A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do, Updated and Revised Paperback – 9 Aug 2016
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Customers who bought this item also bought
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
A suspenseful and meticulously written history of the martial art.” Tae Kwon Do Times
From the Inside Flap
The leaders of Tae Kwon Do, an Olympic sport and one of the world’s most popular martial arts, are fond of saying that their art is ancient and filled with old dynasties and superhuman feats. In fact, Tae Kwon Do is as full of lies as it is powerful techniques. Since its rough beginnings in the Korean military 60 years ago, the art empowered individuals and nations, but its leaders too often hid the painful truths that led to that empowerment the gangsters, secret-service agents, and dictators who encouraged cheating, corruption, and murder. A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do takes you into the cults, geisha houses, and crime syndicates that made Tae Kwon Do. It shows how, in the end, a few key leaders kept the art clean and turned it into an empowering art for tens of millions of people in more than 150 countries. A Killing Art is part history and part biography and a wild ride to enlightenment.
This new and revised edition of the bestselling book contains previously unnamed sources and updated chapters.
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I suggest readers of this book also take a look at the english translation of the well very researched book "A Modern History of Taekwondo" by Kang Won Sik and Lee Kyong Myong, which can easily be found as a free (and legal) .pdf using google, for a more nuanced history lesson.
Just to elaborate my position on this a bit:
General Choi definately deserves credit for his participation and work in unifying many of the early Kwans (of which several were older than his own Oh Do Kwan, and founded by masters with a far greater experience and rankings in the martial arts than General Choi, which alledgedly was only a 2. dan in Shotokan karate when he founded the Oh Do Kwan), and also for (possibly, as there are some controversy regarding this) coming up with and suggesting the final name of the unified art for all the members of the Korean Taekwondo Association(KTA). Still, the unifiation process was ultimately a group effort, and the fact that the participating Kwans (of which General Choi's own Oh Do Kwan was just one of many) accepted the use of the term Taekwondo as a general term for the martial arts of the various schools participating in the unification process, does not automatically make General Choi the founder or father of all Taekwondo. After all, he had no say in what was practiced in all these other Kwans neither before or after he split with the KTA (which is older than both the ITF and the Kukkiwon/WTF), took with him a large part of the Oh Do Kwan, and founded the ITF.
Ultimately the rest of the member Kwans of the the KTA (including a significant part of the Oh Do Kwan, who decided to stay with the KTA when General Choi split), managed to develop a unified art based on input and suggestions from all the remaining Kwans, complete with a common curriculum and forms. This art (managed by the Kukkiwon, or "national school") kept using the term Taekwondo (as that was what all the member kwans had agreed upon before General Choi's split with the organization) is today practiced in the vast majority of the worlds Taekwondo schools, and has no direct linage back to General Choi.
From backstabbing to espionage, from bribes to assassination plots and death squads, the history of Taekwondo seems like a daytime soap opera. Gillis starts in that dingy card game where tempers where lost and fates decided, and takes us through the seemingly opposing political ideologies between North and South Korea. Along with the expected stories of the communist regime, I learnt a lot about the heavy handed dictatorship that ran the south of the peninsula.
General Choi is an enigma of a character who seemed to have lived and breathed Taekwondo. On one hand he sacrificed everything to help its growth around the world, while on the other hand he hurt and pushed away anyone who couldn't help him, including his own son. The book takes you on a emotional journey from anger to deep sadness as we see Choi fight against the corrupt South Korean dictatorship, who will do anything to stop his version from growing, and sell his soul to the evil that is the North.
The claims of cheating, and ‘Branch Pruning’, that have occured in Olympic Taekwondo is shocking. As recently as London 2012 there has been claims that judge’s would influence who made it through the early rounds with favorable, scoring.
The differences in spelling and format of Taekwondo, although explained, is quite distracting and the same can be said for the way the Korean names are presented. I would of also have like to have seen more information since the death of Choi, maybe this could be included in a future update? Personally, i would love to have seen more information on some of the other offshoot organisations, such as my own TAGB, but i understand why its not in there.
Overall a great read and one that i would recommend to anyone.
Yet although the roots of this modern art is dark, the author notes the current situation is no better. The corruption still persists today.