TKDT Reviews

"Zen In the Martial Arts"

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

by Joe Hyams
Bantam Books July 1, 1979 Paperback

This little paperback sells for just a few dollars (Amazon has it listed for $1.00 and up!) and is really a must have and a must read. I finished this book in one sitting and found myself going back and re-reading it!  Mr. Hyams was a former reporter for the Saturday Evening Post and the author or co-author of more than two dozen books including "The Secret of Inner Strength" by Chuck Norris.  He led an amazing life and he shares a small portion of his experiences in this gem.

Zen In the Martial Arts has some great inspirational quotes and stories from teachers like Bong Soo Han, Ed Parker and Bruce Lee, all with whom Hyams had studied with.  The chapters are not only fun to read but so thought provoking.  Anyone who has trained in the martial arts will relate to the challenges faced.  Self doubt, ego, fear, anxiety, injuries are just some of the topics covered in a way that weaves wisdom with humor.

This book is a true gem.  A martial arts treasure if you will.  This is in our dojang library and it should be in yours!  It goes beyond Zen quotes and anecdotes.  Zen In the Martial Arts is the continuing story of a man on his journey.

Mr. Hyams passed on November 8, 2008 at the age of 85.  His over 50 years experience in the martial arts is a testament to his love and passion of personal development.  You will be challenged, inspired and encouraged by this little book, so read it and then share it with someone else!

Final review 5 out of 5 stars.
-- Aaron Wayne-Duke

"The Taegeuk Cipher"

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments


the patterns of Kukki Taekwondo as a practical self-defense syllabus

by Simon John O'Neill
Published by Lulu.

Review by Aaron Wayne-Duke


"The Taegeuk Cipher" is one of the few books I have found that address the self defense applications of the Taegeuk poomse.  Author Simon John O'Neill has compiled an interesting syllabus that can be added to any school using the World Taekwondo Federation gup forms.
This book begins with a history of Taekwondo and it's influences from other arts.  The author contends that the self defense applications have been almost lost in most modern kwans.  I agree.
The reader will get a very straight forward presentation on the development and history of the Taegeuk patterns, pattern interpretation for realistic self defense and a comprehensive analysis of the 8 Taegeuk patterns (Il Chang-Pal Chang).  The explanation of the techniques is pretty easy to follow and follows a very realistic approach to Taekwondo as self defense.   My only complaint is that the pictures are somewhat small and it is dificult to see the techniques at some points.  The good thing is that the author does explain from what position the technique is to be applied be it grappling, long range or short range.
I was able to implement a few of the authors suggested techniques quite quickly into my classes and I strongly urge any instructor or student of the WTF patterns to purchase this book.
Final review 4 out of 5 kicks.
Pros:  Well written and excellent presentation of self defense applications form Taegeuk poomse
Cons:  Small pictures make it difficult to see the techniques close up

The Korean Diet How Women Lose Weight and Stay Healthy

on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments

By Rosemary Ferraro

As a woman deeply interested in the lifestyles of the people of Korea, I was very excited to receive my review copy of The Korean Diet by Rosemary Ferraro. Unfamiliar with the publisher or the writer, I was unsure what to expect, but nonetheless, I had high hopes.

Those hopes were almost completely deflated upon opening the package to find a book thinner than the stapled-together printer-page books my young children write at home for fun. A quick flip through the pages didn’t exactly ease my disappointment when I discovered that the book was only 51 pages long and six “chapters” deep. Still, a good read is good read, despite the length, so I didn’t give up.

But, by page ten, when the writer starts to suggest that overweight people also have problems with overspending their money, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be giving this book five stars. Even if I could overlook the complete lack of credibility of the writer to speak as an expert on nutrition or Korean cuisine (a native African, she lived in South Korea for a year), I doubt very much I could overlook the multitude of run-on, rambling sentences that fill the uninformative pages of this book.

While the book may have good tips and advice for weight loss within its pages, it’s nothing you can’t get from the pages of a good fitness magazine like TaeKwonDo Times. She also offers some limited information on the Korean culture, but most familiar with the martial arts would already possess this knowledge from attending a good martial arts class.

If you are just looking for a quick overview of the Korean diet and can stand reading through a bit of rambling to get to the actual points of Ms. Ferraro’s, which are few and far between, then The Korean Diet could possibly be something you may want to read as a last resort. But if you are a seasoned martial artist and familiar with Korean culture, the book will have little to no new information for you and you could end up with a migraine.

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