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Thread: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

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    Default Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    http://www.amazon.com/Killing-Art-Un...0107477&sr=1-1

    Ok, I know it's not kenpo. But, I fancy myself as a martial arts history buff. This book was very interesting to me. IMO TKD is kind of the joke of the martial arts world. It is often associated with "McDojos" and often called "Take One's Dough"

    The title intruiged me, I had never really thought of TKD as a "killing art", so I got the book to see what it was.

    The book mainly details Gen. Choi and the start/rise of TKD. It talks about his early life and going to Japan to be educated and his training in karate. It talks also about WW2 and the abuses that the Koreans had at the hands of the japanese. It also talks about his time in prison during the war. After the war and returning to Korea he still trains the art as a very hard and basic art. It then goes on to detail the Korean war and the Vietnam war in which TKD was used by the soldiers. It was in the Vietnam war when American soldiers were exposed to the art and it's use in combat that it gained popularity and was brought back by our soldiers.

    It also goes on to relate how TKD was switched and changed and how the history was "rewrote" to erase the japanese roots. TKD was demonstrated to the president of South Korea and he proclaimed what they did as "Taekkyeon", which was an old game involving the use of the feet and kicking. At this point, the art was changed to try and reflect the idea of the use of kicks and attempts were made to emphasize the kicks and create new ones.

    The book then starts to talk about the internal politics of the art and the rise of the WTF and the differences between that and the ITF (Gen Choi's art). It talks about taking the "martial" out of it and making TKD into a sport.

    Even if you are not a student of TKD, if you like history the book is a very good read. It sheds alot of light on the process of how the art came to be what it is today.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Sounds interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.
    Joel Ellis
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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    I like this book a ton. The history of TKD is worth to be turned into a crime-thriller
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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Thanks for the review. I agree that many think of TKD as a joke, but then, they must be doing something right to have such tremendous growth (from a business perspective).

    When I did Tang Soo Do, I heard stories how the founders of the styles I did (Kim and Shin both) hated the Japanese. There was a story where one of them was flying home, and the plane stopped in Japan, and because of technical difficulties he had to stay the night. Supposedly he had to be coerced off the plane, as he didn't want to set foot on Japanese soil. He refused to eat or drink while there.

    Anyway, the original stuff Choi did was real. I doubt the military there adopted it because all the little kids were using it in strip malls.

    Even today, I don't think a good TKD school or practitioner is a joke. The fine control some of those practitioners have with their kicks is amazing. I remember season 1 of the Human Weapon. While the contest is a "sport", the TKD episode was the only one where one fighter took on both of the Americans, and beat them both, taking out the "big guy" who had a considerable height and weight advantage by KO.
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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Quote Originally Posted by J-squared View Post
    Thanks for the review. I agree that many think of TKD as a joke, but then, they must be doing something right to have such tremendous growth (from a business perspective).

    When I did Tang Soo Do, I heard stories how the founders of the styles I did (Kim and Shin both) hated the Japanese. There was a story where one of them was flying home, and the plane stopped in Japan, and because of technical difficulties he had to stay the night. Supposedly he had to be coerced off the plane, as he didn't want to set foot on Japanese soil. He refused to eat or drink while there.

    Anyway, the original stuff Choi did was real. I doubt the military there adopted it because all the little kids were using it in strip malls.

    Even today, I don't think a good TKD school or practitioner is a joke. The fine control some of those practitioners have with their kicks is amazing. I remember season 1 of the Human Weapon. While the contest is a "sport", the TKD episode was the only one where one fighter took on both of the Americans, and beat them both, taking out the "big guy" who had a considerable height and weight advantage by KO.
    The book discusses that some. How much the Koreans hated the Japanese for what they had done. Dr. LaTourrette (former member of this site) was discussing that he was in Korea when he was in the military and had a first edition of Gen. Choi's book. It talked about the poomsae where based on japanese kata. In all of the later editions, this was taken out. That was also why they were altered to again blur the lines of korean vs. japanese in their art.

    The original TKD sounded very hardcore. In the book they talk about how techniques were done with the one strike mentality to a vital point to end the confrontation immediately. Not at all like what we see today in many TKD schools. I have known a couple of guys that earned BBs in TKD in the late 60's early 70's and they were both hardcore, no-nonsense fighters. Their TKD application was nothing like I see nowadays from our local schools.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Good find, I really need to pick up a Kindle
    I watched a special years ago on TKD and what we see today is a mere shell of what it once was. One of the old timers said he didn't understand, kicks weren't meant for points, they were meant to break bones.

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    We have two of the general's book in our school library. They are both very good! I was astonished on how many hand techniques that the "original" art of TKD has including very specialized strikes more reminiscent of Kung Fu. The ROK troops in VN were renowned for their ferocity in combat.
    out of curiosity how many books do you carry in your school library(karate studio i assume) and do you allow students to use them, check them out? etc?

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    I'm thinking we have around 40 books that we use and share among us. Lee Wedlake sent me the books he had from our late Sensei Mike Sanders library just recently. Some of the books including "Modern Kung Fu Poison Hand Training Part One" from 1962 are quite rare and show Professor Chow. I have a pdf of this book if you or others wish you may email me for a copy.
    nelsonkari@yahoo.com
    That was a good book. If you guys haven't taken a look at it, it is good information, but also interesting on some of the comments. The author talks some about the "McDojo" type aspect of teachers and this was back in '62.
    "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."

    Romans 13:4

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    I attended a seminary with a large number of Korean students. Most of the men had to enlist in the army for 2 years, I think. They all laughed about TKD as taught in this country. I actually had a couple of guys hit the gym with me. Now, we actually work many more kicks than a lot of Kenpo schools as my instructor also has a black belt in the art. These guys were for real. I find that when I really focus on my kicks I receive the greatest fitness gains.

    At this moment I think it pertinent to state that one of the greatest lines in movie history is to be found in the TKD school in Perfect Weapon...."Come on white boy!"

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Based on your review I ordered this book. It sounds interesting. It just came today and I've read the first several pages. Looks like it will be a very good read.

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Quote Originally Posted by punisher73 View Post
    The book discusses that some. How much the Koreans hated the Japanese for what they had done. Dr. LaTourrette (former member of this site) was discussing that he was in Korea when he was in the military and had a first edition of Gen. Choi's book. It talked about the poomsae where based on japanese kata. In all of the later editions, this was taken out. That was also why they were altered to again blur the lines of korean vs. japanese in their art.

    The original TKD sounded very hardcore. In the book they talk about how techniques were done with the one strike mentality to a vital point to end the confrontation immediately. Not at all like what we see today in many TKD schools. I have known a couple of guys that earned BBs in TKD in the late 60's early 70's and they were both hardcore, no-nonsense fighters. Their TKD application was nothing like I see nowadays from our local schools.
    Dr. LaTourette was also the first occidental to receive a Black Belt from two seperate TKD governing bodies in Korea. Something that he is rarely given credit for.
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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    Quote Originally Posted by Takai View Post
    Dr. LaTourette was also the first occidental to receive a Black Belt from two seperate TKD governing bodies in Korea. Something that he is rarely given credit for.
    Do you know when he received it? My teacher was awarded his in Korea in '72.
    Be careful what you say, some may take it the wrong way.

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    Default Re: Book: A Killing Art by Alex Gillis

    The book was very good. Really exposed a lot of the BS myths behind TKD. However, TKD started out as a very formidable art before the sporting aspect and McDojo crap took over. I was impressed with that part of it.

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