I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to go to two Haidong Gumdo seminars now. Two major things I have learned from the expreiences: It’s WELL worth the month or two of saving up for the trip, and you don’t need to be a high rank to be ‘good enough’ to attend. (I now have a new respect for the color belts that come) I’ve competed in a few tournaments from tae kwon do, and I did get the opportunity to attend a black belt camp once, but I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun as I have had in Haidong Gumdo. I got to help teach the one attending adult white belt a new technique and doing so simultaneously increased my understanding of it better. I hope to see him attend future seminars and grow within the art.

Of the many tips and lectures given that day, a few really sick to my head. When doing any sort of move, it’s essential to either move yourself out of the way or move their sword out of the way. Seems obvious right? But especially with stabs it’s so easy for your opponent to out-maneuver your sword and get the advantage. Master F decided he had to use me for a demonstration If you hold your sword kind of flat (like I was..in front of 50 people…) all it takes is a little flick of the wrist and your opponent can dip their sword under yours and the attempt at moving their sword out of the way is likely to fail. if you angle the sword higher, it’s much less likely that your opponent will out-maneuver your sword and you have a better chance of living. Don’t ‘fall’ (put a lot of weight) on their sword either. A little flick of the wrist and your weight can be used against you. The transfer of weight will cause your opponents sword to pop back up quickly and then you can get impaled.

Master F also covered one of the biggest questions that I had in Haidong: Why the forms are set up the way they are. They are not just random moves strung together because they look pretty (though, many of them, are pretty). The moves are put together that way because the sequences work, they tell a story of a fight, and it standardizes the angles and traveling so that a big group of people can train together and not run into each other. Within forms three and four there are two moves that are very similar to each other, could we switch the two- probably. (as far as my understanding is- correct me if I’m wrong) One is set up to show a simple move for speed, and the other is set up to teach closing distance. There is one side that’s easier to clear the sword because that’s just how our grips are naturally designed, so that’s what direction you happen to clear the sword in form three.

Well, I think I’ve typed enough for tonight, but It’s official, all three Northwind students have passed first gup!! Congrats Evan!!! I’m pretty exited to get to learn form 8….until next week…Haidong!