We often get asked whether we practice karate or taekwondo, two styles of martial art that are common and well known in New Zealand. Kuk Sool Won™ is a very different martial art and here are five reasons to try it out.
1. Kuk Sool Won™ is a comprehensive and holistic martial art: Unlike other martial arts, which focus on specific elements like kicking and punching, throwing, or joint locks, Kuk Sool is a comprehensive martial art covering just about every element you can think of. It includes many different kicking and hand striking techniques. It teaches throwing, joint locking, and pressure points. It uses sequences of movements, called forms, to develop control, balance and coordination to condition the body. It includes falling and acrobatic moves, aimed to protect and condition the body, as well as promote agility and dexterity. It also incorporates training in 24 Korean weapons, including long and short swords, staff, and spear. Finally, it includes meditation and breathing. It is a holistic martial art which develops physical and mental capacity equally. Once you begin your practice of Kuk Sool, you will never need to train in another martial art.
2. Kuk Sool Won™ is a peaceful martial art that virtually anyone can practise: Kuk Sool is a self-defence martial art. While many of the techniques you will learn can cause serious harm to an opponent (and some are even banned in mixed martial arts competition), the aim of Kuk Sool is to avoid physical conflict and where it cannot be avoided, to do the minimum amount of harm possible. Unlike other martial arts, students do not fight to progress up the belt ranks. Instead, the focus of training is to learn and seek to master a broad range of self-defence techniques, as well as develop physical and mental strength, control and confidence. This makes Kuk Sool ideally suited to anyone wishing to develop self-confidence, as well as learn self-defence and improve physical fitness and wellbeing. It is also practiced by young children through to students in their seventies. It is a martial art for all ages and abilities.
3. Kuk Sool Won™ is a traditional martial art: This is important because Kuk Sool brings with it the martial art traditions of respect, etiquette and discipline. These traditions teach us self-control and discipline. By respecting others, we also learn how to respect ourselves. This encourages us all to become better people. It also makes Kuk Sool a safe and respectful environment for all, regardless of difference, such as gender, race, religion, sexuality, and age. It is a truly inclusive martial art.
4. Kuk Sool Won™ is a well organised system of martial arts. Kuk Sool is controlled by one world association, with one Grandmaster. All schools must be licensed and teach according to a set syllabus. This means that all schools teach the same material in the same way all around the world, with quality controlled by senior masters who travel around the world to teach school owners and instructors, as well as providing seminars to students. This set syllabus covers material from white belt to ninth degree black belt, meaning you can embark on a lifelong journey of systemised learning when you begin practising Kuk Sool.
5. Kuk Sool Won™ is fun: More than anything else, Kuk Sool is fun to learn and practise. All around the world, schools foster a family environment, where people respect, care about and help each other. While discipline is important, training is also carried out in a way that makes learning enjoyable.
If you have always wanted to try a martial art, but worried that you are not fit or confident enough, or have been put off by the prospect of “fighting” or a tough, blokey culture, then Kuk Sool Won™ may well be for you.
Caroline and Jane Hurst
Caroline is a 4th degree black belt and Jane is a 1st degree black belt in the traditional Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won™ . They run 2 Kuk Sool Won™ martial arts schools in New Zealand.