quotes from Chinese philosophers are too easy and obvious. I want to go a little deeper and provide some unique options that the martial artist in your life may have never considered (or even heard of). These gifts come from a variety of resources and websites that I have worked with both presently and in the past.

Enjoy, and happy holidays to you and yours!

Cool Martial Art Book Gifts

_ Okinawa No Bushi No Te– Ronald Lindsey  _ This book represents decades of study and research by Ronald Lindsey Sensei, a senior practitioner of Matsumura Seito Karatedo. In addition to deeper historical studies on karate, Lindsey Sensei provides unique insight into the world of White Crane and how it relates to karate. He also explores theories on fighting strategy and tactics gleaned from the teachers of karate before the intregration of sport and school system alterations.
Tai Chi Chin Na– Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming For individuals looking for step-by-step technique advice, this book by noted expert Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming is for you. Tai Chi Chin Na takes aspects of the popular and restorative art of Tai Chi and explores some of the grappling and off-balancing nuances of it. If you’re interested in the grappling aspects of softer Chinese arts – here you go.
Research of Martial Arts– Jonathan Bluestein This book is rich with information. I haven’t personally made it all the way through yet. I include it on this list though because I think it is a good all-around gift for someone who isn’t a style-specific practitioner. There are plenty of short “wisdom tidbits” as well as deep research to keep most martial artists happy.
The Art of the Japanese Sword– Kapp / Yoshihara I wanted to include this book because it is beautiful in its own right. This is definitely a coffee table book, filled with beautiful images and skillful layout that will impress anyone leafing through it. Besides the aesthetics, it has deep and valuable information on the construction and appreciation of the Japanese Katana.

Cool Martial Art DVD Gifts

_ Meridian Qigong– Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming _ I’m really happy to include this item on the list because it is healing in nature. We spend a lot of time on destruction in the martial arts but we sometimes neglect how to repair others and ourselves. This DVD includes a routine of yoga stretches, qigong movements, and acupressure technique to create a daily restorative and healing practice. The best part is most of is done sitting or lying down!
Facing Violence– Rory Miller Rory Miller is my go-to thought leader for modern violence and the law. I consider his books and DVDs complimentary to one another, although I really like hearing him speak and explain things in his videos. He has a way of outlining complex theories on violence in a retainable way, which is key for potentially high stress situations.

Cool Gear and Mementos

japanese hanko seals _ Hanko Signature Seals _ I’m tempted to get one of these for myself. These are personalized Hanko stamp seals that can be used on certificates, letters, promotion certifications, etc.
chinese kanji fans Stocking Stuffers This is a catch-all if you need a bunch of little martial arts items to give to kids on your classes or as giveaways at a party. Neat little trinkets!
kubotan Spiral Kubotan A fantastic and cost-effective gift. This is a small self defense implement that packs a mean punch. Avoid getting on airplanes with it, but otherwise have it on your keys where you go.
 dit da jow Dit Da Jow If you or someone you know has an interest in body toughening as part of martial arts training, Dit Da Jow has to become a staple of that training. Good Jow can not only speed recovery from impacts and injuries, it can also help ease problems like arhtritis. Plum Dragon Herbs is where I go for my Jow, but more importantly I know a few people who are way smarter than me that use Plum Dragon too. Check out the links to the left for their special buy 2 get 1 one free offer.


I hope these ideas have helped in your Christmas shopping. If you have any great gift ideas that might help other readers, be sure to include them in the comments below!