A traditional Korean martial arts and self-defence system for men, women and children in West Oxfordshire.

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Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh: Founder of Kuk Sool

In Hyuk Suh is the founder, Grandmaster and President of the World Kuk Sool Association. He has been studying martial arts for almost seventy years, receiving his first instruction from his grandfather, Myung Duk Suh, Master Instructor to the Korean Royal Court Army. The Suh family has practiced martial arts for the past sixteen generations. From among his children and grand children, Myung Duk Suh carefully selected one child to whom he would give the entire scope of this martial arts knowledge. This child was In Hyuk Suh.

After his grandfather's death, young Suh began to visit and learn from many different teachers. By the time he was twenty years of age, he had travelled to hundreds of Buddhist temples and private martial arts teachers from whom he studied many different aspects of Korean martial arts.

It was during this time that he met an old monk named Hai Dong Sea Nim, which translates to 'Great Monk of the Eastern Sunrise'. The old monk became In Hyuk Suh's second most influential teacher, passing on special breathing skills, meditation techniques and internal power (ki) skills.

In the late 1950's In Hyuk Suh began to organise and systemize the many scattered martial art techniques of Korea to produce a single Korean National Martial Art - Kuk Sool.

What is Kuk Sool?

The name “Kuk Sool Won” is best understood by breaking it down into three sections. “Kuk” translates to ‘nation’, ‘state’, or ‘country’. “Sool” literally means ‘martial art technique’. However, “Sool’s” implied meaning goes deeper to include the mental, spiritual and philosophical heritage of Korean martial arts. “Won” means institute or association.

Kuk Sool is a comprehensive martial arts system that is derived from the rich and varied martial arts techniques and traditions that have arisen in Korea through the ages. Kuk Sool is not a sport, nor is it simply another oriental self defence method. Kuk Sool is a complete martial art that is dedicated to the cultivation of mental strength and well-being and to the preservation of traditional Korean martial arts.

The basis of Kuk Sool is the development and use of ‘Ki’ (internal power). Therefore, Kuk Sool is considered an internal martial arts system. However, to classify Kuk Sool under any one name is incorrect due to its vastness. For self defence, Kuk Sool is unsurpassed. It combines kicking, punching, throwing, falling, choking, joint locking and a myriad of weapons techniques into a beautiful and dynamic ‘hard-soft’ style, emphasising speed and fluidity. In conjunction with physical training, meditation, breathing, acupressure and acupuncture techniques are employed to improve and maintain health, develop internal power and retard the aging process. Philosophically, Kuk Sool stresses humility, self discipline, loyalty and respect for others. Together, these four aspects of Kuk Sool provide the means for attaining a long and healthier life.

Where did Kuk Sool originate?

The roots of Kuk Sool date back to the very beginning of Korea with "Sado Mu Sool" which means family or tribal martial art. The next martial art to develop was "Bulkyo Mu Sool", or "Buddhist martial art". Shortly afterwards came "Koong Joong Mu Sool" which translates to 'Royal Court Martial Art'. These are the three segments of ancient Korean martial arts from which the techniques of Kuk Sool evolved.

Although its origin may be traced back to antiquity, the present Kuk Sool system was formally devised only recently. Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh spent more than fifty years in single minded practice and research in order to learn, compile, master and organize the more than 3,600 techniques that comprise Kuk Sool. He founded Kuk Sool Won in 1961 and took it to the United States in 1974.

The World Kuk Sool Association now has its headquarters in Houston, Texas, and had grown to include more than 1.3 million members in 800 member schools in 27 different countries and continues to increase in strength and numbers daily.

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