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The Taegeuk Cipher Paperback – 23 Sep 2008
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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.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
If you want to go deeper into the art than just high flying kicks, buy the book. If you feel like something is "missing" from your Tae Kwon Do training buy the book. If there are things that make zero sense to you about the poomsae (rediculous high chambers, forms full of blocks only, .etc) buy the book.
ive shown the book to my instructor tkd 8th dan grand master the history part is so sketchy he doesnt know where they got there information from its just a fraction of the real history and isnt that correct
I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, honestly speaking.