Literally when translated meaning “National Martial Art Association” is an East Asian martial art form known as Kuk Sool Won. This “hybrid” form of combat is said to have originated from South Korea. Furthermore, the Kuk Sool Won was essentially created as a form of “system” and not just a “style”. In addition, it was developed by grandmaster Suh In-Hyuk on a philosophy that encouraged the “integration and exploration of varied traditional Korean martial art forms, body conditioning techniques, mental conditioning, and weapon training”.
a. History/origin of Kuk Sool Won:
According to the cultural history of South Korea, the development of Kuk Sool Won has undergone three key phases, and they are as follows:
1 Japanese occupation of South Korea from 1910 to 1945:
It was in the year 1910 that Japan captured South Korea which resulted in the dissolution of the Korean royal court. It was under rule of the Japanese that the use of all forms of Korean martial arts were prohibited. In fact those found practicing were killed. However, despite the harsh restrictions imposed on the Korean society the Suh family to practice and teach martial art forms such as kwon sool, yu sool, and yu kwon sool privately. It was also during this period that Suh was selected by his grandfather to continue the family’s martial art legacy.
2 Suh continues his family legacy in martial arts from 1945 to 1961
By 1945 Suh had already travelled to several Buddhist temples and visited many martial art teachers within South Korea as a result of which he acquired deep knowledge in Korean martial art forms. Furthermore, gradually by the 1950’s Suh began integrating elements belonging to many Korean martial art forms thereby creating a single system. It was this system that he named “Kuk Sool” meaning “national martial art”.
3 Popularity of Kuk Sool Won as a martial art form post 1974
It was around the year 1974 that Kuk Sool Won rapidly gained popularity within South Korea itself. It is this rising popularity that gave Suh the confidence to introduce this martial art form within the United States of America. Furthermore, as of today the headquarters of the World Kuk Sool Association is located in Tomball, Texas.
b. Weapon used in the Kuk Sool Won:
“Hands and feet” are mainly used by the fighter as a weapon in this form of Kuk Sool Won. In addition, traditional Korean weapons such as staff, knife, spear etc are also used.
c. Technique used in the Kuk Sool Won and training availability:
In terms of technique, moves such as joint locking, hand striking, kicking techniques, throwing, and grappling are frequently used. In addition, this system is based on five essential principles, and they include
- Mind: Calm yet alert.
- Eyes: Bright and focused.
- Body: Low and soft.
- Hands: Fast and precise.
- Feet: Slow and controlled.
As for training centers/schools, there are a few available around the world especially in a country like the United States of America for those interested in learning this “hybrid” martial art form.
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