Haidong Gumdo is a Korean sword martial art, for students of all ages, that is rapidly growing in popularity here in Texas as well as the USA nationwide. It is similar to the Japanese Samurai Sword.
Gumdo is also known as Kumdo, or Geomdo. Those words are a translation of the meaning of the word‘sword art’ in Korean language. The meaning of Gumdo is the same as ‘Kendo’ in Japanese.
Haidong roughly translated was ‘Land by the Eastern Sea’, and was another name for Korea that had been used by other countries in ancient times.
Thus, ‘Haidong Gumdo’ means ‘Korean sword art.’
Haidong Gumdo is different than traditional Kendo or Kumdo in that the focus is on battlefield engagements and the need to defend against multiple attackers rather than a focus on a single death blow. Haidong Gumdo has more than 2,000 years of history. Nonetheless, it was not well-known as it was handed down from person to person for centuries. However, some master’s efforts to teach it to the public have changed this situation. Thanks to their contribution, Haidong Gumdo has now become a dominant art in Korea like Taekwondo. Today, it has more than 1,000 schools in Korea and over 300 schools overseas. The 4th World Championships were held in Korea in 2008 and attracted over 10,000 attendees.
What do you learn?
Like other martial arts, Haidong Gumdo trains the body, the mind, and the spirit. It also teaches self- defense, self-confidence, character development, patience, concentration, meditation, and etiquette. If you learn it, you must learn to respect others, above all. Along with those lessons, you learn two handed style sword forms, sparring, paper cutting, candle snuffing, bamboo cutting, straw mat cutting and many other things.
Haidong Gumdo is a full Korean Martial art, just like Taekwondo. The belt ranks in Haidong Gumdo go up to 9th DAN Black Belt. All Black Belts are certified through the World Haidong Gumdo Federation.
What type of swords do you learn to use?
The basic sword used in Haidong Gumdo is the traditional Korean long sword, which looks quite similar to a Japanese Samurai Sword. The main difference in the two swords is that the Korean Swords handle is slightly shorter than the Samurai sword.
Most sword training is done with a hard wood sword (mokgum). At Blue Belt, the student is allowed to use the blunt metal sword (kagum). At black belt the student is allowed to purchase a real sword (jingum) for cutting Bamboo and straw mats.
Who can learn?
There is no age limit in learning Haidong Gumdo. Anyone from about age 8 to 80 can do Haidong Gumdo. This Martial Art is entirely about the sword, so that even someone in a wheel chair can learn and practice this art. It is not that uncommon to see children, parents and grand parents exercise together in Korea. You don’t need any martial arts background to start training Unlike Taekwondo, Haidong Gumdo does not require a lot of flexibility. There are no kicks or punches in Haidong Gumdo. However, it is a very good total body workout and conditioning Martial Art, that focuses on muscle strength and conditioning, not just in the arms, but the legs as well. Haidong Gumdo is a great cardio workout and it is lots of fun!