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Kuk Sool Won

Page history last edited by Michael 8 years, 2 months ago

back to Martial Arts



A modern martial arts system of Korean origin, Kuk Sool is taught and practiced worldwide; it spread beyond Korea in the 1970s. It incorporates elements of several traditional Korean martial arts. It is used for self-defense, sport, and conditioning.


Ki Training With PSO Mac


Basics: Ki (Korean or Japanese, Chi in most Chinese dialects) is a vital life energy that fills living things. It circulates, may be cultivated, focused, and used. Kinda like “The Force” in the Star Wars movies, but likely not created by microscopic mitichlorians or whatever. Ki flows through the body along meridians, some of which are connected with specific organs (lung, spleen, heart, etc.), another flows across all the meridians and controls them. The same principles are used by acupuncturists. In Korean, the “seat” where ki is stored/ & cultivated is called the dunjhoung, and is located a few inches below the navel, near the body's center of mass. For ease of learning, lets call it the “Center”.


Cultivation of Ki: Ki is best cultivated by breathing practices as well as meditation.


Ki Breathing. The basic breath is the soft, low, deep, relaxed breathing of an infant. It is not forced, but rather flows down toward the Center. It does not involve expanding the chest, but rather relaxing the diaphragm. Breath in like this for a certain time (the longer the better, so long as the breath is not forced), and make sure you breath out for the same amount of time, and never “hold” your breath in. Take at least a second or so of “slack” between the inhale and exhale, so long as it doesn't feel forced or uncomfortable. This breathing pattern and style is best cultivated whenever you become aware of your breathing, so that eventually it becomes your normal mode of breathing. You can do this style of Ki Breathing whenever you are aware of your breathing, and in particular if you find yourself under stress, or simply not breathing in a relaxed manner. Most people end up falling back in to the “usual” breathing pattern (especially under stress), even after lots of practice, but eventually you spend more and more time breathing properly. In addition, there are specific training postures that you can take while engaging in Ki Breathing that make you more mindful of what you are doing, less likely to fall back into bad habits, and that open up the meridians for the best Ki flow. Do the same breathing pattern in each position (at least 5-10 breaths per position -- more would be better). It is best to switch postures during the slack between inhaling and exhaling. The postures are:


  1. Lay on your back, arms relaxed by your side, hands flat on your belly (“corpse pose”);

  2. Same, but cross your legs at the ankle (R over L for guys, L over R for gals);

  3. Same, but bend your knees until you can plant your feet flat on the floor;

  4. Roll on your left side arm along your side, bring your right leg over your left, with the R knee bent, and foot on the floor. R hand rest on your side;

  5. Lotus Position -- sitting upright w/ legs crossed in front of you. Full lotus, half lotus, or just cross-legged it's all good. Hands palm up on knees;

  6. Same, but the right arm brought forward, palm facing towards your left, about at the level of your heart.

  7. Same, but now the left hand is mirror-image, almost touching the right palm;

  8. This one moves. Start from #7 posture, move the left hand palm outwards, thumb pointed down. Then switch so that the left palm returns to # 7 posture, and the right palm is outwards, thumb down. Change hand positions in between breaths;

  9. Another moving posture, just like #8, but the hand that isn't extended goes behind your back, thumb up;

  10. Still sitting as in #7, now you lift your arms up near shoulder height, bent at the elbows and extending out to your sides. Hands are palm upwards, about ear level.

  11. Same as #10, but extend the hands upwards, so that they are above your head (still palms upwards), finger not quote meeting above the crown of your head.

  12. Still sitting as in #5, both arms are mostly extended, palms outwards with fingertips upwards.


Ki Meditation. Get comfortable, but not so comfortable that you doze off (Posture #5 or something like it is good, but anything is OK). Close eyes. Ki - pattern breathing. Think about ... nothing. Not even thinking about not thinking. Eventually, you may stop actually trying to classify what you feel or hear -- it will just be an experience of reality un-filtered by consciousness. Harder than it sounds.


Ki Focusing. Two sorts of exercise, one is pure Ki Focusing, one practical.


Ki Cho Chagi (Wringing Out The Ki). Just a  Ki focusing exercise:   these give you a sense of what channeling Ki feels like, and are a good way of focusing your mind and spirit before a difficult task. Feel the Ki sitting in your Center. Take Take up each posture in turn. These are usually done a few times each. All are done starting with a deep inhalation, then feel the Ki flow from your Center, up to your chest, out into your arms, and then into your fingertips, as you spread your fingers into a fan shape. When opened, your hands must be slightly concave (i.e., fingers curled slightly inwards) position, while your arms are relaxed, and the only tension in your body is in the hands- which should be very taut. You should see the skin between your fingers stretched as far as they go. As you open your hands, give a deep-from-the-diaphragm wordless yell (with relaxed vocal cords). Don't matter what noise you make, just make it relaxed and loud. Except for #4, all the moves are done slow-ish (except for the hand-opening -- that should snap out fast in all of them). If you can't feel the Ki, just do the damn exercise anyway.


        #1: Take up a Horse riding stance, with your hands at your side. Fingers fan out, arms extend out in front of you as you unbend your  knees.


       #2: Feet about shoulder-width apart, arms crossed over chest (palms on chest). Fan fingers and uncross your arms until your thumbs reach your shoulders, then (keep your hands fanned) bend your knees, and trail your thumbs down your body until you reach your knees. Then “ski-jump” your hands off your knees.


       #3: Feet the same, arms extended at shoulder-height to your sides, palms upwards, hands open and relaxed. Fan your fingers and flip your hands over so that your palms face backwards (i.e. thumbs down). Keeping them straight, bring your arms together in front of you until the back of your hands touch each other. When they do, rotate your thumbs inwards towards your chest (go ahead and bend your elbows, unless you're some kind of circus freak). Continue the rotation until the thumbs go over the top, and outwards in a smooth motion, stopping with both palms upward.


     #4: Feet like in #2. This one is done fast, and 4-6 times in rapid repetition. Take the usual deep breath, and then let a little of your air out each time you do the yell and arm motion. Start with your arms relaxed elbows bent, hands open and relaxed, thumbs extended towards your chest, palms down. Snap your arms outwards, and rotate your hands at the same time so that your palms are now upwards. Snap the hands back to the starting position. This should be fluid.


     #5: Feet and arms like in #2. Bend your knees until you can bend your back a little and place the back of your hands almost on the ground. Fan your hands so that palms are up, then unbend your knees, keeping your hands positioned like you are lifting something heavy. Straighten up, bring palms up to heart level, then sweep them outwards to your sides to waist level.


     #6: Take up a very deep stance with your left leg extended in front of you (ideally bent at a 90 deg. Angle), and your right leg extended behind you straight, knee locked and foot firmly on th floor, extended at a 45 deg. angle from the direction you are facing (as seen from above). Hips and shoulder face the same way as your left leg. Hands at waist. Fan your hands, and while you extend your arms out in front of your and upwards over your head rotate your hips so that your facing over your right leg, in a mirror stance to the way you started. As you reach that point, swing your arms downwards to your sides. Repeat starting from this side.


Practical Ki Focusing: Very simple. When you practice kicking, punching striking, grappling or other martial arts moves, bring Ki from your Center into the limb that's doing the work. Focus attention and power into it, and practice staying relaxed until the exact moment you need the power. A much more advanced version- do the same with a weapon. Put the Ki/Power/Attention/Intentionality into the part of the weapon that does the work: the cutting surface of the sword, the tip of a knife, the surface of a baton. Even better, practice bringing the Ki from your Center into each muscle group as you use it. Start getting the largest (and slowest) muscles moving first, then the next largest, ect. Just before the moment of impact, your Ki should have traveled booth outwards along the striking limb, and downwards to the ground. By the last moment, all the energy whips into the actual striking object, all your muscles provide their power at the same moment, and you are fully grounded. Focus the Ki deep into the target if you are not just sparring.


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