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Taekwondo: The State of the Art Paperback – April 13, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
I have read many books on Tae Kwon Do and other self-defense arts over the last sixty plus years and I have to say this volume is one of the very best texts I have read on this topic. One of the things I love about this book is that rather than have photographs showing the techniques, they had an artist drawing the illustrations which turned out beautifully. Drawings give more detail than photographs and are much easier to follow than photographs. After the foreword by Master Dae Sung Lee, and a short introduction the ten chapters cover the following material:
History of Taekwondo, the philosophy of Taekwondo, warm up exercises, stances, steps and foot work, blocks, hand strikes, kicks, sparring and poose, which are the forms of Taekwondo. I have read and wrote reviews on numerous karate kata books, but this one with its clear and detailed drawings is one of the best I have seen. Even though I do not believe most people can learn and master kata/poose/forms from just reading a book; nevertheless, if you use this book in combination with actual hands on training with a Taekwondo instructor you will achieve competency doing the forms.
If you are studying Taekwondo, whether for sport or self-defense, this fantastic book should be in your personal library.
Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Shotokan Karate Self-Defense Techniques: Combat karate for the street)
As a lifelong student of Taekwondo, I have found Messrs. Whang's text "Taekwondo The State of the Art to be informative, comprehensive, thorough, and very clear. It is sweeping in scope, and covers technical aspects of the art and sport from the basics through fairly advanced areas.
The line drawings utilized throughout the text are an improvement over most previous martial arts instructional works, leaving little or no room for misinterpretation.
Though Taekwondo competition strategy and practice is in a state of constant, continual evolution, this work remains ever valuable for any competitor in terms of clearly understanding what happens in a match.
This is a go-to text for any martial artist.
The book is broken down into the following chapters: 1) History of TKD, 2) Philosophy of TKD, 3) Warmpup techniques, 4) Stances, 5) Steps and Footwork, 6) Blocks, 7) Hand Strikes, 8) Kicks, 9) Sparring, and 10) Forms (poomse). There is also a section on Korean words. The book is heavily illustrated and also has a number of charts. At 283 pages it's no mere pamphlet or primer but a pretty involved study of theory and practice, movement and technique; but being softcover, it's also clearly designed to be a handy reference, the sort of thing you can bend, dog-ear, drip sweat on, and stuff into a backpack. That's good, because the authors mean this to be a real field manual. The chapters about sparring, for example, include conditioning drills and warm-up routines in addition to tactical theory, coaching techniques, and fighting strategy ("ring management"). Insomuch as is possible they truly try to explain, in minute detail and with diagrams, each technique they are talking about, whether it is striking pose for a form, practicing footwork, or simply socking somebody on the jaw with an uppercut.
Now, everybody knows that there are a million slight variations on how Taekwondo is taught. This master over here will tell you to it this way, and this master over there will tell you to do it another, slightly different, way. This sort of thing applies especially to forms, and so the reader should not be shocked if he or she discovers "variations on a theme" that differ from what is preached at their school. Additionally, if your dojang teaches Taekwondo and Hapkido as a single art (as mine does) and you want information and pointers about grappling, submission fighting, defense against weapons, etc., this book will NOT help. It contains nothing whatsoever about such techiques, focusing only on what the authors called "basic Taekwondo."
Obviously, no book will ever serve as an adequate substitute for proper training in a dojang by a legitimate master, but THE STATE OF THE ART is a very useful tool for those who want to supplement that training with history, philosophy and theoretical knowledge. If you are serious about TKD, it should definitely be in your library...or your backpack.
The raw hand and foot techniques are well illustrated but the descriptions are a bit abstract. However there is great detail regarding techniques used in sparring like which counter techniques works well against specific attacks. There are tables and charts that summarize such generalities, making it a great reference.
It is an excellent reference for much of the "ancient" culture and philosophy that Taekwondo is founded upon. It is difficult to tell fact from fiction in a lot of history books but this book does outline much of it.
Another great reference for WTF/Kukkiwon style Poomse. In my opinion, I think most people would overlook this aspect of the book as I do. I have studied them briefly in the book however, and it is much simpler than searching for poomse forms on the net for this books price.
If you are really into Taekwondo, for this price I highly recommend this book!