There's no other manual like this: more than 1,200 photographs show every step it takes to master Taekwondo, from the very first forms to the most intricate techniques of the art. The coverage is so encompassing, it's the only manual endorsed by the World Taekwondo Federation (the sport's only recognized international governing body)-and because it's co-authored by the man who was the head coach of the U.S. Taekwondo team you know nothing's overlooked. Those eager to learn will find background notes on Taekwondo's history, philosophy, and symbols; a scrupulously complete dissection of breaking and sparring; and a thorough treatment of competition, including officiating guidelines and contestant qualifications. It's THE book anyone interested in Taekwondo must have.
Spotlight customer reviews:
Customer Rating: Summary: Decent reference for forms Comment: I bought this book primarily as a cheap reference for the forms found in WTF Taekwondo, and for that it's been useful. The book starts with the usual "history and philosophy" stuff, which is brief but all the information your average practitioner needs. It then moves on to warmups, stances, blocks, strikes and kicks; nothing extrordinary here. Next comes the forms. The eight Taegeuk and the eight Palgwe forms are demonstrated, as well as nine black-belt forms (from Koryo to Ilyo). This makes up the bulk of the book. The forms are given both an English and Korean name, and a brief summary of the form preceeds the actual illustrations of the form itself. In addition to having clear black and white photos to demonstrate the techniques, the authors have included a step-by-step footwork pattern alongside each photo. This helps with trying to figure out the steps of the form. The book finishes up with a brief chapter on breaking, one on one-step sparring, and an appendix on the history and regulations of WTF/Olympic-style sparring.
Overall, as I said, this book is a good, cheap reference for WTF forms. This book only gets three stars because other books go more in-depth on pretty much every topic covered (breaking, basics, sparring, forms), but this one is a nice start-up for newer students or for those who have trouble remembering their forms. The writting style is simple enough, but there seems to be a lot of lip-service about the deadlyness of TKD (HA!) and the mysticism of the art, which is barely touched upon. Still, again, it's got a place as a cost-effective reference book. Not necessarily a "must have", but still a decent find. Customer Rating: Summary: There are better books Comment: I was disappointed that this book covered mainly forms, with only a trivial amount of information on techniques. It also contains many mistakes (like specifying left arm instead of right arm for blocks in forms etc). And it was out of date compared to the forms information on the kukkiwon web site.
I would recommend Taekwondo: The State of the Art instead. It has a much broader coverage, and still includes the forms information. Customer Rating: Summary: Perfect...... Comment: The manual clearly shows all positions and movements for all froms, it has also identified a couple of bad habits that I have picked up over the years that I will need to work on.
This manual is a must for everyone that is serious about Taekwondo. Customer Rating: Summary: Very good forms reference Comment: Most of the book covers the forms (Kibon, Taegeuk, Palgue, and the Black Belt ones). It has about 200 pages dedicated to forms (as a comparison, 13 pages to basic techniques - stances, blocks, strikes, and kicks). For more detailed descriptions of the "hows" and "whys" of each of the basic techniques, I'd recommend the "Taekwondo: The state of the art", ISBN 0-7679-0214-9.
Variations in the forms may appear in different associations (and Federations!), but since the "Official Taekwondo Training Manual" has the WTF endorsement, I'll consider it as WTF's official word for the forms.
Forms are shown not only with pictures, but also with feet transition diagrams in top view, drawn on the floor pattern you are supposed to cover during the whole form.
The most visible negative point I see in this book is that it doesn't include the Korean terminology for almost anything apart from the form names. All the basic techniques and form components are only named in English, and not always consistently (a fault, for an "official manual"). Example (in Taegeuk Yook-Jang): ... "execute a middle section round kick with the left foot". Then you go to the "Basic techniques" section, and there's no "middle section round kick", but a "roundhouse kick". On "Taekwondo: The state of the art" (which doesn't include the Korean terminology on the forms steps either, but does it on the basic techniques), for the same step: ..."left-leg turning kick". Then on its "Kicks" chapter you can find the "turning kick", and its Korean name, "Dollyo-Chagi".
My instructor (no book is replacement for one) uses the Korean terminology, and if we had that throughout the "Official Taekwondo Training Manual" in addition to the English names, that would be richer information.
Between this book and the "Taekwondo: The state of the art", I'd take both. The "Official Manual" as a more complete forms reference, and "The state of the art" for everything else.