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Best Taekwon-do Book

in years!
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Best Book on TKD in YEARS!

Best Book on TKD in YEARS!

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Discover the secrets of Taekwon-do


  • What is the ‘real’ history of TKD?

  • Where do TKD patterns really come from?

  • What are stances for?

  • Where is the realistic self-defence in TKD?

  • Why do we have so many blocks?

  • Do the patterns contain 'secret' techniques?

  • Where are the chokes, throws, joint locks, and more?


Taekwon-do is a fantastic art, but so much of it remains a mystery to the student and instructor alike  



1) What is Taekwon-do’s real relationship with Karate?

The history of Taekwon-do makes little mention of its fundamental relationship with Karate; despite, the fact that our founder General Hong-Hi and many of his advisors held blackbelts in Japanese Karate (a modernised version of Okinawa Toude).  


The source of much of the TKD patterns is often thought to be the ancient foot fighting art of Taekyon. Yet Taekyon bears little resemblance to Taekwon-do's beautiful patterns. However, even a cursory glance at the 'modern Karate' kata will tell you how similar they are to the TKD Tuls.  Yet an exact comparison has never been published before.  




2) Where is the ‘real’ self-defence in Taekwon-do?


Does your training prepare you for:


  • being grabbed and seized 

  • being bear hugged

  • being strangled

  • having hair pulled 

  • being thrown 

  • being head locked 

  • being thrust against a wall 

  • being repeatedly punched with hook punches 

  • being head butted? 


If not then is does not adequately prepare you for the eventualities and ‘real life’ attack patterns of violent aggressors. Violence takes many forms and they do not all look like long range kicks and punches.


Taekwon-do is a fantastic art that deals well with all manner of long distance attacks. But modern training has become very sport orientated and doesn’t prepare the student well for the variety of ‘realistic’ attack patterns that we know violent aggressors use.  


With the advent of social media and CCTV we now know that violence is horrible and takes many forms. Anyone can become a victim of it. Youtube abounds with examples of people being victimised by violent criminals but violence does not look the same to everyone.  If you are a child or a woman in a domestic violence setting, your idea of violence will not look much like the ‘trained doorman’s’ experience of the same thing.  Violence takes on many faces.  This is why it is essential to have the appropriate response trained to deal with the specific form of attack.  

So why does Taekwon-do training, and modern Taekwon-do especially, focus specifically on the types of 'long range' attacks that are rarely the form of violence one encounters in the ‘real world’ ?



'Are we perhaps missing what Taekwon-do is actually designed for?'




3) What are stances for?


For years many of us have been mistakenly led to believe that stances are either for:

  1. Leg conditioning or 

  2. Standing still  



But there are much better ways to strengthen legs than standing still.  Furthermore, violence and fighting is dynamic so standing still is only an option if your opponent is down and incapacitated. Yet we spend so much time training these special devices of balance and strength that there simply must be a unique fighting purpose to each one which dictates why we select it and not another.  So how do we find this out?




4) Why do we have so many blocks to do the same thing?


Taekwon-do has simply 100’s of blocks and variations.  Why?  If we are only defending against straight/round punches and kicks why do we need so many ways to do this?  Will this not cause confusion?  Are there some blocks that seem just a little contrived and possibly dangerous to the defender?  How can we find out the answers to these questions?



'This book answers all these questions and more!'  


It culminates over 20 years of Taekwon-do practice and 10 years of academic research.  It is essential reading for all those who love Taekwon-do but want to really understand it.  I wrote this book because I love Taekwon-do!


Take a look at what's inside the book...

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My Story




My Name is Ciaran McDonald M.A., M.Ed.  I am an academic, Taekwon-do instructor, Karate instructor, BJJ student, celebrated author and martial arts nut


I started 'Martial Arts' in the 1980's when I studied karate.   But my true love is TKD and I have been involved with it for the last 20 years.  As a young man I competed regularly and spent huge amounts of time perfecting my side kick. I loved the sparring and the patterns but I always felt there was something missing.  


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As a child and a young man I had numereous violent encounters and though I never felt comfortable with violence I grew to recognise and prepare for the chaotic and frenetic nature of it.  


However, it always perplexed me why my TKD training, which consisted predominantly of the heavily ritualised 3 step sparring or the rule bound arena of free sparring, never looked anything like my encounters of ‘real world’ violence.  

'I felt unprepared and VERY vulnerable...'  


The more I trained the more worried I was that I would not be able to defend myself if I was attacked.  I suspected that the patterns had some great self-defence but I couldn't find anyone who could teach me.  So I went on a journey of discovery to confirm what I always suspected. 


'The patterns contained all the answers I was looking for'  

My journey took me around the world and I trained in many grappling systems and striking arts.  Many of these arts seemed to have some of the answers but none had all of what I was looking for. Until I met Patrick McCarthy 9th Dan in Koryo Uchinadi.  Through him I learnt an old form of application based Karate which dealt with all manner of violent encounters in a systematised and hands on way.  I learnt:


  • Pressure point striking  

  • Throwing

  • Ground fighting

  • Strangulation

  • Joint manipulation

  • Clinch work

  • Kata applications



All the bits that were missing from TKD.  I suddenly felt I was not vulnerable and had no gaps in my defences. Not only that but the 'Old School Karate' was so similar to the TKD patterns that I began to learn... 


'The 'real' and 'secret' self-defence applications from the patterns'


...and what they all meant.  I began to see that hidden within plain sight, within the patterns of TKD, were all the self defence techniques I would ever need to defend myself.  


Though I was already a 3rd degree blackbelt and Instructor in Taekwon-do I decided to gain my blackbelt and teaching qualification from Hanshi Patrick McCarthy 9th Dan and in 2012 I opened my own school teaching Koryu Uchinadi (KU).  I was now an instructor in both TKD and Old School Karate. 


'But TKD was my first love and I wanted to share my findings with the world of `TKD'



That's why I founded 'Old School Perspectives on Taekwon-do'.   

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Excited by what I discovered, I really wanted to share it.  So I wrote and published the critically acclaimed book: "Old School Perspectives on Taekwon-do" designed to help the TKD world find the most effective self-defence in the TKD patterns and make it ready for self-defence in the ‘real world’.   


This book got 10 out of 10 from Grand Masters and Masters.


See what others think

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GM James Tjin A Ton

9th Degree ITF

Your book is great
and I recommend this book to all students of ITF Patterns 
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GM Paul Liversidge

9th Degree ITC

10 out of 10
one of the best books I've read on Tae Kwon-Do.
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GM Patrick McCarthy 9th Degree K.U.

Highly recommended
is Ciaran McDonald's seminal work, "Old School Perspectives on TKD,"

GM Mel Steiner 9th Degree ITF USA

Should be REQUIRED reading
for all Ch’ang Hon black belts from 9th dan down. Kudos to Mr. McDonald for exposing the short comings of “our” art. 
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Stuart Anslow 5th Degree 

Author and Editor 

A joy to read
 well thought out, researched thoroughly and presented well .
What makes this book so great? 



This unique book contains 200 pages of high quality colour photos: explanations; explications; and applications. It fills in the gaps in knowledge left by conventional TKD literature.  It is a must for all who are serious about the beautiful art of Taekwon-do and it contains:

  • REAL HISTORY – Discover the ‘real’ history of ITF Taekwon-do and its relationship with modern Shotokan and ‘Old School’ Karate and their kata. Learn what is missing from the encyclopaedia

  • LOST TECHNIQUES – See: the chokes; the takedowns; the throws; the joint locks; the pressure points; the escapes & counters. See Taekwon-do as a  complete art with practical answers to most common attacks

  • SECRET APPLICATIONS – Learn how to use the hidden applications of the patterns for real life self defence. Discover why they are not often taught

  • BLOCKING & STANCES – Find out how to use both blocking and stances for ‘real combat’ (hosinsul) and get the most from the study (bunkai) of your patterns

  • MONEY BACK GUARANTEE – Buy this book and if it doesn’t help your TKD or your martial studies then you can return the book for a full refund


Forewords from TKD author Stuart Anslow & Karate historian/world kata applications expert Patrick McCarthy 9th dan. It does for TKD what Iain Abernethy did for Karate.



If you love Taekwon-do you MUST buy this book.  Taekwon-do is incomplete without it!