Unit 4, Swan Park, Kettlebrook Road, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B77 1AG.
Kuk Sool Won Ancient History
Kuk Sool Won has a strong foundation and history based on traditional and ancient martial arts from the Korean peninsula. The three branches of traditional Korean martial arts which comprise the basis of Kuk Sool Won are:
•Sah Doh Mu Sool (Tribal or Family Martial Arts) is the earliest form of martial arts developed in Korea; meaning tribal, clan or family martial arts, as this type of martial art was passed down from one generation to the next. Sah Doh Mu Sool was popular amongst the ancient tribes, city-states and smaller kingdoms that formed in the Korean Peninsula and parts of what is now China. This was evident well before the first unified Korean kingdom of Ko-Cho Sun which was founded in 2333 BC by the king, Dahn Goon Wahng Guhm. Later, Sah Doh Mu Sool was further developed and made widespread by voluntary militias of the common people, who often fought in battles to defend their villages. Traditional athletic activities such as Taekkyon, and Ssireum are considered to have originated from Sah Doh Mu Sool.
•Bool Kyo Mu Sool (Buddhist Temple Martial Arts) has been practised by Buddhist monks throughout Asia. In China, the famous Shaolin monks developed techniques and forms based on their observations of animals. Buddhist monks originally developed then practised Bool Kyo Mu Sool to improve their health whilst meditating and to defend themselves whilst travelling. As a result, Buddhist Martial Arts include both internal training, with emphasis on special breathing and meditation methods, as well as external training, with emphasis on extremely effective self-defence techniques. Many Buddhist monks were so accomplished as martial artists that they were occasionally called upon during national emergencies to fight in battles by forming unprecedented armies of warrior monks.
Today the tenets of Bool Kyo Mu Sool are prevalent in Kuk Sool as they help teach practitioners meditation skills and the philosophies of non-violence and compassion for all living things.
•Koong Joong Mu Sool (Royal Court Martial Arts) is unique to Kuk Sool Won. Some of the weapons used in Kuk Sool were a part of the traditional daily court life. The rope or sash, fan and short sword were all used amongst members of the Korean royal court. There were also many unique open handed and joint-locking principles of Koong Joong Mu Sool that are used extensively in Kuk Sool. Weapons training in Kuk Sool is very extensive involving 24 different weapons in its curriculum.
1910-1945 Japanese Occupation
Kuk Sool’s modern history can be indirectly traced to the dissolution of the Korean royal court and the Japanese occupation in 1910. During this period almost all aspects of Korean culture were suppressed by the Japanese Government, including the teaching of Korean martial arts. Those caught practising Korean martial arts were severely punished, and many leading Korean martial arts instructors were forced into hiding.
1945-1961 In Hyuk Suh’s training
By the time he was 20 years old, In Hyuk Suh had travelled to hundreds of Buddhist temples and private martial arts teachers, studying many aspects of Korean martial arts. During this intensive training period, Suh learned special breathing skills, meditation techniques and internal power (ki) knowledge, which is taught as a fundamental to all Kuk Sool students.
In the late 1950’s In Hyuk Suh began to integrate the many scattered martial art techniques of Korea into a single martial art system. Hence the name ‘Kuk Sool’. In the Korean language the word ‘kuk’ means ‘national’ and ‘sool’ means ‘martial art’ (the Korean word ‘won’ is best translated as ‘organisation’ or ‘association’). Suh opened his first Kuk Sool school in 1958, and officially founded Kuk Sool Won in 1961.
1961-Present Organisation and Instruction
In 1974, when Kuk Sool Won in Korea was becoming well known by the public, In Hyuk Suh brought his martial art to the United States. Currently the World Kuk Sool Association headquarters is located in Tomball, Texas, which is roughly forty miles northwest of Houston. Kuk Sool Won is practised all over the world, and has schools located in Korea, the United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, the United States as well as many others. Official Kuk Sool Won tournaments are held every year all over the world, including the US and European Tournaments, and attract many competitors to each event. They are also famous in the Kuk Sool community for their outstanding Masters’ Exhibitions.
Swan Park, Kettlebrook Road