Hankumdo was first officially introduced in 1996. By setting up the system in a matter where the sword techniques are taught according to the principles of the Korean writing system hangul Myung Jae-nam managed to create a unique Korean sword art. The goal of hankumdo isn’t to learn to learn hangul or to write letters in the air. The letters act as a tool by which the student can easily remember the different sword techniques like strikes, stabs, blocks, etc. and practice them in flowing combinations.
Nothing is more Korean than their writing system. It was developed by the fourth king of the Joseon dynasty, king Sejong the great. Before the creation of hangul only members of the higher classes that could educate themselves in Chinese characters could read and write. The explicit goal for creating hangul was to enable Koreans from all classes to read and write. This had a profound effect on Korean history and culture.
Hangul consists of 24 letters, 14 consonants and 10 vowels. These letters are combined in blocks that form syllables. The rules were explained in a document called Hunminjeongeum (The Proper Sounds for the Instruction of the People). It was published in 1446.
When first learning hankumdo, students start out without a sword. Everything is done empty handed, maen son. Soon the student can switch to a wooden practice sword, mok geom. The student learns the basic strikes, cuts, stabs and blocks together with proper etiquette, stepping, drawing of the sword and resheating of the sword.
When advanced enough the student can switch to an aluminium practice sword, ga geom. Practice with a real sword, jin geom, isn’t allowed until much later.
The World Hanki Martial Arts Federation teaches several sword forms. The forms will help you to improve the way you handle your sword. The forms are called ‘yesang geombeop’.
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