“With rank, comes responsibility.”
To many people by attaining the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt believe it to symbolize the end of a long road. In fact, the opposite is true. Attaining the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt is the beginning of a truly fascinating and exciting journey.
As a Kuk Sool Won Black Belt, your martial arts training really begins. Martial Art training is not just attending class and practicing. Martial Art training is also about helping others to attain their goals. As a Black Belt you should, within reason, endeavor to support and assist your School, your fellow students, your Instructor and the World Kuk Sool Association (WKSA) in any appropriate manner necessary to further realize the benefits for your own training, the training of other students and the goals of the WKSA.
“Welcome to your Black Belt journey through Kuk Sool Won. I hope that through the practice of, and our common interest in martial arts, we will develop physically and mentally, so that we can achieve a better understanding not only of ourselves, but also of others, regardless of race, color or creed. Ultimately, we should feel ourselves enabled to make a better contribution to our families, and to the society in which we live.”
- In Hyuk Suh, Grandmaster.
Black Belt training starts just after a student reaches Brown Belt, in order to become a Black Belt you need to start training like one. It take 4-5 years of regular training to achieve the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt in Kuk Sool Won. At this stage the student will be well versed in kicking, punching, joint locking, pressure points, throwing, grappling, wrestling, traditional forms and weapons.
The truely fantastic thing about Kuk Sool Won is there's more to learn at Black Belt ranks than there is at colour belt ranks. In Kuk Sool Won we have sylabus all the way up to 5th Degree Master level and beyond.
The extremely comprehensive nature of Kuk Sool Won continues after promotion to 1st Degree Black Belt. Whereas many styles of martial arts, especially the more modern creations which seem to view the Black Belt as an end in itself, have very little to offer after Black Belt.
Kuk Sool Won stands apart in that it is after Black Belt that the training really begins. As vast as the Underbelt curriculum is, it really just forms the foundation on which your later training will build.
Below is the requirements for promotion to the rank of 2nd Degree Black Belt. Many of the techniques available in Kuk Sool Won are “special” forms/techniques that are not listed in the curriculm (these include training sets, weapons routines, etc.).
As the name implies, these are the first basic throwing techniques taught in the elementary level of Kuk Sool Won and are designed to initiate Black Belt “Freshmen” to the more advance principles of throwing. A thorough knowledge of the Underbelt curriculum is necessary before beginning this level of technique.
This set of techniques is designed to further instruct the beginning Black Belt student in angles so that they may better understand and apply the proper technique most effectively. Not only does this set of techniques lay a proper foundation for techniques to come, it should also help to make any techniques that the student has previously learned to be applied much more effectively and efficiently.
The techniques taught in this particular set teaches the student to apply the principles of YU-WON-HWA (“soft-circular-blending” are the three core concepts on which the art of Kuk Sool is based) in a smooth and circular manner while maintaining proper body motion in order to translate a rapid spinning motion into a linear force.
This is an advanced set of techniques forming a continuation of the first set of Wrist Techniques (called “Sohn Mohk Soo”) taught at the Yellow Belt Level and teaches the student to apply new principles to this type of technique for more effectiveness.
Just as the technique set above was a continuation and expanding of an earlier set of techniques, so also is this set which teaches a more advanced and effective response to clothing grabs based on principles learned at the Black Belt level. The techniques are quite effective, but they are also somewhat more complex, requiring a firm understanding of the techniques learned at the Underbelt Level.
This set of techniques takes the principles and applications already learned and teaches the Black Belt student to apply them from a seated position. Though taught in a kneeling posture (a position much more common in Asia than in the US), these techniques can also be easily applied when seated in a chair. Because the kneeling posture precludes the possibility of retreat or motion in response to an attack, this set of techniques is also very effective in teaching effective blocking and redirection of an attack prior to the counter.
While certainly not a position to be preferred for defense, there are situations in which the student might be thrown to the ground and attacked and therefore it is necessary to know how to defend oneself from a position in which one is lying on the ground. This set of techniques teaches a response to various types of attacks from this position.
This set of techniques teaches the Kuk Sool student how to apply many of the techniques and principles learned previously against grabbing attacks by two attackers simultaneously. In addition to requiring proper technique, joint angle, pressure point attack and proper body motion, Ee In Jeh Ahp Sool also requires the student to perform these techniques with both hands (including the “weak” hand). This helps to build strength and dexterity in the application of techniques with BOTH hands.
Derived from Korean wrestling, Jahp Ki teaches the student to 1) “feel” for an opponent’s movements, 2) develop a quick reaction/response and 3) develop a repertoire of throwing techniques. A good understanding of pressure points and joint locking is necessary in order to perform these techniques effectively.
This set of techniques teaches the student basic and fundamental defenses against various types of kicking attacks. In order to be applied effectively, the student must first thoroughly understand the biomechanics of various types of kicking in order to develop the ability to rapidly identify the type of kick and respond quickly based on the opponent’s body motion.
A pre-arranged sparring set to teach principles of close-in sparring, Keun Dae Ryuhn teaches proper distance and timing in order to maximize the student’s defensive/offensive technique. This set should be practiced with various opponents with intensity, speed and focus.
This Kuk Sool Won hyung is also known as “Eliminate 108 Torments Form” based on the Buddhist belief that there are 108 “torments” (worries/troubles/etc.) that humans experience, and the idea that by doing this form everyday these “torments” can be worked out. The first empty hand form on the Black Belt Chart, Paek Pal Ki Hyung introduces a number of new techniques and reflects a highly advanced and difficult body motion. Paek Pal Ki Hyung sets the stage and prepares the student for even more complex and advanced forms to be learned later on as they progress through the various degrees of Black Belt.
A weapon of ancient Korea and developed within Family or Tribal Martial Arts systems, the “dan bong” is a short hardwood stick slightly longer than the student’s forearm. This form teaches 18 effective striking and blocking techniques in a “+” shaped pattern.
The Joohng Bong, or Middle Staff, is the most commonly seen staff used in Kuk Sool Won, and should measure in height between the student’s eyebrows and the top of the head. Primarily used as a single-ended weapon, the Joong Bong is used in a variety of different motions (striking, spinning, blocking, poking, pressing, etc.), all of which are used in this first form.
The first sword form in Kuk Sool Won, Juhng Guhm Hyung is based on straight sword techniques — the first of the four types of sword principles taught in the Kuk Sool Wonâ„¢ curriculum (the others being Inverted Sword, Double Short Sword and Double Long Sword). Before learning Juhng Guhm Hyung, the student must first study and practice proper sword etiquette, sword meditation and drawing and sheathing techniques.
Designed to teach control, timing and speed in weapons use, Bong Dae Ryuhn is the first 2-man weapon sparring set learned in Kuk Sool Won and is designed to allowed students to go “all out” with a weapon with a minimal chance of accident or injury (with PRACTICE, of course). In order to have a proper foundation for this set, the student first begins by learning stationary bong spinning, moving bong spinning and the first bong hyung (Joong Bong Il Hyung, above) — only then are they considered to have developed the required proficiency to practice bong sparring.
At this point in their training the Kuk Sool Won student will have 11 Forms & 369 Techniques.
A set of combination kicking (such as front kick/side kick or side kick/back kick) that emulate the shape of the Korean letter of that sound (which in the Western alphabet is somewhat similar to the letter “L”).
A set of combination kicking (such as round kick/hook kick) based on the shape of the Korean letter of that sound (similar to the shape of a backwards “S” in the Western alphabet).
A set of specialty kicking techniques in which the students runs and jumps toward a wall, tree or some other stationary object, rebounds off of the supporting structure and performs a kicking technique. This type of specialty kicking technique is often seen in breaking demonstrations.
This set of aerial kicking techniques is concerned with kicking techniques using both feet together (such as a double front kick, double side kick, etc.)
Similar in execution to Ssahng Bahl Chagi (above), this set of aerial kicking techniques is concerned with kicking techniques using both feet kicking in different directions (such as a spit front kick, side kick/round kick, etc.). A spectacular technique, this type of kicking is also seen very often in kicking demonstrations.