Welcome to the website for the Texas State Haidong Gumdo Association. We are an organization dedicated to the oversight and advancement within the state of Texas and surrounding regions of the worlds leading Korean martial art dedicated to swordsmanship, Haidong Gumdo.
Haidong Gumdo is one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world right now, and has quickly become the second most popular martial art in Korea. The Texas State Haidong Gumdo Association is now offering a Master Instructor Certification Program in Haidong Gumdo to help Master Instructors from other Korean martial arts quickly launch Haidong Gumdo programs in their schools.
The Texas State Haidong Gumdo Association has been certified by the World Haidong Gumdo Federation(WHGF) in Korea to offer a program through the WHGF to bring this new martial art to your school in the southwest United States. If you are a 4th Dan instructor or higher in Taekwondo, Tang So Do, Hapkido, Kumdo, Hwrang Do, Kuk Sool Won or another Korean based martial art, we have a program to help you earn your 4th Dan certification and mentor you in bringing a Haidong Gumdo program to your school.
What is Haidong Gumdo?
Haidong Gumdo is a new sword based martial art. Much like taekwondo, it was formed 20 years ago as a way of bringing historical Korean sword arts back to life, while invigorating them with new material and training methods. World Haidong Gumdo Federation president Kim Jeong Ho learned the arts that became Haidong Gumdo through instruction by Grand Master Jang Baek San about 40 years ago. Grand Master Kim had received his initial training in Kumdo, or Korean Kendo (the Japanese sword art/sport) but Grand Master Kim had felt that the art was too Japanese, and focused on one-on-one sparring. He left the leadership of the Korean Kumdo Association to form his own art.
Like all Korean martial arts, historical sword arts were aggressively purged from Korea following the Japanese occupation of Korea from the early part of the 20th century to the end of World War II. Kendo (pronounced Kumdo in Korean) was forced on all who sought sword training. Master Kim sought out training in the hidden historical Korean sword arts to help bring them to light much like had occurred with Taekwondo empty hand techniques based on Takkyon. To address the shortfalls with Kumdo, Master Kim created Haidong Gumdo to be based on techniques for war and one warrior against many others. Kendo/Kumdo techniques are based on 1 on 1 combat.
There are a multitude of historical Korean sword arts that Master Kim trained in, including Sang So Do (two handed sword training) and others. These arts can all be found in the Muye Dobo Tongi, a manual of traditional Korean martial arts authored in 1798 by General Yi Duk Moo to preserve Korean Martial Arts history. Other historical Korean sword arts include: Ye Do (short sword), Je Dok Gum (Admirals Sword), Ssang Gum (two swords), etc. Haidong Gumdo added these arts to it's curriculum by creating a series of 10 -15 forms based on each of them. These have become the official forms (Gum Bup) of Haidong Gumdo. Practitioners of Haidong Gumdo therefore learn the Ssang So Gum Bup, Ye Do Gum Bup, Shimsang Gum Bup, Bonkuk Gum Bup, Jang Baek Gum Bup, Haidong Gum Bup, and others.
Why Add Haidong Gumdo to Your School?
Haidong Gumdo is a very complimentary program to empty hand Korean martial arts programs that will allow you to add new students to your school by offering them more choices. Most empty hand arts like Taekwondo have evolved to be attended mostly by children under the age of 18. While parents of students often think about joining, the number who do is small. What leading martial arts schools are finding is that Haidong Gumdo programs are very attractive to parents of martial arts students, and it allows martial arts schools to offer a programs for the whole family. And, whole families that train together are much likely to stay involved in martial arts for longer.
Haidong Gumdo is billed as the martial art where three generations can train together. In Korea, it is not uncommon to see grandparents, parents, and children all training together. The program offers a demanding physical workout without the need for significant flexibility, or full contact sparring that many adults over 40 have such problems with.
And last but not least, it offers a "coolness" factor that helps differentiate your school above other martial arts programs which, frankly, have all begun to blend together. The mythology of the sword, and its role in history has captivated people for generations. The culture of the "samurai" swordsman has driven movies, and literature for over 100 years in America. People love the concept, and like that of the western gunslinger, it is imprinted on our society as an ideal that many people want to emulate. The students who join view the art as a quest for personal perfection and are very aware that they likelihood that they will every use a sword for self defense is very low.
How Does the Program Work?
Haidong Gumdo is a separate belt program that has a different uniform from other Korean martial arts. The color belt uniform is a striking black with yellow logos that uses traditional hakama pants to give the illusion of floating while moving. There are 10 gups, like in Taekwondo and a students progresses from white belt (Gup10) to black belt pretest (red/black - Gup 1) over a course of 18 - 24 months.
All techniques executed are based on sword cuts and defenses. There are no punches, kicks, throws, or empty hand techniques of any kind. The material taught has a heavy emphasis on forms and a student is required to learn 19 forms to earn their 1st Dan Blackbelt. In addition, there are 12 short forms, which are essentially coordinated sparring attacks that match the first 12 of the full forms and leverage the techniques that grow more advanced as the forms advance.
Students do not free-spar in the program. They have point sparring where they use coordinated sword attacks and defenses. Some schools optionally may add free sparring, but it is only done after blackbelt.
A class normally starts with about 15 minutes of stretching followed by 15 minutes of basic techniques. These are over 20 different types of cuts and stance combinations which form the basic techniques that are done every class to help students learn a graceful and natural technique. Cutting with swords are like kicks. True mastery is earned on the millionth execution of the technique. We find that by the end of each class, a student has executed over a thousand cuts. Over time, it leads to a very graceful and fluid movement that just cant be replicated by martial arts where swords are just something that are done every few weeks for a few minutes.
Students also work on cutting objects. For a student under purple belt, they use a wooden sword for all techniques. With this sword, they are able to cut paper. Purple belt to red/black belt students use a dull metal sword, and they are able to execute cuts on fruit or soft objects. Haidong Gumdo places an emphasis on being able to snuff out multiple lit candles as a way of showing proper technique and this is a requirement on all belt tests above green belt. For a blackbelt test, a student must be able to use a wooden sword to break a plank that is suspended by paper attached to two metal swords.
As students progress to 1st Dan blackbelt, they are presented with a WHGF sharp sword that is of pristine quality and workmanship. With these swords (there are 5 types to choose from of various cost and capability), students are able to cut bamboo poles, and straw mats.
Who Governs the Program?
The World Haidong Gumdo Federation, is a strong centrally controlled organization headquartered in Korea that controls the curriculum and belt testing internationally. At present, there are over 1,000 schools certified through the federation, and it is growing fast. The leader of the program is its founder, World Haidong Gumdo Federation president Kim Jeong Ho.
The curriculum is aggressively managed centrally and all schools world wide must adhere to the common techniques that are taught. Haidong Gumdo is much like Taekwondo in that respect, and less like Tang Soo Do or HapKiDo where curriculum and organization are more loosely organized
The WHGF also hosts regional, national, and world championship tournaments where students can come and demonstrate their excellence in forms, cutting, and candle snuffing.
Within the United States, the US Haidong Gumdo Association governs all activities within member schools. The association is led by Master Kim, who is also the VP of Education for the World Haidong Gumdo Federation. Member state federations have been set up for many states including Arizona, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and the US Territories.
Take that Next Step
This is an opportunity to help you grow as an instructor and to help grow your business. Many schools who offer Haidong Gumdo programs see their enrollments increase by over 30% in the first year alone. If offers an opportunity for parents of children to train together which leads to happier families and increased student retention. It also allows for your blackbelts in empty hand arts to try something new. Our industry finds that over 80% of 1st dan blackbelts drop out. This gives your students a very new and exciting way to extend their martial arts training.
Please, read the pages on this site, and if you are interested, contact Master Julian Vasquez Sr, or click here to request more information. Martial Arts is a journey, not a destination. This is a journey that will reinvigorate your interest in martial arts, allow you to learn new skills, and help grow your business. You will not be disappointed.