Kuk Sool Won Origins
The Kuk Sool Won | What is Kuk Sool Won | History | Origins | Description | In Hyuk Suh The Founder | Philosophy | Characteristics and Techniques | Techniques and Arts | Kuk Sool Won Weapons | Source of Kuk Sool Won | Fighting Animals | Tiger and Eagle | Breaking Training Techniques | Korean Swordsmanship
The will to survive is inherent in all living creatures. From time immemorial, humans have had to fight to survive, and when we look honestly at the world today, circumstances have not changed to any great degree. One has only to pick up a newspaper or listen to a news bulletin on the radio or television to become aware of yet another atrocity of one sort or another.
Although as individuals, generally speaking, we have no great control over the events that occur on a global scale, we can, to a certain degree, influence the destinies of our own lives. Therefore, to some it is a matter of great importance whether we allow ourselves, or our fellow human beings, to be robbed, attacked, mutilated, or even killed, without trying to do something to prevent this violation of our peaceful existence.
It was probably this view which compelled the ancient masters of the Korean martial arts to devise sophisticated systems of self-protection.
Moreover these systems were effused with a philosophical, ethical and spiritual framework that helped ensure they would not be used for retaliation, coercion or aggression.
Great care was taken that these physical, mental and spiritual techniques were developed, controlled and transmitted from one generation to the next with almost military precision. This ensured that only those who were worthy might learn the secrets of the masters.
In this, the first of three articles on Kuk Sool, although we focus on the History of Korean Martial Arts, to do so, we must also explore the history of Korea, for the country and its martial arts are inextricably interwoven.
Modern Korea is as much a product of its martial arts, as its martial arts are a product of the country. What we shall see emerge is the Korean “martial spirit” that has endured throughout. An examination of this martial spirit being the heroic exploits of Admiral Lee, Sun Shin (1) considered the greatest naval commander in Korean history, who is as famous in the East as Admiral Horatio Nelson is in the West.
Therefore, this article traces a chronological route from Korea’s ancient tribal beginnings to the present day, and explores how history, politics religion as well as Korea’s early martial arts systems have helped shape modern Korea martial arts in general and Kuk Sool (traditional Korean martial arts) in particular.
The Roots of Kuk Sool
There are virtually no surviving written records relating to ancient Korea and its martial arts prior to the 11th century CE. (2) However, we are fortunate in having two works of reference compiled during the KORYO DYNASTY (935-1392 CE), whose authors, although not contemporary with the events they describe, appear to have had access to far more ancient documents as their source of information. Unfortunately, those ancient documents have either disappeared or have been destroyed.
The first of these works is the SAMGUK SAGI – History of the Three Kingdom of Ancient Korea – which was compiled and written by KIM, PU SIK (1075-1151 CE). He was a high court official of the KORYO court, and his work was sanctioned as the official history of that period. The second work of the reference is the SAMGUK YUSA – Legends of the Three Kingdoms of Ancient Korea – compiled and written by the Buddhist monk, ILYON (1206-1289 CE), who was the National Priest of KORYO.
Unfortunately, scant reference is made in either book to the martial arts. In the SAMGUK SAGI, there is mention of Korean swordsmanship and in the SAMGUK YUSA, mention of Royal Court martial arts contests. Nevertheless, together, these two chronicles of Korea’s ancient part are rich in historical fact, legend, folklore and mythology and interested scholars from both East and West study these books in order to understand and gain insight into the historical culture and development of the Korean nation.
Although we may not have ancient written texts to prove the historical authenticity of the Korean martial arts, paintings and sculpture sound on the walls of caves, dating back hundreds of years, do depict warriors in martial arts postures and stances. Possibly the most famous stone sculpture of all is the SOKKURAM grotto (circa. 8th century CE). In some paintings, there can be seen archers on horseback, in others, ancient Korean martial arts such as SOO BAK KI and ancient Korean wrestling known as SSIRIUM. These artifacts can serve only to support the oral and physical transmission of these very special arts and skills, which remain virtually unchanged to this day.
The first Korean martial art “system” to develop was SADO MUL SOOL, which means “family” or “tribal” martial arts and has its roots way back in ancient Korean history. The formation of the Three Kingdoms, at the dawn of the 1st millennium CE, brought with it kings, queens and royal armies and thereby the second form of Korean martial arts was born. These were called KOONG JOONG MU SOOL, which translates as “Royal Court” martial arts. The third aspect of Korean martial arts to develop were BUL KYO MU Sool or “Buddhist” martial arts, which were introduced Korea by monks from China in the 4th and 5th centuries CE.
It is also interesting to record that different techniques or aspects of the Korean martial arts developed in, or were characteristic of, certain areas of Korea. For example, BAK SOOL, Head Butting Techniques, were a prominent feature of KOGURYO; SOO GI, Hand Striking Techniques, were favored by SILLA; and JOK SOOL, Kick Striking Techniques, were widely used in PAEKCHE. (3) Most contemporary systems of Korean martial arts derive their techniques from one or more of these ancient traditions or have amalgamated with, or have been influenced by, either Chinese or Japanese martial arts. However, the art of KUK SOOL is a systematic study, compilation, integration and further development of all three indigenous martial art systems of Korea.
Modern times have seen the explosion onto the international scene of a plethora of new martial arts styles, systems and organizations. Within these two types or groups can be discerned. The first group is characterized by having great and charismatic leaders of demonstrable knowledge, skill and in some cases, ancient lineage. The second type comprises of splinter groups that spawned yet further splinter groups. They are often headed by individuals whose motivations range from the financial to the egotistical. They have no genuine history, foundation or future. The martial art system of KUK SOOL falls firmly into the first category of “new systems.”
The names KUK SOOL and KUK SOOL WON tm were coined and first used in 1958 by Suh, In Hyuk, when he founded the art, and represents a uniquely comprehensive study of the traditional Korean martial arts. Although when one hears the term martial arts, one would naturally think of “physical” skill, however, with KUK SOOL, there is an implicit meaning that goes much further to include the cultural, philosophical, mental and spiritual heritage of the Korean martial arts and psyche.
KUK SOOL, therefore, being a systematic study of the three ancient martial art traditions of Korea’s past, is deeply committed to the HWA RANG (5) warriors’ code of chivalry. Great stress is placed on the fact that its techniques should be used for purposes of self-defense only. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that within the Korean martial arts, the term ‘martial’ actually means ‘warlike’ or ‘fighting ways’, and ‘arts’, in this context means “refinement of physical and mental skills.” Inherent in this overall conceptualization is the view that fighting – if one must indulge in such a thing – is raised, not only to a morally justifiable level, but also to a refined and highly respected form.
ANCIENT HISTORY – Tribal Era: 30,000 BCE – 57 BCE
We begin our review of the origins of the now highly sophisticated Korean martial arts with the tribal era, which covers the period from the Paleolithic Age to around the start of the Common Era.
Paleolithic Age – 30,000 BCE
Archeological research has ascertained almost certainly that man has inhabited the Korean peninsula since the late Paleolithic Age, some thirty thousand years ago. Excavations in Both north HAM GYONG Province (North Korea) and CHUNG CHONG Province (South Korea) have unearthed stone cutting tools, remnants of human hair, charred wood and carved stone-tablets depicting ancient stone weapons. This evidence would suggest that Paleolithic Koreans were hunters and gathers who lived either in the shelter of caves, or in the open along the great rivers and who, almost certainly, had to fight to survive in an inhospitable world.
Neolithic Age – 3,000 BCE
Modern Koreans are probably the descendants of a number of migrating tribes originating in Central Asia (Manchuria, Siberia), who moved southwards, settling along the great rivers and east and south coasts of the Korean peninsula,. These Neolithic Koreans lived either in caves or in communal sunken pits, which they covered over with thatched roofs. fishing and hunting were their main means of survival, although crude agricultural implements that have been discovered would suggest that they knew some methods of farming.
The Legend of Tan Gun- 2333 BCE
The earliest name give to the Kingdom of Korea was CHOSON- ‘land of the morning calm’, or ‘morning freshness’ – by the legendary founder of the nation, TAN GUN. (6)
As legend has it, a god named HWAN UNG decided he wished to live in the human world, and chose TAE BAEK SAN (7) Mountain (one of the three highest peaks in the MYOH YANG, or Ever-White Mountain range in North Korea) as a suitable place to live. When HWAN UNG descended from heaven, he appeared under a sandalwood tree. He brought with him three thousand loyal heavenly subjects, who were to be responsible for teaching the people a number of useful arts and crafts, which included farming and healing. HWAN UNG undertook also to instill upon the people moral principles, as well as to impose a code of law. The legend continues that at this time there lived in a nearby cave a female bear and a tigress, who both wished to become human. HWAN UNG took pity upon the creatures and told them that if they followed his instructions they would both, within a period of one hundred days, be transformed into human beings. Only the bear followed faithfully HWAN UNG’s instructions and after the appropriate time became transformed into a woman. When the bear-woman was unable to find a husband, she prayed under the sandalwood tree to HWAN UNG who answered her prayers by marrying her. Their offspring was named TAN GUN WANG GOM – ‘King of Sandalwood.’
In 2333 BCE (Traditional date), King TAN GUN chose PYONG YANG (now the capital of North Korea) as his royal residence and bestowed the name of CHOSON upon his kingdom. Later King TAN GUN moved his capital to ASADEL on TAE BAEK SAN Mountain, where he ruled for several centuries until King WU of CHOU (ancient Chinese dynasty) placed KIJA on the throne as King of CHOSON in 1122 BCE (traditional date). When King KIJA arrived at ASADEL, TAN GUN left for CHANG TANG KYONG, but later returned once more to ASADEL and the TAE BAEK SAN Mountain, whereupon he became a mountain god at the age of 1,908!
Legend and mythology aside, it is perhaps reasonable to assume that the origins or roots of the now highly sophisticated modern Korean martial arts had their humble beginnings in that tribal era which occurred at the very dawn of Korean History.
Sa Do Moo Sool: Tribal Martial Arts
Tribal martial arts are the oldest form of Korean martial arts known and in their basic form, existed among the ancestors of the Korean race. Weapons were originally fashioned out of stone and then bronze with the coming of the Bronze Age. However, the development of SA DO MOO SOOL, as a martial art system, can be traced back to the period known as KO CHOH SUHN or Old Korea (circa 2000 BCE – 57 BCE).
During this period of development, weapons were made out of naturally occurring materials such as stone, bronze and wood, and also from animal parts such as bones and the antlers of deer. Weapons that were used to hunt for food, or to attack, or fight off, hostile enemies were the SUEK KUM (stone knife), SUEK CHANG (stone spear), SUEK BOO (stone axe), and the HWAL SUL (bow and arrow), alongside these stone spears, and crude bronze swords, SA LAK SOOL (sand spreading or throwing techniques) and TU SUEK SOOL (stone throwing techniques) were developed in this era. (8)
As tribal settlements flourished, it was found beneficial for some to form alliances for mutual protection. In the north these tribal confederations were known as BU YE, and in the south, they were known as SAM HAN.
Even in this early period, the MUSA (warrior) lived by a strict code of behavior. If the code was broken, punishment would be administered. The severity of the punishment that followed was directly related to the severity of the crime. For example, punishment could range from a period of enslavement to the family or person from whom the offence of theft took place, to execution, if the crime was one of murder, or rape.
The Three Kingdoms Period: 57 BCE – 668 CE
The tribal era was followed by a period known as the Three Kingdoms. This epoch, which lasted from 57 BCE to 668 CE, was characterized by the partitioning of Korea into three distinct zones: SILLA, KOGURYO, and PAEKCHE. These regions were at almost continual war with one another, and the fighting led to a rapid development in the Royal Court martial arts. The advancement of the martial arts during this time was also greatly influenced by the introduction of Buddhism to Korea. Each of the Three Kingdoms will be Briefly described before we turn to inspect in detail the influence of Buddhism on the Korean martial arts.
Silla: 57 BCE – 935 CE
The found and first king of SILLA was HYOK KO SE (57 BCE – 3 CE). (9) There were six clans that formed this kingdom and they were collectively called HAN. The name HAN possibly suggests a degree of influence by the HAN dynasty of China. However, they developed their own indigenous culture and to a certain degree their influence, in turn, spread to china. Their main occupation was farming and keeping livestock, and they successfully traded farming and cooking implements (probably made of iron) with China.
Koguryo: 37 BCE – 668 CE
A tribe of wandering nomads called BUYE, comprising of five clans, was to establish the northern part of the peninsula as a kingdom. The founder and first king of KOGURYO was TONG MYONG (37 BCE – 18 BCE). He was renowned for his martial art skill – being especially proficient in the use of KANG SHI (archery). Although under threat from the HAN dynasty of China, KOGURYO managed to retain its independence. Hunting and fishing formed the main way of life for these nomadic people.
Paekche: 18 BCE – 668 BCE
The founder and first king of PAEKCHE was ONJO (18 BCE – 27 CE) who was a son of TONG MYONG, first king of KOGURYO. The kingdom of PAEKCHE was formed from tribes called HAN as was SILLA. Although this kingdom persisted for 686 years, it was destined never to have its own native rulers. Farming and fishing were the main means of survival.
Kaya: 42 – 562 CE
It is appropriate to mention that there was a fourth, relatively smaller kingdom, situated in the south, between PAEKCHE and SILLA. The traditional founding date for this kingdom, which was called KAYA or KARAK, is 42 CE. Although a small kingdom, KAYA had a considerable influence on Japan before it was finally absorbed by SILLA in 562 CE.
Koong Joong Mu Sool: Royal Court Martial Arts
With the establishment of the three kingdoms came the creation of royalty, royal armies, and in turn, Royal Court Martial Arts.
Throughout their entire existence, the three kingdoms were (almost) constantly in conflict with each other, with frequent alliances of two of them against the third, and sometimes alliances were formed with China or Japan: these foreign powers were always looking for an opportunity to eventually rule the entire peninsula. This relentless struggle for expansionism and supremacy over the peninsula ensured that the royal armies were kept in a state of constant battle readiness.
At different times in each of the three kingdoms, elite warrior forces were formed, made up from the sons of royalty, noblemen and families of good background. In SILLA, the elite force was called the HWA RANG, in KOGURYO, it was known as the SUN BAE, and in PAEKCHE it was known as the SU SAH.
These warrior groups were variously encouraged to study martial art skills such as archery, swordsmanship, knife throwing and unarmed conflict. Contests were held such as archery, while riding on horseback; and, as an incentive to warriors to become more proficient, the winners were awarded high positions in the royal court. Competition was keen, and it was not unknown for contestants, especially those engaged in unarmed combat (fighting with just their bare hands and feet) to be fatally injured.
In general, similar military systems existed in all three kingdoms. As the warriors of these elite corps were to become their respective kingdom’s future military and political leaders, they were also tutored in the fine arts, literature and music, as well as being educated in political and social skills. Although these differing military institutions existed in each of the three kingdoms. It was in SILLA, with the order of the HWA RANG that this elite corps was ultimately to claim the prize of the overall control of Korea. However, as the kingdoms developed, so did their cultural, philosophical and religious perspectives, all of which were to have a profound effect on their collective military and social psyche. Before continuing with KOONG JOONG MU SOOL, it is necessary at this point to look at the specific influence that Buddhism, and Buddhist martial arts in particular, had on the historical development of the Royal Court martial arts.
Bul Kyo Mu Sool: Buddhist Martial Arts
Throughout history, religion has influenced every major civilization in the world and Korea is no exception. The oldest form of religion known to Korea is SHAMANISM, or ANIMISM, based on the belief that spirits dwell within the forces of nature, as well as in inanimate objects. One popular example of this belief is the worship of the mountain god or spirit, which is usually symbolized by a white-bearded old man, with a tiger at his feet.
When BUDDHISM was introduced to Korea, during the three kingdoms period, it was able to exist in harmony with Shamanism as certain Buddhist concepts were not entirely in conflict with traditional Shamanistic beliefs. This is quite clearly illustrated by the fact that Shaman mountain-god shrines are to be found in almost all Buddhist temples. The traditional dates of introduction of Buddhism to Korea are:
KOGURYO – 372 BCE
introduced by the Chinese monk SUNDO
PAEKCHE – 384 BCE
Introduced by the Indian Monk MARANANTA
SILLA – 417-458 BCE
Introduced by the Korean monk ADO (who studied in China)
Confucianism and Taoism were also introduced about this time, but were destined not to have the same influence as Buddhism until much later. However, both of these systems of philosophical thought were to make significant contributions to the overall Korean martial art psyche.
With the introduction of Buddhism into Korea cam BUL KYO MU SOOL – Buddhist martial arts – which were to contribute greatly to the development of Korean martial arts. However, first it is necessary to explore the paradox of Buddhist martial arts! Why did members of a religious/philosophical movement, strongly committed to the pursuit of non-violence to any sentient being, feel compelled to develop a highly skilled and scientifically worked out martial arts system and become involved in the fighting ways of the secular world? There are three reasons that can be identified to answer the paradox which all revolve around practical and humanitarian issues: health, personal safety, and defense of the temple and homeland. These are now discussed in turn.
A fundamental requirement of a Buddhist monk is to sit or kneel in meditation (usually on hard, wooden floors) for long periods of time. Inevitably, this would lead to health problems such as poor circulation, poor digestion and assimilation of food and muscular weakness. Therefore, over the centuries, the monks developed special techniques that would enable them to endure and recover from these grueling meditative practices and to become stronger and healthier generally. Among these special techniques were WHAL BUB, or external healing techniques such as acupressure, acupuncture and bone setting (chiropractic/osteopathy) and HYUL BUB, or internal healing such as blood circulation stimulation techniques, deep abdominal KI (universal life force) breathing techniques, herbal medicines and dietary considerations. As the monks developed and used these special techniques, they became increasingly stronger and were able to achieve harmony between NAE GONG (mental or inner power techniques) and WAE GONG (physical, or outer power techniques).
2) Personal Safety
Another characteristic of the Buddhist faith is begging for alms, which is often undertaken by novice monks. this entails traveling within the local community to call upon individual houses to pray for happiness and prosperity and in turn to receive a donation of food. Even this simple exercise could prove dangerous in those ancient times, as thieves and bandits did not always discriminate between people from the religious and secular world!
On other occasions, these men of peace would travel from one temple to another, often carrying valuable scriptures engraved on gold leaf. Again, they were very vulnerable to attack from opportunist thieves and bandits. Therefore, some form of self-defense was considered necessary to enable them the monks to survive the relatively hostile world. However, although they did not want to be harmed personally, they also did not want to cause harm to anyone else – net even an attacker! Thus, they worked out a skillful and scientific system of self-defense. Not only did the system employ a minimum amount of force necessary to subdue an attacker, it also provided the monks with the required anatomical knowledge and skill to help them heal any injuries they necessarily or inadvertently caused the aggressors in the process of defending themselves. A humanitarian outlook such as this can surely only be found in the highest ideals of the human spirit. Many of the empty-had self-defense techniques that the monks developed were as a result of observing different creatures from the natural world. For example, there were movements and techniques that bore the characteristics of animals such as the tiger, bear and snake; birds such as the eagle and crane; and insects such as the praying mantis. Mythical creatures such as the dragon also found expression in this system.
Although their Buddhist counterparts in the SHAOLIN Temple of China had also developed fighting systems of self-defense based upon mimicking the exact movements of these creatures, for the Korean monk it was the creature’s unique ‘essence’ or ‘fighting spirit’ that was observed, understood, and embraced. One reason why the Korean monks held this point of view was simply that it was considered that man was superior to these creatures and that it would be undignified to copy exactly the movements of a perceived lower form of life.
It is interesting to note also that, although primarily their skills were with their empty hands, some very important weapons that were considered ‘natural’, that is to say, ‘non-bladed’, because of the Buddhist precept of the prohibition of killing. Among these weapons were BONG SOOL (staff technique), DAN BONG SOOL (short staff technique) and JI PAING EI SOOL (cane or walking stick technique). Even to this day, it is surprising how powerful and effective a coiled up newspaper or magazine can be, utilizing DAN BONG techniques! However, where weapons are concerned, it is to be mentioned that these warrior monks used bladed weapons such as swords and spears in times of national emergency.
3) Defense of Temple and Homeland
At different times in history, when invading armies threatened to overrun their homeland, these patriotic warrior monks took up arms to protect their temple and country. For many centuries after it was first introduced, Buddhism held a special place in Korean society, being designated as the national religion. There were many links between Buddhism and the government. As more often than not the king had strong Buddhist beliefs, donations of land and favor were often made. Therefore, there was, to some extent, an obligation on the part of the Buddhist movement to assist in times of national emergency, and perhaps to a certain degree some self-interest to protecting their way of life. Nevertheless, when asked to fight off hostile aggressors, the Korean monks were fiercely patriotic and became known as “defenders of the Nation’. If it were not for the contribution of BUL KYO MU SOOL, the history of Korea might well have been quite a different story.
The Order of the HWA RANG
The influence of Buddhism on Korean martial arts can perhaps be most easily and directly traced to the role played by the now legendary Buddhist monk, WON KWANG DAE SA, in the formation of a fighting elite known as the HWA RANG. The formation of this elite warrior corps has an interesting history, which is now described before detailed attention is paid to the HWA RANG.
A significant time for the kingdom of SILLA came during the reign of CHIN HUNG (540-576), 24th king of SILLA, as it marked the beginning of the eventual domination by SILLA of PAEKCHE and KOGURYO, which was to last almost three centuries. After King CHIN HUNG had ascended the throne, he became strongly influenced by Buddhism and had many temples and monuments built throughout SILLA. He was also fond of physical elegance and beauty and established an organization called WON HWA (10) (‘original flower’), which consisted of the most beautiful and articulate of SILLA maidens, who were selected in beauty contests from all over the kingdom. Those who were successful were taught worthwhile virtues, so they could become suitable wives of high court officials and noblemen and eventually good and wise mothers. However, tragedy struck when in one such beauty contest there were two leading contenders one was called NAM MO, the other CHUN JONG. Of the two beautiful maidens many particularly admired NAM MO, causing CHUN JONG to become jealous, whereupon she devised a plot and murdered her rival. When the king eventually discovered what had taken place, he was furious and had CHUN JONG put to death and ordered the WON HWA to be abolished.
After a period of time, King CHIN HUNG replaced the WON HWA with the order of the HWA RANG (‘Flower of Youth’). Initially, this group of young men, consisting of royal sons, noblemen and other young men of good physical stature, character and background, were tutored in the fine arts such as literature, music and art, as well as political and social skills. However, it was later considered that, although the HWA RANG were more than adequately prepared to meet the challenge of life on a social level, on the physical level, their skills were not sufficient to survive personal attack, or to assist the nation in times of war. Therefore, it was further considered that to make them more balanced human beings they needed to be trained in the martial arts. It was at this point that they Buddhist monk WON KWANG DAE SA is thought to have had a major influence on the HWA RANG and concomitantly the development of Korean martial arts.
WON KWANG DAE SA was not only a scholar of Buddhist and Confucian classics, but had also developed and become a master of his own comprehensive system of martial arts.
Under the supervision of WON KWANG DAE SA at his temple school in the mountains (possibly the HWANG NYONG SA temple of SAM GI SAN Mountain), the members of the warrior force trained themselves unmercifully. They utilized all aspects of martial ways to such a degree that, if they should lose their weapons in battle, they could be as deadly and lethal with just their bare hands and feet. Not only did they develop deadly fighting skills, making them as warriors almost invincible, they were also instructed in matters of government and state, as well as encouraged to study the arts, literature and music.
However, due to the very nature of their way of life it the service of their king and country, the HWA RANG were unable to embrace all Buddhist doctrine. Nevertheless, they were instilled with the higher ideals and virtues, and it is reasonable to assume that they assimilation of this very humane philosophy played an important role in the formation of their overall character.
The 8th century SILLA historian, KIM TAE MUN, wrote the records of the HWA RANG, which were known as the HWA RANG SEGI. These records are not now extant, however, from later writings using those records as their source, we are told that two young HWA RANG, KUI SAN and CHU HWANG, were instrumental in receiving from WON KWANG DAE SA the SE SOK O GYE or Five commandments of the HWA RANG. The HWA RANG also received the KYO HOON, or Nine Virtues of the HWA RANG. Both the SE SOK O BYE and the KYO HOON are still honored and adhered to today by many masters and students of the Korean martial arts.
The Se Sok O Gye:
1 – IL: Sa Kun E Chung – Loyalty to one’s country
2 – EE: Sa Chin E Hyo – Honor and respect towards one’s parents
3 – SAM: Kyo U E Shin – Trust and sincerity in friendship
4 – SA: Inn Hun Mo Teh – Courage, never retreat in the face of the enemy
5 – O: Sai Sang U Tek – Justice, never to take a life without just cause
The Kyo Hoon
1 – IN: Humility
2 – OUI: Justice
3 – YEH: Courtesy
4 – JI: Wisdom
5 – SIN: Trustworthiness
6 – SUN: Goodness
7 – DUK: Virtue
8 – CHUNG: Loyalty
9 – Yong: Courage
This impressive code of conduct and chivalry enabled the HWA RANG to justify their martial ways and to live balanced and worthy lives. One young HWA RANG named SOL WON NANG, stood out above all the others and was made the head of the order with the title KUK SON. This, then, was the beginning of the HWA RANG DO (12) (‘Circle of Flowering Youth’), who, through their physical, mental and spiritual superiority, were to be instrumental in the eventual unification of the three kingdoms under the most famous HWA RANG of all – General KIM YU SHIN.
General Kim Yu Shin
Being a member of the elite order of the HWA RANG, KUM YU SHIN was an outstanding student of the martial arts and by the age of 18 had become an expert swordsman. He went on to become a KUK SON (head of the order). However, upon meeting a young girl name CHONG GWAN, he fell in love and began to spend more and more time with her. As a consequence, his martial art training suffered and it soon come to the attention of his mother, who frowned upon the liaison. She considered that his military career could be adversely affected if this affair were to continue. To save her son from ruin, she forbade him ever to see CHONG GWAN again. KIM YUH SHIN, being a faithful son and adhering to the HWA RANG precept of SA CHIN E HYO (honor and respect towards one’s parents), vowed never to see CHONG GWAN again. However, one night, the weary warrior fell asleep on his horse and his faithful charge took him to the house of CHONG GWAN. When KIM YU SHIN realized where he was, and that inadvertently he had almost broken his vow to his mother, he immediately destroyed his horse. Filled both with anger and remorse, he made his way to a mountain cave, where he spent his time in training and meditation in order to purify his body, mind and spirit.
The legend that surrounds this story continues that the gods were so moved by KIM YU SHIN’s adherence to the HWA RANG code of filial piety and selfless dedication to his training, that they bestowed upon him a specially engraved sword and several special texts. It was later considered that these gifts from the gods were to help KIM YU SHIN to eventually become, not only one of the most skilful swordsmen in Korean history, but also the greatest general Korea had ever seen. This in turn ultimately led him to fulfill his destiny of unifying the three kingdoms of Korea.
Part II – March 2002
THE SILLA DYNASTY: 668-935 CE
The period of the three kingdoms were followed by a time of rapid unification when the SILLA kingdom rose to dominate and integrate the other kingdoms into one country. This period also saw further development in the martial arts.
The unification of the three kingdoms came in a single decade, which saw a successful alliance between SILLA and the rulers of the Chinese TANG dynasty, who had observed that pervious single-handed attempts by rulers of the preceding Chinese SUI dynasty had failed time after time to conquer KOGURYO.
In coordinated attacks by SILLA and TANG forces, PAEKCHE, a kingdom for 676 years, fell in 663 CE, and subsequently KOGURYO, a kingdom for 705 years, fell in 668 CE. The powerful Chinese rulers set up provisional governments and established military garrisons in both the conquered kingdoms. As soon as this was accomplished, they made preparations to turn against SILLA in order to conquer and thus rule the entire Korean Peninsula.
As fierce battles raged between TANG and SILLA, revolts and uprisings began to flourish in the previously conquered territories of PAEKCHE and KOGURYO. To some extent, these revolts were aided by the occupying SILLA troops. After a period of time, the TANG rulers realized they could not control the Korean peninsula and offered to allow the SILLA monarchy to rule the entire Korean peninsula under a special arrangement. It was agreed that each succeeding Korean monarch would first have to apply to the Chinese emperor for a Gold Seal of Recognition of his legitimacy to ascend the Korean throne.
There is no doubt that SILLA’s conquest of PAEKCHE and KOGURYO, and eventually the TANG forces – their former allies who had turned against them – was due to the decisive role played [by] the HWA RANG. This elite warrior force, whose dedication to the perfection of their physical and mental skills in the martial arts, and the outstanding heroism of their leader. General KIM YU SHIN, inspired the SILLA armies to many famous victories. Although the HWA RANG were finally victorious in unifying the Korean peninsula, they did not always have it their own way. Other elite, military and cultural groups existed both in PAEKCHE and KOGURYO.
In the kingdom of PAEKCHE, the elite warrior force was known as the SU SAH, who also had a structured, military, political and cultured background. They too were influenced by BUL KYO MU SOOL and over the years won many battles with their neighbors. One SU SAH general named GAE BAK was particularly victorious over the HWA RANG, winning many famous victories. However, his last battle ended in defeat, which brought to a close the kingdom of PAEKCHE, as SILLA went on to unite the Korean peninsula under the General KIM YU SHIN.
One special martial art technique that the SU SAH were expected to be skilled in was called SOO SAH, two-man empty hand sparring. Each participant was expected to attack and defend against the other and, if they had not trained sufficiently, they could expect to sustain injury. One PAEKCHE warrior named AH DONG UN KI, was extremely skillful and used his hands and arms like swords – cutting through his opponents defense system. he became renowned for his martial skills and taught many PAEKCHE warriors his unique style of fighting.
In the kingdom of KOGURYO, the elite warrior force was known as SUN BAE. once again, their military training was structured in such a way that they could be taught cultural and political skills as well as military ways. One special technique that the SUN BAE warrior was particularly skilled in was TOO GUM SOOL – knife throwing technique. Each SUN BAE would carry around his waist five short knives and a stone (for sharpening the knives). This particular skill proved to be extremely useful in fighting situations where the SUN BAE warrior was faced with several attackers.
The SILLA dynasty began gradually to decline towards the end of the 9th century CE. Several reasons were to contribute to this. Prominent HWA RANG were encouraged to study fine arts and politics to a greater extent and to disregard their martial arts training. Weak and corrupt rulers allowed internal power struggles between court officials and noblemen to continue. This in turn caused divided loyalties and a drop in morale among the troops and a decline of the HWA RANG code. Robbery and violence became commonplace as bandits roamed the countryside unchecked, which in turn caused civil unrest. Uprisings and rebellions began to spread and became increasingly difficult to contain. Events were also taking place in the territories that were formally known as PAEKCHE and KOGURYO that were eventually to bring down the SILLA dynasty.
In the north (previously KOGURYO), an exiled SILLA prince name KUNG YE together with a rebel-bandit named YANG KIL TUN, successfully led a rebellion gaining territory of the Han River (circa 890 CE), KUNG YE called his territory KORYO, an abbreviation of KOGURYO, and the name from which the modern Korea is derived. In 918 CE, KUNG YE died (there are references to a coup) and one of his generals came to power. General WANG GAK KUN, moved the capital of KORYO to SON GAK KUN, where he was crowned as the first king of KORYO, becoming known as King TAE JO, the founder of KORYO. Over the following years, King TAE JO proceeded to have a royal residence and many Buddhist temples built.
Meanwhile the south (previously PAEKCHE) was under the command of a SILLA general named CHIN HWON. He was also known as the ‘Tiger-Spirit’ general. As legend has it, when he was a baby, his mother, while taking food to his father, laid the infant down among some bushes. Unknown to the parents a tigress found the infant and played with him, as she would her own cub, thus, when the infant grew up, he had the face and spirit of a tiger.
General CHIN HWON, aware of the unpopularity of the Queen CHIN SONG (888-898 CE), 51st monarch of SILLA, rose in revolt, knowing that many thousands of people would follow him. He successfully re-established PAEKCHE as a kingdom.
Several years later, in 926 CE, King CHIN HWON mounted an attack on the SILLA capitol KONG JU. King KYONG’AE (924-927 CE), 55th SILLA king, who was merrymaking at the time, sent an envoy to KORYO asking for assistance from King TAE JO, but the ferocity of the attack by the tiger-spirit general was too much, and KYONG JU fell. The king was murdered and the city ravaged. Before King CHIN HWON left KYONG JU in triumph, taking with him many treasures, he installed a distant cousin of the murdered king, KONG AE’s successor. King KYONG SUN (927-935 CE), 56th and last SILLA king. However, it was inevitable that, due to the decline of the HWA RANG order in SILLA, the new, powerful KORYO and their King TAE JO, would succeed in taking over the entire peninsula.
In 935, King KYONG SUN surrendered and abdicated the throne of SILLA in favor of King TAE JO of KORYO. Thus ended the once mighty SILLA dynasty after 992 years as a kingdom, and 268 years of total domination of the entire Korean peninsula.
THE KORYO DYNASTY: 935-1392 CE
The KORYO dynasty saw Buddhism rise as a major influence within Korea and Confucianism gradually gaining more respect and influence in the country.
After defeating the re-established PAEKCHE kingdom in 935, King TAE JO became the ruler of the entire Korean peninsula. Although a powerful man, the first king of the KORYO dynasty showed himself to be wise and benevolent, especially towards former SILLA royalty and noblemen. This was demonstrated by allowing his daughter to marry ex-king KYONG SUN and bestowing upon her the title of the Princess of NANG NANG, which was another name for SILLA. He later married the daughter of King KYONG SUN’s uncle, Prince OK NYOM, and she became the Queen SIN SONG: this further established a close relationship between the royal families.
Although Buddhism had flourished since its introduction to Korea during the three kingdoms period, it was in the KORYO dynasty, beginning under King TAE JO, that it was to have unprecedented influence and power, although this was to lead eventually to the downfall of the KORYO dynasty.
It was during the KORYO dynasty that the Confucianism was also to flourish, and there began a trend towards encouraging the fine arts and despising the martial ways of the past. Probably because of this attitude, the 13th century saw hordes of Mongol armies under the leadership of GENGHIS KHAN continually attacking and invading KORYO. So fierce and intense were the Mongols that King KO JONG (1213-1259) a KORYO dynasty king, had to take refuge on KANG HWA island, where he set up a provisional government in exile.
It was during this time that King KO JONG was on KANG HWA Island that one of the most important cultural achievements of Korean history was completed. The TRIPITAKA KOREANA – which consists of over 80,000 engraved wooden blocks – took almost 16 years to complete and remains the oldest and most comprehensive collection of Buddhist scriptures surviving in the world today.
Another facet of the cultural excellence that the KORYO period achieved was in ceramics, which are renowned throughout the world. Also, the invention of moveable metal type is now credited to the KORYO dynasty, after the discovery of a Korean book at the French National Library in Paris. The book, dating back to the early 14th century, was almost certainly printed by moveable metal type, the first to be used anywhere in the world.
Towards the end of the 14th century (1392), an eminent KORYO general YI SONG GI was sent north against his will by King SHIN YU (last KORYO dynasty king) to fight the MING armies of China. This was after numerous exchanges with MONGOL tribes, and also disenchantment with the corruption of royalty and high court officials, much of which was caused by Buddhist influence in political affairs.
During the campaign, the general had a dream which, when translated by the Buddhist monk MU HAK DAE SA, prophesized that he would one day be a king. This prophecy was to be fulfilled sooner than he thought, as shortly afterwards he decided to revolt against King SHIN YU, and turned back with his loyal armies. With a surprise attack, General YI SONG GI captured SON DO, the capital of KORYO (now KAE SONG in North Korea), and deposed the king. Thus, the KORYO dynasty came to an end after 456 years and heralded the beginning of the YI dynasty that was to last over 500 years.
THE YI or CHOSEN DYNASTY: 1392-1910 CE
The YI dynasty saw a number of developments in the martial arts, which included a more widespread practice of the arts in response to Chinese and Japanese aggression, and a more rigorous documentation of the traditional Korean martial arts.
General YI moved the capital from SON DO to HAN YANG (now SEOUL, present capital of South Korea), and in 1392 was crowned King YI TAE JO II – 1st YI dynasty king. Soon after King YI TAE JO II came to power, many leading scholars and government officials refused to recognize him as king, preferring to stay loyal to the deposed King SHIN YU (last KORYO dynasty king), and they retired to a place called TU MAN DONG. King YI TAE JO II, asked them to return to the new capital to assist in rebuilding the nation after years of corruption in government and misrule, however, they refused to listen to the king’s pleas. Finally, in a last, forceful effort, the king sent officials and troops to TU MAN DONG with orders to set fire to the dissidents’ houses. With nowhere to live, the king would then offer them new homes in the new capital. Once there, he would then gradually be able to entice them back into the government and other important duties. This plan was to go terribly wrong as all the scholars and officials stayed in their homes and perished with their families. This grave misjudgment by King YI TAE JO II was to deprive Korea of some of the finest scholars of the day, and the tragedy made acceptance of the new dynasty all the more difficult to achieve.
Buddhism, which had greatly contributed to the downfall of the KORYO dynasty due to its interference in political matters, was replaced with Confucianism as the main ideology of the nation, both officially and privately. This further suppressed the martial ways and encouraged scholarly pursuits. It was during this time that the first national university was established. Once again, the martial arts had to go back to the secret confines of the monasteries and temples to be practiced and developed surreptitiously as they had been for centuries previously.
A new era emerged under King Yi SE JONG (1418-1450), 4th YI dynasty king. Developments in science, technology, literature, music and philosophy were impressive, although the greatest achievement of this enlightened monarch was the invention of HAN GUL, the Korean phonetic alphabet. This alphabet is considered to be one of the most scientifically efficient ever conceived. The author H. G. Wells once said:
“The Japanese writing system remains a clumsy system, though not so clumsy as Chinese, Korea long ago went a step further and developed a true alphabet.”
In the year 1592, during the reign of King YI SON JO (1567-1608), 14th YI dynasty king. Korea was invaded by Japan under the Emperor TOYOTOMI HYDEOSHI. In battle after battle the unprepared Korean armies were defeated as the Japanese invaders mounted merciless attacks. The capital SEOUL fell within two weeks, causing the king to flee north. Within three months, the Japanese occupied most of Korea. Many homes, temples, and palaces were either looted, burnt or destroyed, as the Japanese continued with their ultimate goal of the invasion of China.
It was during this time that a Korean martial arts master named HAN KYO wrote a book called MOO YEA JAE BOO, which translates as ‘A Comprehensive Manual of the Korean Martial Arts’. For many years, he had secretly researched the indigenous martial arts of Korea as that only the most effective and scientifically sound techniques would be recorded. Once the tome was written, he the instructed a few chosen students to pass on his knowledge so that it could be used against the invading Japanese aggressors.
Admiral Yi Sun Shin
Although on land the Japanese destruction of Korea was almost total, it was quite a different story out at sea. Newly developed Korean warships, shaped like giant turtles and clad in iron (the first iron warships in the world), were to prove to be superior and a turning point in the sea battles that followed. The Japanese fleets suffered sever losses and retreated as the greatest military commander Korea had seen since General KIM YU SHIN, seven centuries earlier, emerged in the annals of Korean history. His name was YI SUN SHIN and under his brilliant leadership the Korean navy won many famous victories.
The life of Admiral YI serves as a good example of the HWA RANG fighting spirit. He was a patriot who devoted his life to the service of his country. In 1591, one year prior to the Japanese invasion, Admiral YI was a newly appointed naval commander. Being an educated man and versed in military science, he realized the Japanese threat to his country was serious. he diligently set about building his innovative warships, stockpiled large amounts of weapons and ammunition and made sure that his sailors were trained and battle ready. When the war began, Admiral Yi and his turtle boat armada were prepared. The superior build warships, together with superior strategy and battle readiness of the Korean fleet, ensured victory after victory. Some of the famous sea battles the Korean navy won were at OKPO, DANG PO, DANG HAN PO, HAN SAN DO and PUSAN, thwarting the Japanese ultimate goal of conquering China.
In 1597, due to internal politics, Admiral YI lost his command and he was demoted to the rank of private. However, in 1598 when the Japanese fleets again attacked Korea, Admiral YI was reinstated, only this time he was made supreme commander of the entire Korean navy. In a surprise attack, Admiral YI and his turtle boat armada defeated over 500 Japanese warships at the battle of NOR YANG. This proved to be a decisive battle and saw the end of the Japanese expansionist policy for many years. However, it was a sad day for Korea as Admiral YI SUN SHIN lost his life during the battle. He was aged 54.
It was not long after Admiral YI SUN SHIN and his turtle boat armada had saved Korea from the Japanese that once again the land of morning calm was under siege. The MANCHU, who were struggling for power with the MINGs in China, invaded Korea in 1627, and again in 1636. This led the YI dynasty rulers to establish a policy of seclusion from the outside world causing Korea to become known as the hermit kingdom. Only Christian missionaries and priests (who were generally persecuted for their beliefs, which were in conflict with national Confucian principles) breached this seclusion. Indeed, in 1791, the Christian Church, which had an estimated 6,000 Korean followers underwent considerable persecution with hundreds of followers being executed.
With continued aggression by the Chinese and Japanese, there began to be a change of policy towards the martial arts; a renewed interest in self defense of the individual as well as the nation.
In 1790, another Korean master of the martial arts, LEE DUK MOO, was asked by King YI CHONG JO (1776-1800) 22nd Yi dynasty king to compile and write MOO YE DO BO TONG GI or ‘A General Introduction to the Korean Martial Arts’. This great tome, which was compiled from the MOO YEA JAE BOO and other manuscripts, consisted of four volumes: the first volume described and illustrated various weapons techniques using KWAN SOO or spear; the second volume described and illustrated GUM SOOL or sword techniques; the third volume described and illustrated the use of weapons such as GUM or sword whilst riding on horse back and also the BONG or staff techniques; the fourth volume described and illustrated empty-hand combative techniques. This particular volume described detailed locations of vital points or target areas of the body. Knowledge of these vulnerable parts of the body gave the warrior the ability to inflict devastating blows to an opponent with minimum amount of effort. Because the knowledge contained in these books was so potentially lethal – it was said a warrior skilled in these techniques could kill a tiger with a single blow – LEE DUK MOO made it clear that only students of good moral character should be taught these methods. Five principles were established that a student should exhibit before being allowed to learn these techniques:
In 1905, Korea once again became the target of Japanese expansionism. Fresh from victories over China in 1895, and Russia in 1905, Japan decided to annex Korea, eventually forcing King YI SUN JONG (1907-1910), 27th and last YI dynasty king, to abdicate the throne after a reign of three years. This defeat brought to an end the Korean monarchy, and with it the YI dynasty, after a reign of 500 years.
THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION: 1910-1945
With the arrival of the Japanese, martial arts were forced to retreat underground, back to the very place where they had been developed – the monasteries. The period of the Japanese occupation of Korea and its immediate aftermath are of central importance to the history of Kuk Sool. For it was in this hostile and immensely challenging period that the grandmaster SUH MYONG DUK practiced, developed and passed onto his grandson – the founder of Kuk Sool – key Korean martial arts skills, philosophy and ethos.
The annexation of Korea by the Japanese at the beginning of the 20th century saw the continuing struggle of the Korea people to find the elusive ‘morning calm’ their land had always promised. The thirty-five year occupation and near total domination of Korea by teh Japanese can be divided into three periods:
1) MU DAN JUNG CHI (1910-1919)
2) MUN HWA JUNG CHI (1919-1930)
3) NAE SUN IL CHE JUNG CHI (1930-1945)
Mu Dan Jung Chi Period: 1910-1919 (Suppressive Military Rule)
The Japanese ruled over Korea by installing a GOVERNOR-GENERAL. He was appointed by and was directly accountable to the emperor of Japan. The Governor-General had total control over all matters concerning Korea. Over the thirty-five years of Japanese occupation, there were seven governor-generals, of whom six were army generals and one was an admiral. All senior government and official positions throughout the country were held by Japanese. Koreans being allowed only to hold minor official positions.
Within the first year, nearly all social and religious organizations were outlawed and ordered to dissolve. Christian leaders were arrested and tortured. Some died, some were imprisoned and others fled to safety. Such was the ferocity of the Japanese invasion with their modern artillery and weapons that BUL KYO MUL SOOL did not stand a chance. However, Buddhism and Buddhist temples generally escaped the purge, as Buddhism was widely practiced in Japan and thus viewed with great respect by the Japanese.
During the first nine-year period, savage military force was used to crush any resistance. Tens of thousands of Korean people were arrested by the military police, the majority for their opposition, in some way or another, to the Japanese occupation. Many were brutally tortured and died, many served long prison sentences, but resistance continued.
Mun Hwa Jung Chi Period: 1919-1930 (Liberal Rule)
After the First World War (1914-1918), Japan emerged as a strong imperialist power in the Far East. The Japanese government realized that, in order to continue its economic and military growth, it had to exploit more fully the natural resources of Korea.
In 1919, after nine years of suppressive military rule in Korea by the Japanese, there emerged an organization called ‘KOREAN NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT’ – over two million people from all walks of life rose in revolt. The uprisings were nation-wide. The Japanese authorities were taken by surprise as the Korean people had no weapons, and it took over six months to finally suppress the demonstrations. The Japanese realized that as long as they used oppressive force they would continue to create civil unrest. They had underestimated the Korean people’s determination in their desire for freedom and independence. In order to maintain peace and order, and more fully exploit Korea, the Japanese government also realized that a change from strong military rule to a more liberal form of government was necessary to obtain the co-operation of the Korean people. A program of social reforms was outlined and promised. These reforms were to include non-discrimination between Japanese and Koreans, respect for the native customs and culture, freedom for the press, as well as freedom of speech at meetings and gatherings, economic and industrial development and educational opportunities. Most of these promises were never fulfilled. Only a few Korean people co-operated fully with the Japanese, who continued to treat and regard the Koreans as an inferior race.
Nae Sun Il Che Jung Chi Period: 1930-1945 (Japanese and Korean Oneness)
It was during this period that the Japanese influence was to reach its zenith. A policy of Japanese and Korean ‘oneness’ once again led to the suppression of all social and religious organizations that had been allowed to flourish under the Liberal Reform period.
In 1938, the Japanese government ordered that the Korean language be replaced by the Japanese language as the official national language of Korea. At this time, Korean people were also forced to change their family names into Japanese. Every Korean was required to memorize and be able to recite the oath of the Japanese Imperial Subject, which was:
“I pledge myself to be loyal to the emperor of Great Japan, and am ready to sacrifice myself for the glory of the Japanese Empire.”
Once again, tens of thousands of Korean people were imprisoned for their opposition to the Japanese authority and ideology.
During the Second World War (1939-1945), Japan used Korea and the Korean people to further its war effort. Over one million Korean people were shipped over to Japan to work as laborers in the coalmines, or in industry. Thousand of young Korean men were conscripted into the Japanese army. Many were sent to the front line, either to fight, or to act as servants for the Japanese troops. When the Second World War came to an end in 1945, the Japanese were forced to leave Korea. For thirty-five years, the Japanese had ruled over and (almost) totally dominated Korea and her people.
Part III – April 2002
Post 2nd World War Korea: 1945-1-50
With the Liberation of Korea at the end of the Second World War, the country faced a new era of uncertainty. Russia had declared war on Japan on August 8th, 1945 (a few days before the wars was to end officially) and it was agreed between Russia and Western Allies that the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea would be accepted by Russia in the North and America in the south, both allies meeting at the 38th parallel. With the war over came the departure of the Japanese occupation forces, who had controlled over 80% of all the wealth of Korea. The Korean people believed that , finally, they would be allowed to be masters of their own destinies. Both the Russians and Americans had promised independence and unification of the peninsula in due course; however, it was not to be so.
In the north, influenced by the Russian military occupation forces, Korean people were encouraged to set up people’s committees in the villages, towns, and cities. These committees were allowed to run the communities and within a short time had total control over the majority of North Korea. There emerged several political parties, but one particular, under the leadership of General KIM IL SUNG, proved to be the most powerful. During the Japanese occupation, General KIM had been active in organizing resistance in MANCHURIA. Together with his force of Korean exiles and immigrants, he co-operated closely with the Chinese and Russian communists.
In the south, a People’s Republic had been organized in SEOUL at a National Congress in September 1945, with delegates attending from both the north and South. When the American military occupation forces arrived, they did not recognize this political party, and it was ordered to be dissolved in November 1945.
From 1945-1948, for national issues dominated the political scene in South Korea, and all were, in some shape or form, concerned with the independence and re-unification of North and South Korea. These four national issues were:
1)THE MOSCOW AGREEMENT (FIVE YEAR TRUSTEESHIP)
2)THE US-USSR JOINT COMMISSION
3) THE UN SUPERVISED ELECTIONS
4) NORTH-SOUTH POLITICAL LEADERS COALITION CONFERENCE
During this period (1945-1948), several political parties emerged, and there were many political meetings and assemblies. One man who became prominent in the affairs of South Korea at this time was Dr. SYNGMAN RHEE. He had resided for over thirty years in HAWAII and WASHINGTON DC, but was flown back to South Korea at the request of the US General MACARTHUR. Dr. RHEE was presented to the South Korean people as an exiled hero and great leader. As time passed, Dr. RHEE’s views became incompatible with those of the American occupation forces and he lost considerable ground.
In 1947, a government was formed by a moderate political party, and, although Korean people held key positions, it was only a puppet administration with the Americans firmly pulling the strings. On August 15th, 1948, Dr. RHEE was elected as President of the Republic of South Korea, and four months later, on December 12th, the Republic of South Korea was sanctioned by the UN as the only lawful government of the Korean peninsula.
THE KOREAN CIVIL WAR: 1950-1953
After decades of suppression by the Japanese, and then the splitting of the nation into two distinct ideologies, it perhaps not surprising that the powder keg that was Korea would sooner or later ignite.
On the morning of June 25th, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the 38th parallel – civil war had broken out. Within for days, SEOUL, the capital of South Korea, had fallen. Many political leaders, including President RHEE, fled south to organize resistance, setting up a temporary capital in the southern port of PUSAN. Within six weeks, the North Korean forces had almost conquered the entire Korean peninsula, having pushed the South Korean and UN forces back to a position southeast of the NAKETONG River. However, when American reinforcements landed at INCHUN on September 15th, the North Korean offensive wavered, and they retreated amid confusion.
Although the majority of armed forces supporting the South Korean forces were American, troops from sixteen countries made up the combined UN forces. These were: American, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Columbia, Ethiopia, France, Great Britain, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey.
The UN counter-offensive coincided with the American landing on INCHUN, and by September 19th, 1950, SEOUL had been re-captured. In fact, the counter-offensive was so successful that within two weeks the UN forces had reached the 38th parallel. After crossing the parallel, UN forces reached the YALU RIVER (the border between North Korea and China) and by October 26th the North Korean forces were almost obliterated.
However, it was at this time that the Chinese communists entered the Korean War. What had seemed a near total victory in such a relatively short time for South Korea now turned once more. A new counter-offensive by the re-vitalized North Koreans together with the Chinese Communists was launched. By January 5th, 1951, they had re-captured SEOUL. After yet another counter-offensive, the South Korean forces again re-captured SEOUL in March 1951, whereupon the North Korean forces retreated tot he 38th parallel to consolidate their position.
In April 1951, General RIDGEWAY replaced General MACARTHUR as supreme commander of the UN forces in Korea. During the following weeks, the North Koreans tried to launch offensive after offensive but suffered sever losses. It was at this time that both North and South realized that neither side was likely to win. This resulted in the desire for both sides to seek a diplomatic solution.
On June 30th 1951, both sides signed a cease-fire and subsequently truce negotiations were held at PANMUNJOM. These negotiations were destined to go on for over eighteen months, as agreement could not be reached concerning prisoners of war. It was not until July 27th, 1953, three years after civil war had broken out, that the armistice agreement was finally signed.
The cost of the Korean War was enormous for both sides. The toll in human lives was estimated to be over three million in total, although it was probably nearer to five million; these figures representing military and civilian losses on both sides. Both North and South Korea were left almost devastated. Destruction of towns, villages and cities was appalling. Neither North nor South had won the Korean War. Both had lost. Korea had lost.
POST KOREAN WAR KOREA: 1953 – Present Day
This final section looks at the division of Korea into North and South. We see how South Korea emerged from conflict and chaos, to what has been described as “Korea: Man-Made Miracle” (1), and how North Korea turned into a totalitarian communist state. This modern era was also a pivotal time for the Korean martial arts, as we see the emergence of many new styles and organizations that are destined to spread all over the world.
The birth of Modem South Korea began when death and destruction ended with the signing of the armistice at PANMUNJOM in July 1953. Early post Korean war Korea saw a country struggling to come to terms, not only with the decimation of its land and people, but also the division of its country into North and South. One commentator observed that:
“rubble, shells of factories, large empty holes where buildings once stood, mangled railroad locomotives, all overlaid with dirt and dust oppress a visitor…the future of Korea cannot, with fairness, be pictured in any rosy hues…Life, for Koreans will be difficult.”(2)
South Korea’s economy all but collapsed as the decade of the 1950s came to an end.
SYNGMAN RHEE was South Korean president from 1948-1960, whereupon he was forced to resign, due to accusations of electoral manipulation. This heralded the end of the First Republic. The Second Republic lasted only a matter of nine months, 1960-1961, when the government of Prime Minister CHANG MYAN was overthrown by a military coup.
The early 1960s painted a similar, bleak economic picture. There were many leading commentators suggesting that South Korea was in need not just of a miracle, but “a series of economic miracles,” (3) to survive as a viable nation.
In 1961, a powerful Major General, named PARK CHUNG HEE, who had the support of the military, staged a successful coup and ruled by decree until October 1963, when he was narrowly elected as President. This narrow victory was because he was widely mistrusted by a large part of the democratically minded electorate and by many of the students who traditionally had always held a certain influence over events.
Thus began the Third Republic, 1963-1972, which saw a revival of the Korean nation and the beginnings of the first economic miracle. Through a series of economic reforms, as well as treaties with Japan for economic aid in exchange for canceling demands for war reparations, and involvement with the USA during the Vietnam War, all led to a rapid industrial and export growth.
In 1971, President PARK declared a state of martial law and in October 1972 – with the introduction of the YUSHIN (revitalizing-reform) constitution – gave himself the possibility of remaining as President indefinitely. this was closely followed by several measures restricting civil liberties. It was also at this time that the National Conference for Unification(4) came into existence.
Thereby began the Fourth Republic from 1972-1981. It was during this time that the first South Korean economic miracle was to begin to flourish. However, although President PARK presided over a nation that had literally risen from the ashes, continued dissatisfaction with his dictatorial rule increased.
In 1979, demonstrations in two major cities, Pusan and Masan, were violently suppressed. It was during these troubles that in October 1979, KIM JAE KYU, the then director of the Korean CIA, assassinated President PARK. There followed a period of uncertainty under the new President, CHOI KYO HAH.
In 1980, a general named CHUN DOO HWAN took control of the army and emerged as a powerful figure. It wasn’t long before he ousted President CHOI and became President himself. This saw the beginning of the Fifth Republic that was to last from 1980-1987. Under President CHUN’s rule, several international successes were to be credited to his administration, including South Korea hosting the 1988 Olympic Games, as well as miraculous economic growth in trade, industry and commerce.
In 1987, mass protests and demonstrations against President CHUN’s government became so great that he was forced to announce democratic reforms and elections, which included elections for the Presidency. This election was held in December 1987 and was won by ROH TAE WOO who was a member of former President CHUN’s party. In February 1988, the Sixth Republic came into existence.
In the 1992 presidential elections, South Korea elected its first civilian president, KIM YOUNG SAM. During President KIM’s term of office, former Presidents CHUN and ROH were found to be guilty of serious offences related to the 1979 coup, which brought CHUN to power and also of amassing millions of dollars in personal fortunes while they were both in power. These revelations were to lead to several other prominent politicians, including the then incumbent President, to admit to receiving money from political slush funds. Although potentially very damaging, President KIM remained in office, however this set the scene for new democratic elections.
In 1997, a financial crisis swept across East Asia. The South Korean economic miracle, wrought out of years of struggle and uncertainty, just like a rainbow, began rapidly fading away. With loans from the international community totaling $57 billion. (the highest on record – the previous record being held by Mexico who borrowed $48 billion in 1994). South Korea once again found itself with its back against the wall. It was against this backdrop that the Presidential elections of December 1997 were played out. The South Korean people’s dissatisfaction with the incumbent government was clearly reflected in the result. For the first time in Modern South Korean history, a candidate from the opposition party defeated the ruling parties nominee. This saw KIM DAE JUNG elected to power as President.
At the end of the Second World War, as US armies took control in the south of Korea, and accepted the Japanese surrender, Russian troops marched into the North of Korea to PYONG YANG. They were accompanied by the Korean People’s Army – an army of Korean communist guerrillas who had fought the Japanese from China and Russia and whose supreme commander was General KIM IL SUNG.
As the struggles for power north of the 38th parallel began to unfold, KIM IL SUNG was encouraged by the Soviets to take a leading role in the North Korean political scene. In August 1946, North Korea’s communists formerly inaugurated themselves as the Korean Workers Party (KWP) under the joint leadership of KIM IL SUNG and KIM TU BONG. Under communist rule, moderate or right wing opposition was systematically eliminated, religious and other cultural groups suppressed, land and wealth formerly under Japanese control confiscated.
In September 1948, KIM IL SUNG was elected as North Korea’s first premier of the newly formed Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Thus began a political reign that was to endure for 46 years until his death in 1994.
In 1950, KIM IL SUNG’s expansionist aims to unify and rule the entire Korean peninsula, led to the onset of the Korean War. Although the war caused enormous damage and loss of life of epidemic proportions, KIM IL SUNG maintained his hold on power. He did this through a strategy of KWP discipline, forced labor policies and by creating a national cult around his own personality. So much so that by the end of the 1950′s North Korea’s economy had recovered, redevelopment and growth had taken place, his position and as undisputed leader was secure.
In the mid 1950′s increasing conflict between China and Russia – North Korea’s closest allies – led KIM IL SUNG to reassess his country’s links and loyalties with both these nations. However, in 1961, North Korea and the Soviet Union signed a mutual defense pact, which reaffirmed the close ties of the two nations.
In 1966, KIM IL SUNG decided that his country would take a more independent political line in relation to the Communist Party. This decision was made after a state visit by Soviet President ALEKSEY KOSYGIN. In this respect, KIM IL SUNG announced that the KWP would follow the principles of complete equality, sovereignty, mutual respect, and non-interference with each other. There followed four ideological principles to reinforce this proclamation: autonomy, or identity in ideology: independence in politics: self-sustenance in economy: and self-defense.
In the late 1960s, North Korea developed an aggressive attitude towards South Korea. KIM IL SUNG began a massive build-up of North Korea’s armed forces. This continued well into the 1970′s, and worried, not only the South Korean Government, but the international community also.
At this time several guerrilla – type raids took place on South Korea. In 1968 North Koreans made an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the South Korean President PARK CHUNG HEE. Also that year, there was an international incident that involved the US intelligence-gathering vessel, the PUEBLO, which was seized by North Korean gunboats and held captive for over a year. The following year, 1969, saw the shooting down of a US reconnaissance plane. These continued aggressions against the south were to prove misguided and served only to harden the resolve of the South Korean government.
During the early 1970s, clandestine talks between officials from North and South Korea took place. The purpose of these talks was aimed at the eventual reunification of the divided peninsula. However, after three years the talks ended in bitter recrimination on both sides. Since that time, further talks have been held periodically, but to no avail.
In 1993, North Korea again alarmed the international community by refusing to allow UN inspectors to enter their nuclear installations. This led to intense speculations that North Korea was developing nuclear weapons. This in turn led to sever tension between North and South Korea.
The following year, 1994, saw an improvement in relations, after a goodwill visit by former US President JIMMY CARTER. Later that year KIM IL SUNG died and was succeeded by his eldest son. It was not until October 1997 that KIM JONG IL was elected as Head of the KWP and thus recognized as the supreme Head of State of North Korea. Another new era had begun…
Modern Korean Martial Arts
Post (Korean) War South Korea was not only a time of renewal for the people and the country, but also for its indigenous martial arts. After decades of surreptitious confinement, martial art practitioners began slowly but surely to emerge from the shadows. It was during this time, in the late 1950s and 1960s that many new Korean martial art names and styles began to appear. It was a period of great renaissance. A time where modern-day legends were destined to be made…
During the uncertainties of those early days, a very few committed, talented and resourceful men continued to believe in themselves and their arts. They struggled on, determined that the world would recognize them, and their vision and interpretation of the traditional Korean martial arts. They formed as many as 31 different schools and organizations, which became general known as the KWANS’, or Schools of Traditional Korean Martial Arts. On September 2nd 1963, the KOREA KIDO ASSOCIATION was formed to oversee the 31 different styles of Korean martial arts, which had developed in the post-war period. This organization, which is recognized by the Korean Government, holds records of all Dan grades for these different styles.
Traditional Korean Martial Arts introduced to the Wider World
Probably one of the most significant events that has taken place in the modern history of the traditional Korean martial arts is their introduction to the USA. Pioneering Korean masters such as RHEE JHOON, who introduced TAE KWON DO to the USA in 1956, and SUH IN HYUK, who introduced KUK SOOL WON in 1974, have in fact opened up the traditional Korean martial arts to the world stage. Since those early beginnings, these arts are now represented in most countries of the world.
Another highly significant event was in 1988, when Korea hosted the World Olympic Games and nominated the art of TAE KWON DO to represent the country as its national sport. This serves to demonstrate how highly regarded the martial arts are in Korea.
Facts and Fictions
As with most areas of human endeavor, there are always controversies of one kind or another. Many questions abound as to the origins, history, authenticity and purity of the traditional Korean martial arts and those who founded them. The following examples are just some of the issues that have to be considered in relation to the claim of different founders and the organizations they represent.
One issue is that some Korean styles are not considered entirely Korean in origin: that either a Japanese or Chinese influence has contributed to that particular style.
A further issue being the personal history of a founder of an art: whether it is a true history, or a manufactured one, in order to promote their personal kudos or to satisfy the demands of financial gain: or more cynically, to become a sanctuary to those naive people, searching for a cult figure with superhuman powers, who they believe will give some mystical meaning to their lives.
Yet another issue is the one that relates to the founders of ‘traditional Korean martial art’, who used to train directly under another grandmaster and subsequently founded their own ‘traditional Korean martial art’. In some cases, these kinds of developments can make a positive contribution to the further growth of the traditional Korean martial arts. In other cases, these breakaway masters and grandmasters, and the organizations they found, serve only to add to the general confusion and dilution of the arts. The casualties of this kind of ‘development’ being those innocent recruits, who may devote many years of their lives to a teacher and organization that has no real history, substance or future, and which ultimately leaves them disillusioned and disenfranchised.
All in all, these kinds of questions are, to a great extent, irresolvable. Most answers will remain lost in the mists of antiquity, or will die out with those who hold onto their truths or deceptions. What is certain, however, is that if a style of martial arts has a respectable, and responsible leader, who possesses demonstrable knowledge, and the organization that he or she has founded has substance, then that style and organization will survive, develop and grow.
KUK SOOL WON
One such organization is the KUK SOOL WON, which has emerged from those early days of uncertainty to become a worldwide success story under its founder, Grandmaster SUH IN HYUK. As this article is concerned with the history of KUK SOOL WON, and to fully appreciate the modern history of the art, it is necessary to look back through the 20th century, to the most recent ancestor of the founder of the art.
Suh Myong Duk
During the Korean War, tens of thousands of Korean patriots lost their lives. One such patriot was named SUH MYONG DUK, whose family had practiced the martial arts for sixteen generations. Before the war, Master SUH had spent his whole life dedicated to the practice and continued survival of the Korean martial arts.
In 1910, when the Japanese annexed Korea, Master SUH was a master instructor of KOONG JOONG MU SOOL (Royal Court martial Arts). As the Japanese domination of Korea became increasingly ruthless, so the practice of martial arts, or any other activity that could be seen as subversive to the Japanese overall plan of total control, was banned and outlawed. Any Korean found to be practicing or teaching the martial arts could be imprisoned or executed. Even under these severe and prohibitive conditions, Master SUH and a few other brave and committed individuals carried on their training in secret.
After the Japanese surrender at the end of the Second World War in 1945, the Korean martial arts once again began to emerge out of the shadows. It was during this period that Master SUH chose one of his grandsons, SUH IN HYUK, to pass on his formidable knowledge of the martial arts.
Suh In Hyuk: Founder of Kuk Sool Won
SUH IN HYUK began his martial art training formally at the age of five. Under the watchful eye of his grandfather, the young boy proved to be an exceptional student, showing great promise from an early age. It seemed that somehow he knew he had a destiny to fulfill. However, fate was to deal a deadly blow to the young SUH when, during the Korean conflict, his grandfather and mentor SUH MYONG DUK, was fatally wounded. Although this was a tragic loss, the young student’s training was to continue, thanks to his grandfather’s foresight in having written letters of introduction to several other masters of the Korean martial arts.
During the next few years of his young life. SUH IN HYUK traveled the length and breadth of Korea, studying with many master, to whom access would normally have been denied, if it were not for the letters of introduction prearranged by his grandfather. He also visited many Buddhist temples’ and other places where knowledge of the Korean martial arts could be found, either in written form, or from monks who had continued to maintain the martial arts traditions of their ancestors. (5)
One such visit was to the HAIN SA temple, located near TAEGU, where SUH IN HYUK learned MUK NYUM or special meditative practices, as well as DAN JUN KI BUB or special KI breathing techniques. One of SUH IN HYUK’s influential teachers at this time was a Buddhist monk named HAI DONG SU NIM, which translates as “Great Monk of the Eastern Sea”.
As the years passed by, SUH IN HYUK continued to gather and assimilate many hundreds of indigenous and varied Korean martial art techniques. These included: had-striking techniques, Kick-striking techniques, throwing and grappling techniques, joint locking techniques, falling and acrobatic techniques, body conditioning techniques, animal style techniques, weapons techniques, meditation and breathing techniques, and traditional Oriental healing techniques.
By 1958, the task was complete: SUH IN HYUK had accomplished his mission of compiling and integrating the most comprehensive system of Korean indigenous martial arts yet to be devised. After careful consideration, the name that SUH IN HYUK chose to represent the art was KUK SOOL. (6)
In 1961, after a three-year period of consolidation, SUH IN HYUK announced the formation of an organization to represent the art of KUK SOOL and this he called the KUK SOOL WON – being known in Korea as the Korean KUK SOOL WON Association. At the inauguration of the association, SUH IN HYUK revealed the existence of an inheritance from his grandfather. This consisted of a great tome comprising of five books, which described in great detail the following aspects of the traditional Korean martial arts:
YU SOOL: Soft style martial arts
KWAN SOOL: Hard style martial arts
YU KWAN SOOL: Soft/hard style combined martial arts
WHAL BUB: External healing medicine
HYUL BUB: Internal healing medicine
With the founding of KUK SOOL WON, an organization to represent the indigenous, traditional martial arts of Korea, the young master became Grandmaster SUH IN HYUK, and assumed the title of KUK SA NIM, which translates as “National Martial Arts Teacher”.
In the years that followed the historic establishment of KUK SOOL WON, Grandmaster SUH opened and supervised many KUK SOOL schools throughout South Korea, teaching martial arts techniques that had hitherto been practiced in secret, by only a few dedicated and privileged Koreans.
The next major development in the history of KUK SOOL was in 1974, when Grandmaster SUH emigrated to the United States of America. After an initial period of organization, he established, in 1975, the World KUK SOOL Association Headquarters in San Francisco, California. Once again, many new KUK SOOL schools opened as Grandmaster SUH traveled the length and breadth of the USA.
Since 1975, KUK SOOL has steadily continued to grow. In 1991, because of an ever-increasing number of new KUK SOOL schools that were opening all over the USA and in other parts of the world, the World KUK SOOL Association HQ was moved to Houston, Texas. The move was made because Houston was considered a more central location to enable more students and instructors to visit and train with Grandmaster SUH from all over the USA and other parts of the world.
Over the years, Grandmaster SUH has received many honors and accolades which include: Holding the keys of several cities of the USA; being featured in numerous international martial art magazine articles as well as appearing on the front covers; and TV appearances in several different countries of the world.
Most recently in 1999, Grandmaster SUH was the subject of a one-hour long documentary film made by Korean TV entitled “KUK SA NIM”. This documentary chronicles his life story from those early beginnings in Korea, to the present world recognition of his achievements within the martial arts. With the publication of this documentary, Grandmaster SUH has become one of the five most famous Korean nationals residing outside of Korea.
Among the many awards Grandmaster SUH has received from major international martial arts publications are:
1984: Black Belt Magazine – ‘Man of the Year’
1988: Inside Kung Fu Magazine – ‘Instructor of the Year’
1993: Tae Kwon Do Times – ‘Master of the Year’
1995: Combat Magazine – ‘Custodian of Korea’s Combative Arts’
In turn Grandmaster SUH has honored certain individuals with the award of an Honorary Black Belt of Kuk Sool. Among some of the individuals having accepted this honor are Generals from West Point Military Academy (where KUK SOOL training is part of the curriculum) State Senators and editors of several of the most famous international martial art publications.
In the UK, among the individuals honored by Grandmaster SUH is His Royal Highness, The Price of Wales, it is believed that this is the first such honor in the martial arts that Prince Charles has accepted. Other notable recipients of this honor are Dr. J.D. van Buren, a pioneering doctor of acupuncture, who helped to bring this important therapy to the western world as well as Paul Clifton, the editor of several martial arts publications in the UK, including the biggest selling magazine – COMBAT.
Although Grandmaster SUH is highly skilled in all aspects of the traditional Korean martial arts, his unique knowledge and skill in traditional oriental healing methods are widely sough after. These methods include, WHAL BUB (external oriental medical applications such as acupuncture, acupressure, bone manipulation i.e. osteopathic and chiropractic methods) and HYUL BUB (internal applications such as KI breathing techniques, blood circulation- stimulation techniques, herbal medicine and dietary considerations.
Grandmaster SUH therefore follows the traditional Buddhist theory that if a martial artist has the knowledge to cause injury to another, in the process of self-defense, then they should also have the knowledge and skill to heal any injuries that may have been inadvertently inflicted during the altercation.
Grandmaster SUH’s vision for the future is that KUK SOOL will spread all over the world so that as many men, women and children as possible discover the many benefits that regular training can bring – especially in relation to living a longer and healthier life. Grandmaster SUH also believes that one day there should be a MARTIAL ARTS OLYMPICS that is open to all styles and organizations, where martial arts practitioners can compete at the highest level and bring martial arts to the attention of a much wider audience.
KUK SOOL WON – A Brief History: Footnotes
1. The Korean system of writing the clan name (family or surname) first and the give names second, has been used throughout this article. For example Korean: Lee, Sun Shin; Western: Sun Shin Lee
2. The nomenclature of BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) has been used throughout this article. The Common Era is chronologically equivalent to the Christian Era – i.e. 1 CE = 1 AD (Ano Domini). On occasions, contradictions in the dating of events, as well as differing versions of the same event appear in various texts. There are also of course many foreign events which had a profound influence and effect on Korea which could not be encompassed in this overview. I suggest, therefore that this brief historical sketch be viewed as a thin thread running through the fabric of Korean (martial arts) history.
3. Conversations with Grandmaster Suh, In Hyuk
4. The terms KUK SOOL and KUK SOOL WON are used interchangeably
5. The HWA RANG were an elite warrior corps and were established in the 6th century CE. They adhered to a code of honor that was not to dissimilar to King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.
6. Korean Foundation Day, or TAN GUN Day, is commemorated each year by a national holiday, which is held on October 3rd.
7. It may be noticed that names that refer to either places, building or people have the same reoccurring suffix. These are explained as follows:
SAN – means mountain
SA – means temple
DAE SA – means priest or monk of the highest order
8. Although primitive techniques, SA LAK SOOL (sand-spreading or throwing) and TU SUEK SOOL (stone throwing), together with other weapons throwing techniques, were used with great success by they HWA RANG. Even now, they are still considered important techniques by contemporary masters of the Korean martial arts.
9. The date (in brackets) after a king or queen denotes ascension to the throne and reign period, and not birth and death.
10. It is generally considered that the WON HWA were forerunners of the now legendary Korean KISIANG, who can to a certain extent be compared to the Japanese GEISHA. It is certain the KISIANG, with their artistic and academic qualities, was well as their martial art skills, have played an important role in Korean history since their founding in the 6th century CE.
11. Although the evidence of the link between WON KWANG DAE SA, King CHIN HYUNG and the HWA RANG is equivocal, it is generally accepted as being highly plausible.
12. It should be noted that the HWA RANG was not seen as a martial art, but more as a code of honor, in a similar way as the SAMURAI of Japan were viewed some 500 years later. The character for ‘DO’ of HWA RANG DO means ‘clan’, ‘group’ or ‘circle’, and does not have the same meaning as the Japanese ‘DO’ or ‘WAY’ used in Japanese martial arts e.g. KARATE DO (The Way of the Empty Hand). Therefore, just as one does not state that one practices the art of ‘SAMURAI DO’, it is technically not correct to state that one practices the art of ‘HWA RANG DO’. However, it may be that some contemporary organizations would beg to differ!
Part II -
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank, most sincerely the following people for taking the time and trouble to read my manuscript and to offer much needed advice:
Pierre Berthon, Paul Clifton, John Cockaday, Barry Harmon, David Williams, and of course, Grandmaster SUH IN HYUK
Dedication: This article is respectfully dedicated to Grandmaster SUH IN HYUK, with great appreciation for a lifetime’s commitment to the survival and further development of the Traditional Korean Martial Arts.
KUK SOOL WON – A Brief History Part III: Footnotes
1. John Waronoff: Korea’s Economy: Man-Made Miracle.
2. John Waronoff: Korea’s Economy: Man-Made Miracle.
3. John Waronoff: Korea’s Economy: Man-Made Miracle.
4. The National Conference for Unification is an organization based on the collective will of the people as a whole to pursue peaceful unification of the two divided Koreas.
5. Traditionally, the Buddhist movement has practiced the martial arts for centuries.
6. Please refer to Part One of this article, which can be found in February 2002′s issue of TKD-KMA for a full explanation of the terms KUK SOOL and KUK SOOL WON. Note: The terms KUK SOOL and KUK SOOL WON are used interchangeably.
About the Author: Concluding his journey through the history and development of Korean martial arts, Kuk Sool Won in particular; Master Phillip Holmes presents his last installment. Phillip has spent several years researching his facts in order to provide this definitive guide to the history and development of Kuk Sool Won.Â Paul S. Clifton – Editor, TKD-KMA Magazine.
Acknowledgements: I would like to thank, most sincerely the following people for taking the time and trouble to read my manuscript and to offer much needed advice: Pierre Berthon, Paul Clifton, John Cockaday, Barry Harmon, David Williams, and of course, Grandmaster SUH IN HYUK
Dedication: This article is respectfully dedicated to Grandmaster SUH IN HYUK, with great appreciation for a lifetime’s commitment to the survival and further development of the Traditional Korean Martial Arts. ~ By Phillip Holmes, Kwang Ja Nim, Edited by Suh, In Hyuk, Kuk Sa NimYou might also like: