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On the Warrior's Path: Philosophy, Fighting, and Martial Arts Mythology

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  402 ratings  ·  48 reviews
From the "chop-sockey" kung-fu epics on the big screen to practices like tae kwon do at local community centers, the martial arts have become a major phenomenon in Western culture. In On the Warrior's Path, author Daniele Bolelli examines the central figure in this trend: the warrior. Bolelli, himself a martial artist, looks at every facet of the warrior lifestyle, from th ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published February 20th 2003 by North Atlantic Books, Frog Ltd. (first published February 2003)
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4.14  · 
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 ·  402 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have no doubt that looking back on my life, this will be a book I think of as shaping some of my ideas about life, it gave me new perspectives and also made me re-evaluate others. Bar a year of Karate as a child, I have not much personal experience with training martial arts but have always been one of those people looking from the outside in at it. This book re-affirmed my lingering desire to start some classes, although I have never molded myself via martial arts, I have always been the type ...more
Alain Burrese
Sep 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: martial-arts
"On the Warrior's Path: Philosophy, Fighting, and Martial Arts Mythology" by Daniele Bolelli made me think about my own journey with martial arts and military combatives over the years, and for making me ponder my own warrior's path, I thank Bolelli. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and found myself engrossed with some of the essays contained within the just over 200 page text. It's a book I'd recommend to any martial artist wanting to explore more than just techniques found within martia ...more

"Knowledge is fixed in time, whereas, knowing is continual. Knowledge comes from a source, from accumulation, from a conclusion, while knowing is a movement. - Bruce Lee

- During a fight, there is no time to analyze...Neither logic nor intelligence can help us

- Those who have never approached their bodies as temples have no idea what they are missing.

- Nietzsche...adds"...a mere disciplining of thoughts and feelings is virtually nothing first has to convince
Gavin Jefferson
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I bought the book roughly seven months ago after listening to Daniele on numerous podcasts. I only started reading it a few days ago and steamed my way through it very quickly.
It has felt like certain books have found me at the right time over the past few months, first it was The Alchemist, then 600 hours of Edward and The Dark Tower series, I finished on the warrior's path roughly half an hour ago and I feel compelled to write a little about how it affected me.
to begin with, it feels like a nu
Lesli Dustin
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The first three chapters of this book are the best part. He lost me a little towards the middle and got me back at the end, but even with that, the first three chapters warrant the book getting five stars. I was drawn to martial arts and signed my whole family up. When they asked after the honeymoon period wore off why we have to study martial arts, and when others asked me why I like martial arts, I could never come up with a good answer. This book put into words what was swirling around in my ...more
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who practices a martial art or has ever been interested.
This book just knocked my socks off and my mouth piece out...
Gary Whitehair
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
5 Star ratings from me are like perfect employee reviews or unicorns - it's sometimes questionable if they even exist.. This book is different. This book is life-changing.
Miroku Nemeth
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing

A thoroughly enjoyable book on many levels. Written in an erudite yet humorous tone born of education as well as experience, I found the venture into traditional martial arts, modernity, the nature of the warrior, and existential to be incisive, philosophical, creative, and humorous. It essentially is several books in one, including an extended essay on Bruce Lee and the principles of Jeet Kune Do that I think any mature martial artist will appreciate. As a lifelong martial artist, student of hi
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking, unconventional, and provocative in a manner in keeping with the philosophy of Bruce Lee, upon which much herein is based. I could do without the negative comments about a prophet of God (Ezekiel), Christianity in general and the slight to soldiers who consider themselves warriors (although I agree that some soldiers misuse the term). It is entirely possible to be a Christian, a patriot, a member of the profession of arms, a martialist and a warrior seamlessly and without confl ...more
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm thoroughly disappointed with the book. There were a few nuggets of information which I could actually use and find useful but they were carefully hidden between poor attempts at humour, random references to pop culture, undisguised rants about organised religion, new age movements etc., schizophrenic switches between hero worship and hero disdain, cherry picked "wisdom" and a host of other distractions.

The book could benefit from some serious editing but it would compress it into a pamphlet.
John Fredrickson
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I liked the beginning of this book more than the ending. It is a very uneven read. Much of the book felt like it deserved 5 stars, which I do not go to very often.

Numerous chapters were very well-written and informative, and ranged from martial arts philosophy, its history, differences between approaches of some of the styles, and more. The book closes with a discussion Nietzsche and his 'Thus Spake Zarathustra' (an old favorite text of mine). This variety and range makes the book fun.

In the mid
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I sought out this book to gain a deeper understanding of the mental practice that grows from the martial arts. What I got in return was that, as well as descriptions of the various practices, the philosophies for these practices, and the mythological connections between the martial arts and life. The gems that I loved the most were the values gained from using this medium to understand the unhealthy limitations that fear holds over one's life. The most important one being the inability to become ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every martial artist should read this book
Quotable moments and gleams of inspiration, worth a read for those interested in the genre.
Mayank Singh
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
[I am] a man who wishes nothing more than daily to lose some reassuring belief,who seeks and finds his happiness in this daily greater liberation of mind.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won't go into depth because I find reviews a bit subjective. But I enjoyed it.
Benjamin Pearson
Oct 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Was a very fascinating book for the first three quarters, then it ended in a rather weird dramatic fashion.

This book had me seriously consider the uptake of a martial art. Was witty and even helped me understand taoism a little better by shining the light at a unique angle.
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bolelli's book is meandering at times, often poetic, and it gets better and better as it goes. The final chapter got me to increase my rating from 4 stars to 5.

In case you didn't know, Daniele Bolelli is an Italian-born philosopher and martial artist who now teaches at UCLA, and he is the voice of the "Drunken Taoist Podcast."

The beginning chapters are a poetically-written prose exploration of the archetype of the warrior and the meaning of martial arts as a way of gaining mastery of the self.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It took me some time to really get into this book, but when it did I couldn't put it down.

The book might best be described as a series of meditative essays related to martial arts. Sprinkled throughout the author's musings are several interesting bits of history and philosophy related to martial arts, but make no mistake, you are getting a whole lot of Danielli Bolleili philosophy.

About halfway through the author really picks up steam and starts hitting on some deeper issues within the martial a
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Kind of reads like a series of essays with a unified theme and purpose.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Bolelli's writing style is colloquial, humorous, and engaging. He raises some interesting ideas and caused me to revisit and revise some of my own views on things. My only caveat is that I believe this book would generally appeal to people who already share a lot of Bolelli's views about society and humanity from the start. If you're a republican you probably won't like this book.

An easy read,
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
One thing I truly like about this book is the tremendously entertaining writing style of the author. The book is definitely fun to read. However, and the author acknowledges this himself, this writing style is also "wild and free flowing".
Maybe I'm being a bit biased here, having read "the professor and the cage" (a book that deals with a similar topic) beforehand, but I kinda miss the scientific approach. Yes, he uses that approach in some chapters but even when he does, it somehow feels shall
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant exploration of the intersection between genuine philosophy and the realistic nitty gritty of what combat entails. The last chapter of the second edition is also one of the most insightful assessments of both the brilliance of Nietzsche and what the great philosopher was missing in his life. Few books weave together threads of such diversity, or go into this much depth with the wit and playfulness genuine existentialism entails.
Jordan Shipman
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this last Lear and is still my favorite book about martial arts I’ve read yet. When I started Brazilian jiu-jitsu I immediately started feeling and going through immensely wonderful personal changes. Mentally, internally and physically. I felt things inside me I couldn’t describe. I read this book and it hit every note. Beautifully articulating everything I was experiencing. Epiphany after epiphany. These passages will stick with me for a long long time.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Refreshing perspective

This book could not have come along at a more important time I my life. Having 14 month old twins boys has made me question how to set them up to do be men. I have always had the utmost respect for martial artists and a bit of envy too.
This book made me question my own fears and insecurities about taking on something I always wanted to but made too many excuses not.
Henrik Kamstrup-nielsen
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book connected with me in so many ways. It's a book that is ment to get you thinking but also to get you to grow as a person - which mean putting yourself out there, pushing yourself to the limit. Only then can you aspire to grow to the biggest person, you can be.

Read it, no matter what. You won't regret (and no, it's not new age, it's not religion, it's only sweat).
Adam Waz
Oct 31, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-recommended
Bolelli's attempt to capture the martial art's mindset and the spiritual nature of being a soldier or warrior falls short, as his book is almost ironic. His historical examples are extremely generic and show that he is no expert in philosophy, fighting nor mythology, and it reads as though no real research was done.

I recommend NOT reading this book.
Feb 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read. Most of the essays (chapters) are well written, with interesting perspective. Like a conversation with a close friend, the collection is a bit unbalanced, but, overall, holds together well enough.
Sep 03, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Normally I would have stopped reading a book this tedious, but I kept searching for a grain of something of interest... nope. Instead, I learned that this guy is sexist and self-absorbed - possibly my least favorite combination of traits. On the plus side, it was useful as a soporific.
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful poetic take on martial arts, its philosophy, and the way of the Warrior in a more general sense, with martial arts being one of its paths. I loved the ideas discussed and the writing style very much.
Phil Chen
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting view on the history of martial arts and its mythology, as well as different view points of why it can make you a better person.
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