In our training as people who practice Traditional Hapkido we must understand that Mu Ki Sool (weapons techniques) encompasses many of the systems used in Buddhist times and royal courts, mainly short sticks, swords, canes, ropes, belts, as well as throwing weapons (knives, stones, etc …) among others.
Mu Ki Sool helps to improve concentration, balance, coordination, reflexes, speed and strength while making an emphasis on fluidity, harmony, circular movements, theoretical concepts and principles of defensive action. Mu Ki Sool is a perfect complement to help perfect the required skills and qualities in the Hapkido curriculum.
Jang Bong Sool (Long stick technique)
This weapon is represented by a long wooden stick made of Rattan that measures 190 cm (74.8”) long with a diameter of 3 cm (1.18”) which is the standard length or it could be adjusted to each student´s needs according to his or her height. This weapon is used for self-defense against either a bare hand attack or in an armed attack scenario, while intending to maintain it in the middle or long distance.
The basics of this weapon are: two types of grip; one for attack and another for defense, eight basic blows, eight basic blocks, circular movements of the weapon, throwing techniques and control techniques.
DEFINITION AND ORIGIN
It is one of the oldest weapons used by mankind, “Jang Bong Sool”; means long stick technique. An offens move is usually forward, while the defense movement involves retracting the weapon as a spiral. These techniques are controlled by the actions of the user’s wrist. Students are taught about the importance of maintaining control during an attack by using a high level of Ki (internal energy), including meditation, breath control, and concentration.
The martial artist directs his or her own KI ,vital energy, toward the weapon. The techniques of Jang Bong from the original Sado Mu Sool (Tribal Village of Martial Arts) consisted mainly of practicing basic movements on any type of terrain and situation. The techniques changed to fit the needs of the martial artist of each particular kingdom.
In the kingdom of Koguryo located in the northern mountains of ancient Korea, some techniques were developed based on rugged terrain, uneven mountains and sinuous rivers. The mountains represented the offensive, while the defense was found near the rivers that offered a fast escape route. The techniques of Jang Bong in Koguryo were representative of the policy of rapid and aggressive reprisals against the most vulnerable points of the enemy. The mountain was used as an ally. These techniques required a stick made of hard and tough material.
The second kingdom, Silla, developed a different method of these techniques. This method was influenced by Chinese martial artists, the techniques were softer and included more circular movements. During the influence of Buddhism throughout Korea in the era of the Three Kingdoms, Kingdom Silla was the one that benefited the most. The monks had a philosophy that called for non-lethal self-defense and therefore perfect defense as well as submission techniques with Jang Bong. The cane, becomes the most valuable weapon for unarmed monks who routinely traveled trails between monasteries and villages.
Dan Bong Sool (Short Stick technique)
The literal translation of Dan Bong Sool is “short stick techniques”. Dan Bong Sool’s techniques can be found in the martial arts styles practiced in almost every country in the world. Throughout Asia it is often found as one of the tools and /or weapon-forming arts of many countries that have internal struggles like: Japan, Okinawa, Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Korea, and many more.
Although there are many types of traditional Korean martial arts weapons, one of the most practical in self-defense is the Dan Bong (short stick). It can be found almost anywhere. It may be a pencil, ruler, or any stick piece found on the floor. It can be easily adapted to virtually any situation for self-defense. The Dan Bong has a length of 30 cm (11.8”) and is a useful weapon in the development of concentration and physical awareness of techniques, both in empty hand training and those which use weapons.
The Dan Bong is versatile for quick locks, catch, disarm and counterattack movements. It can be easily concealed. It is practical, since many objects of daily use can be used taking advantage of the applications of Dan Bong. Police and other law enforcement officers, as well as the armed forces, use the Dan Bong in different forms of batons.
Dan Bong’s techniques and training methods have guidelines that are designed to help secure applications in a practical and accurate manner. Although specific training methodologies may vary from one school to another and even from one instructor to another, the theories, concepts and principles of Dan Bong’s techniques remain constant.
An important factor to take into account during the practice of Dan Bong is the centralization of KI (vital energy) in which there are two types, external and internal; The external power comes from the continuous practice that develops the muscular power of the student. A person can possess great physical abilities,however through the practice of Dan Bong it will be possible to help build a strong body and to cultivate the development of the internal force known as KI.
As time goes by, a person’s physical strength will decrease. However, internal strength is maintained, it will increase with age, no matter how old a person may be. Learning to centralize one’s own energy will greatly enhance the power of Dan Bong Sul’s techniques, giving the student not only power but also confidence and control.
The Dan Bong is a universal defensive weapon that can be found almost anywhere,however, many will never be able to see it. Its techniques are natural, fluid and practical. The traditions of this ancient Korean weapon teach mental control, confidence, respect, discipline and humility. It is a weapon that will help you develop effective defense techniques if that is your goal. But, training this weapon will help you cultivate something far more valuable than the ability to defend yourself.
Kyeok Keom Sool (Fighting Sword Technique)
Although most martial arts from ancient times emphasize techniques in the use of open hand and foot techniques, many of them also incorporate the practice with weapons.The Sword Techniques within the Hapkido Weapon System (Moo Ki Sool) come from a distant past. The first recorded use of metal swords was during the year 200 AD.
During the Silla dynasty, around 400 AD, elite Hwarang warriors of the ruling class adopted the sword as their primary military weapon. The Hwarang were the forerunners of the Japanese Samurai warriors. It is widely accepted that Korean fencing reached its highest level during the Three Kingdoms period, around 600 AD.
Skills with the sword remained in Koong Joong Musool for centuries until the annexation of Korea by Japan, in the early twentieth century.
The Joong Bong (Middle size stick)
The Joong Bong (Middle size stick) was used in different ways throughout the history of Korea. It was used as a cane, to help carry heavy items such as water containers and grain baskets, and to protect themselves from wild animals and bandits. The illusory maneuvers of the Joong Bong defenses can be applied to all types of martial art training.
The length of a Joong Bong varies from 90cm (35”) to 100cm (39”). The physical characteristics of the Joong Bong are quite unique, some are made of hardwood; others are made of flexible bamboo. The shaft may be completely flat or may have grooves at one or both ends to allow for picking up objects. These slots can also be used to inflict damage on an opponent.
The Joong Bong must be built to fulfill the needs and specifications of individual students. To increase the effectiveness of Joong Bong the student’s hips usually spin in the direction of his or her blows and locks. This helps to reinforce the strength of one´s attack or blockage with one´s body weight. Another often overlooked aspect of generating more speed and power to Joong Bong’s movements is the twisting of the wrists. Instead of simply pushing the tip of the Joong Bong towards the aggressor, execute the same movement but this time turn the hand back while sliding the Joong Bong forward. This will not only greatly increase the speed of your movements, but will give more power as well.
Footwork is important for all aspects of martial arts physical training, but perhaps even more so when working with weapons. When using the Joong Bong you should move at an angle to avoid an attack while at the same time putting yourself in a counterattack position faster than the opponent. Being able to evade an attack while maintaining a safe distance from the aggressor is one of the most characteristic features of Joong Bong’s use. The angles of evasion are common to all forms of martial arts, Karate, Aikido, Jiu-jitsu, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Wu Shu, etc. However, training with Joong Bong often opens the mind to the possibilities of use of these angles more efficiently than has been done in the past.
The possibility of varying the length also contributes to the option of seeing how we are able to use long, medium size and long approximation techniques with and without the Joong Bong. The delusional defense of the Joong Bong creates a gateway for our minds to continue perfecting our defense techniques with an almost unlimited abundance of variables.
Ddi Sool (Belt Technique)
The Korean Rope (Poh Bohk) was a favorite weapon in Korea’s Royal Court, where sharp weapons were banned, so palace guards adopted a simple, innocuous- looking rope as a weapon. The guards of the palace would use rope techniques to subdue and control any intruder. Poh Bohk’s quick and circular techniques are designed to effectively wrap any part of an attacker’s body.
The Poh Bahk is also used to block kicks and punches before wrapping and catching the opponent’s limbs. Subsequently, these techniques would become more direct and forceful using the student’s belt.
Ji Pang Ji Sool (Curved Cane Technique)
It was almost sunset when Jong Shim walked down a narrow street toward his home. Suddenly three men appeared before him and demanded his money. The thieves realized that he was a wealthy man; But Jong refused to give them his money, so they decided to teach him a lesson. However, it was the bandits who were about to receive their first lesson in the use of the Ji Pang Gi (walking cane).
The first brigand fell back after a heavy blow to the head, he never saw it coming. The second bandit attempted to crush Jong’s head with a rock, but he missed his target, and the outlaw felt a sharp pain in his back while being punctured in a Hyoldo (vital point). The man helplessly fell on his knees, and was unable to move his legs. The third robber pulled out a knife and pushed it into Jong’s stomach. The thief saw the knife flying through the air and only a second later found himself laying on the ground along with his friends.
The confrontation ended in a few seconds, Jong was unharmed as he stood and watched the defeated bandits laying on the ground. They were unconscious and completely at Jong’s mercy. The use of cane in personal defense is not uncommon. Many of the Korean martial arts include some instruction in the use of the walking Stick (Ji Pang Gi) for self-defense. To see how the cane was used as a defensive weapon in ancient times, let’s take a look at its evolution in Korea.
Korean monks sometimes carried the cane during their travels. The cane served them in several different ways; It was used to help them maintain their balance when they climbed irregular hills in rough terrain, just as it served to defend themselves from bandits and wild animals during their journeys throughout the country. Some Buddhist temples had animals they bred, and the monks would have used their canes to help guide their herds. If the temple was attacked, the stick could quickly become a defensive weapon.
Ji Pang Gi is usually a stick like the regular walking canes used in the past. It should reach one´s waist height, it is straight and has a bend (curved handle) in the top end. In Korea Buddhist monks also used this type of stick for self-defense because the curved side helped them while applying control techniques, allowing better control of the opponent without the use of excessive force.
Nowadays the cane can be used for self-defense, allowing immobilization techniques of the opponent. The stick, combined with combat techniques is one of the most practical and useful tools for self-defense that can be found today. With this weapon you must be sure that you will be able to apply much more power than is believed, it will undoubtedly add extra efficiency to normal techniques.