While you can't learn martial arts exclusively from books, you can
improve upon your skills by reading. While reading training books can
teach you techniques that can later be drilled and reinforces moves
learned in class/training, that is only part of the equation. Books
provide you with concepts and deeper understanding of the why and
sometimes how of training for whatever style you are focused on whether
that is self defense, developing as a better artist or inside the
With that, here are some of the training books I've read, broken down by topic. Each topic is listed in the order I enjoyed them most. Of note, just because a book is listed at the bottom doesn't necessarily mean it is bad, it just means that I enjoyed some of the other books on the same topic a little more.