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Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art Paperback – October 15, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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From the Publisher

FINALIST for Book of the Year
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About the Author

Grandmaster Richard Chun began studying Taekwondo at the age of 11 under two highly respected teachers in Seoul, Korean: Chong Soo Hong and Ki Whang Kim. He progressed to 9th Dan by Kukkiwon in 1989 (World Taekwondo Federation) and Moo Duk Kwan in 1981 after more than fifty years of study, establishing him as one of the highest ranking master instructors in the United States.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 630 pages
  • Publisher: Ymaa Publication Center; 2 edition (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159439086X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594390869
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 1.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mike Swope on October 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have recently completed Grandmaster Richard Chun's Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art, published in 1976. The book is prized by many Tae Kwon Do stylists since Grandmaster Chun is one of the original Korean masters to bring Tae Kwon Do to the United States and teach the art to Americans. The book is a veritable tome about Tae Kwon Do, covering a brief history of the art, blocking techniques, hand techniques, kick techniques, stances, striking surfaces, basic commands in Korean, stretching & warm-up techniques, vital target points, self-defense techniques, step sparring, free sparring, falling safely, throws, breaking, equipment, forms/patterns and tae kwon do as a sport.

The original hardback edition, published in 1976, is a product of the state of Tae Kwon Do at that time. The original edition covers only Ki-Cho One form and all 8 Palgwe forms, but does so thoroughly, with plenty of instruction and photographs to clearly demonstrate each movement. Unlike many of today's martial arts books, Grandmaster Chun's book does not cut corners, photographs or explanation for the sake of either space or paper.

Fortunately, an updated paperback edition is available today from YMAA Publication Center which also includes all 8 Taegeuk forms. In all other respects, the new edition appears to be an otherwise direct reprint of the original. However, the updated edition does not treat the Taegeuk forms equally. While the Palgwe forms are clearly photographed, the Taegeuks are only illustrated, completely lacking photographs or any depiction of transitions, which in today's modern sport competitions are very important. The written explanation of the Taegeuk forms, on the other hand, are of equal quality as the Palgwe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased Master Chun's original books "TAE Kwon Do the Korean Martial ART" and "Advancing in Tea Kwon Do". For students I like this book better because it contains both the Pal Gwe and Tae Guek forms. In the original books you had to purchase booth to get all the lower belt forms. The upside was you also got all the black belt forms in the second book. But for an up and coming color belt student I would recomment this book. I certainly recommend it for my students and have even purchased a couple of copies for students to use.
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Format: Paperback
To let you know up front I've been asked by YMAA Publication Center to review this book. Check my other reviews if you are concerned about bias. Honestly it takes a lot to ask me to review a book, because I will tell you exactly what I think. I have trained in the martial arts for over 25 years now primarily in aikido, jujitsu and boxing of various sorts. I have never been a big fan of striking in real combat. The idea of taking the smallest bones in my body and matching them up against, say your skull, doesn't seem like a real good idea to me. Bust you hand sometime and you'll see what I mean. Even with that bias I have to admitt that Master Chun's book is very impressive. It contains a ton of information especially about some basic things that a lot of the TKD people I've met should have studied. The section on learning falls is pretty good and if you do TKD do yourself a favor and learn this if you are not being taught. What makes this book so big is a lot of the space is devoted to providing decent photos of what is taught. The draw back here is that for someone like myself who has seen enough moves I know what is trying to be taught so my mind fills in any blanks. But if you look at some of the content with a beginners mind you can see where confusion could very easily set in. This is a good lesson in what a book in the martial arts is suppose to do....reinforce what you are already learning from your mat experience, so I don't consider any lapses to be a problem.

I do have some concerns about some of the practical applications especially the weapon disarms. The knife and firearm disarms are great ways to get killed. Don't even think about them.This is where kata is going to get you hurt.
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I bought this book because I started Tae Kwon Do. It is the best guide and has clear explanations and tons of pictures that will help understand the philosophy behind this Korean Martial Art, as well as improve the practice.
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Format: Paperback
I have attended three different Martial Arts schools over the years. There have been significant approaches to Tae Kwon Do in each. In fact, moving from one school to the next feels similar to moving from one branch of the military to another: there are commonalities and then there are distinctives. In the first portion of the book Grand Master Richard Chun gives an historical accounting to Tae Kwon Do that helps the reader and practitioner to grasp these differences. His approach is neither demeaning toward any other form of martial art, nor is it disparaging of any of the fellow Tae Kwon Do Kwans.

The second segment of the book walks the reader, step-by-step, picture-by-picture through two Poomsae; the original Koryo and the more modern Koryo. Next Grandmaster Chun dispays the combat aspects of several moves for both poomsae. The pictures and explanations are easily comprehended, especially for those already involved in Tae Kwon Do. I found the combat applications simple and helpful.

"Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art" is an informative little paperback that will encourage the reading practitioner to look at their training with a new set of eyes. This would be a great resource for instructors to maintain at their schools, and a valuable aid to anyone aiming achieving Black Belt. I recommend the book.

Thanks to Net Galley and YMAA Publication Center, Inc. for the free e-copy of the book for this review.
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