A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do

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

  1. Alex Gillis

    Alex Gillis New Member

    1200 footnotes

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Stuart, about the footnotes: I tried inserting them at page bottoms, but some footnotes became longer than content! And I had more than 1200 footnotes at one point. I had to cut and re-organize. What you see is the best layout for most readers.

    About the 1999 book: Yes, it's Choi's reference manual that was published in 1988. I have the 5th edition, which was published in 1999.

    By the way, I got your book this evening. Can't wait to start it. (I won't call you Stuart the 3rd, I promise.)

  2. I like your website and the fact you have posted links to duscussions about your book.

    Quite often you read a book and have questions or things you would like further clarification on - it's a really good idea (I guess from a writer's point of view as well?).
  3. Brian R. VanCis

    Brian R. VanCis Valued Member

    Alex I will have to get the book and see how it reconciles with some of my experiences. :)
  4. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I've just finished this and found it very interesting. I'd known some of the information already but it's interesting to hear many different stories stitched together and put in context.

    An excellent piece of work Alex.

  5. SB1970

    SB1970 Valued Member

    Bought it,read it,loved it!
    and I'm even thinking of doing a TKD class !
  6. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

  7. mattsylvester

    mattsylvester One proud daddy!

    Well, I've ordered my copy and I can't wait to read it when I get back from hols!
  8. SJON

    SJON Valued Member


    I missed this thread the first time around.

    I got the book some time ago and read it straight through. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was very impressed by the readable style and the depth of research and information.

    Personally I would have liked to have seen more on the other Kwan pioneers, but that's just me, and objectively speaking I think Alex was wise to stay focussed on what he did (besides, that would have needed a volume of unmanageable length).

    For what my opinion is worth, I consider this to be essential reading. I highly recommend it.

    Best regards,

  9. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

    I totally agree & coming from you & the great book you wrote, that is a big endorsement. I thought you handled the history section of TKD in your book very well, fair indeed. I hope it does well
  10. StuartA

    StuartA Guardian of real TKD :-)

    Same here.. though Im no TKD historian I hear what your saying Sjon and agree (from as much as I know).

    I too think your book was wicked and dealt with the history aspect in-depth and evenly, as all good TKD should.

  11. SJON

    SJON Valued Member

    Thanks for the kind words.

    I'm not so sure about that. Nor would I say that Choi's TKD was any less Karate-like than that of the other Kwans, apart from consciously-added "distinguishers" like the sine-wave. The Chang Hon patterns are clearly OMA/JMA-based, the same as the Kukki patterns.

    I have no particular allegiance either way, but my (simplified) view is that Choi's was just one of several major versions and just happened to be (a) the one that had official backing (b) the one that had the army at its disposal for testing and developing and (c) the one that made the first major internationalisation efforts, again thanks to official backing.
  12. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

    Of course Shotokan was the biggest influence on TKD. In the early days it was basically just the same. All of the original kwans at their won pace & with their own emphasis moved from that karate base, some more than others. What we must keep in mind is that all MAs do share much in common, although those involved will highlight the many differences. With that in mind, we know that over the passage of time, TKD today looks vastly different from what was done in the 1940s & 50s in SK.
    All of the Korean forms are similiar to the katas from where they come from. I would defer to your greater expertise on this matter. I can tell you that the kwans were retired & numbered in Aug of 1978. Since then, the emphasis has been on sports rules as THE common bond. In addition the BB certs are now issued through the KKW, as a common bond. Some others for the KKW is their forms, with a WC now held for them & the official KKW textbook, along with the standard teaching of the numerous sports science programs in SK that offer academic degrees in TKD, up to & including the PhD. So Kukki TKD has moved from its karate roots. They also just took the name TKD, although TKD then was for the most part only used by Gen Choi & his followers, which of course was developing along a different line.

    That line was of course on the patterns. Although some of the ChonJi forms are closely related to whole segments of the katas, their names signified great Korean patriots & important Korean historical events. Now what also changed was not only the up down movement, but the chambers, previous postitions & how they performed the techniques. This venue does not allow such a good vehicle to relay this. Of course like the WTF, the sports rules were changed, as was the practice suit. But it does not end there. His syllabus called for a much different format & delivery of step sparring, including 2 step sparring. He added in semi-free sparring, free sparring which is open combat, allowing all techniques for attacking & defending. Model sparring, foot technique sparring (related to Taek Kyon) & pre-arranged free sparring were all added. Of course his TKD added numerous kicks that karate did not have & all the flying kicks as well. So while the base was karate, much did change. I guess the degree of change depends on the viewer & their startign perspective.

    While it is true that Gen Choi did have governemtnpower & backing, it is also true that no one was calling what they did TKD, except his group. They also were developing their own system. After he lost his backing, he did eventually obtain support from NK, where original TKD flourished due to his efforts & that of his followers, including the late GM Park Jung Tae.
  13. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    OK here's a question...TKD as a "killing art"....what techniques in TKD are lethal?
    As TKD practitioners what technique would you use if you had to kill someone?

    I know that sounds like a stupid kid's question but I'm baffled by the title of this book.
    I know a few methods/techniques that could be lethal but none of them come from TKD.

    So what I'm asking is how did TKD get this name/reputation for being a killing art when, from what I can see, most of its techniques, while potentially damaging, are not deadly?
  14. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    As this thread is specifically for discussion of the book and its look at TKD history can we take that to a new thread so as not to derail this one please?

  15. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

    I am not sure if you read the book, but it is great & clearly documents that TKD was developed in the Korean Army by Gen Choi & the soldiers under his command. It was so effective that other governments asked officially for SK to send their military TKD instructors abroad to teach this Art. So originally TKD was an Art for SD that was then changed into a sport by 2nd generation civilian TSD leaders. After which they just used the name TKD & of course covered up the true history & its connection to karate. That was my understanding of the title. Now the author Mr. Gillis also documents instances where TKD instructors, like Col Nam Tae Hi killed communist soldiers with his hands & how the north Vietnamese communists had written guidance to avoid hand to hand combat with the Korean soldiers. This is all documented.

    Now the question remains: did you read the book? If not please do. If you did or will, look at the numerous sources & footnote that he uses throughtout the book & lists in the back as evidence of his claims. If you find any weaknesses with any of theat, please respond, as I am sure he would & I would, as would others be interested in any corrections you may have. I found none worth listing & I have researched this topic in some depth.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2009
  16. Alex87tkd

    Alex87tkd Why all the jumps!?

    I've never read a book so keenly!

    An amazing and through narrative that dusts down the many skeletons in the ITF and WTF closets. Should be read by all who study TKD in its various guises.
  17. TKDstudent

    TKDstudent Valued Member

  18. mastercole

    mastercole Valued Member

    So you wanted to know what was the truth and what wasn't? Well, let's take a look............

    Alex Gillis Error #1.

    "the Jidokwan, one of the nine gyms that had formed Kim Un-Yong's World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)"

    The WTF was not formed by the 9 gyms (Kwans) as Alex states above. The WTF was formed by the signatures of representatives of national Taekwondo Team that attended the 1st World Taekwondo Championships in May of 1973. Nations like, Korea, USA, Mexico, Uganda, Austria, Taiwan, etc.

    Alex Gillis Error #2.

    "[Seung Wan Lee] Lee's appointment is eye-opening. He's also president of Mooto and Culture Maker, a global empire that sells official WTF uniforms, gear and products."
    Alex has confused Mr. Seung Wan Lee, the owner of Mooto, with the current Kukkiwon President, Seung Wan Lee, two different men.

    Alex Gillis Error #3

    "In 2003, Lee was again sentenced to years in prison, this time for being part of an effort to prevent people from voting in a Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) presidential election."
    Alex, don't believe everything you hear, or read. I mean, look at the gross errors you have made so far, on the most basic of information. President Lee was not sentenced to "years" in prison in 2003.

    Alex Gillis Error #4

    "Kim began Olympic Taekwondo in the early 1970s"
    Shihap Kyorugi, or what you should be referring to when you mistakenly use the term Olympic Taekwondo, existed since the early 1960's - sparring with a bamboo hogu-, even before the common use of the name Taekwondo (1965), long before Dr. Un Yong Kim became involved in the administration of Taekwondo.

    Alex Gillis Error #5

    "when he [Un Yong Kim] was a leader in the brutal KCIA"
    When Un Yong Kim became the 6th KTA President in 1971, he had been the Deputy Director of the ROK Presidential Protective Forces, not the KCIA leader you state above.

    Alex Gillis Error #6

    "I recently read that former Korean godfather Lee Seng-wan is now President of the Kukkiwon", and, "Lee Seng-Wan was the godfather of a gang"

    Godfather? Alex is using Scorseseian Sicilian Mafia sensationalism to sell his book, taking up the dead efforts of a corrupt political Korean media movement to destroy the character of a strong Taekwondo leader. Being from Little Italy, I knew real Mafiosi, and trust me, I know President Seung Wan Lee personally, and he is not a Mafia Godfather type, and anyone trying to cast him as such is mistaken and most likely doing so to sensationalize their Taekwondo publishing efforts.

    Alex Gillis Error #7

    "I've decided not to go for my WTF black-belt test"

    The WTF does not conduct Black Belt testing, nor do they issue Black Belt certificates. Anyway, you are an ITF Taekwon-Do minion, which explains your gross errors, and your venom against the Kukkiwon and WTF officials.

    Alex Gillis Error #8

    "Good luck to those involved with the spooky Kukki."

    Ripping off Andrew Jennings, conspiracy chaser and author of The New Lord of The Rings.

    That is just a sampling of Alex Gillies research and presenting of his "truth", a collection of gross errors. If you got a good laugh and enjoyed his above mis-statements, there are many more to be found in his book. So buy his book, and research out his research to find the truth, and good luck!

    Al Cole
  19. jazzysingh

    jazzysingh Valued Member

    i already read this before when u trolled on another forum.
  20. gemtkd

    gemtkd Valued Member

    I am gutted I haven't read this yet!! Thinks me must get it ordered!!

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