Summary: The breakthrough
Comment: This is THE breaktrough or the breakaway from the prevailing concept of teakwondo. It reveals the rational base of this Far Eastern discipline thus giving the only relevant orientation to its development into an Olympic sport. Applying periodic training is the very essence of this transformation where scientific research gains its real value. This is an important turning point - for the taekwondo as well as for all related martial arts on their way to become global combat sports. The book, of course, could only give a review of this new, value and style neutral approach to combat sports training. It doesn't claim to and cannot give all possible explanations or detailed instructions for composing any specific, individual training scheme - that can only be done after a diagnosis in each individual case separately. (Especially the most critical issue, i.e., optimal inclusion of technical and tactical exercises into conditioning cycles will always remain to be resolved by a contestant him- or herself or by his or her coach.) Being well supported with data and refering to a reach list of research, the book is still easy to read and can be understood by any interested and open minded reader. Its main value lies in its omnipresent hint: valuable knowledge on the optimization of training in combat sports is already at disposal in various works on periodic training in other sports. In order to make use of it, we have disect rationally what we are really doing and optimize our efforts to reach our sporting goal - to win a competition. The self-imposing conclusion: the more rational approach to the so far traditional, intuitive training (even in regard to the emotional balance or psycho energy) the more chances for the contestant to become successful. In taekwondo and combat sports as in any other sports.
Summary: Advanced for Americans, Basic for Europeans
Comment: It demistifies lots of the information of taekwondo training and has some very good tips in all aspects of Taekwondo training.
It is a good introduction to periodization, although it over looks the 4 year Olympic plan. He always eluded on how to include all aspects of training, because I was looking for something where all aspects of Taekwondo Training would be included.
As far as strength training, the author didn't have a clue on Sport Specific Training, not knowing how to apply the Principle of Direct Action. Squats, Lunges and the other exercises don't mimic the exact movement of a kick. Bungee Cord, and Air Shied/Heavy Bag Training are Direct Actions(the exact competition technique)
Teaching Methodology is sound, although many of the techniques and tactics are very absolite is todays era. Most of those combinations have not been used at the Elite level for years. He also ignored the all important sparring strategy of Progressions(each scoring techniques set up the next one by telling your opponent who to react), which is the basis of Modern Elite Olympic Taekwondo Competition.
Another thing he ignored was the classifications of exerciese. Indirect Actions-Exercises that aren't related to Taekwondo(to develop General conditioning), Direct Actions-Exercises that are related to taekwondo, but not to competition, such as paddle kicking, Bungee Cord Training, and Flash Drills. And Exercises for Competition-desinged to develop the competition prowess, such as Simulations, Progression practice, and accual sparring. I believe he ignored these aspects because he did not know how to apply them.
The chapter on Mental training was also lacking. He wished to instruct people more on emotion control, concentration and visualization, but bearly touched the subject, taching the most basic of drills. Trance training, Skill accuacition through imagary training, and reaching that "ZONE" are advanced techniques but required to when at the Elite level.
The section on anotomy and injuries was very nice, I had no problems with that.
For all american coaches it is a great introduction to the planning principles. About 90% of American taekwondo coaches "SUCK" in the matter that half the time they don't know what they are doing, and are engaged in "by the feel" training, and refuse to alwknowledge the existance of these advanced training methods. The koreans and many others would consider the information on this book too basic to waste their time with, but American coached who read this book will be amazed that there was so much information they didn't know about.
The Century Video Series "Gold Medal Training Systems" have thousands of examples of competition specific drills, and Tudor Bompa's Theory and Methodology of Training and/or Thomas Kurz's Science of Sports Training can enable you to fully understand the principles only mentioned, and even ignored in this book.
Summary: A Book for Serious Martial Artists and Coaches
Comment: This is a book that was read for its content. It's 248 pages are very rich in that respect. It demystifies taekwondo and dissects it. The authors have done significant research, but will not be loved by everyone for doing this. I like what they've done, and I respect the fact that they are breaking ground, trying to move this martial art into a more structured world. The book is well laid out and can be understood by most taekwondo students, even those with no formal physical education training. This book is for serious students who are targeting taekwondo as major part of their life for a long time.
The section on psychological training is very helpful. It has triggered a number of ideas for expanding the programs at the school my family attends. I will be following up their references for suitability for our school.
The description of the exercises pulls together in one book, a great deal that appears in a number of other taekwondo texts.
The tactical training section is solid. It's full of first rate material.
I'm pleased that there is a section on anatomy with sketches, and a frank discussion about injuries. Having just attended the Canadian Junior Taekwondo National Championship in Moncton, and watching the parade of injured kids with broken noses, etc. it's an important subject. In fact, if the authors had done more, it wouldn't have been amiss.
This is a book to keep as a major reference. I will be using this for many years as my kids move into more advanced competition. It will be the basis for their training program.