Seeking Gumdo System

Discussion in 'Korean Swords and Sword Arts' started by chodancandidate, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. chodancandidate

    chodancandidate White Belt

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    Hello everyone,

    Recently my senior instructor came to me asking me about my previous instruction in sword. I am a second degree black belt and kyo sa nim (certified instructor). My instructor wants me to start a sword program at our school, and honestly, I don't have enough training to develop a complete sword program at our school.

    I know a few forms in the style of Moo Jung Gumdo and the rest of my training was in the style called San Ryu Do, which was taught by a man who turned out to be a fraud.

    I have had some students approach me about wanting to start sword training, and I don't know where to start. You can only learn so much from YouTube, so I turn to you out there in the weapons community... What should I do and where should I go in Pittsburgh, PA, to learn more to bring back to my students?

    Any and all help is appreciated!

    Chodancandidate
     
  2. billc

    billc Grandmaster

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    If you are looking for Gumdo in particular you can always start by finding the websites of their national organizations, that should give you some locations of qualified instructors. Technically, you really can't learn from youtube, you can use it for material you already know, from actual instruction, as a sort of online "notes," but actual instruction requires an instructor.

    I would time in Gumdo in Pittsburgh in a search engine and see what pops up...
     
  3. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I'm not familiar with Moo Jung Gumdo. If you could provide some information, it would be helpful. Also, how far did you get in that art?

    I developed a geomdo (gumdo) curriculum for a hapkido school a couple of years ago and still practice it regularly. I work from the Muyedobotongji, however, and had a decade's worth of prior training. In what art do you hold your yidan and kyosa title?
     
  4. Chris Parker

    Chris Parker Grandmaster

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    Hmm. My advice would be to (politely) decline. There's a few things here that leap out at me along those lines....

    Hi.

    How much instruction did you have, in what, and with who? How long did you study?

    But that's not in the sword-work, is it? That's in the Tang Soo Do you train in, yeah? I'm just trying to get a gauge on the context of the ranking... it's showing your position in your current school, correct?

    Good! The best reason not to do it!

    Er... yeah... I've had a look around for this Moo Jung Gumdo, and, honestly, I'm coming up short in anything showing any basis in any sword system at all. From what I've seen, it's part of the "OMAC" (Oriental Martial Arts College), a group founded by a "Supreme Grandmaster" Choi, who is said to have been trained in "Gumdo" (no particular style, always a warning sign), but there's no mention of where, when, how long, what ranking etc... all his credible training seems to be in TKD (with some interesting stories, to say the least...). Even if there's some credibility to the system, learning "a few forms" isn't anywhere near enough to have any real basis in understanding a system, which I'm sure you know, hence the question here. But the point is, if your training consists of a questionable modern system, some small parts of another fairly unknown one, and naught else, I cannot recommend strongly enough that you decline the offer to create a sword syllabus.

    Again, good! Another good reason not to teach sword!

    Uh, no. You can't learn anything from you-tube. Trust me on this. I train in 5 different sword systems, some of which are heavily represented on you-tube, and I can tell you that you cannot learn from watching the clips at all. In fact, it's deeply, desperately, deplorably obvious when someone tries. One example that comes to mind is a very experienced martial arts instructor, a person who has spent decades training in Japanese arts, including sword, who put up a clip of himself and a senior student performing the first kata from a very well known system that I have some experience in... everything he did showed that he had never learnt the art itself, the kata was missing some major aspects, there was no understanding of what he was doing, the distance was completely wrong, his targeting and cutting mechanics didn't fit the system, and more. When this was brought up, a senior student of his tried to defend it to me, telling me that "he was taught by a master of this Ryu!"... uh, no, he wasn't. He copied a you-tube clip.

    When it comes to where to look in Pittsburgh, honestly, it's not looking hopeful. I tried a number of permutations in search engines, and didn't come up with anything (current). There used to be a Tenshin Ryu, but they don't appear to be there anymore... the only things I found were, well, far from legitimate. One of the worst offenders being the "Traditional Martial Arts Society", who get everything wrong in terms of terminology and authenticity... they claim to "preserve the original combat techniques of the samurai"... no, what they do has nothing to do with actual traditional Japanese martial arts... best avoided, really....

    To be blunt, the study of sword is dangerous... and, if you're unsure about your ability to teach it, don't teach it. The study of sword is important... it teaches tactics, principles, distancing, and a very serious mindset... if you don't know how these manifest, don't teach it. The study of sword has meaning... it has no practical application in a modern world, so it has to be studied with a reason... if you don't know what those reasons are, don't teach it.

    Most importantly, if you don't know sword, don't teach it.

    Decline. Politely.
     
  5. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Chris has broken it down well. If your not at a level to teach, don't do it. After all, you wouldn't have a student in your regular classes teach without being at an appropriate level, or at least closely supervised. In this case, you're not being supervised, and you'd be trying to teach before you're at the right place in your training. Which might be an effective way to present your refusal to your teachers...

    How far in or around Pittsburgh can you travel? That might open some training opportunities. And making contact with someone might enable your teachers to bring that person in to teach sword in their school...
     
  6. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Even if his rank (yidan) and title of kyosanim were in an art such as Haidong Gumdo, I'd still say he isn't ready to develop a curriculum for a school that has none. Ildan/chodan/shodan is a beginning rank, and yidan/nidan isn't particularly experienced. Especially considering a Korean school where a second dan means rougly four to six years time in the art.
     
  7. ajs1976

    ajs1976 Purple Belt

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    You could try contacting GM Park in Erie. http://www.parkstkdacademy.com/curriculum.php

    I attended his affiliate school in Pittsburgh a few years ago and there were discussion of starting a korean sword class, but I left before that happened.
     
  8. terrylamar

    terrylamar Blue Belt

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    http://www.northamericankarateandfitness.com/hdgd/default.asp

    Is a member of the U.S. Haidong Gumdo Association which is a member of the World Haidong Gumdo Federation. The center of Greensburg, PA is located 33 miles from the center of Pittsburg, PA. I do not know Chief Master Oien, but this is the same style I train in.
     
  9. generalneon

    generalneon White Belt

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    They have schools in Greensburg, Mount Pleasant, Irwin, and Plum (Pittsburgh is a myriad of suburbs!) I know they have Haidong Gumdo lessons in Greensburg, Mt. Pleasant, and Irwin, not sure about Plum. Masters Oien, Yaremko, and Robb are very knowledgable on the art. Highly recommended!
     
  10. chodancandidate

    chodancandidate White Belt

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    Technically speaking, I was not rewarded rank for my training in Moo Jung Gumdo. I know the instructor of my former instructor is GM Young Pyo Choi of the Oriental Martial Arts College near Columbus, OH. I was only taught 3 forms in that style.

    My Dan ranking and Kyo Sa title are in Tang Soo Do. Independent Tang Soo Do Association, South Hills Karate Academy Dan #USA 11-08.
     
  11. chodancandidate

    chodancandidate White Belt

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    Terry,

    Thank you for this, my instructor might actually go for it. He is affiliated with Master Oien. He comes to our tournament every year!

    Mary
     
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    How long did you study Moo Jung Gumdo? Three forms out of how many? What is the system like?

    That was the impression that I got.
     
  13. chodancandidate

    chodancandidate White Belt

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    I studied Moo Jung Gumdo on and off for roughly 3 years. I know there are at least 7 forms, but I don't know for sure the total number. The Sa Bom Nim that instructed me in this art didn't hold any rank in it himself, so I use the words "formal sword training" loosely. As far as the "system" is concerned, we learned forms and we sparred with padded swords, that's it. I'm pretty sure the only reason it was done was because my instructor wanted me to be able to compete in weapons competitions at tournaments.

    It is what it is, but when I finally switched schools, I asked my current instructor if I could compete in weapons competitions utilizing the sword forms I knew, and when he said yes, people started watching and liked what they saw, thus the position I'm in now. Fortunately, now that I know about GM Oien in Greensburg knowing and teaching Haidong Gumdo, I'll be able to learn from him. I'll be taking this proposition to my instructor first thing after the new year.
     
  14. generalneon

    generalneon White Belt

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    Just looking to see if there was any update?
     
  15. chodancandidate

    chodancandidate White Belt

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    I consulted with my cohort of followers and we approached our instructor to ask permission to study with GM Oien. He told us that he would seriously consider it, but not to get our hopes up because there are some serious politics involved in making it happen. He still hasn't made a decision, I'm betting that he's waiting until after black belt testing which is this weekend. Have a good one.
     

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