Top 8 Best Martial Arts Biographies to Inspire Yourself
Martial arts do, indeed, represent actual art. It is fascinating to watch and even more exciting to practice. Whether you love the discipline associated with martial arts or you want to start practicing, learning from others’ personal experiences is a must, especially when you learn from someone with an incredible reputation. All in all, here are some of the best martial arts biographies to inspire yourself and learn a few ideas that will help you maintain your discipline.
Now, there are a few giants in this industry – names like Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris have inspired everyone out there. But then, there are less known martial arts experts who can also give you some good hints about what to expect from this industry.
My Walk on the Aikido Path, by Rachel Kling
Published in 2021, Rachel Kling’s story will give you a deep insight on how martial arts can change your life to 180 degrees. The literature in this book is given in a friendly and warm tone, but at the same time, it has a healing layout that will most likely help you discover your inner self. From many points of view, it is about finding something to heal yourself, but also to transform everything – this is what martial arts are about. Rachel Kling’s story is not all about martial arts, but it shows how the discipline has helped her.
The author is a survivor of severe childhood trauma. Unable to get over her childhood issues, she faced a mental breakdown as she became an adult. She tried to find one solution after another, but nothing really worked until she decided to try aikido. The modern Japanese martial arts is split into more subcategories and each of them has unique characteristics. The author has relied on martial arts to overcome the past and discover the discipline required to become a successful psychotherapist.
This story tells the reader how discipline and such strict practices will help people understand themselves. Proper dedication and consistency will also help readers find a way out of the darkness. The author makes it crystal clear – perseverance and mindfulness will most likely help people claim power back. Moreover, they help people rebuild themselves and find new goals in life. While not everyone may practice martial arts, the book shows how people can rebuild their lives for maximum fulfillment.
Be Water, My Friend, by Shannon Lee
Bruce Lee is one of the most representative figures of the martial arts industry. His daughter brings in some of his teachings to the world – some of the philosophies that show how far martial arts can take someone. The discipline and hard work will work wonders from a personal point of view. They boost personal growth and can help someone achieve the impossible in any aspect of life. Such teachings can be applied on a daily basis and could represent the structure of a solid lifestyle based on order and happiness.
Bruce Lee has gained notoriety as a martial arts expert and an actor. However, he was also a philosophical thinker. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. This is what he said in one of his most iconic interviews. He learned that martial arts are not just a form of exercise. Instead, the discipline associated with these arts can help later on in life and represent the basis of a fully accomplished life. This is what the author tries to underline in her book.
The book is structured into more chapters and each of them brings in a different teaching. Everything is about the be water philosophy. As you go through the book, you realize that being water makes your life feel more natural and brings you closer to nature and your ability to be free. Shannon Lee introduces the reader to these philosophies in a friendly and accessible manner. The book is easy to read and brings in some of Bruce Lee’s words and quotes. Not only is this book inspirational, but it also makes an outstanding call to action to lead your life in a different way.
The Way of the Light, by Georges St-Pierre
This book comes from one of the most prolific figures in the mixed martial arts industry. Often referred to as GSP, the author is a professional fighter who shows that the secret is not necessarily in athleticism and the actual strength. Instead, his success comes from within – his sense of purpose. He used to be a bullied child, but he discovered karate later on. Later on, he spent most of his life in the gym and became fascinated with mixed martial arts. He faced some severe injuries, but he managed to get back on his feet and become the world’s greatest champion. In this book, he reveals the secrets behind his success.
Georges’ book brings in various and appealing insights from people who know him better than everyone else. His mother, for instance, talks about how he was fascinated with discovering and mastering new skills as a child. His mentor also remembers his incredible sense of discipline. There are more words from people who trained Georges, including John Danaher and Firas Zahabi. Obviously, his training partner, manager and friend Rodolphe Beaulieu also has a few insights from the champion’s life before becoming famous.
The Way of the Fight is not necessarily a book for martial arts fans. Indeed, it is one of the best martial arts biographies out there, but it is a motivational and inspirational masterpiece. To Georges, everything in life is about competition. He explains how important discipline is in life, but he also talks about things that everyone has to deal with, such as fear or risk. He refers to inspirational sources from the Eastern philosophy and various fighting legends, but he also underlines the fact that perseverance and discipline will help change your life from all points of view.
Quitters Never Win, by Michael Bisping
Michael Bisping does not need too many presentations in the martial arts industry. He discovered his passion for fighting and discipline at a very early age. Being just eight when he started training, he managed to become one of the greatest talents of his time before even turning 15. At that point, he was enjoying his first competition and willing to go against older players with more experience. It was obvious that he was going to become a professional and he eventually joined the big league. He joined the UFC with one purpose in mind – getting a title.
Michael Bisping was a British underdog and often overlooked in his fights. He started impressing and causing unexpected surprises. The world started paying attention to him. It took him a decade of consistency, discipline, hard work and dedication to reach his goal. In 2016, he became the first ever British UFC champion. There are no doubts about it – hard work pays off and Michael Bisping has shown the whole world that consistency is the main key to success.
The martial arts legend began his venture training in random gyms around Lancashire. He mastered one skill after another. He started at the bottom and caused some of the most shocking fights in a cage. He tells the story behind his success and shows the raw reality behind closed doors. There are no filters in his book. He talks about the most difficult opponents, injuries and extraordinary wins. His backstage experience is truly extreme, but entertaining and candid. It is told in a comfortable and relaxing manner and can truly motivate you.
Karate-Do, by Gichin Funakoshi
Ages ago, karate was nothing but an art of self defense. It was a style of fight, but it was not offensive at all. It was associated with Okinawa and it was part of a secret society. These days, karate is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. The transition from one style to another has been extremely smooth and almost impossible to notice. Gichin Funakoshi has often been referred to as the father of karate-do and his book is one of the best martial arts biographies – a truly inspirational masterpiece that will help you understand this art better.
The author has always been known for his modest lifestyle and approach on life. He has never shared his vision and points of view while learning and teaching karate, but he waited until he was almost 90 years old. Based on Confucian classic training, the author was a schoolteacher and dedicated most of his life to the development of karate. He studied for decades, but eventually gave up his livelihood and started promoting the so called way of karate. He became one of the most respected guides of his times – manuals, techniques and strategies were refined to an incredible level.
There are numerous techniques that have never involved using weapons, especially around Okinawa. However, many of them have been lost and there are no records about them. The author aims to bring some of them back by quoting records from his masters and teachers. On another note, he redefines karate. He expresses karate in a completely different manner and his perseverance shows how far people can go with the right level of discipline and work. It is definitely a must read for anyone who loves martial arts.
My Fight / Your Fight, by Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey does not need too many presentations in the martial arts industry. Her life was not that easy, but hard work and dedication paid off. Later on, Ronda Rousey became an Olympic medalist in judo, showing that consistency can lead to incredible results. Furthermore, she became a prolific figure in the UFC. She is one of the most appreciated names in the fighting world and her fame has also landed her a few roles at Hollywood. Now, what does she have to say in her book and why is it rated among the best martial arts biographies?
The book is not just an inspirational masterpiece, but also a moving book with lots of emotional moments. If you have seen any interviews with Ronda Rousey, you will probably recognize her charm. She talks about some of the most difficult moments in her life, as well as how she managed to overcome them. If you think this book is about her life in the octagon, you are wrong – it brings in some real and tough challenges from her life behind the scenes too. She lost her father when she was only eight years old. She found relief in judo and this is what pushed her to fame.
Her UFC record stands out in the crowd and she openly talks about it. Believe it or not, the author is one of the strongest women out there. She now shares some of the lessons she had to learn the hard way. She teaches others how to be the best at whatever they do, including how to find inner peace, happiness, fulfillment and joy in random things. Everyone has limitations and Ronda openly talks about hers and how she has managed to get over them. This is certainly the type of book you could learn something from.
Notorious, by Jack Slack
If you have ever bothered to do a bit of research on Conor McGregor's life, you have probably been amazed by what this Dubliner has achieved within a few years in the UFC only. Believe it or not, he smashed more titles and money in three years than anyone else in over 20 years of history. Conor McGregor is now synonymous with the UFC and represents one of the most appreciated figures in this sport. Hard work obviously paid off and turned him into one of the best-paid sportsmen out there. However, there is more to his success and his mindset is what makes the difference.
At first, no one knew who he was – just a random guy with a big mouth. Later on, he became the first man to hold two world titles at the same time. He smashed the featherweight category, only to smash the lightweight one straight away too. His rankings and incredible fights sent shock waves all across the world. As you watch his battles now, it all looks simple and smooth. He is a millionaire and one of the greatest fighters in the UFC. However, getting here was not easy at all. In fact, his journey is what makes this book so great.
Conor McGregor was poor and spent most of his time in the gym. He had no future prospects, but only his wife's support. He was just another young man with a passion for martial arts. His dream did not have too much potential and little to no potential rewards. No one really knew he would become the most successful pay-per-view sportsman in the world. This is not just a tale about a man who conquered the world. It is about how determination and dedication can help you achieve anything in life. It is about how consistency can change the whole game to 180 degrees.
Part Reptile, by Dan Hardy
If you enjoyed other biographies from sportspeople and found them inspirational, Dan Hardy’s work will not let you down either. Originally a prolific fighter and now an analyst, Dan Hardy is one of those people who started from zero – no prospects whatsoever. He pushed the game to another level with hard work and an almost ridiculous belief in his own strength, only to become one of the most respected names on the market.
This is one of the best martial arts biographies, but it goes further than that. The author takes the most significant fights in his career and explains them. He explores the aggressive sport and analyzes the deepest insights that helped him guide his career and become one of the best analysts these days. His training took him everywhere – as far as training with Shaolin monks in China. His MMA fights have also helped him control his rage.
The story goes further on and evokes a dark time of his life when he was abused with psychedelic drugs, as well as a unique ceremony from South America that has literally changed his life. Nothing is left untouched in this book. Later on in the book, Dan Hardy discusses about the heart affection that forced him out of the sport and his road to getting better. All in all, it is a story of life – a story that anyone can learn something from.
As a short final conclusion, these are some of the best martial arts biographies if you are seeking any inspiration or motivation. It makes no difference if you are directly involved with martial arts. It makes no difference if you are just looking for something to help you overcome an obstacle in your life.
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Our list of books will give you a bit of everything and will show you just how important discipline is to achieve your greatest goals and purposes in life.
My profession is online marketing and development (10+ years experience), check my latest mobile app called Upcoming. But my real passion is reading books both fiction and non-fiction. I have several favorite authors like James Redfield or Daniel Keyes. If I read a book I always want to find the best part of it, every book has it's unique value.