Sports Theory books are generally modern in scope but provide guidance on mental and physical topics of interest to the SCA fighter.
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Golf is Not a Game of Perfect, Dr. Bob Rotella, 1996, ISBN 068480364X, $17
Caitilín says: This was intended as golfing book; however the lessons have great value to archery as well as fencing. Its lessons help one to train to be in the zone. Being in the zone makes our performance in competition effortless, automatic, fluid and easy. This is often a hard lesson with all of the internal performance pressures we place on ourselves or allow other to do so for us.
Zen in the Martial Arts, Joe Hyams, 1982, ISBN 0553275593, $7
Caitilín says: This is a quick read and one you will find yourself reading over and over again. Each chapter is a life lesson that we all face in our pursuit of learning martial arts paired with a story. The lessons hold true throughout any martial artist’s career but it written for the beginner. I recommend reading one chapter at a time, letting it digest over a long period and then moving to the next one. Besides then you will know what all of us mean when we say “my cup is full” and to “lengthen your line.”
The Book of Martial Power, Steven J. Pearlman, 2008, ISBN 1585679445, $14
Caitilín says: This book answers tha age old question of whose style is the best. The answer being that no individual style will achieve victory in any given situation. Therefore it encourages one to train to be efficient in executing the underlying principles of technique to achieve victory. Not understanding this concept is what in my opinion keeps some mid-level historical fencers from moving up to that next level. This book divides these principles into four sections: theory, physio-kinetics, technique and philosophy. This is a great book to help understand the principles behind our techniques and open the door to help one understand how to adapt and apply them to a variety of situations.
Budo Mind and Body: Training Secrets of the Japanese Martial Arts, Nicklaus Suino, 2007, ISBN 0834805731, $12
Caitilín says: Start here. If you are new to learning any martial arts or teaching them, start here. If you are not new to learning martial arts or teaching them, start here anyways. This book breaks down the training process and describes the physically and mental process of training. It also includes some descriptions of pitfalls that await. It is a medium length but easy read.
Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee, 1974, ASIN B004VMEILU, $9
Caitilín says: This is collection of tips, observations and philosophy from Bruee Lee. It’s not something you read all at once, but it can be very helpful in trying to connect the dots behind the principles of fighting.
Principles of Athletic Training: A Competency-Based Approach, William Prentice, 2013, ISBN 0078022649, $180
Caitilín says: This is a college text book for those going in sport science. It’s going to break training, mindset, and development. If you want to understand how training works and build an effective program this book will it out.
Buy Principles of Athletic Training: A Competency-Based Approach
The Human Operating System: An Owner’s Manual, Senn Delaney, 2008, ISBN 0963601857, $4
Caitilín says: This book is actually written for the business world. However many of the physiological barriers we face in business can be seen in everyday life and our historic training endeavors. This one is again a quick easy read with entertaining captions that drive home the points of each section. This book is designed to help you evaluate your roadblocks, change your pattern of thinking and make your new pattern of behavior a way of life. As training guide for fencing this can be helpful to focus your training, make it consistent and balanced.
Buy The Human Operating System: An Owner’s Manual
Winning Teams–Winning Cultures, Larry Senn, Jim Hart, 2006, ISBN 0578071622, $15
Caitilín says: This goes hand in hand, with the Human operating system above. Again written for the business world, but its lessons are about creating changes and learning principles that directly apply fencing.
Buy Winning Teams–Winning Cultures
Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, David Halberstam, 2000, ISBN 0767904443, $15
Caitilín says: A well written biography of Michael Jordan. One of the key things we learn from this book was the steps Michael made that lead to his success. Michael was not always the strongest player on his team, but easily the hardest working one.
Buy Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made
Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool, 2016, ISBN 0544947223, $11
Llwyd says: Readable and accessible book with lots of fascinating case studies on how people succeed and fail at practice and training. An interesting read for its own sake and very applicable to learning and advancing in our sport.
Dante says: All other methodologies are doomed to failure.
Buy Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise
Fear is the Mind Killer: How to Build a Training Culture that Fosters Strength and Resilience, Kaja Sadowski, 2019, ISBN-10: 1999066308, $12
Llwyd says: Excellent book! I recommend this book to any martial arts instructor. There is some content that is more applicable to a formal commercial school than a club with a more ad hoc structure, but the vast majority of the discussion has universal application. I gained a lot of insight into the needs of non-traditional martial arts students that I hope will improve my interactions with them in the future.