Friday, July 23, 2010

New class in August!

I'm very pleased to announce that beginning Thursday August 5 Samurai Sword Classes will be adding an additional class from 7-8:00 PM. This will be an intermediate class, for people that are interested in attending regularly and really training intensively. The 6-7 class will continue as a beginner class, and will be open to first-timers, beginning students, and more advanced students that want to practice the basics and/or assist the first-timers.

Also, very soon we will be rolling out the new class website. Once the website launches (sometime in August), we will be referring to the class as swordclassNYC (website will be Good things are happening, and I'm happy that you, dear reader, are there to share it with me!

Classes are held from 6-8(!) at 260 West 36th St. 3rd Floor (Joria Studios). See you there!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Star Wars samurai art!

As you may or may not know, I am a huge Star Wars fan. I've always known about Star Wars art, and I remember when I was young it was always an incredible treat to see other artist's fresh take interpreting Star Wars. But then the future happened, and with the internet, Star Wars art became mainstream, and I'm glad it has! There are a few shining examples of how artists have reached back into the source materials of Star Wars, emphasizing its Samurai-esqu feel, but sometimes there are really fantastic creations. Here's one.

Check out Steve Bialik's blog to see more examples!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The kendo lifecycle | [ ]

Check out this fantastic bog post about the lifecycle of a Kendoka (kendo practitioner). I started Kendo in my 20’s, and now that I’m in my 30’s I feel I’ve entered a new stage of my training. There wasn’t so much a conscious choice to alter how I approached practice, but my mentality has developed, matured as my skill increases. I practice Kendo less as a competitive sport, and more as an expression of my spirit.

The kendo lifecycle | [ ]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ancient Martial Art examination held for the first time in the United States

Palisades Park, NJ — Twenty students tested in front of visiting masters from Korea to become the first American black belts in the ancient sword martial art “Chosun Sebup.” The examination was held by the Korean Kumdo Association (KKA) and is the first ever held in the United States.

Chosun Sebup is one of the earliest written sword arts. Transcribed by a Chinese military tactician in the year 1621, Chosun Sebup is a section of codex “Mu-Bee Ji,” a compilation of martial arts and tactics from China, Japan, and Korea. It is separated into three chapters, Heaven, Earth, and Man. Each chapter details different sword techniques for use on the battlefield.

Students of the form are expected to perform the techniques flawlessly and must also complete a written examination to attain their black belt, or “Dan” rank. The prospective black belts are students from two northern New Jersey Kendo schools, Hung Moo Kwan and Sung Moo Kwan. Kendo, or “the way of the sword,” is the modern martial art of sword-fighting practiced by over six million people worldwide. Chosun Sebup, though a traditional Korean martial art, shares many similarities with Kendo including the concept of harmonizing the mind, body, and spirit.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

This weekend there will be a very special event held at the Huang Moo Kwan Kendo school in Palisades Park, NJ. For the first time in the United States, a group of students will test for their 1st Dan (blackbelt) rank in a Korean martial art called "Chosun Sebup." I will be one of these students!

Chosun Sebup is a martial art detailed in the 17th century Korean military codex, 'Mu-bee-ji,’ a compilation of Chinese, Korean, and Japanese martial arts and tactics. Because of its shared border with China and long coastline, Korea has been in external conflict for much of its history. 'Mu-bee-ji' would have been written in a time when Korea was defending it's borders from the Manchu-Invasion, and recovering from the Seven-Year War with Japan. This is of important historical significance because most martial arts traditions of the time were passed down by word of mouth from teacher to student. The manual codifies, describes, and analyzes both friendly and enemy tactics and served as an important reconnaissance tool for the Korean commanders.

Chosun Sebup was the first inclusion in "Mu-bee-ji," and was practiced with a sword that was slung from the right shoulder and hung on the left side of the body, similar to the "tachi" (slung sword). It is unknown if the sword used in this art was a curved sword of Japanese origin (Katana) or a straight sword of the Chinese tradition (Jian). It is likely that both types of swords were used, depending on geographical location and access to trade routes. Another theory is that these two sword traditions were combined as the traditional Korean sword (Jingum) is curved like the katana, but incorporates the hanging tassel similar to the jian.

Chosun Sebup is divided into three sections, each with four techniques emphasizing a different form of attach and/or defense. These are:

Chapter 1. ( Cheon) – Heaven
1. 거정세 ( Guh-jeong-se) - Making high stance as if one lifts a big pot.
2. 과좌세 ( Gua-jua-se) - Cutting from upleft to downright
3. 과우세 (Gua-woo-se) - Cutting from upright to downright
4. 탄복세 ( Tan-bok-se) - Thrusting at the belly

Chapter 2. ( Jeeh) – Earth
1. 표두세 ( Pyo-doo-se) - Cutting the leopard’s head – Straight up to down cut
2. 좌협세 (Jua-hyeop-se) - Thrusting at the left chest
3. 우협세 (Woo-hyeop-se) - Thrusting at the heart
4. 어거세 (Uh-guh-se) - Sword at center position – pushing forward

Chapter 3. (In) – Human
1. 은망세 (Uhn-mahng-se) - Silver Python
2. 전시세 (Jeon –shi-se) - As if one spreads wings
3. 요격세 (Yo-gyeok-se) - Cutting from upright to down left
4. 봉두세 (Bong-doo-se) - Beheading the Phoenix

A demonstration of Chosun Sebup performed by a youth sword team in Korea:


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