Way of the Sword – Kummooyeh
Long way to the way of the sword
It all started back in 1977 when I saw Star Wars for the first time. The epic lightsaber battle no one would forget. From then on every random stick outside, straw, pen, pencil, and wrapping paper tube was a lightsaber! The long road of my swordsmanship journey began.
Over a dozen years ago, I was introduced to an odd version of Haidang Gumdo, a Korean Sword Martial Art. Haidong Gumdo is a modern martial art that is a revival and reconstruction of Korean Swordsmanship from several historical sources, most notably, the Muye Dobo Tonji. In the old war manual, it is apparent of the Chinese and Japanese influences in Korean swordsmanship.
Around the same time, was also introduced to Pekiti Tirsia Kali, a Philippine combative martial art dealing with edged weapons, impact weapons, and empty hand skills. Edeged weapons includes knives, daggers, short swords, and etc. There's bound to be some similarities in sword concepts. As I learn and explore, the similarities became more apparent. Kali is also another great complimentary style that plays well with Tang Soo Do, especially the empty hand skills.
One of the many benefits of owning a martial arts studio is I get to explore other avenues of training. So of course I had to investigate the Chinese connection to Tang Soo Do, the Korean martial arts that I study. And naturally, traditional Chinese weapons are at the forefront, starting with swords...big shock. I began with the Broadsword, which led into double broadsword, straight-sword, and several different kinds of sabers. More similarities appearing throughout training.
"My joy in learning is partly that it enables me to teach." – Seneca
Another studio owner benefit was starting a Haidong Gumdo program, teaching the Korean Sword Martial Art. Along the way, had the opportunity to meet and train with the World Haidong Gumdo Federation Head Training Instructor several times. Had the honor of hosting the Texas State Haidong Gumdo Association Master's Training Weekend at my studio. Nothing cooler than training with world class sword masters.
"Associate with people who are likely to improve you." – Seneca
An interesting phone call about Yamauchi-Ha Muso Jikiden Eishin-ryu iaijutsu and Ryouen-ryu naginatajutsu. A gentlemen and his wife wanted to use my studio for private instruction with their Iaijutsu Sensei on the weekends. On a side note, Iaijutsu is a combative art of the Japanese quick-draw sword techniques. Anyway, that got my attention, so I had to do my due diligence and interview the Sensei and make sure all was good. We hit it off like old friends, and of course I started cross training in another martial art, that just happened to be the second oldest sword martial art from Japan, with an unbroken history of 450 years that was founded in 1590. Along with Iaijutsu, Naginatajutsu is also included. The naginata is a sword on a stick, yeah, it's cooler than you think. Added bonus is I get to train with the current (21st) soke, Sekiguchi Komei sensei, for part of a week once a year. He also happens to be considered a Japanese cultural asset, yeah, no pressure while training.
"While we teach, we learn." – Seneca
A facebook message about Kummooyeh you say. A fellow Tang Soo Do/Haidong Gumdo instructor friend of mine contacted me about a Korean Master he just hosted and I should do the same if I am still teaching sword classes. Of course I am! Knowing this instructor is a skilled swordsman and is very critical about whom he trains with, this got my attention quickly. So what's the big deal? You could say it's the next evolution of Korean sword martial arts. Kummooyeh is the the art of Korean sword and archery. Archery! I'm in! Kummooyeh also known as Kumdo for short, includes: sword sparring, tatami mat cutting, meditation, sword patterns, etc., and Korean traditional archery. Reached out to the Korean sword instructor and setup to host him at my studio for seminars. It was a blast! I'm all in, Korean swordsmanship and archery. I am now a student and teach the Korean Sword Martial Art of Kummoyeh and a proud member of the World Kummooyeh Federation, appointed WKF Representative for the State of Texas, and also one of the founding members of the Texas Kummooyeh Association.
Might have forgotten to mention sometime along the way a former sword student, friend, and now professional stuntman stopped in one day to show off and share with me the existence of commercially available stunt lightsabers. OMG! He should not have shown me this. Anyway, I have been teaching lightsaber classes mostly once a month for several years now along with a huge annual May the 4th be with you lightsaber event. Special Thank You to my fall guy friend, Robert for stopping in with those really cool stunt lightsabers. Childhood mission accomplished.
The long road of my swordsmanship journey continues.