Martial Arts, Movement

Cutting the Maple Leaves

Speed, Precision, Control.

These are the 3 key elements of practising Haidong Gumdo, or Korean Sword Art.

At the heart of each sword movement, all 3 need to be in balance to work well. Which – in a way – translates to the skills of life itself.

What good is moving fast if you don’t know where you’re going? How can you reach your goals without practising self-control?

This was/is one of the most challenging and memorable teachings (next to the ‘1111 cuts’!) I learned at this month’s HDGD seminars by EUHDGDA Technical Director Master Chul-Kyung Lee.

He devised an exercise for us which combined all three elements at once: The Cutting of a Maple Leaf.

We did not have actual Maple trees in the sports hall, so our autumn leaves were simulated: 3 Masters were asked to drop single pieces of paper while standing on a bench. Each student had the chance to attempt to cut ‘their’ leaf once (!), before it hit the ground.

I was one of the very few who did not succeed on that first day.

And it was mostly because I lacked.. patience.

Patience (waiting for the leaf’s path to reveal itself) and adaptability (noticing it’s actual movement, instead of trying to predict) are needed for a controlled, precise (and quick!) reaction.

Simple, yes. Easy? No.

So.. If you find yourself wanting to develop your patience, and/or feel lacking in adaptability, speed, precision, and/or (self) control… what can you do?

You take your sword, you go outside, you find a maple tree, and you wait for the leaves to fall.

In short: You practise.

And you hope it’s autumn when you do 🙂


And you? What is it you need (or want!) to practise? How will you do it?

Let me know!

PS: Pictures courtesy of the Mythical Mr. E ???✨


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