Kummooyeh

Discussion in 'Korean Swords and Sword Arts' started by WMKS Shogun, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    You can see that the mats are being torn rather than cleanly cut, mainly because the cuts aren't clean.

    I will quote my post from page one regarding Master Jeong's cutting demo:


    I have no opinion of the system whatsoever. If you are willing to put up videos of yourself, that is fine and good, but unless the material is going to tell me more about the system than about your own cutting ability (which may be excellent), they won't really tell me much about the system.

    What I do know is this: it has no historical basis. Neither does Haidong Gumdo. Chris said it is as recent as the sixties. I think he's being generous. I wouldn't date it any earlier than about 1980. The founders were apparently influenced by Shim Gumdo, another art of questionable value with a claim of the founder becoming an unbeatable swordsman with no prior training after going to a mountain to meditate, and that art was around in the sixties.

    An art doesn't need to be ancient to have merit, but I consider it a red flag when histories are fabricated with the intent of either hiding the art's origins or to give it the illusion of credibility. I would have more respect for it if the founder was honest and said that it is a modern sword art with no pretensions to historicity. Then it really would be viewed entirely on its own merit.

    Having said all that, I withhold my opinion of the art pending actually knowing what it is about. I'd be interested to see the hyeong, both solo and partnered and to know what the context of the art is.

    Western fencing, for example, is done in the context of a duel. However removed the modern sport is from actual dueling, it is rooted in French school dueling of the late nineteenth century. That makes means that you're not looking at a military art, but civilian dueling, which differs from military swordsmanship.

    In short, I'm more interested in what is contained in the system than in the quality of the practitioners, though the criticisms I see leveled in that area are not without merit.
     
  2. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    While I agree that merit is subjective, if it's a sword system, purporting to teach combative usage of a sword, well, it should have some merit towards that end. What I've seen has none. The closest to anything combatively suitable look like copies and variations of Kendo no Kata, but are done at very bad (unsafe/ineffective) distancing, with some very questionable timing.

    To add to Daniels comment, I'd put the following forth. These comments are referring to the clip on the first page posted by Brian.

    There appeared to be a lot of muscling and tension, particularly in the shoulders and back, with the cutting being more "slashing" with an attempt to compensate for smoothness with speed. A number of cuts are done in a rather off-balanced state, and there is a prevalence of rather fanciful (unrealistic) actions, such as the reverse-grip cuts and thrusts, and the two-sword methods (two long swords? really?).

    On the other clips I've seen, there's a tendency to use the right hand too much, which pulls the cut off line, and again leads to "slashing", or "hacking" rather than "slicing", which is what is supposed to happen. This shows in scalloped cuts, poor shaping of the targets, ragged edges, and so on. This is even before we get to the actual approach to cutting itself, which really does seem to be more about "how flashy and fancy can it be?", rather than anything to do with the use of a sword (beyond using it to cut something).

    I'll contrast it with a couple of clips here as well. The first is a tameshigiri demonstration from Toyama Ryu, a recent system based in older ones who do a fair amount of tameshigiri:



    The second is one of a number for this young practitioner. She's about 6 years old here, and you can see that you really don't need a lot of muscle to cut properly... nor do you need a lot of "tip speed" as Jerry Laurita tried to say on the other forum:



    Cool. I've seen some of his BJJ and other clips... no issue with his performance or credibility there. Sword is, of course, a completely different story...

    Hmm. Okay.

    Yep. Paul Smith (pgsmith) has a good article floating around about how to assess tameshigiri, if you get a chance to read it.

    Yeah, I'm interested in the same... however, I will say that much of what I've seen does show me indications of what is in the system, if you know what to look for...
     
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  3. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    And therein lies the problem. I have this issue with most, if not all, modern KSA systems, as most of them are HDGD deriviatives, and that art has little to no combative merit and no historical basis whatsoever, though it is rife with fabrications. As are all of its spin offs.

    I agree, which is why I said that I'm withholding my opinion until I see more of the actual system, but my expectations are not high. Foam sword sparing pretty much kills any credibility a system has for me.
     
  4. WMKS Shogun

    WMKS Shogun Green Belt

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    Just curious on the foam sword sparring issue. With what should students spar?
     
  5. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Kendo has used shinai since its inception. Bamboo swords have been used for practice since before kendo. You can even get them in the correct shape if you want that level of authenticity:

    http://www.e-bogu.com/Madake-OWARI-Sword-Shape-Shinai-p/hay-ken-shi-owari-37.htm

    Also, combat oriented sword arts (as opposed to fencing, which is what is done in kendo) were traditionally and historically taught through kata. Historical western swordsmanship makes use of wasters (wooden swords) and rebated steel swords (unsharpened). Or they use traditional fencing weapons if it is an historical fencing art.


    Nerf kendo is neither historical nor a valid method of training with a weapon. Even children in Japan learning kendo use shinai. Nerf weapons are a joke, and if you're art is employing them, then somebody at the top either doesn't know what they're doing or they've put together a childrens activity. Except that the videos I have seen of your style show adults in what looks like TKD gear sparring with nerf, so it clearly is not intended as a childrens activity.

    My apologies if I'm coming across bluntly, but there is no kind way to put it. Nerf sword sparring is a joke outside of Chucky Cheese.
     
  6. WMKS Shogun

    WMKS Shogun Green Belt

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    Kendo also uses $500 armor. Now, if you are rich, or can get a decent used set for cheaper, no problem. But for the rest of us, that is a heck of an investment. My students learn two person sets (like kendo kata) first with padded swords, then with chukdo (shinai for the Japanese), then with kagum and eventually, jingum (iaito and shinken, respectively). For sparring, only those with experience would be allowed to use chukdo. Padded swords are just more practical in some cases.
    On the concept of kendo and shinai, bokken were first used and practice and then eventually, they padded them with leather, then moved to a split bamboo, also padded with leather, and finally to modern shinai, though even shinai have changed and are not being made of plastics/rubbers/polys, etc. Additionally, Shihan Dana Abbott was one of the first people to really bring padded swords over. He is recognized as one of the west's foremost authorities on Japanese swordsmanship and you are going to argue with his methods too? He held the patent on the ActionFlex swords until a few years ago when he sold it to Century Martial Arts to allow for greater mass production. It sounds like you are pro-Japanese and automatically disregard anything Korean as an inferior knockoff with no "tradition." Time to wake up: most martial traditions have had to change over time. Even the Japanese. The Toyama Ryu Kata were created for World War II, the Seiti Kata of Iaido are not much older. There is historical evidence of Korean sword arts and YES, Haidong Gumdo is a RE-CREATION of traditional Korean swordsmanship based on what they THOUGHT it might be like. Yes, they lied aboutthe history of it, but even Gichen Funakoshi embellished the origins of Karate-do in order to get it recognized by mainland Japanese.
     
  7. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    No they're not.

    And if you're expected to eventually own a jingum/shinken, what are you complaining about costs for? A good, functional sword will cost as much as or often much more than kendo equipment. Adding to that a kagum/iai-to, some of which cost as much as bogu, and you've far outstripped the costs of kendo.

    I am aware of the development of shinai. I own a carbon-graphite shinai. It's almost as expensive as bogu. Honestly, I don't recommend it.

    I won't debate with you about his methods not having trained with him, nor will I debate his credentials.

    I will, however argue against the use of foam swords, including the Action Flex branded weapons, as anything other than a toy.

    Nope. You really need to go back and re-read my posts on page one. I stated that I am not dismissive of modern sword methods and that I have spent a goodly amount of time studying Korean swordsmanship, including working from historical manuals.

    I evaluate sword arts based on what is contained in the system. You may notice that I have not once criticized the Kummooyeh system. I honestly don't know enough about it to critique it.

    There are principles of swordsmanship that are fairly universal, whether you're talking about Korean sword, Talhoffer, classical sabre, Japanese or Chinese sword. Philosophy of strategy and context of use may differ (thrust vs. cut, dueling vs. military, for example), but by and large, there is a lot of overlap in the essentials between most sword systems, particularly in the principles of how one fights with a sword and how a sword is used.

    That is what I look for when looking at an unfamiliar system. If the system employs sound principles and sound strategies, then we go forward from there. If it doesn't, then we part ways.

    Regarding Japanese swordsmanship, it is all fine and good, but that's not the topic. You asked what you should spar with. I gave you suggestions from both an Asian perspective and a European perspective.

    I don't really care what tradition of swordsmanship you're practicing, whether it's ancient or brand new. Foam swords are a no go.

    They don't respond like a real sword does, mainly because they're foam. They do things that real swords don't, such as wrap and bend, because they're foam. They don't parry like a real sword. Because they're foam.

    A shinai is not a particlularly good representation of a Japanese sword either, but again, you asked what you should spar with, and honestly, apart from a Redman and wooden swords, your options are fairly limited as there are only but so many ways to make a sword analog that will both react in a way that is consistent with a real weapon and which affords some measure of safety.

    The shinai is a good option, probably the best, but it has its limitations. Its shape is wrong for any of the swords popularly used in KSA and JSA, the grip is shaped differently than the sword it was meant to represent, the square cross section and tapered forte enable you to deflect blows in a way that a real sword does not, and it doesn't handle like a real sword.

    But it is much closer than Action Flex foam weapons.

    I've never tried RSW swords, so I'll withhold my opinion of that option.

    Yes, there is. I am familiar with historical KSA. In any case, the age of an art has no bearing on it's merit. Judo was new at one point. Kendo was as well. So was Taekwondo, Hapkido, and every other art you can name.

    I am familiar with the history of Haidong Gumdo. It has its roots in Gicheon and Shim Gumdo, both of which are modern (20th) century arts.

    They sure did.

    Which is unfortunate. From what I've seen of it, it is a challenging and very beautiful art.

    So what? We're not discussing Shotokan Karate-do. In any case, saying that one guy lied is hardly justification for another guy to do the same.

    Getting back on point, the fact that your organization uses foam swords for practice has no actual bearing on the merit of the system. I think that it's a bad idea and I've stated my reasons as to why, none of which has to do with the nationality or age of your system; if your system was Japanese, I'd argue against it.

    All of this brings me back to where we were before you asked about sparring weapons, which is that I'm withholding my opinion of the system until I see more of what it contains.
     
  8. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Kendo armor is, honestly, totally optional. Wanna spar with shinai on the cheap? Make a jacket out of a furniture pad and buy a helmet. Add hockey gloves if you're worried about your fingers, but leather gloves work very well.

    Nerf swords really ought to remain in the realm of LARP.
     
  9. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm. I think I'm going to be a little blunt again.

    In many sword systems, there is no such thing as sparring. If it exists, it's with shinai of various forms (although the presence of shinai does not necessarily denote sparring). Padded "flex swords" are useless. The only property they share with a sword is length... the rest is purely the realm of kids play toys.

    Yes, it does. And Kyudo uses bows that are as much, as well as customized arrows. Some arts have more expensive equipment... it's not a failing, it's just the reality of that art. Whining that "it's too expensive to do it properly, so I'm gonna do this anyway" is to frankly act with an overblown sense of entitlement. If you can't afford to do it properly, don't do it.

    Then don't do Kendo if you're that strapped for cash. Some things cost money. That's the world. It doesn't mean that the cheap knockoff is a good alternative, or even the same thing. Either you're serious about what you're doing, in which case you can find a way to get what you need, or you're not. Playing with kids toys, though, is nothing but playing with kids toys.

    No, they're not. The lack of weight, the movement of the end of the items, the lack of balance, the increased speed etc all means that what's being done is not really anything to do with the usage of a sword. You'd be better off starting them with the wooden swords (kagum, I believe, yeah?). Oh, and honestly, the "two person sets" aren't really like kata in anything other than superficial appearance.

    Hmm, no. Your history is a bit off there. Bokuto/bokken were used in place of swords primarily to avoid damaging the weapons, and weren't ever padded with leather. The origins of shinai are found in the Itto Ryu, Kashima Shinryu, and Yagyu Shinkage Ryu, each of which developed them in order to add to the impact in some of their training. The form found there are referred to as fukuro shinai (bagged shinai), and were made of a number of strips of bamboo (commonly four), held together in a leather case. They were not universally used, of course, but with both the Yagyu Shinkage Ryu and Ono-ha Itto Ryu being the official schools of the Tokugawa Shogun, and with the lack of wars in Japan at the time, they were developed into a more modern-looking form for competition. Initially, for the record, there was no regulation on things like the length of the shinai, and some duelists found fame and success by using unusually long weapons, until there was a more definite ruling made.

    Okay, this is the statement that gets me to respond the most bluntly...

    Good gods, no!!!! "Shihan" Dana Abbott is considered an absolute joke in the Japanese Sword community! He is only considered an authority by himself, and is completely clueless, as well as having incredibly questionable training histories! The guy's a loon, and should never be let near a sword! Do not, repeat DO NOT listen to a thing the guy has to say! Damn straight I'll argue with his methods, he's useless, and has no idea whatsoever!!! "Shihan" of what?!?!?!

    Dana's only real strengths are in self-promotion and marketing (although, honestly, his marketing isn't that good...)... so sure, he held the patent on toys... good for him. Here's a little gem for you, did you know that these "weapons" were developed by a Japanese businessman for use in his safe, kid-friendly competitions that he called "Chanbarra" (named after the form of Japanese movie that centre on samurai and swordplay, similar to America's Westerns, not anything to do with actual martial arts), in order for the kids to "experience the way of the samurai"... but that, despite being an avid fan of samurai culture and martial arts, the businessman had (and has) absolutely no experience in any martial art at all? What does that tell you? A guy with no experience or knowledge of martial arts created these items for kids to safely whack each other like in their popcorn movies... and Dana decides that that should be a good tool for actual martial practice?

    Godsdammit.....

    I have asked a large number of times around the place for any indication of any genuine Korean sword (as well as other things), and have not seen anything that indicates it exists at all. If you could show me something, I'd be thrilled... but so far, everything I've seen shows much of Korean arts to be inferior knockoffs with no actual historical base or genuine tradition going back before the 50's. Some arts have developed in their own way, and become good examples of modern Korean martial culture (TKD, Hapkido etc), but I have seen nothing of any weapon system close to that.

    Right back at ya... time to wake up. Do you think that the idea of things changing is unknown to Japanese practitioners? Of course, it's not the things that change that's important, it's what doesn't.

    Oh, and the idea that things change is one thing... the idea that something is created without any realistic, competent, credible, authentic, or practical base is the same thing is just delusional.

    Please. First off, you hardly need to inform persons such as myself about the history of Japanese arts. Secondly, your history is off a bit again. Thirdly, both of those systems are based in practical, realistic, competent, credible, and authentic practices. They weren't just invented because someone thought "yeah, this is probably how it was..." ... they came from actual traditions.

    That's not a re-creation... it's a fantasy. A re-creation is where you have the existing material from prior generations and experiences, and you attempt to put it back together in it's original context. If someone just does what they "think it might (have been) like", that's just a waste of time when it comes to the study of weaponry. And a large amount of what's seen there (Haidong Gumdo, as well as what I've seen of this new system) is purely movie-style choreography and fantasy. Not anything like re-creation.

    Embellishment is one thing... flat out lying and inventing things that have no basis in reality, and, if they were ever actually relied upon would get you killed, is quite another.
     
  10. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    If by "genuine," you mean historical, it exists, but nobody, I do mean nobody, is doing anything with it on any kind of broad, organizational level. Pretty much all of what could be legitimate historical Korean sword is being done by small groups or individuals working from the Muyedobotongji, as it is the only available source of historical Korean sword. I do happen to own a copy.

    None, and I do mean none, of the big Korean sword orgs are maintaining an historical art. They are mostly HDGD offshoots which is itself a Shim Gumdo offshoot, which is itself a twentieth century art and so far as I know, does not claim to be otherwise.

    As I said in a prior post, like it or not, these arts (HDGD, Koryo Gumdo, Kummooyeh, Shimgumdo, etc.) are modern Korean sword. They are genuinely "Korean," regardless of what sources they may have drawn upon. Living in modern times, where swords are no longer used in warfare or for civilian self defence, the actual combat value of these arts is not tested in life/death circumstances. Which is how you end up with gymnastics and cartwheels in arts that claim to be combative. I would like to point out that I haven't seen any of that in Kummooyeh, but I have seen in HDGD.
     
  11. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Mokdo or mokgum would be the correct term. I believe HDGD uses the term 'mokgum.' Mokdo = bokuto and mokgum = bokken.
     
  12. WMKS Shogun

    WMKS Shogun Green Belt

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    Really quickly, I too own a copy of the Muyedobotongji, which is not easy to follow, due to the archaic and 'technical' language (when I say 'technical' I mean they refer to stances and postures but other than vague pictures there is little to go on as far as what it is actually doing). I had been told that Haidong Gumdo and Kummooyeh used the manual as an INSPIRATION for the movements and forms. Maybe it is utter crap just to make them seem more historically based. Haidong Gumdo's Ssang Soo Gum Bup series bears little resemblance to Muyedobotongji's chapter on Ssang Soo, I will freely admit. On the cartwheel part, in at least one of the sword chapters, it mentions throwing the sword in the air and catching it (my copy is at the dojang, otherwise I would site it), which is probably less practical even than a cartwheel....I suppose I am not helping my case here. Oh well. Just saying what is on my mind.
     
  13. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    On the other hand, having trained in Korean sword for more than a decade, I was able to follow the illustrations fairly well. One of the issues with the illustrations is that there are more instructions than there are illustrations, so you need to be able to fill in some of the blanks where one illustration transitions to another.

    I personally don't place a premium on being historically based. With both arts, the only real issue is that they claim that it is, when clearly, neither one is. The heavy influence of Japanese trappings does not help the historicity claims. While there is not a lot of information on Korean sword systems outside of the eighteenth century Muyedobotongji, there is a lot of information on Korean culture, and hakama adaptations do not appear in any of it.

    The new Kukkiwon doboks (not sure if they're out in the general population), the older vee-neck, KSW doboks, and the World Hapkido Federation doboks are all modern iterations of Korean traditional dress. I believe that another HDGD spin off, Koryo Gumdo, uses doboks that more closely resemble traditional Korean dress.

    None of that, however, is related to the curriculim that your system uses.
     
  14. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Honestly, the only case an art must make is that of its functionality in the context it was designed to be used. The rest is trappings.

    So if your organization claims that your art is designed for use "on the battlefield," it should actually contain material that contributes to that end and be uncluttered with material that would actually be counter productive, such as cartwheels, sword tossing, and hand stands.

    If your organization claims that your art is designed for dueling, it should have material that contributes to that end and be uncluttered with material that would actually be counter productive, such as cartwheels, sword tossing, and hand stands.

    If your art claims to be XMA, then it should have material that contributes to that end, such as cartwheels, sword tossing, and hand stands.

    If your art claims to be an historical art, then it needs to have its i's dotted and t's crossed, verifiable references, and credible research. And its methology needs to reflect the fighting methods of the culture and time period it claims to be connected to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  15. WMKS Shogun

    WMKS Shogun Green Belt

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    That is probably the most well-put comment about sword arts and their aims (and really about just about any martial art).
     

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