Love traditional wushu, considering Kuk Sool Won in Seoul

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Hello, I'm new to the forum. I'm considering Kuk Sool Won and I'm looking for advice.

Please read about my situation and offer your opinion. I appreciate it.

My interest has always been Chinese martial arts but I will be going to Seoul in a few months to teach English. I would like to stay there for about four years. I am aware of some schools in Seoul that teach Chinese styles but they may not be the best options for me. I am just learning Korean and I'm not very good at it yet. I think that classes in KSW will have more English speaking instructors and students. From what I know their materials (books & DVDS) are all in English or Korean. The schools that teach Chinese styles have only one or two English speaking students and none of them has an English speaking instructor.

I've done some research on KSW and I like what I see. It seems to almost be type of "Korean wushu." I am not using wushu as a derogatory term. Note that wushu is IMO the best term to describe Chinese styles. Modern wushu is of course different than traditional wushu but modern wushu has produced many great athletes who - if they chose to - could excel to a very high level in traditional Chinese styles especially northern styles which are the arts that I am interested in. Please don't take offense at the word wushu because most of the people I know in CMA use the term exactly as I have described here. It is not a put down. Okay back to what I like about KSW. It fits in well with what I already do (two separate northern shaolin type systems plus baguazhang). It uses some of the Chinese stances, it has an emphasis and jumping kicks and even some tumbling skills. It even has the broom sweep technique. For me it would be just like doing another style of traditional northern wushu (kung fu). I think I could benefit from a different perspective on kicking and I could use some help on some of my jump spinning kicks. KSW even has qigong and neigong exercises (I don't think they call it that).

KSW seems like another fun style to pick up. Right now I'm in Sarasota, Florida but I've only been here for two weeks. I am from Boston and when I'm done saving money in Korea I will go back home to Boston. I checked and there is a KSW school near Boston.

Getting involved in KSW could create some problems for me. I've talked to some KSW instructors and they don't want anyone in KSW to train in another style. The problem is that Chinese martial arts is not just a huge part of my life - it's my way of understanding martial arts. I would never give up traditional wushu, in fact I would never even stop training in *multiple* styles of Chinese martial arts. Both of my instructors in New England know about each other and they have no problem with my cross-training. They're cool with it. The KSW people seem to think that their art is just "too difficult" to allow for cross training. They say things like "you should just stay in Chinese martial arts because you won't have time to do KSW." I disagree. Learning Chinese martial arts - especially northern styles - is seriously hard. I don't think they understand just how difficult it is. People I know that train in my multiple Chinese styles do it because it helps them. I really believe that the person who trains multiple Chinese styles (within reason) will be better at all of those styles than a person who trains in just one style. A lot of very great people - including Liang Shou-Yu - agree with this. Now I have KMA people telling me that KSW is just too demanding for cross training. I know they are wrong but I don't want to have problems down the road. I don't plan on telling people in KSW that I do CMA because I think they might try to make me quit or even kick me out. I can avoid telling people about what I do but I'm afraid that down the road someone will find out and I'll be in trouble. I don't want to get a black belt in KSW and then get kicked out a year later for cross training. I think KSW could really help me but if I get pushed out of the organization then I can't train at recognized schools.

What do you think?
 

Flying Crane

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There is another thread going on right now about the issues surrounding training in multiple styles. It's a recent thread and you should be able to find it, so you might want to give it a read and see what people are thinking about that issue. Personally I think there are some serious problems involved with it, but I don't want to rehash it all here.

I don't have any personal experience with KSW, tho I've seen a few classes. The son of the Founder of KSW has his school here in San Francisco and I've stopped to watch a class or two.

I would say that if you want to train and learn while in Korea, do so. Maybe KSW, maybe something else. Like anything, it comes down to what is a good fit for you both in terms of the system and the teacher. When you get there, check out all the schools available to you, and then make your decision.
 

puunui

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My interest has always been Chinese martial arts but I will be going to Seoul in a few months to teach English. I would like to stay there for about four years. I am aware of some schools in Seoul that teach Chinese styles but they may not be the best options for me. I am just learning Korean and I'm not very good at it yet. I think that classes in KSW will have more English speaking instructors and students. From what I know their materials (books & DVDS) are all in English or Korean. The schools that teach Chinese styles have only one or two English speaking students and none of them has an English speaking instructor.[/QUOT

I personally like kuk sool won. I especially like the weapons. We went to the chinese new year's festival in chinatown last night, and there were kung fu schools demonstrating all over the place, along with dragon and lion dances, etc. I don't know if it is valid to assume that the dojang in Korea teach in english though. What part of Korea will you be staying in? I think kuk sool won is more available in the Pusan area, but I do remember visiting kuk sool dojang in seoul
 

SahBumNimRush

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Isn't Sipbalki what grandmasters J.P. Choi and Y.P. Choi practice? I remember being amazed at watching their weapon demonstrations at tournaments back in the day.
 
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Thanks for the feedback.

Does anyone think I would be kicked out of KSW if they found out I was training in other styles?

I know of two schools in Seoul that teach CMA - one school teaches Ship Pal Gye (sp?) and the other teaches Plum Blossom Mantis.
 
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I appreciate the help.

At this point I'm going to start a new thread to ask KSW people whether I would be kicked out for cross-training.
 

oftheherd1

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KSW used to be taught at Yong Son post in Seoul, so it was taught in English. Much of the military has been moved further south, so I don't know if it is still there or not. I have no idea if there is a feeling in KSW that a person should be prevented from training in another art. It sounds more like a reaction to fear of losing a student to another art. But I would be honest about it when I went to a school. They will no doubt find out, or at least ask, when they observe you doing things that suggest knowledge of another art. Let them know how long you will be in Seoul, and that you intend to train for the whole four years. And it goes without saying, that if you have many days/nights free, you would be wise to be in the school learning both the art and practicing Korean language and culture. In the unlikely event that KSW is unfriendly to instruction in other arts, look for a Hapkido school. I think they have more similarities that differences.
 

miguksaram

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Thanks for the feedback.

Does anyone think I would be kicked out of KSW if they found out I was training in other styles?

I know of two schools in Seoul that teach CMA - one school teaches Ship Pal Gye (sp?) and the other teaches Plum Blossom Mantis.
Are you thinking of doing this cross training at the same time? If so, that is why they are probably telling you that you will should just stick to one style. There is nothing wrong with cross training, however, if you are just beginning a style regardless of past experience, then you should just stick to that style for a while until you get a good grasp of its basics. Instructors have their own take on cross training, some might welcome it and some might not. So no one can tell you for sure that every KSW school will kick you out if they find out you cross train.
 

mastercole

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Isn't Sipbalki what grandmasters J.P. Choi and Y.P. Choi practice? I remember being amazed at watching their weapon demonstrations at tournaments back in the day.

Yes it is. My senior student who has trained with me the longest, was originally a Ship-pal-ki practitioner. He learned it from his father who is a brother of GM Kae Bae Chun, a Jidokwan pioneer who had schools in Parma and Youngstown, Ohio. My student was good friends with on of GM Choi's early students, Master John Roush (I hope I spelled that correct). John learned Ship-pal-ki from GM Choi. He and my student use to discuss about Ship-Pal-Ki all the time. The forms were beautiful to watch.

My students name is GM Won Ki Chun, his father and uncle were students of GM KIM Hyuk Nae and KIM Hyuk Jong from Kunsan (also teachers of GM Ernie Lieb & GM Young In Cheon) . The reason the Chun's were students of the Kim's is because when Jidokwan fonder CHUN Sang Sup's brother, CHUN Ill Sup arrived in Jollabuk-do to open a Jidokwan school, he stayed at the Kim brothers home in Kunsan, and they were his first students. Later, GM CHUN Ill Sup introduced his cousins, Kae Bae and Kae Boon Chun to GM KIM Hyuk Nae.

So my Korean born senior student, who started out as a Ship-Pal-Ki practioner, is a blood relative of the Jidokwan founder and found his way back to his families martial art, via me, an American born practitioner. :) That is how I know about Ship-Pal-Ki.
 

mastercole

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I think it is counter productive for the novice student to cross train in another martial art. It takes many years, maybe a lifetime to learn the principle of one martial art deeply.

For sure, when they find out you are training in some other martial art at the same time, whether you tell them or not, they will never see you as a serious student. When that happens, they will not pay much attention to you and the real learning will stop, they might even cancel your training. And I agree with all of that, 110%. My advise is pick something and give it your all. Meaning all your time, all your focus and all your energy. There will be no time for anything else.
 
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Thanks again. As I said in the other thread I think it's best for to stay away from KSW and KMA in general. This issue really isn't a problem in CMA.
 

mastercole

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Thanks again. As I said in the other thread I think it's best for to stay away from KSW and KMA in general. This issue really isn't a problem in CMA.

Really? So novice students are encouraged by their Chinese masters to enroll in a different style of martial art? That is the first I have heard of this. Please point me to some sources on this interesting practice among Chinese masters. Thank you.
 

oftheherd1

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Thanks again. As I said in the other thread I think it's best for to stay away from KSW and KMA in general. This issue really isn't a problem in CMA.

That would be your choice. But I know that in Korea, at least in Hapkido and TaeKwonDo, when students reach 3rd dan, they are often encouraged to study and at least acheive 1st dan in another MA. I am not sure the reason, but I suppose to let them see another art, and then after that, if they return, it is certain they will continue their original art and advance in it. But as I said, those are supositions on my part. I never asked my GM. I know my GM was belted of course in Hapkido, but also a 5th dan in TaeKwonDo, a 1st dan in Kumdo, and did not belt in Judo only because he broke his shoulder just before he would have tested, and did not go back to test. I just don't beleive you will find any KMA turning you away because you have studied another MA. Now if you are trying to study your original art and a particular KMA at the same time, who knows? But I don't see them kicking you out, but maybe not considering you that serious about their art.

But again, your choice. I hope you enjoy your stay in Korea.
 

mastercole

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That would be your choice. But I know that in Korea, at least in Hapkido and TaeKwonDo, when students reach 3rd dan, they are often encouraged to study and at least acheive 1st dan in another MA.

How do you know this? I am in Korea often, during this decade, and the last two, always for Korean martial arts, and I never heard of this. 3rd Dan is not some magical milestone. Actually, the teachers in Korea who have real knowledge, really don't care much about Dan ranks.

What I do know is that currently some business owners, in Korea and most of the world, are adding many martial arts to their curriculum to attract more students, and get the to stay. I also know that the majority of these business owners have no real skills in these arts they are adding, and they are cross certifying each other in this effort.
 

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I don't want to get a black belt in KSW and then get kicked out a year later for cross training. I think KSW could really help me but if I get pushed out of the organization then I can't train at recognized schools.

What do you think?

I think there is a potentially easy answer to your question. You should try contacting the World Kuk Sool Won Association and asking them if there is an official policy on this. They'd be the ones to give you an authoritative answer. (Of course, individual instructors within the WKSA may not like accepting students who cross train, but that's naother matter.)

If the answer you receive isn't to your liking either of the styles you mentioned in your other post (Ship Pal Gi or Plum Blossom Mantis) would be interesting to study, IMO. I also have a friend in SK who is involved in both Hapkido and ITF Taekwon-Do if you're interested in either of those arts (he's in the Seoul area, too).

Pax,

Chris
 

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Really? So novice students are encouraged by their Chinese masters to enroll in a different style of martial art? That is the first I have heard of this. Please point me to some sources on this interesting practice among Chinese masters. Thank you.

It's pretty common for people in the Chinese arts to have some level of experience with several systems. Whether or not it is "encouraged" would depend on the instructor. My sifu says, if you want to train in another system under another teacher, that's your choice and your business. If it interferes with your training here, then it's a problem and it becomes my business, and you may need to choose one or the other.
 

mastercole

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It's pretty common for people in the Chinese arts to have some level of experience with several systems. Whether or not it is "encouraged" would depend on the instructor. My sifu says, if you want to train in another system under another teacher, that's your choice and your business. If it interferes with your training here, then it's a problem and it becomes my business, and you may need to choose one or the other.

I think that is a good philosophy. In the USA I know that cross training in multiple schools and styles might not be a big deal for most, but how about China, like mainland China? Not a foreigners gym, a local gym in some average town. What are the Chinese masters views on this subject?
 

Flying Crane

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I think that is a good philosophy. In the USA I know that cross training in multiple schools and styles might not be a big deal for most, but how about China, like mainland China? Not a foreigners gym, a local gym in some average town. What are the Chinese masters views on this subject?

well, my sifu is old-school Chinese immigrant, and his training all happened in China back in the 1950s, so there's that example. Again, I'd say it really depends on the individual sifu. Some schools teach multiple styles, others I suppose do not. As far as a student studying multipe styles under diffferent teachers in different schools, again I think it would depend on the teachers.

Overall, I'd say that most of the good teachers are going to say, you need to focus on one to get it right, and training more than one is a distraction. But most of these same teachers have trained in more than one, so it seems that at some point everyone does it, tho perhaps not at the same time.
 
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