Curriculum: Gasan Ryu Kenpo - Adults

Required, Suggested and Fun readings along with "Book Reports"

For kids kenpo reading list, download the kids curriculum cheat sheet here:

In addition to the physical skills developed as a part of training, it is important to understand the background and philosophy behind the Martial Arts.  This background puts into better focus the mindset and direction that our training should be taking us, and it also allows us the opportunity to view the thoughts and paths that others have taken in their journey within the Martial Arts.

Below are the books that are required reading for ranking in Gasan Ryu Kenpo set out by rank. For those books that require a book report, you need to get it to us at least 2 weeks before the belt test so the board has a chance to read them!

For the required reading list, there is the additional task of writing a book report.  The book report should be written by you, typed and signed.  The content should include your thoughts on how the book fits into your training.  Did it give you a new understanding and perspective on your training in the martial arts?  Did it interest you?  Was it the most boring book you've read?  Did the ideas in the book relate to you and the situations you find yourself in outside of the martial arts?  Would you read it or find it interesting if you were not a martial artist?  All these things are of interest.  Once you have read the book please don't write a "Cliff" or "Monarch Notes" version of the book...we have already read it!  Of interest to your instructors is any insight or understanding or perspective that you have gained from the material.  We hope you enjoy them!

The next section is suggested reading containing other classics in the field.  These books are informative and are widely considered to be well written and have stood the test of time.

Lastly, are a short selection of books from a couple of authors that intertwine the martial arts and its philosophy in the action adventure genre.  They each contain a valuable piece of the fabric of the Martial Arts.  If you have read a book that you enjoyed or felt was suitable for this section please forward it to your instructor.  Thanks again and enjoy your read!


CSSD Student Handbook by Dr. Nick Chamberlain, Chamberlain Studios of Self Defense

Information on Kenpo, background history, terminology, school rules, principles of conduct, etc. This is also a "Who's Who in the Zoo" book, containing information on many of the people that have played an important role in passing down the knowledge, history and traditions of Kenpo and the martial arts. This book is available at the dojo or call us!


Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams

Stories from Joe Hyams about his experiences with some of his instructors over the years, including Ed Parker (Kenpo) and Bruce Lee (JKD)


Karate-Do: My Way of Life by Gichin Funakoshi

From the man that started Japanese Karate along the track of character development and the founder of Shotokan Karate.


The Weaponless Warriors: An Informal History of Okinawan Karate by Richard Kim

Anecdotes and exploits of the old Karate masters of Okinawa


Sword and Brush: The Spirit of the Martial Arts by David Lowrey

Description of the meaning behind the kanji used to write the terms in martial arts. Gives a better understanding of what we are doing and why.


Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu

Many of the sayings for "Grasshopper" in the TV series Kung Fu, were taken from this work. It forms the foundation for Taoism, "the way of virtue and reason". This is a philosophy not a religion.


The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

This book is donated by James Hutcheson in memory of his son Warren who passed away 01-01-2008. See Professor for your free copy with an inscription to you from his father when you get to Sankyu.


The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi

Used by Harvard Business School as a text for today's world, this book retains it's meaning both in the Martial Arts and also in everyday life.


Meditations on Violence: A Comparison of Martial Arts Training & Real World Violence by Rory Miller

Outstanding book on how your martial arts training applies to real life situations. Can be an eye opener!


Two books of your choice by

For Shodan you hand in 2 (two) papers, one on a book of your choice and one on a master and founder of a martial arts system.