KUK SUL DO
In order to understand the movements and techniques
of the KUK SUL DO, one must study the theories of YU (flowing water), WON
(circle) and WHA (harmony).
of YU (flowing water)
Water is a symbol of many things to Koreans. Among
these are adaptability and softness. Water never struggles with any object it
encounters. If water cannot overcome contact with an object it will not cause
conflict. Instead it will join with its adversary, producing no friction.
demonstrates the ability of water to adapt but it is important to realize that
water never changes itself. Man must learn to adapt in this same way if he is to
survive the discords that will face him during his lifetime.
Softness is another characteristic of water that
relates to the understanding of
KUK SUL DO. We must accept the fact that softness has the capacity to win
against hardness. A tempered steel bar will eventually break under enough
stress. On the other hand, water may be made to break up but it will invariably
join together again.
In practicing KUK SUL DO one does not stop the
force of an attacker directly with force but instead redirects it. Imagine a
stream flowing rapidly down a mountain. Then imagine changing the direction of
the water's flow and the problems that would be‑encountered.
a dam perpendicular to the flow is obviously not the solution. However, if one
were to simply divert its flow, success would be realized.
KUK SUL DO theory
follows this simple approach. One does not stop an attacker's punch by punching
in direct opposition. By applying force to the side, tangentially, the attack
can be diverted with much less energy.
A KUK SUL DO principle that concern maximum use of
strength at one time can be easily explained when compared to the flow of water.
One man can remove a fire hose from a truck. In this instance it is light and
However, this same hose becomes very heavy and rigid when connected to
a fire hydrant with water flowing through it. It now demands three men (or more)
to handle it due to the concentration of water at one point the end of the hose.
KUK SUL DO compares man's "KI" power to water in a fire hose. Man
should be able to concentrate all his power in one direction and to one point.
of WON (circle)
From the earliest times, the theory of the circle
has been a predominant thought of everyday life in Korea. The KUK SUL DO ranking
system utilizes the circle theory.
A student starts as a white belt, knowing
very little about the martial arts. If he is a devoted student he will advance
in rank and continue to change the color of his belt.
The struggle of the student is similar to the
struggle of a mountain climber. Both are interested in reaching the top. Upon
reaching the summit and looking back from where they came, both will see all
that was missed as they made their ascent.
It is only when one attains the peak
that his view of the whole is no longer obstructed.
The mountain climber may
realize there is another way by which he could have conquered his climb. It
would seem as if training were to start over at this point.
In actuality, this
is the beginning of the same circle, with the added advantage of knowledge
acquired only from having completed the circle.
The theory of the circle is emphasized in another
way in KUK SUL DO training. Every man has his own circle and inside this circle
is his private territory.
If someone were to enter this private domain without approval or proper warning,
each man has the right to defend against this invasion.
In actual practice, when
an opponent punches, if this punch does not trespass into one's circle, there is
no need to block. If one chooses to block, it is considered a waste of time and
When an opponent's punch does penetrate the circle,
it should be received indirectly. Leading this force in a circle minimizes its
Utilizing a circle (or winding) block not only disrupts an opponent's force but
also sets the position for a counterattack. Furthermore, adhering to the circle
theory with one's kicking techniques allows one to continuously counter and
maintain power and balance.
Countering with techniques that are directed at an
opponent along a straight line and then returned along the same line will prove
to be less effective.
of WHA (Harmony)
In KUK SUL DO training there must exist a
simultaneous combination of mind, body, environment and techniques. The
objective is to achieve a constant state of harmony. After one achieves harmony
with himself, the next requirement is to harmonize with one's opponent.
Accomplishing this, one will find it quite easy to read the minds of others.
Learning to harmonize with the environment is the next stage. The final task is
blending the harmony one has developed with himself, his techniques, his
opponent and the environment.
The following is an old story that teaches the
theory of harmony in a simple way.
A famous thief escaped from jail and in his attempt to evade the authorities
fled into the woods. As he was running, he stumbled across a lumberjack hard at
This particular lumberjack has worked in the woods all his life and had
become an expert with the ax.
The thief, feeling he had nothing to fear, allowed himself to
be seen. Immediately he was recognized by the lumberjack due to notoriety. The
thought of killing the thief and taking his head to the proper authorities raced
through his mind.
He knew he would be rewarded for this deed and
would not have to work the rest of his life. The thief, however, had trained in
the art of reading minds and informed the lumberjack that he was aware of his
thoughts. "You are thinking about killing me this very minute," said
The lumberjack was stunned and confused. Lot knowing what; to do he
began cutting a tree. He thought to himself, "How is it possible that this
thief read my mind?"
The thief again told him what he was thinking.
"You have given up trying to kill me because you know I can read your
mind." The lumberjack was absolutely bewildered and continued in his effort
to cut down the tree.
The thief began to laugh and spontaneously the lumberjack
threw his ax, mortally wounding the thief. The thief lived long enough to ask,
"Why was I unable to read your mind?" Then he died.
The answer the thief's question is a simple one.
The lumberjack had worked with his ax for so long that it had become a part of
him. Harmony between his mind, body and ax had developed to such a degree that
there was no need for any thought to take place.
Working with the ax had ceased
to be thought and then action. It had become action without thought.
lumberjack was capable of throwing his ax at the thief with the same instinct
given to do the task of felling a tree. The thief, therefore, could not read his
mind because the thought of throwing the ax came after the act was completed.
Although this story is a simple one, it is an
excellent example for students of
KUK SUL DO to study.