A Family Activity
Haidong Gumdo is the traditional martial art that originates from an ancient Korean country called Koguryo (B.C.37- A.D.668) that ruled over eastern Asia, including the Korean peninsula and Manchuria. It was founded by Master Sul Bong who established a dojang by Sam Ji Lake in the Baekdoo Mountains and taught his students a sword based martial art based on the ideas of Choong(loyalty), Hyo(filial piety), Ye(propriety), Eui(justice), Shin(trust), Ji(knowledge), Duk(generosity) and Che (sound body). Among them, the outstanding ones were called Samurang and they were always at the front line of the battle against injustice.
The history of the Samurang is very interesting, highly debated, and not well known.
In some historical accounts, the Samurang, under the command of general Uel Ji Moon Duk, fended off 2 million soldiers during the invasion of the Sui Dynasty. They also defeated 600,000 Tang soldiers at the Ahn Shi battle under the command of general Yang Man Choon.
The leading Samurang generals fled to Japan in 668AD after the Chinese invasion and the defeat of the Koguryo armies. They spoke Chinese and Japanese and became hermit monks to escape the Chinese ethnic cleansing that began. They continued their way of life, and over a period of 500 years, the Samurang descendants created the Japanese Samurai class. The pronunciation of Samurang has been altered to accommodate the Japanese alphabet.
The Samurang who did not go to Japan left society and started to live hidden away in mountains to escape their extermination. Although the Chinese occupiers worked hard to obliterate all written references to the traditional Korean martial arts, these warriors practised in secret and preserved their history handed down verbally from master to student. After Hideyoshi’s invasion of Korea in 1592, Japanese Kendo took root in Korea. That and the Japanese invasion of Korea in the early part of the 20th century helped to almost obliterate traditional Korean martial arts. But due to a new campaign to bring back traditional Korean martial arts, nowadays many traditional Korean martial arts are laying roots again in Korea.
Haidong Gumdo differs from other sword based martial arts in that the art entails dispensing with many adversaries simultaneously, rather than dwelling on the usual ‘one on one’ sparring. The Samurang is taught to expect attack from many directions and to be prepared to act accordingly. It is an eloquent regimen that effectively deals with the concept of ‘One against Many’.
The basic techniques of Haidong Gumdo include cutting, thrusting, combat and abdominal breathing exercises and are the foundation that helped Koguryo’s Samurang become Koguryos most powerful warriors in its history. Therefore, one of the main features of Haidong Gumdo is not the simplicity of Japanese Kendo nor the complexity of Chinese Kung-Fu sword arts. Rather, it takes pride in being the most realistic sword art.