Kuk Sool Won

Kuk Sool Won

The Korean history of martial arts is an ancient history of Korea and can be traced far back into prehistoric Korea, where primitive types of weapons, often made of stone and wood were utilized for fighting and hunting. As far back as 2707 BC, a Korean warlord, called Chi-Woo (also known as Jaoji), reigned as a "god of war" in what is today called mainland China.


A migration of Koreans who settled in the Korean Peninsula, have recorded more that a thousand foreign invasions. As a consequence of these invasions, the Koreans developed a unique martial arts style and unique military strategies, this was done in order to defend themselves.  These Korean martial arts styles, mostly fall into three main branches; they are, Buddhist, tribal, and the royal court martial arts. A brief description of each follows:


Buddhist martial arts ( BoolKyo MuSool ) 


Buddhism was first introduced into the kingdom of Koguryo during the year 347, a unique martial arts style was developed by martial artists and the Buddhist monks, this is known as BoolKyo MuSool. The Buddhist monks practiced and developed BoolKyo MuSool in order to improve their health, and also while meditating, and to defend themselves when they traveled. 


Buddhist martial arts will include internal training, with special emphasis on meditation and breathing methods, and external training with the emphasis on self-defense techniques that are effective. Many of the Buddhist monks were highly accomplished martial artists, with a result they were occasionally required during national emergencies to fight battles by the formation of armies of warrior monks.


In this day and age BoolKyo MuSool still plays a significant role for Korean martial artists as it provides them with a philosophy of compassion and non-violence, and also offers spiritual codes of conduct, for instance, the well renowned Five Commandments of the HwaRang warriors. 


Tribal martial arts ( SahDoh MuSool )


The earliest school of martial arts was developed in Korea was called SahDoh MuSool; meaning the tribal, family or clan martial arts. SahDoh MuSool was very popular amongst ancient Korean tribes, the city-states and the kingdoms that were formed in the Korean Peninsula and also in parts of what is today China.


This was before the Korean’s very first unified kingdom of Ko-Cho Sun which was founded during 2333 BC by a legendary king, DahnGoon WahngGuhm. SahDoh MuSool was passed down through family lines from one generation to the next, and later, SahDoh MuSool has also developed further and spread widely amongst the militias who were voluntarily formed by Korean common people, who fought in many battles in order to defend their villages. The popular traditional sports activities such as Ssireum and Taekkyon, are thought to have being originally from SahDoh MuSool. The Popular Olympic sport of TawKwonDo can trace many of the techniques from SahDoh MuSool.


Royal court martial arts ( KoongJoong MuSool )


KoongJoong MuSool was practiced by Royal families, kings and many government officials who had bodyguards and private armies who practiced the martial arts, well known as KoongJoong MuSool. The Royal Court martial artists brought about a rise in esoteric techniques, using portable weapons, such short swords and fans. Also unique empty-handed techniques, such as joint-locking, and the pressure point striking were used. Among the existing records of Japan have suggested that the many KoongJoong MuSool techniques had found their way to Japan, and it also began the Japanese art of Jujitsu.


It is known that in the kingdom of Shilla, King JinHung encouraged HwaRang warriors to practice the art of KoongJoong MuSool and many other martial arts. In the Koryo and Chosun Dynasties, the Korean kings went on to enforce policies that discouraged the practice of martial arts, and forbad the possession of weapons, this was in order to protect the kings from rebellion against them. However, Korean martial arts has continued its development both without and within the Royal Courts, and this is thanks to the efforts to record, practice, and compile the  martial arts techniques used by the many dedicated Korean martial artists.


Traditional Korean martial arts ( Kuk Sool )


Three branches of the traditional Korean martial arts of the SahDoh MuSool, The Grandmaster in Hyuk Suh, founder of Kuk Sook Won, systemized the KoongJoong MuSool and BoolKyo MuSool, in 1958. Kuk Sool contains 270 categories and over 3600 techniques from these three branches of the traditional Korean martial arts. Kuk Sool has been promoted actively worldwide by World Kuk Sool Association, and has been recognized in martial arts communities as one of the most effective, and the comprehensive systems of the traditional Korean martial arts.

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