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S. Anslow "StuartA" (UK)

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Stretch to the Max by Roy Bertrand (2010) Paperback
Stretch to the Max by Roy Bertrand (2010) Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Knows what us TKD folk need!, 19 Feb. 2015
I own this book. Previous to this my bible for stretching, like many of my era, was the Tom Kurz book... but Roy's book takes us into a more modern age... and, as he is a TKD instructor... knows what us TKD folk need! A great book IMO.

Combative Elbow Strikes: A Guide to Strikes, Blocks, Locks, and Take Downs
Combative Elbow Strikes: A Guide to Strikes, Blocks, Locks, and Take Downs
by Jeff W. Rosser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Book with loads of idea's to implement into your own training, 27 Nov. 2014
When most martial artists think of elbow strikes... they think of solid, close range tools to smash the opponent into submission. When Jeff Rosser thinks of elbow strikes, he thinks of blocks, locks, takedowns, trapping techniques and even throws! And thats what this book is all about and why its so good, as it takes the basic elbowing techniques we all do 'as standard' in our arts and shows you how to use them in a variety of ways to achive different but highly effective results, above and beyond the basic 'smash and pound' mentality that elbows are so well known for. Don't get me wrong, Mr Rosser doesn't ignore the standard purpose of this high powered weapon of close range self-defence, as many applications flow from the initial 'smash' effortlessly into locks or takedowns (to name a few), he also shows various applications of the elbow for use on the ground - very useful, especially for any schools that do not cover a lot of ground based work!

All the applications are clearly illustrated with step by step photos and descriptions, making them easy to learn and thus utilize for your own training. As someone who has studied 'alternative' and realistic applications to Taekwon-Do patterns for a long time, I can see that Mr Rosser has gone about this the right way because, the best part about this book is not just all the various applications that Mr Rosser shows (which are many and varied), or even the in-depth way they are presented, it is that they are all based on the elbow techniques you already do, right now... which means learning the applications shown is as easy as 1, 2, 3 and its just a simple matter of viewing them as more than you originally thought! All in all, a highly recommended purchase, that will enhance any martial artists arsenal of techniques - with very little effort!

- Stuart Anslow. Author of 'Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-do Hae Sul: Real Applications To The ITF Patterns', Editor in Chief of 'Totally Tae Kwon Do' magazine.

At the Sharp End: A Guide to Self Protection Against Edged Weapons
At the Sharp End: A Guide to Self Protection Against Edged Weapons
by Pat O'Malley
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 16 Oct. 2014
Possibly the best book on Knife defence out there!

Taekwondo: A Path to Excellence
Taekwondo: A Path to Excellence
by Doug Cook
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic book.. told like a story, but all real!, 3 April 2013
This book came out in 2009 and I am surprised there are no UK reviews on it yet.. because it really is a great book.

First and foremost, its written from the heart and that is abundantly clear after reading just a few pages. Doug Cook is not just a 'Traditional' Taekwondo guy at heart, but a firm believer in the merits that true martial arts training offers - he just happens to do Taekwondo - he knows that what martial arts offer, when studied in depth (and if I may so so - properly) and that its rewards go far beyond todays yearnings for quick grades and competition statue by way of trophies!

This book encompasses many factors of Taekwondo - from Korean history to the highs and lows of making martial arts a full time career, even pausing for a section for beginners, based not so much on 'what they need to learn at 10th kup' but rather on their expectations, thoughts and hopes for their future in martial arts - as I said, a book written from the heart!

As an author myself, our styles differ somewhat and I must say how much I enjoy his writting style. When I write, I try to write as if the person reading it is right in front of me, sort of informal in a way, whereas Doug Cook's style is almost akin to the way a fiction writer, suck as Tolkien would write - excect he (Master Cook) writes about things that really happened and are true, but puts them in a way that is wonderful and illuminating to read - think a description of Fangorn Forest meets a true account of the Silla Dynasty of Korea - such is his style. Other parts of the book are more direct, as they must be (more akin to the way I write) and the whole balance works really well.

Some may feel this is a 'WTF' book.. but that is not the case.. it is a book for all students of Taekwondo (Or Taekwon-DO), as it covers much of the areas we, as martial artists, should know about, yet are rarely covered in the standard A, B, C make up of classes today and the terms used (which are Kukki/WTF based) are easily interchangable for any system ie. Poomsae to tul etc. as what he covers applies equally to both!

If you do any style of Tae Kwon Do - this should definatly be on your book shelf - in fact, stylists from other arts will find much enjoyment and knowledge form it as well I would think.

Targus Lap Lounge for iPad 2
Targus Lap Lounge for iPad 2

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BILLIANT PRODUCT!!!, 27 Oct. 2011
I bought an iPad case at the same time as my iPad which I imagine most people do but quickly realised it was a bit of a pain, particularly with children using it and having to hold the case/iPad whilst playing. I was constantly on edge that they would drop it! Since this product has been purchased, the case has been relegated to a cupboard probably never to return. It really is superb and our iPad has literally never been out of the lap lounge since bought. It ensures the iPad is safe and secure, the iPad is still firm when erect in the housing so doesn't wobble when the screen is pressed. The cushioning is excellent and very comfortable, the cushioning is also a secure base when on a bedside table if watching a film etc and a nice touch to have a zipped area at the back to house ear phones and stylus so you always know where they are and also has a small handle to carry if needed.

If you are thinking of buying an iPad that will be predominently used at home or have children who can't keep their hands of your's, trust me, buy this, you won't regret it!!!

Empire and Napoleon Total War Collection - Game of the Year (PC DVD)
Empire and Napoleon Total War Collection - Game of the Year (PC DVD)
Offered by PROGAMES
Price: £10.79

40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its okay - but not as fun as previous TW games, 4 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although I have loved the TW series since Shogun, I resisted buying this game due to all the bugs that other reviewers kept on reporting. However, in Agust 2010 I relented when I saw this going cheap, so got a copy. My review will be split into 2 bits - the game itself (and the manual), the bug problem & instalation/steam:

THE GAME (Empire)
The game itself seemed daunting at first as it had a massive map over 3 screens. The manual was absolutly dire and only gave the most basic of information - other stuff I learnt off various forums because without knowing how the mechanics work, you can't enjoy a game like this. In reality, the manual should have been beefy, espcially as its supplied as PDF on the disks as well, so theres no excuse (IMO) for not explaining everything in reasonable detail.

At first I hated the game - too much going on, and knowing to little made it less of an experience. I don't get to play games that often, so was disapointed at it all, but I perservered and after a while got into it a bit more, as I started to understand things. I have now played it on and off for around 4 months and will say the following:

1. Battles: Despite the size of the campaign map, the land battles lack the scope of previous TW games - in virtually all my battles, they have been fought on flat ground only. They have buildings which you can use, but don't (but its quite cool looking at your men inside, busting out the windows ready to shoot - but I did this once in 100 years!). Gone are the mountains that were seen in other TW games (as much as a pain as they were), even the bridges, that are on the map, end up like a swamp type battlefield and everyone liked the mass slaughter at the bridges!!!

That said, the battles are decent for what you get - most of the units you don't really need (you mostly just use line infantry) and the opponents are pretty weak unless you set to 'very hard' (recommended). There seems to be a bit more AI thinking in the battles, which is an improvement - but its not very strategic - the enemy will still walk into gun fire and get slaughtered etc. Seiges are a thing of the past really as well, as they all take place in 'star forts' which are ALL the same.

2. Graphics: I have a 5600 dual core (on XP) and I only get mediocre graphics - they are okay, but its a shame probibly only 1 in 10,000 will see the game in its full glory. Still, it plays fine without lags with the settings right!

3.Campaign Map: This vast and pretty decent. The new system of towns takes a bit of getting use to but its okay and the diplomacy is definatly improved.

4. Sea Battles - After a bit of practice these seem okay UNTIL you get big fleets fighting it out - 5 to 6 ships and its easy to micromanage it, but after that its gets a lot more difficult - still its okay!

5. Loading times - These are loooooooong - and TBH a pain in the backside!

Having read many of the previous reviews I knew what I was getting into with steam, the download bit etc and TBH it was pretty painless. I installed from the DVD's, connected to steam, let it do its download thing, then played it. It has only crashed once so far, so I presume the download sorted out certain bugs (It now automatically turns the sound off when you speed things up, which was a COD bug - which is a shame really, as even at fast speed, the battle sounds should be heard as in previous games). I would have prefered not to use steam, or at least have the option, but it did update well (though a patch downloaded could have done the same). Occassionaly I get a message from steam saying I can't play for some reason, but if I restart it plays fine!!! Still, Sega should take note of the users dislike of it in future releases IMO!

Overall I gave it a 3/5. This is because I can't get the better graphics and the gameplay doesnt match previous TW games - but all in all, its decent enough for the money, so I can't complain.

this review is for Empire only - I havnt played Napolean or the other campaigns yet, so will update review when I do.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 26, 2015 6:07 AM BST

Stretch to the Max
Stretch to the Max
by Roy Bertrand
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Book, 8 July 2010
This review is from: Stretch to the Max (Paperback)
This is, as my title says, an excellent book. Great for beginners, great for those that want to improve their flexibility and useful also to those who want to learn or practice variations on the stretches you already do. If you are looking for a book on improving your flexibility - this is it.

A Killing Art, The Untold History Of Tae Kwon Do: The Untold Story of Tae Kwon Do
A Killing Art, The Untold History Of Tae Kwon Do: The Untold Story of Tae Kwon Do
by Gillis
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended For all TKD'ers, 4 Jan. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
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!

The Taegeuk Cipher
The Taegeuk Cipher
by Simon John O'neill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.08

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Top Book for WTF and all TKD guys, 3 Dec. 2008
This review is from: The Taegeuk Cipher (Paperback)
I brought this book for a number of reasons, firstly because obviously pattern applications is a particular interest of mine and my Academy, secondly to support the cause of making patterns have more functional in TKD than they presently do (though that is changing) be it Ch'ang Hon/ITF or Kukki/WTF and finally because I know and have seen Simon and knew what he has released so far via the internet, to be not only good, but have far reaching consequences into the system of Taekwondo he practices.

Okay, onto the book. Well, I knew it would be good and when I received it I was very impressed. The book isn't just a collection of techniques and applications for the Taegeuk patterns (even though they form the core of the book) and even if it was, it would be worth the money for any WTF student and many other martial artists who don't have the same focus in regards to their forms/kata/patterns. However, the book includes much more, such as an in-depth history of Taekwondo and its development, so much so I would think many Karateka would learn a lot from it simply for the amount of info on the pre-Taekwondo years and the background of famous Karate masters from all the various styles who form the lineage that eventually led to Taekwondos 'official' birth. The book includes much information on who helped develop the Taeguek patterns and how their history and influence infused the patterns with various self-defence aspects such as grappling techniques, throws etc. and the research has Simon leading a compelling argument that the patterns are more than block, punch, kick!

It also includes sections on the primary exchanges involved in a self-defence altercation and how the patterns relate, how to develop specific attributes to enhance what you learn/practice within the patterns, sections on patterns performance, sparring drills/exercises relating to pattern application and even a section on how to formulate a practical patterns related syllabus.

Going onto the bulk of the book, the patterns are divided into chapters (obviously), however, the chapters are grouped to correlate to the stages involved in a self defence scenario, that of first attack, grappling range and finally advanced techniques, something which I think will help the student immensely. Of the chapters on each pattern, the basic steps/techniques of the pattern are shown by some smaller photographs at the top of each page, with the applications shown underneath in larger photographs. Each chapter covers each step of all the Taeguek patterns and involves mostly small combinations of techniques and how they combine to show the complete self defence applications.

The only (minor) bad points are some of the pictures are darker and/or smaller than I would of liked and require closer scrutiny, though with that said, the majority are easy to see at first glance of the page (well, they were for me).

Being a Ch'ang Hon student obviously these patterns aren't the ones I practice, but I found myself actively searching out techniques & combinations that are similar to what I perform in my own patterns to give me a different perspective on combinations that I know already, of which they there are many. With this in mind I would obviously, without doubt recommend this book to all KKW/WTF students and instructors (perhaps even some of those running the KKW :-)), all ITF/Ch'ang Hon based students, many students of Karate and anyone else who likes reading about martial art histories or lack pragmatic applications within their own forms or katas, as you will undoubtedly find common ground.

In fact, I would go so far as to say Simon should be acknowledge as starting what is likely to be a revolution in the KKW/WTF world, something I hope he is remembered for; in recognition of his fore sight, efforts and achievement in releasing this book.

All in all... a very worthwhile purchase for all students of taekwon-do, no matter what system you do.

The Complete Tae Kwon Do Hyung: 002
The Complete Tae Kwon Do Hyung: 002
by Hee Il Cho
Edition: Paperback

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hee Il Cho`s Hyung series, 5 Jun. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This volume of books (there's 3 in the set) covers 19 of the 24 patterns of ITF Taekwon-do because Master Cho left the ITF before the other four patterns were developed. So it should cover 20 patterns but 'Kodang Tul' was replaced many years ago, so is no longer relevant (unless you practice it) except maybe from a historical view point. The word 'Hyung' was the old term for describing patterns, what you now know as 'Tul`.

The first book covers patterns Chon-Ji to Toi-Gye & the second covers Hwa Rang to some of the black belt patterns. Each volume has over 600 photographs of the various movements contained within the patterns, taking the reader step by step through each pattern. Each photo is accompanied by some text describing the movement pictured. Each pattern is also given its meaning (in English & Korean), its diagram & a short description of what each pattern sets out to achieve.

Also in the book are some pictures & descriptions of basic moves & stances, showing basic blocks, strikes & kicks. A biography of Master Cho, an interesting feature concerning patterns & their history, some good diagrams showing some of the vital spots on the body & the obligatory Master Cho action pictures.

On the plus side, with the exception of General Choi's Encyclopedia, no other book covers the patterns in this much detail. However, the books were published in 1984, meaning that they have not been updated since & because Taekwon-do is continually going through developments, it means a few of the moves are wrong & have to be corrected by the reader. This is not to much of a hardship however & is easily done by simply crossing out & writing in the new stance or whatever is correct next to the picture (which is usually very similar looking anyway as a lot of changes are only minor).

For coloured belts the first volume is a must. It should be used as a reference guide & not a learning tool as nothing is a substitute for class training. When a pattern is learnt its easy to update the photo's as mentioned earlier, for future reference.

For black belts things are a bit more complicated. The reason being that because they are fifteen years old, the black belt patterns are printed in the wrong order (some pattern orders were swapped & changed some years ago). And pattern 'Kodang' (volume 3) was never replaced in these book, with pattern 'Juche' as it was in the ITF system. Also, the 3 volume set only covers 19/20 of the 24 patterns, so there could be a problem if you need to refer to them when your taking your 6th degree ! (Ha Ha)

On the plus side, these books are comprehensive in detail, easy to follow, have clear pictures with descriptions, a few added extras & they cover all the coloured belt patterns in the right order & nearly correctly. On the down side a few movements are slightly outdated/changed by Master Cho & need to be amended, which can be don`t as you learen them.

All in all a recommended purchase.

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