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Anyone out there practicing *kumdo*

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  • Anyone out there practicing *kumdo*

    Just curious if there are any others training in the Korean style out there. I just made the switch recently, and am findining the Korean style faster, more aggressive, and more tailored to the winning of shiai points.

    Wanted to see if I could spark a dialogue about the differences between the two.

  • #2
    "Faster" or "More aggressive" are characteristics of the fighter, not the style.

    Even so, I think that kumdo is the same thing that kendo except that they have some different kata, including that one in which you supposedly kills an entire army, Bo Gum Guk, something like that.

    Last but not least, it this 'style' was supposed to be more effective in shiai, I believe korea would win the latest WCs.

    Jes' my two cents

    Alex Polli


    • #3
      I've never seen kumdo kata, but from what i've observed, kumdo is more sport oriented.

      Lots more back bending, and head bobbing, as well as a heavy reliance on kaeshi and nuki waza. as well as more emphasis on striking as often as possible and hoping for a point in there somewhere.

      whereas most japanese styled fighters i've observed, in general, will have a contest of wills and move for one clear point moving to nidan waza only occasionally. more reliance on these as well as harai, suriage and debana waza.

      am I wrong?

      and that's my hundred yen.


      • #4

        I agree that the Koreans are fast. In fact they are just as fast as the Japanese team. But if speed was the only attribute that was important in Kendo then the 18 year olds would rule the kendo world. Speed has it place, but when I see very fast kendo it reminds me of high school tournaments I have on tape. That said I think the past several kendo champs have been in their late 20's or early 30's. Thus experience is more valuable than speed in winning the game.

        I agree with rene, the head bobbing back bending run away kendo is not what I am interested in.

        that's my 2 pence


        • #5
          Hi all,

          I went to Beijing last week and attend the training of the local kendo club there where I met a few kendoka from Korea. They are sure very fast and very tough.


          • #6

            I must disagree. In my experience (so you know, I hold 1-dan in kendo and just recently switched to a Korean kumdo school), there is a definite stylistic difference.

            Here's how I see it. Kumdo is *much* more interested in short motion shiai style strikes. My kendo-sensei frequently admonished me for using small motion suburi, especially during kihon practice. He wants me to practice using big motion swings, saying that is proper kendo and more likely to score, plus he insists that it can be made to be as fast as small motion waza with practice (I don't believe this). My kumdo-sabomnim tells me that modern kumdo has abandoned the larger swings in favor of shorter strokes that win at shiai (I agree with him. The US Hwa Rang Kwan DOMINATED the latest GNEUSKF championships in Cleveland, taking home 90% of the medals podium finishes).

            As to why Korea hasn't won in the WKCs, I can't answer that one. I'm sure there are some who would argue it had something to do with the shimpan and the perception that Kendo belongs to the Japanese. Also, I would like to point out that S. Hong, a Korean, took the bronze. The Korean team also took silver in the team division.

            Oh, another difference. My sabomnim has me picking my left heel MUCH farther off the floor than my Japanese sensei, who wants it only high enough to slide a sheet of paper under. Likewise, my sabomnim tells me it is important to stomp hard, whilst my kendo-sensei tells me the hard stomp is unnecessary.

            I agree strongly with Damocles' assessment. I also agree with durrell that speed and aggression are *not* everything. However, while I can't speak for the WKC's, I *do* know that kumdo trained Koreans have dominated the Cleveland championships for the 2 years I've been attending.

            I think there is certainly a stylistic difference. I am not making a value judgement either way, both styles have been rewarding to study, but I think it's worth noting and exploring the very real differing priorities between the two forms.


            • #7
              Hi Achilles

              It is true what you say that kumdo is much more for shiai learning, and it true that kumdo emphasis more on small cuts. But I have to disagree about kendo is emphasising on big cuts. From what I have been taught, it is encourged to train with small cuts, but yet we should also use big cut when we are doing our basics.
              During kihon, I usually practise big cuts at first, than down to very small cuts. (well.. I think our sensei doesnt really care about if we use big cuts or small cut... just as long we a comfortable with what we are doing and making sure we are doing it correctly)
              Now about the heel, I have the same problem as you about bring the heel high. There is nothing worng with that, from what i know is that the height of the heel actually judges the distance you can leap. The lower it is.. the further you can go, but yet slower.... while when having the heel high, you get a intensify boost of speed, but yet shorter distance. Just a wonder have you notice this????


              • #8
                Originally posted by qpuppy
                Hi Achilles

                from what i know is that the height of the heel actually judges the distance you can leap. The lower it is.. the further you can go, but yet slower.... while when having the heel high, you get a intensify boost of speed, but yet shorter distance. Just a wonder have you notice this????

                You've lost me there. Keeping the heel about one small finger high enables both the calf and thigh muscles to generate forward with lower body power.

                The reason we do big cuts in swordwork is: If fundamentals are done big the smaller cuts become faster. There are no short cuts to short cuts (forgive the pun).

                There are lots of facts published on the web as to the origins of Kumdo. One is an interview with the founder of the Kumdo association and his post war efforts to start it along with Japanese Kendo teachers.

                If its light and fast things must be changing and refreshing to hear.

                In the past when the Korean team has visited my city I have taken along all the local high school teams for a renshu jiai.
                I have had to tell the students to watch out as we saw lots of piledrivers who would almost hit the floor if you managed to get out of the way!

                Hyakutake Colin


                • #9

                  Every difference that you've pointed between kumdo and kendo seem to point to a Korean way of training/fighting KENDO. More oji-waza or smaller cuts into renshu are all inside the Kendo curriculum. Therefore, while I understand and respect your opinions, I still think that they're mostly the same thing.

                  Anyway, this thread has brought up an interesting point, the small waza from chikama or the large ones from issoku ito no maai. The japanese senei I've met so far told me that before 3rd Dan, you're supposed to practice and apply large waza. After that it's ok to use small waza.

                  Maybe Hyaku can shed some light on the subject



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alexpollijr
                    Anyway, this thread has brought up an interesting point, the small waza from chikama or the large ones from issoku ito no maai. The japanese sensei I've met so far told me that before 3rd Dan, you're supposed to practice and apply large waza. After that it's ok to use small waza.

                    Maybe Hyaku can shed some light on the subject.


                    Obviously if you have closed the gap significantly is more difficult to do large cuts anyway. Another point that was shown to me some years ago was not taking the kensen off chudan until the very last split second. Therefore you are sort of thrusting towards tsuki but of course not out stretching the arms. The problem being, to take the tip off chudan too early is to give an early warning system to the opponent. But even then as you approach your cuts should be as big as possible.

                    Even after Sandan if you are on the Shodan Shiken trail (gradings) you still need to do Owaza to constantly improve your technique. I have also had lots of fun doing hikiwaza in Japan. But for shodan shiken its a no no. I clearly remember training with Nandan for my Godan shiken and doing what I thought was a nice hiki kote. The instant respose from Sensei was "dame"

                    Being bigger than Japanese (thats not too difficult) I have always been taught to do strong straight kendo. Whereas moving close in at an angle seems to be better for people that don't have a reach. I have practiced in
                    a dojo with four hachidan with the sensei pointing out some gaps between the floor boards and not allowing we to put so much as a toe outside.

                    No interest to me really but it would be nice to see some articles in English about what is expected of us in taking gradings to help others.

                    When all's said and done the daily practice is enjoyable and its nice to try things out. But there is always this thing in Japan about "What grade are you taking next" Anyone appearing at the the dojo after a long absence is back on the trail again. There's really no escape. The president of the Kendo Renmei grabbed hold of me recently and said when are you going to take another grading? I protested that I really had no interest after taking countless grades in different arts. He said that even if didn't want to do it my students expected me to!

                    No escape!

                    My advice is do everything big regardless of rank.

                    Sorry to wander off thread a bit.



                    Hyoho Niten Ichiryu pages now also in French


                    • #11
                      Hmm... From what I heard, the tendencies in Kumdo are more towards sport (ie scoring points).
                      I want to learn the sport, but IMHO, the "art" of it is just as important. They sorta go hand in hand. If I just wanted to learn a sport, why not basketball or football. I took kendo because it was the art AND the sport combined that made the whole thing that much more interesting.

                      In response to Achilles, in terms of the fumikomi-ashi (stomp) I just read an article in Kendo Nippon in Miyazaki's (Masahiro) "classroom" section that he was most concerned that lot of up and comers aren't really doing that strong enough. He said that when he was taught, they told him to basically just go out there, lift your leg up high and "omoikkiri" bring it down (of course, not on your heel). So in other words, the Kumdo sensei (I don't know what "sensei is in Korean) and the Kendo sensei seem to be in agreement there. This is sorta contrary to what my sensei has been telling me about not lifting your heel too high. I tried this at my last tourney and it sounded SOOO much better.


                      • #12
                        I think there may be a small difference in what the kumdo people think is important compared to kendo.
                        As best as I can tell

                        Kamae: kumdo med kendo =high importance
                        Tsubazeriai kumdo= high importance, kendo= med importance
                        multiple attacks. Kumdo =high kendo= lowish (ippon is what is important, shinken shobu)
                        opening through seme kumdo low, kendo high
                        opening through number of attacks kumdo high kendo low.
                        Line of attack. kumdo= incorporates more lateral movement, kendo empahasis direct to opponent

                        These are some of the differences in thinking, I think but I don't know. If
                        you were to go to twenty different dojos in Japan north and south, east and
                        west, I suppose you would eventually find some variation in those
                        fundamental things within kendo itself anyway.


                        • #13

                          If I am speaking to a japanese person I say "I practise kendo" if I am speaking to a korean person I say "I practise kumdo." If someone asks me what is kendo/kumdo I say - for brevities sake - "japanese swordsmanship" (anybody who preaches any revisionism at this point, well, i've stopped arguing that one now).

                          Ive never practised in a kumdo dojang, but ive made friends and fenced with many korean kendoka through the years. One of my korean kendo students will return to seoul in a couple of months - where he started kumdo - and I hope to visit his dojang. I am looking forward to this immensely. The only difference I expect is the commands, and maybe [minor] reiho things (as happens in every dojo/dojang).

                          I dont understand why people keep asking this Kendo Vs Kumdo question when its a moot point anyway.

                          >If you were to go to twenty different dojos .....<

                          If you were to go to any dojo/dojang and look at 20 students you'd probably find the same variation, right?


                          (Simon - I practised at the local Beijing club last year -
                          Last edited by Kenshi; 25th June 2002, 11:01 PM.


                          • #14
                            Hmnn...We had this Korean exchange student who was training with us. He was a little dynamo...extremely fast and agile.

                            My sensei got annoyed with certain techniques he used, like when both fighters are locked together face to face, he would strike hard at the shinai knocking it out of the opponent's hands. My sensei says this is a little disrespectfull. Is this allowed in Kumdo?


                            • #15
                              Many Koreans including me admit and believe that Kumdo and Kendo are the same thing. Chinese character that means sword's pronunciation is Kum in Korean and Ken in Japanese.
                              We are doing the same way.
                              Almost every old master above 8th dan in Korea had learned Kumdo from Japanese sensei in Japanese dominating era, 1919-1945.
                              As everyone have pointed, the styles are very different.
                              Kumdo is more dynamic and flexible than Kendo.
                              We are allowed every techniques including hitting shinai to drop which is to acquire a half point.
                              I don't like to try many attacks but almost every teacher want to do a lot of attack. They emphasize that only attack lead to win.
                              But I like Japanese style because it is more economic and needs less strength.
                              In my homepage, there are some video files from 11th WKC and AKKCs watch the differences of two styles.

                              Songwook Lee
                              Last edited by rockum; 26th June 2002, 02:50 PM.