The name ‘Haidong’ came from ‘Haidong Sungguk Parhae,’ meaning ‘Parhae, the flourishing country in the East’. ‘Gumdo’ means the way of the sword. Today, Haidong Gumdo refers to traditional Korean martial art of swordsmanship, and literally means “The ‘Light’ of the sword as the ‘Energy’ rising up in the morning in the Eastern Sea.”
ANCIENT KOREAN SWORD ARTS
Haidong Gumdo stems from a long tradition of ancient Korean sword arts. Early forms of sword art are known from an ancient Korean country called Koguryo (B.C.37-A.D.668) . Here, Master Sul Bong 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 patriotism, filial piety, respecting the elderly and executing righteousness.
The success of the Koguryo warriors was without precedent in Korean history. Through their leadership, an ancient Chinese country Su with two million invaders was defeated which had never been done before. Through these warriors the people of Koguryo enjoyed over 700 years of security and were the dominate country in the far east.
The history of these warriors is very interesting, highly debated, and not well known. After the Chinese invasion of Koguryo. The leading 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.
Those 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 practiced 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. Due to a new campaign to bring back Korean martial arts, today many of the traditional martial arts are growing roots again in Korea. However, even now there are martial artists who still live in remote mountains training in traditional martial arts and living a lifetime keeping only a few disciples.
There are a multitude of historical Korean sword arts that World Haidong Gumdo Federation founder and president Master Jeong Ho Kim trained in, including Sang So Do (two handed sword training) and others. These arts can all be found in the Muye Dobo Tongi, a manual of traditional Korean martial arts authored in 1798 by General Yi Duk Moo to preserve Korean Martial Arts history. Other historical Korean sword arts include: Ye Do (short sword), Je Dok Gum (Admirals Sword), Ssang Gum (two swords), etc. Haidong Gumdo added these arts to it’s curriculum by creating a series of10 -15 forms based on each of them. These have become the official forms (Gum Bup) of Haidong Gumdo. Practitioners of Haidong Gumdo therefore learn the Ssang So Gum Bup, Shimsang Gum Bup, Ye Do Gum Bup, Bonkuk Gum Bup, Jang Baek Gum Bup, Eum Yang Gum Bup, Tae Guk Gum Bup, Haidong Gum Bup, and others.
The basic techniques of Haidong Gumdo include cutting, thrusting, combat and abdominal
breathing exercises – these once formed the basis for the development of the most powerful warriors in Koguryo’s history. 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.
MODERN HAIDONG GUMDO
Modern Haidong Gumdo has been derived from these centuries old martial traditions of the Kokuryo period. This was a complete martial system including unarmed and armed combat, meditative and spiritual practices as well as scholarly pursuits.
The World Haidong Gumdo Federation was founded and developed by the current president, Grand Master Jeong Ho Kim. Master Kim has established over 500 schools in Korea and 1,000 schools in 30 other countries outside of Korea.
Grand Master Jeong Ho renovated the sword art to make it more accessible to the modern world and lifestyle; in the early days students did not even pick up a sword until reaching at least 1st Dan level. In 1982 Grand Master Kim opened the first Haidong Gumdo Gymnasium. He has continued to develop Haidong Gumdo into the dynamic and robust sword art we know today. In 1996 he established the World Haidong Gumdo Federation, now the largest association or federation for this type of Martial Art in Korea.
On July 23, 2002, the first World Haidong Gumdo Championship was held in Yong Pyung stadium in Kang Won Province. Over 10,000 competitors from 14 countries participated. From July 25th to 27th in 2004, The 2004 World Haidong Gumdo Championship was also successfully held with over 10,000 competitors from 31 countries.
In 1999, Master Jung Il Oh brought Haidong Gumdo to Australia and continues to spread the art across the country.
In 2005, the first annual Australian haidong Gumdo National Championships were held in Brisbane. Each year sees more competitors and stronger competition than the last, as this dynamic and exciting sword art takes root in Australia.
Almost 1300 years after the Koguryo dynasty, the majestic history of Korean sword arts through Haidong Gumdo was brought back. As descendants of Great Koguryo that ruled over the north for 700 years, the founders of Haidong Gumdo hope all who practice it will inherit this will of the ancient warriors and teach the world the spirit of Koguryo through Haidong Gumdo.
You must always use your wooden sword as if it were a real sword.(Use caution, it is a weapon not a toy)
While training you must always work at achieving a union between your body, mind and the sword.
Anyone who practices Haidong Gumdo should understand the meaning of all the movements in their forms, so they are not practiced carelessly and without thought.
The wooden sword is a tool to be used for learning how to use a real sword, this is the formal way to learning the way of the sword.
The practice of Haidong Gumdo is a method to discipline, purify and tranquilize the body and mind, thus it must not be thought of or executed casually.
While practicing with the sword, students must not be hindered by outside distractions, but must always maintain a collected and focused attitude to ensure that they can train with 100% dedicated effort.
Anyone who owns a sword or practices Haidong Gumdo must always be considerate, humble and open minded toward others.
Practicing Haidong Gumdo is beneficial to one’s health and vitality.
Haidong Gumdo students must always be respectful and grateful to their teachers for teaching them the way of the sword. Maintaining this attitude will allow the students to gain wisdom and learn from their teacher’s experiences.
Always do what is right because it is right.