Four Direction Sequence – Haidong Gumdo
This is a basic sequence (사방전한법 – sa-bang cheon han beop) of downwards slashes (naeryo-bagi – 내려 베기), either to the left or right. The direction of the slash is denoted by the point to which it moves and not from which it originates. Hence a ‘right slash’ begins above your left shoulder and traverses down to the right-hand side.
Most important in this sequence, is precision of stepping. The sequence should begin and end on the same spot. The stepping sequence is more difficult to master than similar karate and taekwondo basic sequences because the movements do not straddle a center-line. In such sequences variations tends to occur more in terms being in front of, or behind the starting point. In Sa-bang Cheon Han Beop, variation to the side of the starting point also causes initial problems. It is important not to step up, foot to foot, into a position where both feet are parallel, but into a position where the toes of the moving foot come to rest midway between the toes and heel of the stationary foot. An inch out of position, over several steps, will result in finishing the sequence significantly away from the starting position.
It is well worth practicing the sequence without a sword and with a point of reference marked on the floor in order to gauge precision.
Even after several months, my naeryo-begi is poor as the angle of the cut is wrong and the blade’s trajectory often curves. Over-practice causes tennis elbow and wrist ache. These ailments, plus the technical problems seem to be fairly standard for beginners.
However, using a blunt sword in practice, known as a ga-keom (가검), which has a grove down the blade close the the back of the blade (칼등 – kal-deung), makes you more aware of the importance of angle. When the angle is correct the grove (known in Japanese as ‘bo-hi and in Korean as ‘home’ – 홈), and sometimes called a ‘blood grove,’ produces an audible ‘swish.’ However it is possible to create a ‘swish’ with a curving cut so the presence of the grove doesn’t solve all problems.
And once you begin to demonstrate more success with the downwards slash, initially in a stationary stance, it is difficult to maintain performed in a sequence where one is in effect multi-tasking. These problems should be regarded as stepping stones to guide one towards better technique. I will be writing more about the problems of naeryo-begi in future posts.
Usually, in my school at least, each move is accompanied with a shout from the Haidong Gumdo’s motto. As yet, I’m not sure of either the significance of the ‘motto,’ or indeed, if it is a motto at all. Translating the ‘motto’ is problematic because my knowledge of hanja, on which it is based, is limited – though better than that of many Koreans. Once again, I will write more about this later. On the accompanying video, I’ve put the hanja character at the start of each technique. There are 8 shouted characters with a kihaps at the start and conclusion of the sequence, and one midway dividing the sequence equally. The ‘shouts’ are:
神 – 신 – shin
劍 – 검 – keom
合 – 합 – hap
一 – 일 – il
快 – 쾌 – kwe
刀 – 도 – do
如 – 여 -yeo
神 – 신 – shin
If anyone can shed any further information on this topic, or correct any errors, I’d be grateful.
©Amongst Other Things - 努江虎 – 노강호 2012 Creative Commons Licence.