What is Kumdo

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Kumdo is a modern martial art of fencing, the Korean equivalent of Japanese kendo. It is also romanized as kumdo, gumdo, or geomdo. The name means “the way of the sword,” and is a cognate with the Japanese term.

Kumdo means “the way of the sword.” The present form of using “juk do”(4 split bamboo sword) and the “ho goo”(the head and body gear) began around 18th century.

With “juk do” and “ho goo” the art of Kum Do took a surprising turn in its style. Allowing more experimentation without injury, the style became more effective by allowing stronger and deadlier blow without a considerable and extensive swing of the sword.

The present form that combines of the inner strength (much signified by a scream from within “ki”), the absolute and unbounded swing of the sword(“kum”), and use of one’s lower back and body(“chae”) was recently perfected.

This is known as “ki-kum-chae.” Thus in tournaments one does not receive a point, although striking the opponent successfully, if the blow is not accompanied by all three components of “ki-kum-chae.”

In other martial arts the strength always has an advantage. If one is fit and strong, such a person can win over most opponents(of course giving consideration to certain level off expertise and experience). During a fight, although one is hit, he/she can come back win the battle. Not so for Kumdo. In Kumdo, one does not get a second chance.

If you receive a blow, the battle is over. Under this circumstance one’s attitude and spiritual understanding of oneself is most crucial. The statement of “never underestimate your opponent” cannot be more true for Kum Do than anything else. Without the proper attitude and reverence to the art form, one opening for the opponent is all it takes to lose.

Although combination of strength and speed plays a crucial role, one cannot master the art of Kum Do without the pure and unadulterated state of mind and soul.

The spiritual maturity, inner strength, calmness of the soul, and pure heart combined with strength and speed–that is the “essence” of Kum Do. A duality of one’s identity that unites into one. ~ Soon C. Chang, Master of Hwarangkwan Kumdo Institute