Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Taekwondo Diaries:
get it now or be destroyed

My lovely English rose of a coworker zzZ (for "zzZ" is what she calls herself on her newly minted blog) has been an avid practitioner of taekwondo for several years. She earned her first-degree black belt last year, and has self-published a book that deals with the TKD world and her experiences in it.

zzZ's blog contains a sidebar link to, where you can find her book, The Taekwondo Diaries, along with some very nice 2007 calendars. The book can be ordered for a small fee as publish-on-demand hard copy, or can be downloaded for free as a PDF file. Here's part of the writeup zzZ crafted for herself on the Lulu site:

I decided to write this book after I was flooded by questions from people outside Korea who wanted to know if it was worth coming over to train.

This book is the first of its kind. There are already many technical manuals on the market covering forms and test tips for Taekwondo. Until now, there has been no such book about training in Korea. In light of over fifty million people training in this fast-growing sport, such information is long overdue.

The book doesn't only cover Taekwondo. It also contains a panorama of contemporary Korean culture from the viewpoint of someone who is actually living here. A bit of tongue in cheek is shown, but I can at least guarantee unique coverage of aspects of Korean life that haven't been printed elsewhere.

This is the review I wrote of The Taekwondo Diaries:

Ms. Smith has written an insightful account about what it's like to practice taekwondo in a world largely dominated by men. Her book offers historical and cultural insights, but for my money the best parts of it deal with her personal journey toward the black belt-- a journey at times demanding, disappointing and, ultimately, uplifting.

The Taekwondo Diaries is unflinchingly honest, and that's part of its charm. You'll find information about prominent Korean TKD masters both in Korea and abroad, insights about other Korean martial arts, and a chapter that takes a fond look at the Korean Tigers, South Korea's most well-known TKD team.

Written in accessible prose and chock-full of useful information, The Taekwondo Diaries will make a fine addition to your bookshelf.

I hope you'll visit zzZ's blog and Lulu entry (her real name appears all over the place on the Lulu site; for Google search purposes, I'm refraining from using it on my blog), and that you'll either buy or download her book. I know she'd been working hard on the research for quite a while and, perfectionist that she is, she doesn't consider the book to be done yet.

Go give TKDD a read. If you're a Koreablogger who also practices martial arts, you might think about the enormous potential for Korean-style budoblogging-- a blogger subculture we currently lack, but a subculture I think we need: it'd be a welcome relief to all that whining from skanky expat teachers that currently dominates the Koreablogosphere.


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