Martial Arts, Movement

HaiDong Gumdo Green Belt Test

This July 7th, 2019 we performed our 7th Keub (green) belt test in HaiDong GumDo (Korean Sword Art) in Schwerte, Germany.

Yes – a 7th keup test on the 7th of the 7th 🙂

The test was accompanied by an intensive HDGD seminar with GrandMaster Seung-Eun Chae

Impressions and speed-learning

What I love most about these testing /seminar days is exactly what I find challenging about it.

During these seminars we are so inundated with new inspiration, practical technique tips, and deepening of our  knowledge, that it is near-impossible to not try and apply everything at once during the actual belt test, which occurs only an hour later.

This stretches our learning capabilities for sure.

Pounding Heart – What I’ve learned during the test

I’ve noticed I tend to get very (for me!) nervous during the first part (basic techniques and forms demonstrations) of the test.

I’m always excited for demo-style performances and competitions (also at taekwondo), but during the sword tests (all 3 up till now) it feels even more extreme.

I wonder why that is? No matter how well prepared and/or fit I imagine myself to be beforehand, after the first basic sword form my heart is already pounding like mad, and I have to ‘breathe myself down’ for a few seconds before even being physically able to start the next form.

Also: During the candle snuffing portion of the test I got flustered by accidentally hitting my candles hard with my sword on the first try (with apologies to Tobias for almost putting him on fire!)

It took me 5 more tries to regain my cool.

I apparently underestimated the candle length – plus I forgot to hold my posture(!)

In contrast to this, for the paper cutting portion I found myself too far from the paper stand on first try, and I cut way too carefully – so there I had to do the opposite to correct on second try.


In addition to that, we were lucky enough to be able to witness the higher  graded coloured (Keup) and black (Dan) belt tests, which was deeply inspiring to say the least.

Through observation, we learned about laser-like focus, effortless strength, concentrated movement and ageless determination.

Cutting with a Purpose – What I’ve learned during (and after!) the seminar

As said above, these seminars accompanying our belt tests have each time offered a wealth of inspiration, speed-growth and deepening of knowledge.

A big factor in this is the generous personal attention and guidance offered to us by the assisting instructors and black belt (Dan grade) carriers in the room.

One of the things we learned was to visualize the purpose of each cut, each step and each form.

Another was to take extra care of our weight placement and foot positions during transitions, and being mindful of how and when to breathe.

And last but not least, after the seminar we were treated by Master Christoph to an insight into which forms of HDGD were developed for which type of weaponry – inspiring and eye-opening food for thought for both Mr E and me.

I/we for sure will be processing all of this during the coming practice months.

7th Keub test procedure

Form test requirements for green belt:

  • Kibon Gumbeob: Demonstrating basic cutting techniques and stances
  • Ssangsoo Gumbeob 1-3: Double-handed Sword forms
  • Ssangsu Baldo-Chakgum 1-3: Unsheathing/sheathing the Sword
  • Ssangsu Kyeokgum 1-3: Sparring forms
  • Ssangsu Gumbang 1-3: Attack-defense techniques

Practical tests:

  • Candle snuffing with vertical cut: 2 candles (10 tries)
  • Paper Cutting with horizontal cut: 3 cuts (right-left-right) for points

Future Events

The next sword ‘date’ to write about/experience will be a seminar-and-competition weekend in Bad Kreuznach this September, and the next Haidong Gumdo belt test is planned for November 2019.

I’ll be sure report back on both!

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