It’s that time of year again. Time for Martial Arts Santa to make his appearance!

martial arts santa

For those of you who remember the previous exploits of Martial Arts Santa, thanks for sticking around the blog for so long! This year he’s going to focus on that wonderful tradition of gift-giving.

As opposed to normal martial arts gifts like a new bo or a copy of “Karate-Do: My Way of Life” (great book btw), M.A.Santa is going to dig a little deeper and try to recommend some resources and items that the martial artist in your life may not have heard of.

Whether you need some fresh ideas for yourself or a loved one, check out these M.A.Santa approved items:



In 1609 the Shimazu Clan of Satsuma, Japan staged a bold takeover of the Ryukyu island chain. Unfortunately, most karate resources briefly mention the event, state that the Shimazu reinforced weapons bans on the island, and move on.

This excellent book delves deeply into the details of the conflict, exploring the military capabilities of both the Japanese and the Okinawans.




Richard Kim is a very well known researcher and practitioner of the classical arts. He had a large impact on the development of western martial arts.

In this book, Kim Sensei tells a series of stories that illustrate the character, skill, and mindset of classical individuals throughout our collective martial past.

Included are stories of Funakoshi, Musashi, Higashionna, Miyagi, and more.




When I first began my sword training, my instructor recommended this book to me. It was a real game changer! The author, Dave Lowry, is a highly respected researcher and storyteller in the realm of Koryu arts.

In this book, he explains the unlikely circumstances of how he met a true Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Master and became a disciple of the art.




If you’re in the first few years of karate training, or would just like to establish a better understanding of history, “Okinawa: Island of Karate” might be a good choice for you.

This DVD, presented by George Alexander Sensei, provides a quality walkthrough of karate and kobudo history. Also featured are unique video clips from old masters, and a trip through Okinawa’s Budokan Museum.




my journey with the grandmaster

It’s quite likely that this is my favorite martial arts documentary of all time.

“Budo, the Art of Killing” was filmed in the late 70s and features high level experts in a multitude of Japanese and Okinawan arts.

The thing that makes this documentary special is that it touches upon the heart of each art and doesn’t get caught up in gimmickry.

Bill Hayes Sensei tells an amazing story in his book “My Journey with the Grandmaster”.

This book provides discussion of concept, mindset, and spirit, mixed with personal experiences of the author on Okinawa.

If you are interested in acquiring a copy, please print out this order form or contact Hayes Sensei directly with a book request.


These are all top shelf resources and I hope you’ve seen something here that you’ve never seen before.

Happy gift giving!