True Karate Dō

“One of the best books I’ve read in years, inviting and compelling. Jeff Brooks moves effortlessly from martial arts to Buddhism to consciousness studies, self-transformation, and related fields in this wide-ranging and Illuminating study that has much to offer both novice explorers and veteran practitioners. A splendid achievement.” 

— Philip Zaleski, Editor, The Best Spiritual Writing series

— Co-author, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams. True Karate Dō

 Jeff Brooks has transformed countless lives thru his practice and teaching of martial arts, and through his books and articles. He has dedicated his life to revitalizing the practice of karate as a pathway to living a fully human life. His compassionate understanding of what it means to be fully human and his ability to shine a light on the way to find depth, meaning and skill, is needed now more than ever.  True Karate Dō provides a way forward like nothing else I’ve ever read.  I hope you will pick it up and read it now. 

–Michael Lushington     CEO, Fourandhalf, Inc.; Director, Mountain Karate, Castro Valley

See the path in a brilliant, new light. Read True Karate Dō

“An adventure and a treasure. Brooks explores, questions, innovates, tests and rediscovers unexpected, liberating paths – once well-traveled, then forgotten, now open to all. It is hoped that True Karate Dō will fuel deep and rewarding practice for a lifetime…”


The Good Fight 

…is essential reading.

People make great claims for martial arts: Prevail against deadly threats. Be a champion. Be a hero. Overcome the emptiness of our world. Fulfill the highest aspirations of human life.

We have seen those claims in a hundred books, heard them in classes, at seminars, in the movies. How real are they? Are these writers and teachers deceiving themselves?

Every serious practitioner will need to come face to face with the reality of what we are doing. Under threat: we do what we need to do. In our life of practice we cannot accept convenient half-truths. We need to know, for sure, how our art works, what we can do with it, and how far can we take it.

The Good Fight is a thoroughly researched work of advanced intelligence in martial arts.

Insightful and passionate, it restores the missing pieces that were lost as martial arts disseminated through the modern world.

Revealing Deep Technique: Principles of Form, Power and Application in Kata and Kumite

The Good Fight gives all martial artists fresh insight into advanced use of body, and full integration of body and mind, which made karate vital, devastating and practical.

Three Worlds: Zen, Buddhism and Martial Arts

Accessing new research and deep, first-hand experience, The Good Fight explores the relationship between the three distinct worlds of Zen, Buddhism and east Asian martial arts – revealing how they have interacted, how they have been alloyed and confused, in the past and in our own time.

The Good Fight takes a refreshing look at the origin myths of martial styles.

Training for Life: The Motives, Methods and Results of a Life of Training

The virtues and value of the warrior spirit have been central to human cultures, ancient and modern. The Good Fight shows how we can use the treasures our ancestors discovered, which are as urgent today as ever, and which are in danger of being lost.

Inheritance and Legacy

In The Good Fight these are not separate issues or realms of experience.  Taken together they form the arena of action in which we operate.

There has never been a martial arts book with this range of interest and depth of experience and analysis. The Good Fight synthesizes technical application, advanced integration of body and mind, combatives, and the legacy of genius – drawing from the cutting edge of science, scholarship, the arts, dojo life, real-world street combatives, and from the great streams that flowed through China, Japan, India, Persia, Eurasia, Greece, Rome, Europe, Africa and beyond – which have come to us and are ours to use, every day, in our dojos and our lives.

The Good Fight is brilliant and passionate. In a culture of commercialized, trivialized martial arts, The Good Fight is an urgent reminder of the virtues and value of authentic martial arts.  

About the Author:

Jeffrey Brooks is a lifetime practitioner of Shorin Ryu karate, and is among the most influential writers on martial arts today.

He taught karate to thousands of people at his dojo in Massachusetts, while collaborating with martial artists in the US and abroad to restore defensive application and advanced movement to kata. He was influenced by leading teachers including Shoshin Nagamine, Shinzato Katsuhiko of Kishaba Juku, Sakiyama Sogen, Roshi, and others.

Jeff Brooks served for 20 years in law enforcement, as a police officer, homicide detective, federal task force officer and as a state certified law enforcement instructor in defensive tactics and firearms.

He holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, worked on numerous documentary film projects and was a communications consultant for leaders, influencers and public figures in government, business, media and the arts.

He teaches at Mountain Karate in western North Carolina.

Praise for The Good Fight by Jeffrey M. Brooks:

“No one writes about martial arts like this…”

“Practical and inspiring, filled with wisdom and heart, this kind of instruction is rarely encountered. Enjoy it, use it, share it.”

“I love this…” “Very, very nice…” “You have given me so much to think about…” “The best explanation I have ever seen…” “Great… “I will share this…” “Fantastic.” “Thank you for writing this…”

“Eloquent and thought-provoking…” -Mark Tankosich, Hiroshima University of Economics, Dan Rank Sho-ha Shorin Ryu and Zen Nihon Kendo Renmei Jodo

“Such deep thoughts about martial arts are very rare! I really enjoy the excellent content.” –Prof. Christof Paar, Kishaba Juku, Chair for Embedded Security,Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany

Sensei Jerry Figgiani, President SRKDI, lifetime practitioner Shorin Ryu

“Thank you for this great book…”

Phil Zaleski, editor The Best Spiritual Writingseries

“Really grabs you and packs a punch.”

Srinivas Jaini, Shorin Ryu, CA

“…a wealth of knowledge of what’s behind every move in karate and the potential applications of them in real combative situations. I highly recommend it!”

Jeremy Blaustein, International Okinawan Goju-Ryu Federation, Himeji, Japan

There are exceptional people: Those that train their bodies, pushing it beyond normal limits, and in the process gaining the ability to exert power over others physically, literally moving them in keeping with their will. These we call fighters or warriors.

Still rarer are those that push themselves not only physically but mentally/spiritually. These rare individuals gain not only the ability to impose their wills on others physically, they gain the strength to exert influence over others emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Just as a well-trained person gains the capacity to fight on and on and endure pain, a spiritual warrior gains capacity of a different sort. Whereas a warrior exerts a physical influence on his surroundings, the spiritual warrior gains the additional capacity to influence their surroundings through the example that they set as loving, caring humans.

Jeff Brooks, my first karate sensei, is such a person: A man with unquestionable fighting abilities honed through physical training, but one also exerts a far more powerful and reaching influence on his surroundings by example.  This is, to me, what a “Sensei” is. Literally, the “One who is before us”

Daniel Beck, WadoKai Aikido and ShorinRyu Karate

“As a trial lawyer and martial artist I followed Jeff Brooks’ writing for 15 years, online and in print, before I met him. He was saying what a lot of us felt, asking questions a lot of us have, but never put into words.  My hope is this: everyone who studies with him, as I have, and everyone who reads his wonderful work, will appreciate their practice more than ever, and will deepen it for years to come. Read this book.”

-Sensei Michael Lushington, Shorin Ryu, Castro Valley Karate

“The Good Fight” …has a very practical application aspect that makes you want to take it with you and use it – and so you don’t want to miss anything so when you do it you will get it.  The good news is it works… I’ve taken pieces directly from the book, and applied them very specifically either to what I’m doing or what I’m teaching and it immediately becomes clear both to me and /or my students…. And this clarity lifts the understanding and puts energy into what we are

Jeff Moriber, Shorin Ryu, NY

“I so much enjoy your writing style, which made your book wonderfully uncomplicated for me to become immersed in your knowledge, sensitivity, instruction and the life lessons you presented.  Most impressive to me is your dedication to your path. Your pursuit of knowledge, steadfast training and scholarship and, in particular, how you are able to sweep your practicing deshi in your dojo and readers along with you. I too was swept along as I read, learned and remembered.”

“The Good Fight” available on Amazon in Paperback or Kindle Edition


Audio: Selected readings from “The Good Fight”:

Fuel for Love, part 1 – Ch 44 of “The Good Fight” by Jeff Brooks

Fuel for Love, part 2 – Ch 44 of “The Good Fight” by Jeff Brooks

Zen Confusion in the Martial Arts – Diamond Sutra Master

Mitsaken Zen in the Martial Arts – Flower Sutra

Three Skills Every Fighter Needs – chapter from “The Good Fight”

Dope and Freedom – Ch 14 of “The Good Fight” by Jeff Brooks

Praise for

The Rhinoceros Tale

An unforgettable account, crackling with energy and full of heart… the kind of book that can change your life. – Philip Zaleski, Editor, The Best Spiritual Writing series

…honest, entertaining and forthright… – Dave Lowry, author of Autumn Lightning

…filled with more sincerity and wisdom than anything I have come across in a long, long time. – Michael Lushington, CEO, Virtual Consulting, Inc.

…this book is a gem: a fun read, insightful and fascinating.  – Christopher Caile, Editor,

Shortly after I last saw him, Sakiyama Sogen, Roshi of Kozenji Zendo, Shuri, Okinawa, communicated his understanding of karate to me. This is an excerpt from his letter:

Dear Mr. Brooks,

Today many karate students, particularly karate teachers, neither know the difference between karate and karate-do, nor do they try to discover the difference. This I regret very much. True karate-do can be learned only when we have realized the mysteries of our heart and mind, and realized the mysteries of our body with all our heart and mind and strength. Otherwise karate will be nothing more than a little game, a way to show off. Ultimately it will degenerate into contests or street fighting. It is a shame.

“The essentials of karate-do can only be attained through profound practice. This means that in order to realize what is essential we must experience deep samadhi. I am sure you fully understand what I am trying to say. It is most important for us, and for the younger generations, that we cultivate our heart and mind.

“The final hurdle for us is to be free from the limitations of our own ego. The disease of modern people is that they are slaves to money, power, fame, etc. They are enslaved by their own egos, and are unaware of it. You will become a true master when you become aware of it, and become free of it. There is no easy way, but it is the most important task, one worth devoting one’s life to accomplishing. This is the central task for anyone trying to master a true martial art.

“As I am writing to you I can vividly feel your sincerity and passion to pursue this and to master karate-do. ‘Do’ is an endless and severe way. Therefore we must endlessly exert ourselves to attain it. How wonderful the ‘Do’ is!”

Sincerely yours, Sogen Sakiyama

The Rhinoceros Tale tells how I found my way to that advice, and what I did with it. I hope that you can share the benefit.

Jeff Brooks is a lifetime practitioner of Shorin Ryu, and is among the most influential writers on martial arts today. He taught karate to thousands of people at his dojo in Massachusetts,collaborated with martial artists in the US and abroad to restore defensive application and advanced movement in kata. He served as a police officer, detective, and law enforcement instructor. He received his MFA from NYU’s Tisch School, was a communications consultant for leaders and public figures. He teaches at Mountain Karate in western North Carolina.

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