A Killing Art

The Untold History of Taekwon-do

The book reads like a spy novel, which is more or less the best way to describe South Korean politics from 1960-1980.  The author, though, is openly hostile to General Choi and his tone mars an otherwise good read.

What We Do Know

Did General Choi invent Taekwon-do and how does it relate to ancient Korean styles?  Choi invented the term. To the degree such moves were practiced in ancient Korea we simply don’t know.  There are Karate elements to it, but Choi’s style is recognizably is.

His theory of power is notably different from Karate, and with his later use of “sine-wave” it is different from breakaway Taekwon-do styles.

  1. Reaction Force (based on Newton’s 3rd Law)
  2. Concentration (pressure being equal to force multiplied by area)
  3. Equilibrium (maintaining center of gravity)
  4. Breath control
  5. Mass
  6. Speed (united the previous five)

Be glad you didn’t live in Korea in the 20th century.  General Choi was imprisoned and tortured by the Japanese around WWII, which was common to many Koreans.

Battle Stories
~Battle of Yongmunsan: Chinese special forces and North Korean elements overran a Korean outpost.  It was completely dark.  One Korean leader, Second Lt. Nam, singlehandedly, with his hands, killed 20 men in the dark.  He knew the communists had shorter hair and when he approached one, he felt his head and killed or spared him accordingly.

The 1960s began a series of coups and counter-coups and later saw the KCIA (Korean secret police) abducting and terrorizing Korean citizens across the globe.  Even worse, the KCIA fronted many organizations and laundered its money through the Moonie Cult. To his credit, and the author grudgingly admits this, the General wasn’t involved.



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