Kumdo, also spelled Gumdo, is a Martial Art of the Sword that is based on Korean swordsmanship, of the 3 kingdoms of Ancient Korea, which proceeded Japanese Kendo. The term “kumdo,” which means “way of the sword,” is a general term that is used to describe martial arts disciplines that involve swordsmanship. The form of kumdo that we know today is actually a hybrid of ancient Korean styles and Japanese styles of swordsmanship.
It is common for the terms “gumdo” and “kumdo” to be used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Gumdo refers to traditional Korean swordsmanship while kumdo refers to the hybrid of Korean and Japanese styles.
The Art of the Sword
Learning the art of the sword is a rewarding physical and intellectual challenge that is unique from other forms of martial arts. If you are interested in learning the art of the sword, learn from a true master at Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts in Oak Park, IL.
Sr. GrandMaster Yu was trained and qualified by the World Haidong Gumdo Federation. Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts is an official education center for World Haidong Gumdo (Kumdo). We can guide you mastery in your kumdo journey!
Haidong Gumdo vs. Japanese Kendo vs. Korean Kumdo
We believe it is important to clarify the meaning of each of these styles as they are related, yet different. Haidong Gumdo is an ancient form of Korean swordsmanship that is very different from Japanese Kendo and Korean Kumdo. During the Japanese occupation, it was this style of swordsmanship that was outlawed by the Japanese.
Japanese Kendo is the art of swordsmanship that was introduced by Japan and Korean Kumdo is the resulting style of swordsmanship that is a hybrid of both. Japanese Kendo and the hybrid Korean Kumdo are very similar.
The main difference between kendo and kumdo is that kendo style swordsmanship is more suited for one on one duels while kumdo is for combat swordsmanship to fight off multiple opponents. In kendo style swordsmanship, the student shows patience and waits for the exact right moment to strike.
Kumdo practitioners are more aggressive and use strategic strikes and feints to open their own opportunity for a good strike. Students of kumdo will switch from a bamboo sword when they reach advanced levels to a real blade to learn drawing and cutting techniques.
Principles of Kumdo
The goal of practicing kumdo is to develop a sense of balance and harmony within by finding harmony with the sword. There is a proper etiquette that is built on respect when it comes to swordsmanship that must be shown at all times. The training for kumdo is intense and requires physical strength and concentration.
The teaching of kumdo consists of the following principles: respect for the sword, proper stance, use of breath in sword techniques, and tapping into the universal energy, or ki.
Students start out learning handling, drawing and retreating the sword using a wooden sword known as a mokkum and a bamboo sword known as a jukkum. Students can advance to using a live blade sword called a jingum when they have reached the advanced level and receive permission from their instructor.
Why Practice Kumdo?
Students of kumdo generally show improvements in the following:
- Respect: Respect is the most important principle in kumdo. Students are taught to have respect for each other and for the sword. The respect taught in kumdo also emphasizes the philosophy of protecting those who are weaker. This emphasis on respect and meditation will help students get a deeper understanding of themselves to be better members of society.
- Concentration: Sparring with a sword requires intense concentration to execute the techniques with no mistakes. Practicing kumdo will improve your concentration which can help you in every other area of life.
- Stress: Students of kumdo make yells, called Ki-hap, with their movements to build energy. This makes the practice of kumdo a great stress reliever.
- Confidence: Students of kumdo spar with other students of different ages and genders. Defeating someone who is older or more advanced can help build confidence.
- Health: Kumdo is an intense physical workout that will build strength within the abdomen and give acupressure on the hands and feet which helps you feel lighter and less tired after training.
- Spiritual Strength: Even though safe wooden swords are used in sparring, sword fighting is still a life or death situation at its core. Kumdo students develop a strong sense of spiritual strength to get them through difficulties.
- Posture: The stances of kumdo help teach and reinforce good posture.
- Self-defense: Kumdo teaches excellent self-defense skills that are valuable even without the sword. The art of the sword teaches students to minimize their strikes and movements, but to use speed and power when executing a strike. This concept of applying force and velocity at a specific point of attack with good timing can translate to bare hand combat. Kumdo students develop the basic skills for strikes, blocks, and counterstrikes that will improve self-defense in any scenario.
Learn Kumdo from Sr. GrandMaster Yu
If you are looking for a good physical and mental challenge and you are intrigued by the art of the sword, contact Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts to learn more about our classes in kumdo. Sr. GrandMaster Yu continuously trains and is qualified by the World Haidong Gumdo Federation.
He is recognized as an official educator of kumdo. You will learn the ancient art of swordsmanship from a world-renowned master and develop your physical, mental, and spiritual strength which will create peace and purpose in your life.
Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts is located in Oak Park, IL and we offer classes for those in Chicago and the suburbs. Contact Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts at (708) 383-3456 to begin or continue your kumdo journey!
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