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Zen in the Martial Arts

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  1,780 ratings  ·  98 reviews
A man who has attained mastery of an art reveals it in his every action."-- "Samurai Maximum."Under the guidance of such celebrated masters as Ed Parker and the immortal Bruce Lee, Joe Hyams vividly recounts his more than 25 years of experience in the martial arts. In his illuminating story, Hyam reveals to you how the daily application of Zen principles not only developed ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 1st 1982 by Bantam (first published 1979)
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Community Reviews

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Goran Powell
This is a short book written from the personal perspective of the author, Joe Hymas, who trained under such noted masters as Bruce Lee and Ed Parker.

Written in 1979, he recounts more than 25 years of experience in the martial arts, writing how Zen principles gave him the mental discipline to cope with issues of self-image, work pressure and competition, and how, through mastering the spiritual goals in martial arts, you can dramatically alter the quality of your life, enriching your relationshi
Jake Danishevsky
We have all heard the saying 'Good things come in small packages'. Well, this book is an epitome of that saying. When I first picked up this book, I figured, I would read it in a day. It is only 144 small pages and a very easy to read text, but I was wrong.

Joe Hyams started out as a journalist and a writer. He had no idea what martial arts or Zen is all about, until he started his first martial arts training about 25 years ago. He has studied under Ed Parks and the legend himself Bruce Lee. Joe
Devon Toland
Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams is truly inspirational, and I can say it has changed my life. Considering the kind of person I am, who doesn't enjoy reading, I've read this book five times. The book follows the life of Joe Hyams, who is very relatable, and he is a nice guy. He takes an interest in the martial arts, and studies with all kinds of famous martial artists. Joe Hyams shares his experiences and lessons with the reader, and they can be applied to everyday life. This book is great f ...more
Zohar Abramovitz
If I could give this book 31/2 stars, that's about where I'd rate it. It's an interesting read, but it's sort of like watching a 30 year old sci-fi movie after watching all the movies that it laid the groundwork for. Given that this is the book the kind of spawned the "Zen in the Art of" - one could almost call it a genre unto itself - I was expecting a little bit more from it. Being one of the first books written about zen theory by and for westerners, it was innovative for its time and is defi ...more
There are many self-help books out there that want to transform you to a "better" you. This book is no different. This book, presents the same concepts and same "laws" mentioned in other popular books meant to "transform" you. So, if it is not a unique book, why the 5 star rating?

The stories in this book intrigue you and hold you due to their human touch. They are unique in that no other book has ever ventured into providing life lessons via Martial Arts examples. The fusion of a physical practi
Jan 29, 2013 Stephen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephen by: My Sensei and other martial arts instructors at my Dojo
This book is an excellent and easy read. It's delivered by the author in a primarily anecdotal form. It took me a little bit to get used to the way the author lead to the "lesson" in each with a story, but found that I really enjoyed the style. It felt very much to me like having a conversation with the author about the lessons he learned.

I will caution anyone expecting a treatise on martial arts history or a "step-by-step" book about martial arts or even how to apply Zen to a martial art. This
A close friend loaned me this book from his personal library, and it was a much enjoyed and appreciated read (bought my own copy from half price books) it tells you not only practical applications of zen in the martial arts, but many very practical lessons we all could use in day to day life. (we all fly through life in anticipation of this or that, but rarely take the time to savor the moment when we reach our goal, kind of like the dog who begs for the steak and swallows it without so much as ...more
Stephen Helmlinger
Can't say enough good things about this book!
This book is great if you are interested in zen, martial arts, or both (my specific case). The author tells a series of stories that happened through his life, and how they taught him a zen principle. Even if you are not interested at all in the martial arts, you should read it because of its easy-to-understand way of introducing complex zen concepts.

Among my favorite excerpts are the following:
- Martial arts are essentially avenues through which the artists can reach spiritual serenity, mental
Mohammad Ali Abedi
The author writes about his martial arts practices through the years and how it can apply to practical, everyday living. It is a simple, easy to read books, which it chapter being fairly short with a lesson at the end, which he usually concludes with an incident from his life where that lesson helped him.

The chapters are usually in the form of anecdotes with his martial art masters (one of them being Bruce Lee) making it a fast and easy book to finish. Not a very deep book, in terms of philosop
The martial arts are full of examples of how perfecting small parts of a form can teach applicable lessons in many other parts of life. Correct breathing while fighting can be instructive for breathing while playing tennis or recovering from surgery. This book shows how lessons the author learned while studying martial arts can be applied in everyday situations. It is short and well written. It talks about patience and other aspects of learning as well as aspects of accomplishment.
Richard Garcia
A true classic on Zen and martial arts

A classic book on Zen and how the martial arts can be a pathway to learning it. I highly recommend this book to both martial artist as well as anyone who is looking for an introductory book on Zen.
Everyone should read this book. Essential book for martial artists, but a must have for the regular average joe.
Paul Tshagharyan
Գիրքը բավականին թեթև է կարդացվում, միգուցէ բարձր էլ գնահատեի, եթե մի քանի կոպիտ սխալներ չլինեին. Ձեն բուդդիզմը ձևավորվել է Չինաստանում, 5-րդ դարում, "Չան" անվանումով, գրքում սխալ են նշված թե ծագումը, թե սկզբնավորման ու տարածման թվականները: Հեղինակները Ձենի սկզբունքները կապել էին այնպիսի մարտարվեստների հետ, որոնց գաղափարաբանական հիմքում ընկած է սինտոյականությունը և սամուրայական պատվո վարքականոնները. էս էլ կոպիտ սխալներից մեկը: Սամուրայների վարքն ու կենցաղը նկարագրված է B դասի ֆիլմերի տպավորության ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Bernadette rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Recommended to Bernadette by: Master Chris Berlow
The first time I read this book, I wasn't "ready" to read it. The second time I read this book, I wasn't ready to "accept" it. The third time I read this book, I wasn't ready to stop reading it. I've decided this will be a book I carry around with me.
A great read, and something I'll come back to many times. If you've new to practice and want to make it deeper than rote learning or "just combat", definitely give this a go. I felt very much more aware of the extra dimension in my class today, and it showed.
Juadde The
It's the first book of my life that lead me in the sacred way of martial arts. I hope everyone who interest in this way. Don't hesitate to read it for your first step on the way of wisdom and courage. Open up the world inside your heart.
I have read it several times over the past many years and it has always encourage me to pursue peace, pleasure, health, the non violent use of martial arts and to mentally prepare for violent confrontational engagements.
Easy read but awesome! I am understanding Zen more than ever. The author is so clear in his writing and experiences and also explaining how to apply zen principles in everyday life.
A very valuable book for those who wish to develop the inner skills of a martial artist. Particularly valuable to practitioners of the arts who are older or who have physical limitations.
I read this as a Kung Fu student, and was pleasantly surprised to see that much of what is talked about in this book is also spoken of by my Sifu. On the one hand, it means I didn't read a whole lot I didn't already know; on the other hand, I was able to get some of the metaphysical lessons my Sifu teaches us in between the physical elements from another experienced perspective. Also, being able to get that second perspective allowed me to further refine how I will try to apply the various lesso ...more
Some life lessons in here! Good, valuable things to keep in mind in everyday life. From Bruce Lee, Masutatsu Oyama, and other Karate/martial art virtuosos.
Belal Khan
Great set of lifestyle principles toward the development of personal character derived from one man's journey in training with Bruce Lee.
Steve Scott
I've read this twice, and I heartily recommend it to martial artists. It's a slim little volume, and quick to get through.
Jeanne Kondash
Concise, thoughtful and full of truths. Applies to life lessons overall. And I found its messages totally enlightening.
This book definitely changed who I was as a martial artist. It made me put everything into perspective.
highly recommended to anyone interested in zen or martial arts (duh). loved it.
read for the third time ( different incarnation, many years later )
Miroku Nemeth
Bruce Lee and I were having dim sum, a traditional Chinese breakfast of meat-filled pastries, in a downtown Los Angeles restaurant after a lesson. I seized on this opportunity to tell him that I was discouraged. At forty-five, I felt I was too old and my body too stiff to achieve any real ability in jeet-kune-do.

"You will never learn anything new unless you are ready to accept yourself with your limitations," Bruce answered. "You must accept the fact that you are capable in some directions and l
Jul 15, 2008 Graham added it
Actually quite good.: I ordered this expecting to be mildly entertained but ultimately I thought that I probably wouldn't get a lot of useful information out of it. Indeed it did entertain, and the amount of Zen in it is quite thin on the ground. But when it is used it is with (I found) remarkable results. In each chapter the author will talk about a time when he had a problem with life or training, and how he overcame it through "Zen" wisdom supplied to him by instructors he has trained with ov ...more
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