Uniqueness of the Art and how to move to the next level


Second Dan Essay by Ben de Busser from Belgium

What in your opinion makes our two swords style unique? 

After making the switch from Grand Master Choi to Grand Master Kim and his (our) style, learning the new style using two swords, a whole new world opened up for me. For as far as I know is Jinyoung Ssangkum Ryu Haedong Kumdo the only style of Haedong Kumdo that uses two swords in its curriculum. Especially in this form, with this much content and ssang kumbops.

What I think really makes the style complete and unique, is Grand Master Kim himself. Every Grand Master has his style and unique execution of skills etc. I have managed to undergo a few styles myself with both Haedong Kumdo and Hapkido, learning about the differences in every practiced style and Grand Masters approach to the Martial Arts. Everywhere are teachers with passion for Haedong Kumdo. However, in JSKR HK, I first felt the experience for some kind of positive flow that was recommended and shown by Grand Master Kim, not just the use of force and execution.

Firstly the techniques had to be right, than they had to be combined in a ssangsu kumbop and at last it had to be fluent. But nowhere was the emphasis laid on the continuing flow as is the case in JSKR with Grand Master Kim. Because you can do a ssang(su) kumbop fluently like I did in training before our switch in federation but it won’t necessarily mean that it is also combined with a good, positive flow. In 2019 we first met in Deventer, the first seminar I followed under his command, his supervision, his unique style. The curriculum is so much broader then before. Where for 2nd dan there first were 12 ssangsu kumbops under Grand Master Choi, there are now three times as much kumbops spread over ssangsu-, ssang- and yedo kumbops. These kumbops are only a few aspects of the style, talking about Kimu, Baldo-Chakkum, Kyuk Kum, … The new challenge was exciting and continues to be so as more new challenges and changes come my way. This all combined with the execution and the needed flow to really feel, know and understand what you are doing is exiting and unique.

So when I say that its Grand Master Kim himself that makes it unique, I mean it! The way he combines the techniques with the flow of the kumbop, the energy you feel, that is what makes it unique. That’s what he likes to underline in his seminars, in his teachings. Relax and feel the energy. Focus and see it. Realize and do it. The more you learn from him and the more you execute his style and his vision on Martial Arts, the easier it becomes to enroll these three rules in your training.

The flow is needed to experience these rules, these guidelines. With a sword in both hands you feel the flow is to important. If you don’t have it or use it, u can’t make your move correct. With only one sword you can combine your own force and strength with the minimum of flow. You shouldn’t, let that be clear, but you could if you had to. With two swords, the flow is so important because you just can’t practice Haedong Kumdo in a right way without it.

One last point of view from my experience is that with two swords, your body and mind are trained to move more delicately. With your left hand you could make a block, opening your opponent for let’s say a diagonal cut with your right hand. Your hands are doing two different things, your feet have to move, your body must be in the right position, … Everything is connected with the flow needed to make your movement correct and for the use of your energy in that movement.

If you can have Good skills & abilities of Jinyoung Ssangkum Ryu HK well in Kumbups, cutting, sparring etc. , what will you do next? How will you develop yourself for your next level in martial arts?

I believe there is no end station, only the next objective to strive for. Martial Arts becomes a way of life that doesn’t stop being practiced or used after training sessions. Obviously I have certain goals in live and specifically in Haedong Kumdo. For Haedong Kumdo I want to start my own school but due to my personal live balance: work, relationship, other teachings and sports, my time becomes limited. I can’t say when I can teach Haedong Kumdo in another school, preferring a school of my own. That is ultimately one of the greatest goal in my Martial Arts life and career. Right now I am the assistant instructor for my teacher, Martijn Beckers. It is also exciting that I can teach him certain things seen that I am training for my second dan grade as he struggles to find the right time, also based on his personal life. His motivation is great and where we can find the time during our training sessions, I learn him some new Yedo moves/kumbops. That for me is already next level, learning my master the teachings and ways of the sword I have yet to take an exam for. But I would gladly make it my level and train myself for yet another level, a new next level.

Another development I like to foresee in my own future is getting to the next exam. I am looking forward to the Easter seminar and exams as much as I possibly can.But the goal is not to go as fast as I can. I have time, age and motivation to go trough a few dan-exams in the years to come. My ambitions are high, very high, momentarily even limitless if I could state that… But it’s not a race! That’s important to understand. Once that click is made and the understanding is there, that it is not a race, then you can start to focus on a lot more then only the next new kumbop… But as I have explained in question 2 there is a lot of material to work with. There are great curriculums set up for each promotion test. The amount of learning stuff varies so much every time. You start building on what you already can and know, but there keeps coming more from other parts you never looked.

What I have learned teaching Hapkido at my school is looking back. Teaching the lower grades and really standing still with all the details. This is also important in Kumdo. When I take some students under my wing and teach ssangsu kumbop 1, I can’t disturb them with the smallest details. We have to grow a strong foundation and work our way up to the smallest details. I can still learn a lot about those junior ssangsu kumbops and keep exploring this wonderful world of Jinyoung Ssangkum Ryu Haedong Kumdo by focusing with the smallest details. That is another development I wish to endure. A lifetime of learning… Focusing on the small parts in specific but also feeling the kumbop at its entirety. Letting it flow from my mind to the sword. Being one with the swords and the movement.

Ben de Busser

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