Kuk Sool Won – the hidden extras

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There are many aspects that might have enticed you to practice Kuk Sool Won such as improving fitness, gaining physical and mental flexibility, increased coordination, learning self-defence techniques, developing respect for one’s self and others; these are just some of them.

As Kuk Sool Won is a traditional Korean martial art, it also requires that we learn about Korean culture and customs. We learn about Korean history through practicing techniques that have been passed down for generations. We learn Korean words relevant to our studies and practice and so develop a feel for the language even if we never learn to speak it outside the dohjang.

There is also one key element that provides the foundation for everything that we learn in Kuk Sool Won and that is etiquette. As important here as it is in Korea or anywhere else in the world, good etiquette informs how we conduct ourselves in and out of the dohjang. This is one of the most beneficial aspects of KSW because if you think about it, you may never need to use your self-defence techniques in the real world but you will always be inter-acting with people so having a keen awareness of how to behave in certain situations is a great life skill.

So we talk a lot about etiquette but what is it? Another word might be manners though that doesn’t quite cover it. Really, etiquette in KSW terms means displaying the right attitude, which we do by being ready for class from the moment we walk through the door of the dohjang (in our case the hall where class takes place). Once we are in the room, we leave the world outside. We respond to our instructors and fellow students with enthusiasm and we always try our best.

Bowing in class is a time when we concentrate on good etiquette. It can take a while for us to get used to this custom if we aren’t from Asia but it’s a great example of the traditional and cultural aspects of KSW that we learn and it’s where we get the opportunity to say thank you to the association and our instructors for all that we are being taught.

This thing called etiquette; it’s something that we talk about a lot in the lead up to tests and competitions. In order to exercise it properly, we need to give etiquette as much attention as we do practicing a good break-fall or form or technique. After all, when graded in a test or judged in competition, etiquette is the first thing that is examined. If we’re always working on our etiquette, it will come naturally in those situations where we have to perform and can even help deal with the nerves we might have.

As Kuk Sool Won Cork grows, our aim is to focus on maintaining a fun, friendly atmosphere, while ensuring that we give all aspects of our training, both physical and mental, the attention required for all of our members to do well.

For more info on etiquette ‘dos and don’ts’, ask your instructors about it in your next class visit www.wksa.com. Alternatively contact mboniwell@kuksoolwon.com