Haidong Gumdo History
The true principles of Haidong Gumdo is to execute justice with the sword light that is obtained at the break of day from majestic and brilliant sunlight that glows over the east sea.
Haidong Gumdo is a martial art that originates from an ancient Korean country called Goguryo. Founded by Saul-Bong-Sun-In who has understood the true principles of the sword. He established a training camp and instructed his disciples in Haidong Gumdo so they could rid evil and practice righteousness.
The warriors who went through training in the camp were named Samurang and ideology of the Samurangs were: Jun (Respect), Sa (Master), Chung (Importance), Do (The right way), Chung (Love for our country), Whoo (Reverence for ones good and right things).
These Samurangs with their knowledge of Haidong Gumdo and DO were a great help for the great king Kuangeto to castigate the aggressive neighboring countries and contributed a great amount for Goguryo to be a strong nation with a vast territory.
The Samurangs became generals and helped defend against the aggressive neighboringcountries and contributed a great deal to Goguryo’s stability and security. Goguryo’s Samurang system was introduced long before the knighthood of Paekche and the Hwarangdo of Shilla (who are often credited as originators of Taekkyon of the Taekwondo system) and was used to train up many talented warriors.
The success of the Goguryo warriors they led were 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 Goguryo enjoyed over 700 years of security and were the dominate country in the Far East. The combative spirit of the Samurang which kept the peace and justice also left behind a valuable spiritual and pride to their descendants.
The history of the Samurang is very interesting, highly debated, and not well known. After the Chinese invasion of Goguryo, the leading Samurang generals fled to Japan after the Chinese invasion and the defeat of the Goguryo 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, their descendants created the Japanese Samurai class.
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 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. 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.
The arts that became Haidong Gumdo were instructed by Grand Master Jang Baek San about 40 years ago in an outskirt mountain to the current World Haidong Gumdo Federation president Jeong Ho Kim.
There are a multitude of historical Korean sword arts that Master 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 its 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.
As it can be seen above, Haidong Gumdo is based on techniques for war and one warrior against many others which is different when compared with Japanese Kendo which the techniques are based on 1 on 1 combat. Also when one looks at the Sangsoo Gumbup of Haidong Gumdo, it’s obvious that the fencing is in multiple directions and the positions are low, which requires tenacious movements.
The basic techniques of Haidong Gumdo include fencing, cutting, thrusting, combat and abdominal breathing exercises and are the background that formed Goguryo’s Samurang becoming Goguryo most powerful warriors in its history.
Therefore, one of the main features of Haidong Gumdo is neither the simplicity of Japanese Kendo nor the magnificence of Chinese Kung-Fu sword arts. Rather, it takes pride in being the most realistic sword art.
Almost 2.000 years after the Goguryo Dynasty, the majestic history of Korean sword arts through Haidong Gumdo was brought back. As descendants of Great Goguryo that ruled over the north for 700 years and be renown as a country of Dongijock (People in the east who are good swordsmen and Bowmen and take importance in the DO), the founders of Haidong Gumdo hope all who practice it will inherit this will of the ancient Samurang and teach the world the spirit of Goguryo through Haidong Gumdo.
Currently, Haidong Gumdo is one of the world’s fastest growing martial arts with 1.5 million practitioners and over 1600 training centers in 50 countries.