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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic manual for Taekwondo applications!
Anyone with an interest in martial arts, or more specifically ITF TaeKwon-Do, would benefit from this excellent book. Hundreds of photos detail useful and effective methods of immobilising an opponent. Based on the ITF patterns, the techniques may be found in other striking arts but are often overlooked when learning patterns for more obvious techniques. The book shows...
Published on 14 Aug 2006 by Mr. Colin Avis

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start
Stuart Anslow's Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-Do Hae Sul is described as 'a milestone for the development of Taekwon-Do' on the book's back cover. I will not deny it this status as it is indeed the first book that I know of to break out of the dogmatic inadequacy present in the practise of patterns with pretty much all Tae Kwon-Do federations. I will however give an honest review of...
Published on 13 Jan 2007 by Alexander J. Malt


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic manual for Taekwondo applications!, 14 Aug 2006
By 
Mr. Colin Avis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Anyone with an interest in martial arts, or more specifically ITF TaeKwon-Do, would benefit from this excellent book. Hundreds of photos detail useful and effective methods of immobilising an opponent. Based on the ITF patterns, the techniques may be found in other striking arts but are often overlooked when learning patterns for more obvious techniques. The book shows how TaeKwon-Do is not limitied to strikes/blocks and shows where sweeps, locks, throws and takedowns are present within the patterns. Not for the faint-hearted, this book shows realistic and devastating techniques with the emphahsis on stopping an attacker quickly and furiously! There are no flowery moves which are in reality useless. There is also a great deal of information about the history of martial arts and the development of ITF patterns as well as expalantions of the science and thinking behind the techniques. The author Mr. Stuart Anslow IV has also included information about the academy at which he teaches located in Harrow, north west London. The book refers also to the school's website [...] which contains a wealth of information. If you practice TeaKwon-Do then what are you waiting for, this will be the most important book in your martial arts collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for ITF Taekwon-Doin. An honest author turning stones upside down to find the answers, 1 Jun 2007
By 
Manuel E. Adrogue (Buenos Aires, Argentina) - See all my reviews
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I came into contact with Stuart Anslow around 2002 via internet. As is the case of every good instructor I have met, he is first and foremost a dedicated martial arts student. He showed a passion for TaeKwon-Do beyond physical practice, and simultaneously carried out an important number of projects: developing an international network of martial artists, offering an extraordinary martial arts resources webpage, keeping a serious standard in his personal practice and his duties to offer intelligent instruction to his students. As a part-time TaeKwon-Do researcher myself with 24 years of diligent training and more than a hundred martial arts books in my library, I had found some of Stuart's ideas quite interesting, but they seemed an attempt to cover too many matters.

When I saw the book, my opinion changed completely. Stuart has successfully condensed his experience on TaeKwon-Do patterns in a coherent and solid piece in which he shares what he knows (a bunchful of knowledge, indeed), his reaserch, and is not afraid to publicly discuss his doubts on alternative interpretations of the motions. In the martial arts environment there is a tendency of teachers to force their students into their opinions, preventing a decent dosage of independant thinking to develop. Free spirits typically depart from regimented styles, and thus such styles tend to stagnate. Beyond the good content of the book, Mr. Anslow shows ITF stylists they can and should think for themselves. This refreshing book is very attractive in its format, the pictures are easy to follow, and there are some "pearls of wisdom" that make the purchase almost an obligation. Most of the content of the book is simply excellent (which doesn't mean I fully agree with some concepts, but in each case, it would deserve an in-depth discussion, at the bottom line, on whether applications were meant to be the heart of ITF TaeKwon-Do patterns). Mr. Anslow has obviously put a lot of energy into this book, obtaining an impressive result.

My reason for not granting a five star qualification (I would have actually awarded the book a 4.5) is that (a) the history part is rather simplistic, and has some mistakes (maybe edition problems: Taek Kyon is called Taek Kwon; Tae Soo Do and Tang Soo Do names are interchanged); (b) the book serves to preserve and enlarge Gen. Choi's image as adroitly designing TaeKwon-Do techniques having specific reasons in his mind, while authorized historical accounts have pointed out that many changes in technique resulted from more or less casual circumstances in which Gen. Choi had little or no participation; (c) the book assumes all moves found in ITF patterns have a reasonable and effective combat application, of which I am not yet convinced; and (d)some techniques -specially the comparison between ITF TaeKwon-Do and an unspecific Karate style- are shown in photographs of students with evident lack of Karate skills, and even a TaeKwon-Do level insufficient for a book of the quality Mr. Anslow intended, although it is evident Mr. Anslow was being generous with his own student allowing them to actively be part of the book.

If my students were English language speakers, I would make this book mandatory reading before black belt testing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must for All TKD Practitioners, 22 July 2006
By 
I cannot recommend this book more highly for any TKD practitioner. If offers thoughtful and logical views on the methodology behind the pattern applications which has been long overlooked along with the very interesting historical background. The fact the book is also an on-going reference manual, make it an excellent investment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!, 26 July 2007
By 
D. R. Anderson "Yonhap" (Rutland/UK) - See all my reviews
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I've had a copy of Stuarts book since its release and advise any serious students of Ch'ang Hon (ITF/TAGB etc)Taekwon-do to get a copy. For me it ranks alongside the encyclopedias for all the information inside and I strongly advise my students to give it a read and keep it for reference. You may not agree with all the applications but it gives you a new way to visualise what you are performing (that is if you were'nt doing them that way already). An excellent book Stuart, and its about time you thought about the next one.
Dave Anderson, IIIrd Degree, Yon-Hap TKD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Study Guide, 19 Dec 2006
By 
T. Wray (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This is an excellent book if you constantly find yourself wondering how to make sense of the patterns and various moves that you do in Taekwondo.

Very well presented book with a lot of information and detail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Dec 2006
A very well written manual. Explains the style in a logical and clear manner. Nice photo's. As martial arts books go, I'd rate this very, very highly. Very thourough. Well done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it!, 5 Sep 2006
By 
David Farrell-shaw (Scotland UK) - See all my reviews
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Makes a great companion to General Choi's encylopedia. Only complaint is that the photographs could be a bit bigger and that Stuart hasn't published the 2nd Volume yet:o) Well worth a read. gets you thinking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for all ITF Taekwon-do students, 16 Aug 2006
By 
M. P. Handzel (London) - See all my reviews
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This is a superb work, well illustrated with fantastic step-by-step photos of all the applications in the covered patterns. An eye-opener for the average Taekwon-do student.

If you ever thought that Taekwon-do was just all about kicking and competitions, then read this earth-shattering study of the martial art that made Korean soldiers the most feared hand-to-hand combatants in the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Resource, 25 July 2006
By 
Mr. P. Mitchell (UK) - See all my reviews
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Those familiar with the work of Iain Abernethy will have some idea of the major content of this book. Breaking patterns down and seeking more realistic applications for movements or sequences of movements has been an increasingly popular and, I believe, important movement in Karate for several years. Unfortunately there has been nothing similar for TKD, until now.

Contents

CHTKDHS begins with a chapter on the background and history of TKD. Nothing terribly controversial here, but some interesting info nonetheless and things all practitioners should know.

The following chapters include:

Debunking Taekwon-do myths (eg "TKD is all about kicks")

How TKD movements develop power and specifically how some common movements differ from Karate

Research Sources for new applications

How and at what grade to teach new applications

General principles on researching new applications

Basic TKD movements and how they can be applied in a wider context.

There follow chapters on each pattern, Sajo Jirugi up to Toi Gye. I'm not going to detail much on these as the applications need studying and practicing, but as a general rule each chapter includes:

Clear photolayout of the pattern

3 or 4 pages of background on the pattern meaning and history.

Applications to movements profusely illustrated with photsequences.

Alternative Applications, which fit less easily into the flow of the pattern or the analytical method the author has used, but are useful nonetheless.

Each pattern is covered in 15-30 pages, so a lot of detail.

The book concludes with a chapter rounding everything up, then a series of notes and appendices, covering everything from Ki to Sinewave to tables of which techniques occur where in the patterns.

There is even the URL for a website for continuing discussion of the book with the author!

What I Like

The background chapters contain some real gems of information and a good general background to TKD. For those outside TKD they should go a long way to destroying the negative stereotypes of our art. As a practitioner I found much of interest here.

The Chapters on the patterns themselves show some excellent applications for the movements. Many are restoring the grappling and close quarters aspects of TKD that have been lost to some extent over the years. Those who have attended seminars on this sort of thing will be familiar with these ideas; but to have so many, in such detail and so clearly illustrated with photographs makes for an invaluable resource.

As always, there are some applications that I don't particularly agree with and some that seem to me as unrealistic as the interpretations in the ITF manual. However there are a handful of these, compared to literally hundreds of other intersting and useful movements. Frankly, if you agree with everything in a book of this nature you're not thinking about the interpretations sufficiently for yourself!

Finally, the extra information on each pattern, over and above the standard meanings learnt by most practitioners, makes for an excellent read. Coupled with the introductory section and the Appendices they make this much more than just an applications manual.

Similar books have been written on Karate Kata, so will this add anything if you already have them? Yes, as it is written specifically with TKD movements in mind, so requires no "translation" when Karate movements differ from ours and so would not work in a TKD context.

As a comparison, this does a similar job as books such as Karate's Grappling Methods, but specifically for TKD, in more detail and with a huge amount of background added. And that is not a criticism of Mr Abernethy's excellent book, more an appreciation of the sheer amount of work which must have gone into this.

What I Don't Like

The opening chapters especially seem to suffer from typos and grammatical problems. There is nothing that interferes with the meaning of the text, and many may not bother most people at all. If a chapter called "Where's the Applications?" doesn't upset you, you'll have no issues with the proof reading, but I am a little disappointed by it.

Do I agree with all the applications shown? No, but the thought-provoking nature of a book such as this would make that most unlikely; it's a great resource for developing your own ideas further.

What I am hugely impressed by is the scope and detail of the research involved here. The research of the applications themselves alone must have been a massive undertaking, but then the additional material takes this beyond being just a book of interpretations of patterns and into something so much more. The clear presentation through description and lavish use of photographs makes for an easy-to-follow guide which will be of interest to all stylists and deeply enrich and inform the training of all Ch'ang Hon practitioners.

Paul Mitchell
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Start, 13 Jan 2007
By 
Stuart Anslow's Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-Do Hae Sul is described as 'a milestone for the development of Taekwon-Do' on the book's back cover. I will not deny it this status as it is indeed the first book that I know of to break out of the dogmatic inadequacy present in the practise of patterns with pretty much all Tae Kwon-Do federations. I will however give an honest review of the book and its overall utility to Tae Kwon-Do practitioners, and this does mean I will argue that it is worth only three stars.

Stuart Anslow's main motivation for writing this book was to "set the record straight" with regards to the function of Tae Kwon-Do's patterns and techniques found within them. It is common knowledge in the world of Tae Kwon-Do that there are techniques that are taught with a bizarre explanation as to their use. Anslow's own example of such a misconception is a technique from Juche, "the technique was the fingertip cross cut... he had been told that this technique was designed to... knock an opponent's glasses off."

It is from the misconception of patterns that many other falsehoods about Tae Kwon-Do have become common-held beliefs. Anslow addresses these falsehoods (such as the belief that Tae Kwon-Do does not contain throwing techniques) and corrects them. He then discusses the 'scientific' principles present in Taekwon-Do (approximately half of which are derived from Hong Hi Choi's Encyclopedia) and the similarities of Tae Kwon-Do to its parent art of Karate-Do in order to establish the groundwork for his analysis of the patterns. This is followed by chapters that cover other considerations such as training methods and the form that fights usually take - Anslow openly acknowledges his debt to Geoff Thompson in this regard.

A brief history of Tae Kwon-Do is supplied in the first chapter, and the evolution of the Chang Hon (ITF) style of Tae Kwon-Do in the Korean military is consistently referred throughout.

The main reason why anyone buy this book is, of course, the 'Hae Sul' (analysis and explanation) of the patterns themselves. This first volume, two more are to follow, covers the first 9 patterns (I am including Saju-Makgi and Saju-Jirugi as patterns because Anslow applies his method to them - I appreciate that they are not officially designated as such). Anslow works within a modus operandi that's goal is to establish how the techniques within the patterns can deal as much damage as quickly and efficiently as possible. There follows a breakdown of the patterns into groups of movements that are given a function within the modus operandi.

Anslow's achievement in the Hae Sul is very commendable. It is worth noting that although the Hae Sul is purely concerned with the syllabus of ITF clubs, WTF practitionners will certainly find great use for it as both base their patterns upon the Kata Karate-Do, and hence both share similar combinations. The most valuable part of the book is the fact that it will encourage free thought, and encourage other Tae Kwon-Do practitioners to think more about the techniques that they are doing. It is in this regard that I offer my congratulations to Mr. Stuart Ansow.

And yet it is not the be-all-and-end-all. Of course it would be totally unfair of me to pretend that Anslow intended it to be, and completely wrong of me to suppose that any one book could be. But there are areas with which I was dissatisfied, sometimes very much so.

The history of Tae Kwon-Do, for example, is not very developed. The comparison of Tae Kwon-Do with Karate-Do I also believe to be flawed in that it appears to be a comparison of Tae Kwon-Do with modern Shotokan Karate, and does not appear to take into consideration the way Shotokan was at the time when Hong Hi Choi studied it. I am of the opinion that in some of the techniques Tae Kwon-Do has been the one to remain traditional, whereas it has been Shotokan that has evolved (the comparison between the Knifehand guarding blocks in both systems is the classic example). If it were flaws like these that were my only concern then I would have given it a 4-star rating.

But I also take issue with some of the claims in the Hae Sul itself. The one I disagree with most is a defence against being held up by a soldier armed with a rifle, and using a jumping downward X-block (Toi Gye Tul) in order to disarm your captor (pp. 265). I find such an explanation worrying as I believe that, were anyone to try it, it is likely that they would simply be shot. The speed with which you can exectute that technique is nowhere near as fast as the speed with which a soldier can twitch his finger sending a bullet into you. That technique was by far my least-favourite, there are others that I disagree with but none that I would believe to be as suicidal as that. I feel it this case does draw into question the validity of Anslow's assumption that Tae Kwon-Do's experiances in the military greatly influenced its development.

Hence another star has been docked to give this book a three star rating - will it improve your understanding of Tae Kwon-Do? Yes, certainly. Will it offer food for thought? Absolutely. But, good as it is, I can only bring myself to confer 3 stars upon it. That said, I am looking forward to the release of the second volume.

Caladin
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