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Killing Art, A Paperback – 26 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: ECW PRESS; Reprint edition (26 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770410228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770410220
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 1.5 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 261,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Gillis, himself a tae kwon do black belt, succeeds in debunking the sport's mythology . . . When he writes about corruption and backroom dealings, his voice is compelling and the depth of his research astounding . . . "A Killing Art" is fascinating, fast-paced, and reads more like a spy novel than a history. Beyond that, it evokes a certain voyeuristic pleasure that comes with unearthing the sordid past of something seemingly harmless." --"Quill & Quire" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Alex Gillis is a university writing instructor and a professional journalist specializing in literary nonfiction and investigative research. He has trained in tae kwon do for 25 years and is a third-degree black belt. His instructors were some of the pioneers of the martial art, and he had rare access to these men and their families and disciples. He lives in Toronto, Ontario. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By S. Anslow on 4 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing for anyone who enjoys martial arts, it is incredibly well researched and charts TKD for both ITF and WTF and reveals some amazing stuff regarding both the art and it connections to Korean politics (KCIA).

It read like a novel and will be interesting for anyone with a remote interest in how martial arts came to be (ie. their true roots).

The book is as alarming as it is saddening, it shows Gen Choi as a man who fought against the might of Korea for his art, how corrupt SK was and the lengths it went to and also some sad steps he took for that fight!

Highly recommended to one and all! And a must read for all who do TKD!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Fagence on 18 Jan. 2010
Format: Hardcover
In short, this is an absolutely fantastic book. If you teach taekwon-do you should own it and read it. No argument.

Political conflicts between instructor groups have lead to so many lies over the years relating to the art of Taekwon-do that the truth has become sadly buried. Also, most groups prefer their students to learn only about the Korea of Dan Gun and Hwa Rang and leave them utterly bereft of knowledge about how the real art of Taekwon-do was developed.

This book cuts through the lies and I hope big organisations can go forward with this and reassess some of the failings in their teaching of taekwon-do. Many groups have only just stopped teaching that "Taekwon-do is 2000 years old and has no link to Karate". I hope these groups press on and emphasise the whole picture and whilst giving Gen. Choi the credit he deserves for making Chang Hon taekwon-do the great art that it is today, to recognise him as human, not perfect and certainly not an incarnation of moral virtue on a pedestal. I also hope that more recognition is also paid to the other taekwon-do pioneers who have been written out of history and who were in their day real legends and phenomenal martial artists who so greatly outperformed their contemporaries on the scene at the time. These pioneers and what they contributed to the syllabus should be known to all dan grades.

To read this book is to feel a great sense of gratitude to Mr Gillis for publishing such a well rendered account of what is usually limited to an oral history. It puts into print with footnotes events that many instructors will deny flat out ever happened.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Burgess on 22 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
I found this was one of those rare books that I just couldn't put down. I read this with a wry smile as it delved deep into the politics of Taekwon-Do, the underhandedness & the dirty goings on behind the scenes as TKD emerged onto the World scene as a fledgling martial art into the powerhouse that it is today. I was aware of many of the issues that this book covered & had heard many of the stories beforehand, but this text contains some real revelations, which are quite, quite startling. Most martial arts instructors will have been touched by MA politics in some way & I am sure, really despise this dark side of the Art. None-the-less, even if you hate this side of the martial arts, this book is highly recommended & illustrates just what a select few sacrificed to make TKD what it is today.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By analogifier on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the best book I have ever read on Taekwondo, and one of the very best in the whole field of Martial Art books - this is what they all should aspire to! If you are a TKD practitioner or at all interested in TKD history this book is a must buy. Every TKD student should now these truths behind their art. It can be a hard swallow to open your eyes and read this book, so if if you want to keep believing lofty myths and tales you should stay away. However, I can not recommend it enough! I should point out that at the moment I am not even practising TKD anymore, I do not know the author and I am in no way benefiting financially from giving this book a rave review - it is just my personal opinion, and if you do not believe me thats on you as you will miss out on something special. Check out my other reviews, and you will see I am real and not some kind of fanatic. Buy it, and enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm howlett on 19 Jun. 2009
Format: Hardcover
An excellent and at times shocking book.
I thought the history of karate was seedy enough at times, but this book shows that at its worst, TaeKwondo has equalled it.
whenever the temptation to 'deify' a martial arts instructor comes about its books like this that are needed to bring people down to earth.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If your are a Taekwon-Do practitioner and are interested how this Martial Art was 'conceived' this is a brilliant book to read.

As other reviewers have commented, it shows the true struggle Gen. Choi went through to create his 'Art'. But also on the flip side of that how he disliked/disowned anyone who criticised what he did. Gen Choi comes across (from reading the book) as someone who disliked to be questioned why something was the way it was (maybe from his military background - mine is not to question why....)

The most controversial of all being the change to 'sinewave' movements from the standard hip-twist/knee-spring. And that if anyone didn't adopt this new 'style' of Taekwon-Do they were not practising the 'True' art.

Think of the first two movements of Do-San or the first three moves of Won-Hyo, do you perform them as a combination or do you perform them as totally (some could say dis-jointed) individual movements each having full sinewave???

Personally I would of liked this particular aspect to of been explored more with in the book. The question remains was it really for political purposes, or that it truly benefited the martial art and has made it better - the debate that still rages on internet forums today. Many of the first Instructors and Pioneers of TKD don't use it, and see no purpose for it and went their own way, creating their own Associations; but their are also those who stuck by Gen. Choi and true to ITF TKD

Whatever faction you are from or prefer there is no denying that without Gen. Choi there wouldn't of been the TKD we love and practise today, and this book explains how it all began and is a very interesting read!
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