ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Taekwondo

Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Warrior

Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2002

To the uninitiated, Taekwondo seems almost like magic. Those skilled in this martial art can easily break boards and concrete blocks with their hands and feet, and they can flawlessly reproduce those colorful spinning kicks seen on any episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. What is it about this sport that enables even children to develop these amazing skills?

In this book, the mysteries of Taekwondo unfold as the author traces the art back to its inception in Korea over 1,300 years ago, as a practical fighting tool for the war-torn country, and follows its development into a popular sport practiced today throughout the world. It is impossible for a practitioner to fully appreciate his art, Cook makes clear, without an understanding of its ancient roots and the underlying philosophy entwined with it. He discusses the insights he gained, through years of practice and travel in Korea, into the benefits of such concepts as meditation and the use of “Ki” or the “universal life force.” He explores with the reader the “Way” of Taekwondo, which includes its fundamental Five Tenets: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit. Cook explains that these tenets, handed down through the ages, are equally applicable and desirable today.

Cook, a third-degree Black Belt in Taekwondo, is a certified instructor in the U.S. Taekwondo Association and World Taekwondo Federation. He is the editor of the United States Taekwondo Association Journal.

The book is intended for anyone with a serious interest in Taekwondo or any of the martial arts, but it may be difficult for a nonpractitioner to comprehend some of the concepts discussed by the author. Fortunately, Cook writes in an easy-to-understand style, which is particularly helpful for analyzing this complex subject.

Any practitioner of Taekwondo, from the novice White Belt to the most seasoned Black Belt, should include this book in martial arts training.

Alan J. Couture