Martial Arts, Movement

HaiDong Gumdo Blue-Green Belt Test

Posting from the future 🙂

A short report of what we did at this November’s Haidong Gumdo (Korean Sword Art) belt test day in Schwerte.

HDGD Seminar

Something I deeply appreciate about the Haidong Gumdo testing days, is that they are combined with a sword technique seminar.

It makes for quite intense (and long!) days, filled to the brim with learning.

This time around we worked on basic sword techniques, forms, unsheathing/sheathing the sword and attack/defense sequences, as well as practising ‘skill applications’ in the form of:

  • candle snuffing (vertical cut/control)
  • moving target/ball throwing (diagonal cut/speed)
  • cutting paper (horizontal cut/precision)

It was the first testing day for me where these practical applications were part of the seminar, and I was very thankful for it.

I will share why in the ‘what I’ve learned’ section below.

6th Keub (Blue-Green) test procedure

Forms for blue-green belt:

  • Kibon Gumbeob: Demonstrating basic cutting techniques and stances
  • Ssangsoo Gumbeob 1-4: Double-handed Sword forms
  • Ssangsoo Baldo-Chakgum 1-4: Unsheathing/sheathing the Sword
  • Ssangsoo Kyeokgum 1-4: Sparring forms
  • Ssangsoo Gumbang 1-4: Attack-defense techniques

Practical tests:

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

What I’ve learned

  • In sword, as in life, it always pays to stay cool and stay in the moment (read: I needed 9 out of 10 tries to sword-snuff my candles – each one a lesson in ‘resetting’ and letting go of the previous attempt)
  • If you grab your sword too tightly, you will. get.. blisters (ouch)
  • Your skin heals faster when you practice sword (thankfully)
  • When cutting paper, always stay relaxed and move from the hip (I temporarily lost my hip-motion by letting myself get distracted by my blister – plus I subconsciously twisted my wrist, turning all my seminar-cuts into ‘wipeouts’ – thankfully Master Chae alerted me to this, and I was back into ‘cutting form’ just in time for the belt test.
  • Ball throwing needs more practise
  • Learning is fun
  • If you do sword long enough, pushups start to become fun as well

A huge thank you to Master Chae for an enriching and interesting HDGD seminar, to Master Guido Böse for the impeccable hosting, and to everyone who helped during the day.

Congrats again to all our fellow belt testees.


PS: For those of you who’d like to try their hand (ha!) at HDGD/Korean Sword Art: it will be part of this July’s MoveSpiration weekend!

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