The Korean Peninsula has spawned more than a dozen different styles of martial arts, some of which include taekwondo, taekkyeon, subak, Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do, Hapkido and Gungdo. However, one of the more recent martial arts to originate from Korea is Hankumdo. While Hankumdo may appear similar to other, older styles of Korean martial arts, it's completely unique and differs from its counterparts in several ways.
What Is Hankumdo?
Hankumdo is a swordsmanship-based Korean martial art that emphasizes the use of a sword. It differs from other types of swordsmanship by focusing on techniques that are based on the Korean alphabet, the Hangul. The Hangul consists of two dozen characters, 14 consonants and 10 vowels. With Hankumdo, each of these letters refers to a specific technique. Hankumdo hasn't always been this way, however. When it first created, only a few letters were given techniques. Now, each letter has its own technique.
When looking at the word "Hankmudo," you'll see that it actually consists of three unique words in the Korean language. "Han" refers to Korean culture. "Kum" refers to a sword. And "Do" refers to the way. Therefore, Hankmudo essentially means the way in which Korean people handle the sword.
Characteristics of Hankmudo
Because it features a different technique for each letter of the Korean alphabet, there are many different ways to practice Hankmudo. However, most of these techniques are designed to protect and defend against incoming sword attacks from an enemy. Practitioners of Hankmudo are taught to use their sword to parry and protect themselves from sword attacks.
Hankmudo is taught in several steps, each of which is known as Gi Bo Haeng. After practitioner learns one step of a particular Hankmudo technique, he or she moves to the next. Many techniques often have a half-dozen or more steps, adding to the complexity of this modern style of Korean martial arts.
History of Hankumdo
Korean martial arts practitioners Myung Jae Nam pioneered Hankumdo in the mid-to-late 1980s. However, it wasn't until 1997 when the martial art gained widespread publication at the International H.K.D. Games. Since then, it's become an increasingly popular style of Korean martial arts, practiced not only in Korea but throughout many other countries as well.
When Myung Jae Nam first created Hankumdo, he named it hankumdobub. According to various reports, he decided to change the name so that it could be taught as a unique, separate style of martial arts (there was already hankumdobub techniques at the time).