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.
This post needs some minor additions which I need to clarify before adding. They basically concern hanja characters which currently appear in hangeul.
Once the movements of Chae dok keom (제독검) have been memorised, it is time to add the spoken commentary to them. In my particular style of kumdo, it is common to announce technique names before their delivery though this practice does not occur with the ssang-su-do sequences (1-4).
The structure of Chae Dok keom is worth noting: it is basically 4 sequences of movements all of which move either towards 12 o’clock or 6 o’clock. The first three sequences move towards, 12, then 6 and then 12 while the final sequence is divided between 12 and 6. Between each sequence are pauses of between 1-3 seconds. While the fourth sequence, which includes ‘wiping off the sword’ and performing nol-do (놀도 -sheathing), is rhythmically irregular, the first three are each performed with a rhythmic consistency.
The name for each technique comprises 4 hangeul morphemes and their corresponding hanja characters. The transliteration in English follows the same order as does the translation (bolded). I have not translated this extensively.
The pattern opens and concludes in an ‘open ready stance.’ After performing bal-do (발도-drawing), which in this case is ha-sang (하상- low to high), and after the sword has been rested on the right shoulder, the opening and first technique are announced one after the other:
TOWARDS 12 O’CLOCK -1
대적출검 (大敵出檢) –진전살적 (진전殺敵) dae cheok ch’ul keom – chin cheon sal cheok (sal-cheok is a killing strike)
향우격적 (向右擊敵) – hyang u kyeok cheok (hyang u – face right)
향좌격적 (向左擊敵) – hyang choa kyeok cheok (hyang chao – face left)
향우격젹 (向右擊敵) – hyang u kyeok cheok (kyeok cheok – strike enemy)
향좌격적 (向左擊敵) – hyang choa kyeok cheok (hyang chao – face left)
회검향적 (휘檢向敵) – 향진살적 (向진殺敵) hwi keom hyang cheok – hyang chin sal cheok (sal-cheok – killing strike).
3 Second pause after which movement are towards 6 o’clock.
TOWARDS 6 O’CLOCK – 2
초퇴방적 (초퇴方敵) – ch’o twea bang cheok (2 second pause). The next 4 movements are announced while moving.
좌회 (左회) – choa hwea (choa – left)
재회(재회) – chae hwea (chae – means ‘second’)
삼회(三회) – sam hwea (sam – 3)
향후갹적 (向後擊敵) – 향우방적 (向右方敵) – hyang hu kyeok cheok – hyang u bang cheok (this is announced stationary and prior to turning towards 12 o’clock). There is a three second pause here after which movement are to 12 o’clock.
TOWARDS 12 O’CLOCK -3
향좌방적 (向左方敵) – hyang choa bang cheok
향우방적 (向右方敵) – hyang u bang cheok
향좌방적 (向左方敵) – hyang choa bang cheok
진전살적 (진전殺敵) – chin cheon sal cheok (sal-cheok is a killing strike)
용약일자 (용약一字) – yong yak il cha (il cha – ‘1’ character – ie, a piercing thrust resembling the hanja character for ‘1’).
향좌격적 (向左擊敵) – hyang choa kyeok cheok
회검향적 (휘檢向敵) – 진전살적 (진전殺敵) – chin cheon sal cheok (sal-cheok is a killing strike).
Three second pause leading into the fourth section:
TOWARDS 6 AND 12 O’CLOCK – 4
재퇴방적 (재퇴方敵) – chae twea bang cheok. To 6 o’clock. 1 second’s pause. The following are announced while moving (to 6 o’clock).
우회 (右회) – u hwea (u – right)
재회(재회) – chae hwea (chae – means ‘second’)
삼회(三회) – sam hwea (sam – 3) 2 second pause.
진전살적 – 진전살적 (진전殺敵) – chin cheon sal cheok – chin cheon sal cheok (sal-cheok is a killing strike). Both towards 12 o’clock followed by a 2 second pause.
식검사적 (식檢사敵) – shik keom sa cheok. Towards 6 o’clock followed by a two second pause.
장검고용 (장檢고용) – chang keom go yong. The punch is with kihap.
검결 – nap-do (납도 – sheathing) is via ‘su-pyeong bborigi’ but this is arrived at from a circular movement of the sword over the head.
(I will shortly add a PDF of the terminology minus any commentary)
Chae Dok means ‘admiral’ and it refers to a Chinese military strategist who helped Korea sometime in the past – I need to do research on this but at a later time. I have basically posted the video for my training back in the UK as I it is the required form for my dan grade.
Along with the techniques themselves, it is required that thier corresponding terminology is announced prior to their delivery (see: Chae Dok Keom Spoken Aspects).
Errata – At the start of the form, after the sword has been drawn and is resting on the right shoulder, the ‘chant’ should be ‘Dae Choek Ch’ul Keom’ (대적출검).
The form name can also be announced while in ‘ready stance’ which in this case is ‘open.’
This video contains basic moving sequences utilizing strokes originating from Mija Begi (미자베기) There are 3 sets, each comprising 4 sequences of either, 2, 3 or 4 movements. The name of each is based on the number of movements, ie: ’2 Bang Cheol, 1-4, etc, etc (이방절, 일번, 이번, 삼번, 사번)
I suppose to many people, a blunt practice sword, known in Korean as a ‘ga-keom’ (가검), is not a very interesting purchase but I’ve been eagerly awaiting its arrival at my dojang for several weeks.
Interestingly, in the UK, importing or buying a ga-keom is illegal unless you have paper work to prove you belong to a UK ‘sword’ school. You don’t require such proof if the weapon is hand-forged but I know of only one company that make steel, hand forged, blunt swords. Meanwhile, you can buy hand-forged, sharpened samurai words without providing any form of identity or affiliation to a school. It sounds quite crazy but the rational behind the legislation is to curtail people buying cheap blades and factory produced, stainless steel iaido, ga-keom type blades, are usually cheap. The idea is that someone wanting to wield a sword and menace members of the public isn’t going to spend money on a decent sword. But ironies exists and in some cases a poorly made forged samurai-type blade is substantially cheaper than a high quality, factory produced practice blade which is blunt
In a recent inquiry to Customs and Excise, I was sent the following information:
On 6 April 2008 section 141 of The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Offensive Weapons) (Amendment) Order 2008 came into force regarding a prohibition on the importation of Samurai swords.
The definition of such weapons is stated to cover:
‘a sword with a curved blade of 50 centimetres or over in length; and for the purposes of this sub-paragraph, the length of the blade shall be the straight line distance from the top of the handle to the tip of the blade.’
There are a number of minor exceptions to this prohibition these are:
The permitted activities mentioned above are:
To satisfy a defence claiming the above the importer must hold sufficient documentary evidence that the item is being imported with respect to the above activities, and the contrary is not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
For the purposes of the above—
“insurance” means a contract of insurance or other arrangement made for the purpose of indemnifying a person or persons named in the contract or under the arrangement;
“permitted activity” means an historical re-enactment or a sporting activity;
“historical re-enactment” means any presentation or other event held for the purpose of re-enacting an event from the past or of illustrating conduct from a particular time or period in the past;
“sporting activity” means the practising of a sport which requires the use of a weapon described in paragraph (r);
“third parties” includes participants in, and spectators of, a permitted activity and members of the public.
My sword arrived a few days after straw cutting at Bugok. For a ga-keom priced 200.000 Won (£100), it’s mid range. I don’t know how much this would cost in the UK but you can actually buy hand-forged iaito (Japanese ga-keom) for around £192 (c 400.000 Won). It is quiet strong but much lighter than either a wooden-practice sword or a jin-keom. It has a blade length of 31 inches while the handle (손잡이) is just over 9 inches.
I could have bought a more expensive scabbard (칼집) and had I done, I would have had two years free after-service rather than one but I’d like to buy a good quality hand forged, steel blade once I have the correct paperwork.
Most days I carry either a wooden sword (목컴) or my ga-keom depending on the training I am doing at my dojang. I’m then compelled to carry the sword to school or wherever I go before returning home. I carried the wooden-sword as is but the ga-keom needs carrying in some from of bag – even if just the cloth sword bag with which it arrived. I’ve been carrying a sword on a daily basis for three months and it was a deliberate ploy to bond with the weapon until carrying it felt totally natural.
This might seem a trite practice but the sword has to be drawn with the scabbard (칼집) in a particular position which allows the blade to be drawn and instantly used. Nothing is more embarrassing than drawing the sword with the blade in the wrong position and doing so is second only to sheathing the blade with the scabbard in the wrong position in which case the weapon won’t ‘house.’
The hand guard of the wooden sword was good for raising awareness because there is a small notch on the hand-guard (코등이) and in which you can rest your thumb. My ga-keom doesn’t have this in which case I’ve developed a sense of the position of the sword by the tassel attached to the scabbard. In class now, and when I’m training with my teacher, I am able to put the scabbard and sword into my belt, using the correct technique (착검) so that the sword is always in the right position. Holding the sword in the correct position (prior to ch’ak-keom – 착검), is now second nature. Unless I need a sword for school, I no longer take it with me every-time I leave my house.
The sequence of strokes and their order becomes progrssively more difficult.
1. Ki-Bon Be-gi (기본베기)
2. Han-to-mak-begi 1 (한토막베기. 1 )
On Saturday 9th of June, I’m due to go straw cutting (짚단 베기) with a ‘real’ sword, known in Korean as a ‘jin-keom’ (진검). I have to admit I am a little nervous; jin-keom, like Japanese katana, are incredibly sharp and whenever I’ve been in the presence of one I’ve been very respectful. This week, in training, I’ve been focusing on my downward slashes (내려 베기 – naeryo-begi) as I’m finding angling the sword for a good cut, as well as making a straight trajectory, difficult.
Straw bundles (짚단 – jip-dan) are about the thickness of a human neck, and apparently require the same force to cut through. They are soaked in water for a week prior to cutting. Bamboo, depending on the thickness, is supposed to approximate cutting through human limbs. Successful straw cutting is dependent on speed, angle and trajectory while bamboo cutting primarily requires power. I should also add, different type blades are used for each material.
My teacher is constantly telling me to ‘power down’ and focus on the angle of the blade and a straight trajectory. You’d think making a sword cut in a straight line would be a simple task but it is actually quite difficult and often, what appears straight, isn’t. It took me almost two months to actually begin to make a ‘swish’ with a blunt blade and then I discovered the trajectory was curved. Using a mirror and cutting from your shoulder down to the opposing hip, is a help. With a mirror you can also focus on the position of the arms and on good form.
This week, in practice, my teacher handed me jin-keom to practice with. It was actually quite scary. The difference in weight and the fact it is balanced are noticeable and it felt quite strange to wield. Most worrying however, is that straw is cut without wearing a kkal-jip (칼집 – scabbard). Straw bales are water logged and the moisture in the scabbard is detrimental to health of the blade. For this reason, drawing (발도) and sheathing (납도) with a live blade, use a different procedure. The ‘worry’ is that I might sheath the sword using the method often used when no scabbard is worn and where the fingers are used to form the opening of an imaginary scabbard.
Rather than describe the procedure – your’re best to watch the video.
It is helpful to remember that the foot you lead with corresponds to the side of the target, as you face it, that you will initially strike. Hence the downward slash to the left side of the target, leads with the left leg. The movements forward are gauged to bring you into range. The downward and upward slashes should strike closer towards the point of the blade (칼끝날) while the horizontal slashes should contact at the blade’s centre. The blade is lifted over the head on the second step and it is at this point you inhale. Exhalation varies depending on the speed of the subsequent three cuts.
More useful pointers:
When one is proficient at moving into striking position, the first downward slash (정면내려 베기) begins as the heel of the lead foot contacts with the ground with the actual strike contacting as the sole of the foot hits the floor.
Make sure the blade contacts at the right point. For the horizontal slash (수평베기), this needs to be at about midpoint on the blade.
Make sure the left wrist angles the blade slightly in the opposite direction to which the blade is due to travel, just prior to delivering the slash.