Notes to be added.
Notes to be added.
Yedo 3 and 4 are named ‘choa ik-sae’ (좌익세) and ‘pyo-doo-sae’ (표두세).
Yedo 3 ‘Choa ik-sae’ (좌익세)
Open ready stance (chun-bi so-gi – 준비서기). The sequence opens with a low-high draw (하상발도 – ha-sang bal-do). The sword is brought slowly over the right shoulder and then raised to strike a downward cut which when made should roughly be in-line with the center of your knee. In Korean, ‘choa’ (左 –왼 – 좌) means left and this refers to the side of the opponent’s which is being attacked – from their position. ‘Ik’ 翼 – 날개 – 익) means ‘flank’ or ‘wing’ and hence ‘choa ik sae’ means the position from which to attack the opponent’s left flank – basically, their shoulder.
There then follows two piercing thrusts the first being standard with the blade towards the floor, while the seconds begins in the same manner, as it is thrust out it is turned 90 degrees in a clockwise direction, so the sword establishes in a horizontal position with the blade to the left. Such twisting of the blade is quite common in Haedong Kumdo and originated on the need to prize open traditional ‘fish-scale armour.’ A direct piercing thrust wasn’t as effective as one which twisted.
The name for this technique (il-cha-일자) derives firstly from the hanja character for ‘one,’ (一) which is a visual representation of the technique, plus the hanja for character (字-자). When the twisting element is added, the left ‘il-cha’ is described as ‘il-cha eo-rin (어린). Here, ‘eo’ (어’ means ‘fish. Once again, it is a visual representation because in the hanja, a simple pictogram, you can see the scales: (魚– 물고기– 어 – fish.)
After the second thrust, the body pivots and turns (spins), 360º anti-clockwise, sword in the left hand, blade horizontal. On exiting the spin the sword begins the ‘Z’ sheathing sequences (heul-lyeo bboo-ri-gi nap-do- 흘려뿌리기 납도).
Return to open ready stance (chun-bi- so-gi – 준비서기).
Yedo 4. Pyo-doo-sae’ (표두세)
Open ready stance (chun-bi so-gi – 준비서기). The sequence opens with a low-high draw (하상발도 – ha-sang bal-do). The sword is brought slowly over the head into the position ‘pyo-doo-sae’ (face guarding position). This is similar to ‘sang-dan-sae (상단세 – high guarding position) but in front of the forehead, left arm almost extended and with the left hand at eye-level.
Repositioning the lead foot slight, strike with a Cheong myeon meo-ri ch’i-gi (정면머리치기 – head stroke). Reverse hand grip and stepping right leg forward, strike with a downward cut (Cheong-myeon nae-ryeo be-gi – 정면내려베기). The left knee should be about a fist’s distance from the floor and the back straight.
Chamber with a slight forward repositioning and deliver a piercing thrust (il-cha-일자) not forgetting the kihap.
Step back into chung dan-sae (middle guarding position – 중단세), pause, and then step back three paces, right foot leading. Change the hand positions in the transition.
Either step back into a horizontal sheathing (dae-gak bboo-ri-gi nap-do) or, on the second step, raise the sword into a high guard (sang dan-sae – 상단세) and then execute a ‘Z’ sheath (heul-lyeo bboo-ri-gi nap-do – 흘려뿌리기납도). On both accounts go into the actual sheathing from an inward twirl of the sword.
Return to open ready stance.
As yet, I have only a limited knowledge of the background to the Yedo series of movements. As I deduce more I will update and as such these are ‘emerging posts.’
Yedo (예도) appears both as a form and as a series of 24 individual sequences each of which is introduced with bal-do (발도 – drawing) and rounded of with nap-do (납도 – sheathing). The form consists only of an opening draw and closing sheathing and the direction of the movements may differ to that of the individual sequences. The initial training in Yedo consist of practicing the individual sequences after which one begins to practice them as a form. The following notes relate to the sequences. For more specific details on drawing (발도) and sheathing (납도), use the links.
Each short sequence has its own name, always preceded with: ‘Yedo 1-24′ (‘예도 1-24′) and the actual sequence’s name. The name of the sequence is derived from one of the techniques or from one of its positions.
The Yedo sequence is taken from the Muyedobotongji (武藝圖譜通志 – 무예도보통지) and as such numerous variations exist based on differing interpretations of the text and its accompanying illustrations.
Yedo 1 Geo-cheong sae (예도 일번, 거정세)
Before drawing, the feet are apart, in a ready position (chun-bi, seo-gi - 준비서기). After announcing the technique, the sword is drawn. A kihap is usually made every time the sword is drawn and additionally, in Yedo, on the last ‘stoke’ of the sequence. This is the same for each of the 24 Yedo sequences.
Yedo 1 opens with a low to high draw (ha-sang bal-do - 하상 발도). Apparently, this draw was used to deliver a strike from under a winter cloak. The hanja characters for the stroke ha-sang, (하상), are 下上. These are simple pictograms for ‘low’ and ‘high.’ (click for more information on ha-sang baldo).
Points to note – (1) how the draw emerges from a ‘curled’ position and springs upward. (2) The rear heel is raised and the scabbard turned into its ‘receiving position’ after the sword is in position. I’ve been used to drawing and turning the position of the scabbard (칼집) at the same time, but with the ha-sang (low-high) draw in Yedo, these are distinct separate, actions: draw the blade, turn the scabbard.
(3) The geo-cheong sae position is moved into slowly – again 3 seconds.
(4) The movement of the lead foot with the cheong myeon naeryeo begi and the u-su-pyeong begi. This repositioning adds momentum and power to the ‘stroke.’
(5) The left foot slides up and behind the lead foot as the body settles into a focused middle guarding position (chung dan sae – 중단세). The right foot leads, stepping back three times to close the sequence with a 45 degree sheathing (dae-gak bboo-ri-gi nap-do – 대각뿌리기 납도).
Yedo 2 Cheom keom sae (예도 이번, 점검세)
(Ready position and sequence announcement) The sword is drawn using cheong myeon bal-do (정면발도). The blade is drawn, scabbard pulled back and simultaneously turned in the ‘receiving position,’ while the body pivots slightly forward. (Turning the scabbard into its receiving position can also be made directly prior to sheathing). Once clear of the scabbard, the sword is drawn back before being swifly brought overhead and powered downward into a cheong myeon nae-ryeo be-gi (정면내려 베기). The sword does not ‘snap’ back up but remains in a low guard position (ha dan sae – 하단세). From here, the blade is slowly turned clockwise (3 seconds).
The next strike is a mid-level thrust (il-cha – 일자) but it is transitioned into via a stepping parry. From the previous position, step forward with the left leg, raising the sword as you step, in right hand only, to the right of your body, hand at approximately shoulder height. Continue stepping forward with the right leg as the sword is brought into the body’s center line and into a double grip before thrusting into position, right leg leading. The blade throughout the chambering and thrust, remains downward and its target is the opponent’s navel.
Next, the body weight is shifted onto the left leg, with the right leg being pulled back and raised – to avoid a strike to the lead leg – meanwhile, the sword blocks across the raised leg.
The right leg is placed back down where it previously was while the sword is chambered to the left of the body, in line with waist, in a horizontal alignment but with the knuckles of the left hand facing upwards. The shoulders are in line with the length of the sword. A second thrust is delivered to the opponent’s chest height but this time, as delivered, shoulders turning forward, the left hand turns anti-clockwise into its usual position: ie. blade facing downwards. This technique is known as il cha eo rin (일자 어린). ‘Il’ means ‘one which in hanja is written 一. The shape of the character resembles the technique.’Cha’ (자 – 字) simply means ‘character. ‘Eo-rin’ (어린) refers to ‘fish-scales.’ Korean traditional armour consisted of small, metallic, interlinked plates, resembling scales. These resisted a direct thrust such as il-cha (일자) but when the thrust was delivered with a twisting motion, the sword point could prize apart the links and pierce the opponent.
Finally, the left leg moves up behind the right leg as the body settles into a focused middle guard position (chung dan sae – 중단세). The left foot lead, steps back three paces, the first being nothing more than a few centimeters. The sequence is finished with the ‘stubbing sheath,’ ch’e-gi nap-do (채기납도).
Points to note: make sure the thrusts are clearly differentiated – navel-chest.
The main positions in photographs:
For more in-depth details of drawing (발도) and sheathing (납도), see relevant links above.
On Friday, October 26th, 2012, I had my first gup grading. After a summer of knee problems I managed to up my training and by the time of the exam I was happy with my performances. I was beginning to be able to perform the forms without focusing on each movement and able to concentrate on other aspects of my performance. This shouldn’t be a surprise if you’ve trained in the UK or Europe where it generally takes much longer to grade. It took me four years to reach 1st gup in taekwon-do and patterns were so ingrained they were performed close to a state of Zen. In Korea, you fly through gradings and though training tends to be daily rather than once or twice a week, six months is nowhere near long enough to develop the intimate bond required to perform in the correct psychological state of mind. In the Song Do Kwan, Osnabrück, Germany, it didn’t matter if you trained all day everyday or simply on club nights, you still had to wait for set periods, in some cases a year, between belts. Performing any form without Zen, without intimacy and deep familiarity is a kind a of nudity whose offence is a major disruption. So I was pleased that in the week before the grading, I could feel occasional glimmers of Zen’s radiance.
The 1st gup curriculum consisted of everything I’d learnt but the important areas I had to prepare were:
2,3,4 Bang Cheol (1-4) 이,삼,사, 방절 (1-4 번)
Sa Bang Cheon Hwan Beop (사방전환법)
Cheon Hu Bang Cheol (전후방절)
Ee-dong shik mija begi (이동식미자베기)
Ssang Su Do Keom Beop (쌍수도검법) 1-4
Chae Dok Keom Bo (제독검보)
And so, every day for ten days, I religiously went through the entire curriculum. What I didn’t realise however, was that individual parts were selected and not the entire sequences. Subsequently, I was only asked to perform Sa Bang Cheol, part 4 and Ssang Su Do Keom Beop 1 and 3. Needless to say, this was more stressful than performing entire sequences. Then I was asked to perform some basic techniques not on my ‘supposed’ curriculum as well as the first two-part sequences of Yedo. My final task, as anticipated, was the form, Chae Dok Keom Bo.
The test took around twenty minutes after which Master Kwon congratulated me and presented me with the 1st gup, red and black stripped belt decorated with both my Korean name and my affiliated dojang, Keom Mu Kwan (검무관), in gold stitch. My dan grade is now set for mid December which should I pass, will mark me simply as a beginner on the path of Korean swordsmanship.
It’s taken over six months for my arms to stop aching. I’ve had pains all around my elbow joint as well as around my wrists and then there have been intermittent pains in both my little fingers and thumb. I’ve come to realise that’ it’s only to be expected. When you consider that in gumdo you are holding on to a sword for the entire lesson, sometimes amounting to three hours a day, it’s not surprising. And I tend to hold onto a sword tightly as I’m always worried it’s going to slip out my grip and cause someone, or something, an injury. In taekwon-do, your muscle tension flits from fist to leg as you work from one technique to another and there is far greater variation in technique. One moment you’re punching, the next it’s a knife hand or back fist and then a series of kicks; you’re always using different muscle groups. In gumdo, there is a greater focus on the upper body.
Consider for one moment, simply drawing and sheathing the sword. Sometimes, I practice this technique 100 times laying on my bed watching a movie. This is only the opening and close to a technique and the pressure it puts on the elbow joint is considerable. And of course, as your technique develops, the exertion increases.
For a while, I thought I might have arthritis or rheumatism and if I my arms were bent in bed, for any length of time, they would ache and eventually wake me up.
For six months I’ve had to plough through this pain and wipe it from my mind along with the constant problem I’ve had from my right knee. I’ve known many taekwon-do or karate dan grades who once approaching 40, develop knee problems. I’ve managed to avoid them until into my fifties but it looks like I’m now paying the price.
These are just a few photos of some archery practice I managed at Grandmaster Seok’s ‘ranch’ in Hwawon.