book cover of Taekwondo: The Essential Introduction; the essential introductory text, written by the author of the landmark 896-page book, 'Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique'.
The essential introductory text, written by
the author of the landmark 896-page book,
“Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique.”

This is the first introductory text to accurately portray the world’s most widely practiced martial art, Taekwondo, in its entirety. Inclusive of virtually all Taekwondo styles, including Olympic-Style, this unprecedented work integrates traditional and modern approaches, sport and self-defense, in a single concise text—along with basic material required by novices during their initial training. Clearly written and expertly designed and photographed by the author of the landmark 896-page Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique, this unique book is essential reading for anyone seeking a succinct, unbiased, and accurate overview of Taekwondo’s history, philosophy, and techniques.

•  Over 530 high-quality photos, and 62 illustrations

•  Comprehensive chapters on history and philosophy

•  Over 150 techniques, spanning basic skills, sport, and self-defense

•  Concise overviews of Olympic-Style sparring and solo forms

•  Precise anatomical drawings of 83 vital targets

•  Basic material to guide novices during their initial training

•  Essential reading for anyone seeking a concise overview of Taekwondo

Note: The information in this 128-page book comes from material extracted from the author’s 896-page work, Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique. Readers seeking a comprehensive presentation of Taekwondo should obtain the larger work. Click here for information on the 896-page book.


Taekwondo: The Essential Introduction
Author: Marc Tedeschi
Language: English
First Edition, October 2003
Published by Weatherhill,
an imprint of Shambhala Publications
Current Edition, May 2015
Published by Floating World Editions
128 pages, 8.5 x 11 inches, softcover
Over 530 monochrome photos, 62 drawings
Maps, Korean terms, bibliography
First Edition: ISBN 978-0834805378
Current Edition: ISBN 978-1891640810


To help readers comprehend the vast material defining Taekwondo, this book is organized into seven parts:

Part 1 is an overview of history, philosophy, and technique.

Part 2 is a brief overview of some of the more important basic technical elements that define Taekwondo.

Part 3 shows how the basic skills are combined for practical self-defense. Twenty techniques are shown in detail. They are a representative sample drawn from hundreds of Taekwondo techniques.

Part 4 is a brief overview of Olympic-Style sport competition and shows 8 typical techniques. They are a representative sample drawn from over 140 typical sparring techniques.

Part 5 is an overview of principles and skills used in breaking demonstrations.

Part 6 is an overview of major forms and patterns used by different Taekwondo styles.

Reference material includes information on rank advancement, important Korean terms, and sources for further reading.



Technique Overview


Breathing + Meditation
Stances + Movement
Attack Points + Targets
Strikes + Blocks


Self-Defense Overview
Step Sparring
Self-Defense Sparring
Defense Against Strikes
Defense Against Grappling
Defense While Seated
Defense From Chair
Multiple Opponents
Defense Against Weapons
Attacking Techniques


What is Olympic-Style?
Competition Setting
Attacks – Closed Side
Attacks – Open Side
Counters – Closed Side
Counters – Open Side


Basic Concepts


Historical Origins
Systems of Forms
P’algwae 1
T’aeguk 1
Ch’on Ji


Promotion Requirements
Korean Terms
Further Reading

The information in this 128-page book comes from material extracted from the author’s 896‑page work, Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique. The following reviews refer to this larger work:

“Simply put, Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique is the most comprehensive work ever written and illustrated on the world’s most widely practiced martial art . . . expertly integrates traditional and modern approaches, history, and sport and self-defense . . . the definitive work on the subject, and of mammoth scope. If you want a worthwhile investment in a single Taekwondo book, I recommend that you buy this one. You won’t be disappointed.”
– John Corcoran, Managing Editor of MA Success magazine
and coauthor of the classic Martial Arts: Traditions, History, People

“An excellent job in compiling a very detailed list of techniques . . . a rich reference source for the beginning as well as intermediate Taekwondo student . . . The author is to be commended for his excellent organization and presentation of the material throughout the book . . . an historical asset.”
– Journal of Asian Martial Arts

5starsAn Outstanding Achievement in Martial Arts Literature
“As far as books on the martial arts go, this masterpiece is in a class of it’s own. As far as books on specific styles go, in this case the Korean art of Tae Kwon-do, there is nothing like it available on the market today. Nor will there be anything to match it in the coming years, I believe. A fantastic piece of literature that displays vast knowledge of the art’s philosophy, traditions, history, and techniques. Superbly researched, superbly written, and superbly read!”
– (England)

5starsExcellent Comprehensive Resource
“Marc Tedeschi has produced one of the finest Taekwondo resources available in print. The photography is outstanding. The information and layout are easy to follow and comprehend. Each section, e.g., philosophy, history, punches, kicks, blocks, self-defense, sparring, etc., is a joy to read and study. As for the section on forms: wow! The step-by-step charts, the corresponding pictures, and the form diagrams are the best I have ever seen. This resource is a must for any serious student of Taekwondo. I for one appreciate his attempt to cover both the WTF and ITF styles of Taekwondo, since it demonstrates the rich diversity of this popular martial art.”
– (USA)

5starsA Comprehensive Work
“In the coming years, I believe this book will become the standard reference for Taekwondo enthusiasts, due to its completeness and outstanding design. The description of techniques, accompanied by abundant illustrations, are easily understood and comprehended. In addition, there are also very interesting chapters on the history and culture from which Taekwondo originated. I also find the depiction of the forms to be very good, considering that such a broad scope is not easily given in book form (P’algwae, T’aeguk, WTF Black Belt, and ITF Patterns). In my judgement, this book shows Taekwondo in its totality; not only its sport aspects, but other qualities as well. Contemporary trends in Taekwondo are also taken into consideration. The result: genuinely impressive.”
– (Germany)

5starsA Stunning Book
“As an enthusiastic student and instructor of Taekwondo this book is a real treasure. By reading this book one is able to compare the main forms of this martial art. Whichever style of Taekwondo you follow, with this book you can practice and therefore compare alternative approaches. This book may be instrumental in bringing the main styles closer together. If you have worn out your official style ‘bible’ and the pages are falling out, before you buy a new copy consider buying this book instead.”
– (England)

5starsA Font of Information
“Stunning pictures, in-depth explanations of the patterns, clear and easy to understand instructions and well-rounded information covering the majority of Tae Kwon Do ‘styles’ . . . this is most certainly a book well-worth adding to your library.”
– (UK)

5starsReally Nice Book . . .
“After the author’s book on Hapkido, I was full of expectations about his work on Taekwondo. I am not disappointed! A really beautiful book, with lots of explicative and nice pictures of very high quality, very clear design, foot diagrams, explanations of techniques, etc . . . with some awesome parts, like the chapters about footwork and Olympic-sparring that are really clear and comprehensive (and usually left aside in most Taekwondo books). The chapters about step-sparring and self-defense are really worth reading too . . . You cannot learn martial arts from a book, but this book is really a good complement to your training; it contains nearly all the techniques you might train in your dojang (with their English and Korean names), and it may help you keep your motivation and [desire] to learn the art. It shows how beautiful, powerful and dynamic Taekwondo can be! The pictures are definitely a lot better than in other martial arts books, so this book deserves to get the highest rating! I would recommend this book to any Taekwondo student [who wants] an overview of Taekwondo and a nice book about the art they train in.”
– (Sweden)

4starsDefinitive Guide to Taekwondo
“Mr. Tedeschi has written a wonderful follow-up to his Hapkido textbook and it does not disappoint. Contained within it are roughly impartial analysis of Taekwon‑Do’s history and includes all the patterns recognised by the WTF / Kukkiwon and the official ITF patterns too; this is in addition to a very helpful WTF < ‑ > ITF terminology section [cross-index], which is especially helpful if like me you practice both WTF and ITF Taekwondo . . . The footwork section and discussion on tactics such as open/closed stances translates well over to ITF sparring too. The breaking section is well handled with the modern evidence that has linked the destruction training‑of‑old to peripheral nerve damage and arthritis and makes no bones that this could very well happen to you. It serves to treat you as an adult, informing you of this, so you are under no illusions from the outset; then discusses techniques . . . [This is] an all-inclusive Taekwondo textbook without dogma from the ITF or WTF; overall its a rare gem and gives a well-balanced appraisal of what unfortunately is a very politically polarised art, as anyone who studies Taekwondo will know certainly in time. As we are all family Taekwondo-wise lets put the ITF‑WTF divide aside and learn from one another, making Taekwondo stronger and as successful as it possibly can be. Taekwon.”
– (UK)

5starsOne You Need
“Get this Taekwondo book and sell any others you have in your library. Mr. Tedeschi does it again with this book . . . the ultimate reference guide. I have purchased four books by Marc Tedeschi and haven’t been disappointed, except when I resold my Hapkido book.”
– (USA)

5starsAn Excellent Resource!
“Marc Tedeschi’s Taekwondo is a detailed, well rounded, extensive resource for the art. Instead of only containing one set of forms like some books, the book has hundreds of forms with play‑by‑play moves that help you follow along. It has an extensive section on the philosophy and history of the art that is essential for Taekwondo study. It really has everything—stances, kicks, forms, philosophy and more. Beautifully done and intent on every detail, I highly recommend this book!!”
– (USA)

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