Customer Rating: Summary: Good basic book to own for this kata series. Comment: I just finished rereading "Palgue 4-5-6" by Kim Pyung Soo for the first time in quite a few years and was reminded of the firs time I had purchased this and the other two books in the series when I was first starting out upon my martial arts journey whose primary focus in those early days was Karate and Tae Kwon Do. These books were some of the first ones I owned concerning the martial arts and kata or forms in particular.
After the customary introduction, the author includes a very brief section on the history of Korea and Tae Kwon Do in particular. Since the primary focus of this book is to be on the katas or forms, I was too bothered by the briefness of most of the fringe subjects that the author discusses throughout the book. Subjects such as; target areas, basic bowing procedure, basic warm-up and stretching exercises, etc.
I was however surprised to find numerous pages devoted to pre-arranged self-defense techniques, offensive hand strikes, one-step sparring, and free sparring hand strikes. I really don't know why the author included these sections in this book other than perhaps as reference material since it doesn't really add to the focus of the book.
Now this is just my personal and professional opinion, but I feel that any book dealing with katas or forms, should focus solely on the movements in the particular kata being discussed and the applications of each movement. There truly is no need to go into pre-arranged self-defense techniques, offensive hand strikes, one-step sparring, and free sparring hand strikes, etc., since these techniques should all be learned separately from learning kata. Although the principles learned in kata can and do translate into the other areas. It is redundant and a waste of the authors talent and the readers time. Now having said that, this book, and the other two in the series, are still cherished and close to my heart as they were instrumental in helping me learn this particular series of katas.
Next comes the "meat and potatoes" section of this book, the demonstrations of Palgue #4, #5, and #6.
The layout is very basic and is the same for all three katas. All of the photographs are taken from the "top of the shaft" position, although there are a couple side views shown for a few on the different techniques. The photographs are all of the starting and finishing positions for each of the techniques. There are no photographs to show body position as you move from one technique to another. A definite drawback! What little explanation there is for each move is very basic and quite brief. Not nearly as detailed as it should be. The foot position diagrams are pretty good and they do help somewhat with how your feet should move when moving from one technique to another. However, it could have been done a lot better.
You can tell that this book was written in the early 70's as the author refers to the ruling body of Tae Kwon Do as the Korea Taekwondo Association, which as you may or may not know, was the predecessor of today's World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
The author also includes some obviously dated rules concerning free-style sparring in Tae Kwon Do and a few photographs of non-kata related applications of a few various techniques. This volume finishes up with some common Tae Kwon Do terms in both English and Korean.
If you are just starting out and want some really basic reference material for the Palgue series of forms, then this would be a fairly good book to own on this particular series of katas. However, there are some better ones out there. Two of which are Richard Chung's, "Tae Kwon Do" and "Advancing in Tae Kwon Do."
Shawn Kovacich, martial artist/author of the Achieving Kicking Excellence series.