Tag Archives: bjj


About Those Martial Arts Books…

I’m occasionally asked by a student or friend, “What’s the best book to learn X?” where X is some martial art or skill. There’s a real simple answer.

None of them.

There’s no way to learn a complex martial skill from a book. There’s just too much hidden knowledge, too much subtlety for it to ever boil down perfectly to some words and a series of still images.

That being said, I’ve got dozens of martial arts texts. Here’s a picture of my desk:

The books that currently live on my desk.

The books that currently live on my desk.

That image begs the question, why have them if you can’t learn technique from them? Those books are really good to remind you what you’ve already learned.

It’s really difficult to learn a new form from a book or to master a complex takedown. However, once you’ve seen it from an experienced instructor, once your body knows the motion, the book becomes valuable. Should my hand be on the sleeve or the lapel? Is that a back stance or a tiger stance there? Do I grab over or under my own cane? That’s the time that these books really pay off.

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Taekwondo: Complete WTF Forms by Marc Tedeschi – Easily, hands down, the best reference for WTF forms you will ever find. Each form is presented in tables, summary photos, and then detailed photos. The book also presents applications for some portions of forms. My only criticism is that these applications tend toward the interpretation that blocks are actually blocks and have some very questionable explanations for things like scissor block, half-mountain block,etc.
  • Complete Tang Soo Do Vol. 1 by Ho Sik Pak – Not quite as comprehensive at Tedeschi’s book for WTF Taekwondo, this book is a great reference for Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan.
  • Modern Arnis: The Filipino Art of Stick Fighting by Remy Presas – This slim little volume is a great reference on the basics of Arnis. It’s wonderful, particularly for early learning, on angles of attack, disarms, and basic sinawali.
  • 75 Down Blocks: Refining Karate Technique by Rick Clark – Recommended to me by Master Jason Ladd, this is a great book to introduce people to the ideas of bunkai/bunseok. Rick Clark lays out 75 different ways that a low block could be interpreted. Not all are amazing, but seeing that amount of breadth in what is often the first technique taught to new students is fun.

Of course, everyone has their own list of critical texts. Use the comments to share your own.


All About Arm Locks – January 28

Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness is excited to announce that we will be hosting a Brazilian JiuJitsu(BJJ) seminar focused on arm locks on January 28, 2017 from 11AM to 1:30PM.

Professor Geoff Balme of Open Guard BJJ will be joining us to cover all types of arm locks from a variety of positions. We’ll be exploring the arm bar, Kimura, americana, and more from a variety of positions.

Professor Balme is a second degree black belt under Roberto Maia of BoProfessor Geoff Balmeston Brazilian JiuJitsu with twenty-five years of experience. His seminars are dynamic experiences that both introduce material for newer students but dives deep into detail and variations for experienced ones.

During the seminar Professor Balme will cover various locks on the arm from a variety of positions giving attendees tools from guard, mount, and side. A question and answer session at the end of the seminar will provide time to develop tools and after-seminar training for specific scenarios.

This seminar is available to all skill levels and styles. Don’t miss this opportunity to train with one of the most experienced instructors in the area!

This seminar is open to all adult students. Students under 18 years old may be allowed with Master Amerson’s permission and a direct recommendation from their instructor. Prior to the seminar, all attendees will need to sign our liability waiver which can be reviewed here.

Contact us if you have questions, (919)307-KICK(5425) or email masteramerson@gmail.com.