A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by StuartA, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Moi

    Moi Warriors live forever x

  2. Liam Cullen

    Liam Cullen Valued Member

    Apart from the Yudo (Yun Moo Kwan later Ji Do Kwan), and a touch of Chuan Fa (YMCA Kwon Bop Bu, Chang Moo Kwan, and Kang Duk Won)
  3. lord-humungous

    lord-humungous Valued Member

    I've read the book, there seems to be a good balance of ITF and WTF coverage. I found it very informative and wouldn't say it is too biased because it pretty much makes everyone look crooked though the origins of the art are noble. The author is involved in both styles.
  4. shaolin fighter

    shaolin fighter Banned Banned

    Yep TKD is a deadly art. Thanks Stuart for the post. I'm sure we'll all rush out to get this book and read up on the history of our favorite martial art.
  5. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

    I don't think it perpetuated any myths at all. In fact it debunks some and proves many. The author did not include anything in there that was not verified by at least 2 seperate sources. It is a great read & documents the great contributions of the orignal TKD pioneers, which happened to be ITF & of course the great contributions of the WTF & Dr. Kim.
    As far as relations between the ITF & WTF, telling the truth & backing it up with evidence can only help.
    Of course the day to day training is what it is all about. I think that most that do any MA will have some sort of affinity to others doing any MA, regardless of style or group affiliation. But in the end, isn't it nice to give credit to those that help give us what will do today? Isn't it also nice to have true history recorded for future generations?
  6. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

    There is no doubt that original TKD was originally karate. This is why the SK govt, the WTF, KKW & KTA all try to push the phony baloney story that TKD is thousands of years old. Now over time many factions did evolve their Art into something more Korean. Original TKD was a military Art devised in the SK Army by a general & numerous soldiers under his command that had all types of experience in the fighting arts of that period. This joint effort that received government support was unlike the development of any other MA.

    Now you should please check your history first. Original TKD was always called TKD from its inception 1954/55. It was others that were not involved in the military evolution of TKD that called it Tae Soo Do. In fact, this took place when the military general was forced out of the Army after the military coup that took place on May 16, 1961. He was then forced into the SK diplomatic corp as an ambassador to Malaysia, the 1st in fact. Now it was in 1965 when he returned to SK that he changed the name back to TKD when he was elected 3rd president of the present day KTA.

    Now if one knows their history they will realize why the book sounds like James Bond. The KCIA used TKD instructors as spies, dispatching them around the world. This book documents that, which before this were written off as story telling. One must remember that TKD was an early & important export of SK, a very poor developing country wrecked by an occupation, division & civil war. Its government was a brutal military dictatorship that suspended the constitution & canceled or controlled elections. The 1st dictator was shot & killed by his own secret police head after 18 years of hard rule. He was succeeded by 2 other military generals that continued similiar ways till finally a true democratic election resulted in Kim Yong Sam
    becoming president. TKD was used & became an important tool in not only spy work but in bringing in revenue & teaching the world about this country & culture. It was & is an important political tool. No other MA has this history, nor do they have academic universities offering college degrees even up to PhD level for TKD study. This book is long over due & a must read for serious TKD students. It will do a lot to clear the record!
  7. Alex Gillis

    Alex Gillis New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I appreciate your comments about my book, A Killing Art, in which I try to explain the controversies in Tae Kwon Do (and Taekwon-Do and Taekwondo). For years, I'd heard gossip about the art -- incredible, unbelievable gossip -- and wanted to know what was true and what wasn't.

    One of the first things I came upon was the myth about Tae Kwon Do being thousands of years old. I'd always thought it was ancient. Seven years later, after a lot of work, I see where the myth started and, perhaps more importantly, why it started. Koreans and martial artists needed the myth for a variety of reasons -- for both personal and political reasons. I love this art and practise it a couple of times a week. I love it partly because it empowers people personally (the way other martial arts do). It empowers them physically, emotionally, mentally and, sometimes, politically. Tae Kwon Do was designed to be empowering; the men who developed it knew what they were doing! In the early days, they consciously set out to develop an empowering, beautiful, devastating martial art. They consciously worked out how to do that, technique by technique, day after day, year after year. For that, I'm in awe of them and many other martial arts founders.

  8. lord-humungous

    lord-humungous Valued Member

    Thanks for posting Alex. I loved the book!
  9. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    Hi Alex,

    Great to have you on here. I have ordered your book, as I was waiting for a formal release on Amazon.co.uk but it didnt happen for some reason, so ordered it from elseware. I'm looking forward to it.

    Expect some PMs after Ive read it lol


    Ps. I wasnt duped by the 2000 year old myth :rolleyes:
  10. Alex Gillis

    Alex Gillis New Member


    And I look forward to reading your book, Stuart, and to exchanging some insights on MAP. First, I should do more homework: I can't believe how many threads are on this site!

  11. aaron_mag

    aaron_mag New Member Supporter

    Well it is hard to tell much about a book from its cover. So I ought to give it a fair shake and read it! I was worried that it would be more along Oyama versus the bull type things rather than a real history.

    My first instinct is to doubt some of the spy stuff. But then again we broke away from the ITF because the CIA kept coming and talking to our Korean master about Choi's ties to N. Korea. I was just a kid at the time, but I remember. So I shouldn't be so skeptical.
  12. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

    Things like this happened all over the world. I think what makes the book so interesting, or more interesting as I am already a history buff, is how far it delves in and proves the spy stories. These things happened. I think non-TKD or non martial artists will enjoy the book, as it is not your usual this happened here on that date with so & so invloved. Now it has that, but in a novel type of book setting, if you get what I mean. Very interesting. Anyone I turned onto it, loved it, with some TKD buffs reading it straight though, like you know who
  13. aaron_mag

    aaron_mag New Member Supporter

    You sold me on it. :)

    I ordered it from Amazon.
  14. Alex Gillis

    Alex Gillis New Member

    Spies in TKD's history

    I’m glad the book is engaging. I wrote it so that it would read like a novel. It’s dramatic, like the lives of the pioneers I wrote about.

    The spy parts of the book are getting attention because A Killing Art is the first book in English to delve into the facts. South Korea went through a political, truth-and-reconciliation commission that involved looking at operations of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), which is now called the National Intelligence Service (NIS). Enough years have passed that people are talking more and more about events such as the KCIA’s mass kidnappings in Europe in 1967 and the kidnapping of future Korean president Kim Dae-Jung in 1973, both of which the commission reviewed. I was disappointed to find out that Tae Kwon Do instructors were involved in 1967, but Tae Kwon Do was born in the Korean military, and intelligence services overlap with the military, so, in the end, I could see how instructors became involved. Although the vast majority of Tae Kwon Do instructors were NOT in the secret service, I wanted to begin to set the record straight about who was doing what. My job was to sift through the gossip and embed facts in concrete sources, which is why I asked many grandmasters and masters about the KCIA links.

    Spy missions to the side, aaron_mag’s story is common: I heard many anecdotes about Korean officials enticing and cajoling instructors from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) to join the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). From what I know, the enticements began in 1973 at the latest, long before 1977, when Choi Hong-Hi (founder of the ITF) negotiated with North Korea. We can’t blame only Choi and communists for the instructors’ mass migration from the ITF to the WTF. The 1970s were an extremely scary time, with the South Korean government running one of the most brutal and efficient secret services on the planet (akin to the North Korean agency). Older, Korean martial artists know about the shenanigans.

  15. aaron_mag

    aaron_mag New Member Supporter

    Got this book! Very good so far. I've read around five chapters of it. I've been studying for around the same time as the author. And we were members of the ITF back in the day plus had a very large organization (still big, but nothing compared to its peak). Some of the senior instructors used to go to the competitions in Canada and did quite well up there. But I was just a kid back then.

    Like the author I came to the realization that TKD ancient roots, etc was all a myth. It was a widely believed myth 'back in the day'. Learning the truth was quite disheartening...but at the end of the day all of that stuff wasn't where the true value of the art. Its true value lay in what our korean master called, "Million Dollar Sweat. The fountain of youth..."

    So when I first heard about this book I groaned, thinking it was a rehashing of all the stuff I'd heard when I was a kid. I'm happy to find it is not. I have heard many of the stories in this book 'here and there' over the years, but never to this detail and never with so many sources. And, having a korean master, I could partially relate to Choi's seminar (where the book begins). Thankfully only partially! Our Korean Master is a good man.

    Still, having a korean master can be like like having a grandfather you find yourself disagreeing with frequently, but who you still love and respect. You basically shut up and keep your opinion to yourself! I met someone who had another korean master and he laughingly told me the story of his instructor yelling, "Why you do that for?" According to him you NEVER answered. Just stare straight ahead and take whatever comes.

  16. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    Loing the book.. hating the way you did the footnotes though Alex.. I have to keep multiple book marks in there at 1 time :woo:

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  17. Alex Gillis

    Alex Gillis New Member

    Footnote hell

    Thanks Stuart. I'll take that as a compliment. I wrote those footnotes for readers like you!

  18. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    Footnotes are good as they give further credence to your excellant work, but I would have prefered the at the bottom of each page and in detail. Even how they are, some are hard to follow as even though you have the interviews and bibliography listed, you have to take the numeer from the page, check who the footnote applies to, then look at the bibliography to see where it came from and often it was hard to tell (and hard work), for example if it said something like "Choi, P123, 1978" (and I just made that bit up).

    Regarding footnotes, the bit about sine wave on p144 (No.349)

    349 says: Choi (1999), pp 42, 148-49 - is this in reference to one of his training manuals (ie. the 1999 ency)?


    ps. My name is Stuart Anslow, not Stuart Anslow III.. that was my rank at the time I wrote the article and as no others have ranks listed I presuming (maybe incorrectly) you thought it mean 'the 3rd' lol
  19. pistinbroke

    pistinbroke Valued Member

    just started reading the book brill so far well done
  20. tkd_101

    tkd_101 New Member

    hey alex, i just wanted to say i loved your book, you did a great job on it :D

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