Guhapdo (Iaido) video; ilhyeong (ipponme)

Discussion in 'Korean Swords and Sword Arts' started by Daniel Sullivan, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Feb 18, 2008
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    Just to clarify, the tradition I was refering to wasn't one of the "Ninjutsu" ones, and is one well known for it's swordsmanship and Iai methods. But it's fairly removed from Seitei Iai, or MJER, or similar.

    Right. So you know, I'm going to try to be as thorough as I can, while trying to remain as gentle as possible as well... this'll be easy! I'm also taking my observations from both the front view clip you linked, and the side view one that is on the "related" list. That said, here we go!

    Okay, first thing, the sword is too far back in the belt (I'll be using English, as I'm not sure of the Korean terminology.... you'll forgive, I hope?), not allowing you to utilise your hips properly, and forcing you to draw the entire length of the blade out of the scabbard, rather than having the scabbard about a foot further forward, and allowing you to pull the scabbard back to aid the draw. Next, the first cut (horizontal) isn't horizontal. It's coming up at an angle, and only extended fully into a cut once it is past where your opponent would be. You should be drawing the blade fully, raising it to be in line with your target, then cutting across the eyes/forehead.

    When you pull the sword back into the position above your head (damn, it's hard to not use the Japanese terminology....), there's a lot of bouncing up and down when you bring your rear leg up, and the overall action is rather jerky. The position of the sword is pretty good, pretty much horizontal, not pointing the tip of the blade down. It could afford to be a little higher, but that's all I'm really seeing there. The cut, though, lacks a full extension, and is more just dropping your arms down. End position isn't bad.

    The blood-letting (can I just call that the Chiburi? Thanks!) is fairly short, rather than the full raising of the sword, then pulling it in besides your head. There's also no pause from positioning the sword beside your head before performing the Chiburi action, and, as Ken noted, you don't raise as you sweep the sword down. And, it must be said, the end position for the Chiburi is too far out, with the blade angled too severely, mainly to compensate for the fact that you haven't raised up yet, and don't want to hit the floor with your blade. But the end result of this is that your sword is in an out-of-use position. The end position should be with the tip still facing the opponent, and the blade angled down at about 45 degrees, still in play should it be needed.

    The resheathing again suffers from the scabbard being too far back in the belt, forcing you to unduly manipulate it to get the sword back in. You start off with the sword out of line with the scabbard, as you're not really moving it to the sword, you're trying to go the other way.

    Out of interest, putting your hand over the pommel of the handle is very much an MJER trait (in some lines, not all), which is where Seitei gets this kata from. Do you know if there was any MJER influence to your instructors teachings?

    Incidentally, another reference to a Seitei version of Mae is this one. It goes through a range of corrections and fine points, which may help your study.


    You may note that the gentleman demonstrating takes nearly a minute to go through the kata, your examples took about 7 or 8 seconds for the main section (up to the Chiburi). Most of the form issues in your presentation will actually be fixed simply by changing the placement of the sword in your belt and slowing down. One of my guys recently did a class in Seitei Iai, and something he was told was that no matter how slow you think you're doing it, you're probably still going too fast... Honestly, the idea of Iai being "the art of the Japanese quick-draw" is really not the right image. It's the art of the perfect draw.

    I really don't mean to offend here, Daniel, but it seems to me that the only thing that is really holding you back is the instruction you have recieved. As I've said, I haven't seen a single supposedly Korean sword art that actually is. They are either copies of Japanese arts, or Chinese ones, or just a mixture of fantasy and TKD-style movements. The current thread about a cartwheel in a sword form is another example... even taking out the cartwheel and kicking actions, there is no real cutting ability, as the person demonstrating in the linked clip isn't extending to effect his cuts, pulling them in rather ineffectually, and so on. On another forum there is a range of examples of another "Korean Sword Art", where most of it is either combatively illogical/ineffective, or severely over-cutting, which shows a lack of any real knowledge of using a sword.

    I applaud you for putting yourself up here for critique, and for the way you are recieving such posts as this one, and it is obvious that you are very interested and dedicated to your sword study, but one thing I never understand is learning a quasi-Japanese approximation of using an approximation of a Japanese sword, and claiming it as Korean, instead of actually just going to a Japanese sword school in the first place. If I want to learn a three-sectional-staff, I'm not going to look to any Japanese school (although I have come across a number of quasi-Japanese schools [read: bogus Ninjutsu] that claim to teach it). I just wouldn't trust them to know what they are talking about.

    Hope that wasn't too harsh!
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  2. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    May 27, 2008
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    I am sure that there was. Master Choi's sword work was all Japanese, though the ryu were never told to me. GM Kim was kendo.

    Often, it is simply a case of the art being taught in conjunction with another Korean art; Kang's Taekwondo, Hapkido and Koryo Gumdo, as an example (made up the name, though it wouldn't surprise me if a school by that name exists). Substitute any Korean sword art or Korean version of a Japanese sword art for 'Koryo Gumdo.'

    Students stay long enough to become fourth dan in said sword art (like myself) and go off to open their own schools teaching what they were taught. Most either completely buy into whatever history is handed off to them about the art or simply regurgitate it, never having bothered to check the validity of it, and likely grafting on urban legends over the years. Some of their students stay long enough to become fourth dan and the cycle repeats itself.

    Not at all. The responses that people have been giving are exactly what I was looking for. They are appreciated!


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