What is Kuk Sool Won?
A brief description of the Korean martial art known as Kuk Sool Won.
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What is Kuk Sool Won?
Kuk Sool Won was officially founded in 1961 by Grand Master In Hyuk Suh. He had spent many years studying the teachings of several masters and was able to formulate them into his own martial art.
The Kuk Sool Won system as it is known today is a relatively young martial art. However the techniques, ethics and principles it teaches are based in Korean tribal martial arts which date back as far as 2300 BC.
Kuk Sool Won is a martial arts system rather than a style. Essentially what this means is that Kuk Sool Won is designed to be a set of skills, not a doctrine. Forms, stances and techniques are taught to develop strength, awareness and confidence. The practitioner is encouraged to use these skills in the manner which feels most natural to them.
The practitioner will be trained in a vast variety of techniques for unarmed combat including; throws, locks, escapes, joint manipulation, punching and kicking techniques, blocking, parrying and utilising pressure points.
Weapons Training is also included in the system. This includes training with; swords, spears, canes, ropes, fans and even bow and arrow. However, it should be noted that such training is only available to those who have progressed to the higher belt levels.
Another element of Kuk Sool Won is acrobatics. Predominantly this boils down to rolls and break falls as these have practical usage in combat situations. However it also extends to the more flashy acrobatics popularised by modern martial arts movies, such as; tornado kicks, butterfly twists, back flips, gainers etc.
There are no short cuts to progression in Kuk sool Won. A practitioner must prove themselves worthy of their next upgrade in a rigorous testing session. These testing sessions are designed to wear down the participant to the point of fatigue and then test them on the skills they should have learned at their current level. These are usually held every three to four months.
Attaining a black belt is obtainable in about 3-4 years to those practitioners able to grade up at each and every testing session. Further progression takes 4 years for each Dan grade. 10th Dan is the highest rank obtainable and is currently held by only one person worldwide.
Kuk Sool Won is run by the World Kuk Sool Association. They frequently hold tournaments. Competitors are judged on there skills in forms, techniques and sparring. The Competitions are strictly for sport and do not employ some of the more dangerous techniques used in the self-defence aspect of the art.
Kuk Sool Won is an art which is accessible to everyone, but takes a great deal of effort and commitment to master.