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Kuk sool won is a traditional korean martial art, formulated as a distillation of the korean arts practiced historically.

The main branches of kuk sool are buddhist martial arts( bulkyo mu sool, emphasizing ki training, circular motions and blunt weapons ), royal court martial arts (koong joong mu sool, emphasizing single and double swords, fans and long bladed weapons )and family or tribal martial arts( sado mu sool, including arts that evolved from hunter/gatherer activities such as stone throwing and traditional korean wrestling).This style is a result of the studies of founder Suh In Hyuk, grandson of the last instructor for the Korean palace guard.

  • Most of their joint manipulation and takedown moves are done with two hands. In theory, this makes it easier to overpower your opponent. The downside is that it leaves you more vulnerable to a counter attack.
  • The biomechanics of their kicking techniques are very similar to those used in Tae Kwon Do. One of the major differences is that they place a great deal of emphasis on precision kicking to pressure points and other weak areas of the body. They also do inside roundhouse kicks, which are rarely taught in Tae Kwon Do schools.
  • Tai Chi like techniques are taught to students starting at the rank of yellow belt. If done properly, these techniques could be very good for the students' health.
  • Weapons techniques are taught to students beginning at the rank of yellow belt. The downside of this is that it can distract the students from unarmed training and also inexperienced students may have a weapon taken away from them and used against them by a skilled and or aggressive attacker.
Some Good Stuff about KSW
  • There is a very well organised curriculum. So is their international organization.
  • Good KSW teachers place a lot of emphasis on how to do each move properly. Tricks for doing each technique well seem to propagate very clearly from Kuk Sa Nym to the instructors.
  • The head teacher, Kuk Sa Nym, In Hyuk Suh, is extremely energetic and dedicated to teaching well, helping people, and strengthening his organization.
  • The teaching strategies are unique. For example, there is a "Teach them the hard stuff first." concept.
  • The classes can be a really good workout.
  • A great deal of emphasis is placed on learning politeness and other good manners.
  • Students get to learn a very wide variety of interesting, fun, showy, and acrobatic moves. There is so much to learn that it is really hard to get bored.
  • Breakfalling techniques called Nak Bub are taught.
  • Lots of weapons techniques are taught.
Some Not So Good Stuff about KSW
  • There are so many different moves that students may find it hard to take the time to learn any of them well. Although KSW instructors preach, "Practice makes perfect", there is little room during classes to slow down and focus on one or two techniques that work really well for each person.
  • The Kuk Sool Won™ Association seems to be very bent on making money and recruiting more students.
  • Although they claim to teach traditional korean martial arts some of their instructors teach groundfighting techniques that are borrowed from Brazilian jiu-jitsu. They also require that Gil Hibben throwing knives be used for their knife throwing training and competetion.
  • The first fifteen moves that are taught to KSW students are called Ki Bohn Soo. They are all relatively complicated and flashy combinations of joint manipulation takedowns and finishing moves. IMHO it would take a lot of practice or a lot of natural ability to use these for Self-Defense.
Advice for KSW students
  • Pick a few of the techniques that you are already good at and practice them over and over again.
  • Ask your partner to try to resist you when practicing Ki Bohn Soo and other more advanced techniques. Joint manipulation is really easy to do to people that are not resisting you, but you may find it hard to do it to people that are. If you work with difficult opponents a lot, you will be more likely to become really good.
  • Practice simple punches and kicks a lot.
  • Cross-train in other martial arts styles, or at least read some good books about other styles.
Web References


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