Most of what are referred to as Korean martial art styles are actually derived from Japanese/Okinawan karate systems or find their roots in Chinese boxing. The Korean peninsula has existed as a fragile territory between China and Japan and thus shared many cultural elements from their neighbors. To what degree has the Japanese and Chinese arts influenced those practiced in Korea over the centuries? Can we distinguish any original Korean martial art style?
Chapters in this anthology are derived from the Journal of Asian Martial Arts specifically in response to such questions as asked above. The authors provide great detail on the military/martial manuals that recorded both battlefield arts and personal combative arts and use these sources to give a picture of the martial traditions practiced in Korea for hundreds of years.
In chapter one, Stanley Henning provides an excellent overview of martial arts in Korea since the earliest dynasties. These include bare-hand arts as well as those with weaponry. His overview illuminates the time and place of highly influential military manuals as discussed in the chapter by Manuel Adrogué. John Della Pia’s two chapters focus on a particular manual—the Muye Dobo Tongji (1790)—providing details of open-hand and weapons training, in particular with the unique Korean “native sword.”
Two chapters provide the theory and practice of qigong methods for health and martial effectiveness. Dr. Patrick Massey et al. offer results on the use of breathing methods affecting lung capacity. Sean Bradley’s chapter goes deeply into the medical theories that parallel the practice of Sinmoo Hapkido’s qigong methods.
The final two chapters focus on practical fighting applications from Hapkido. Marc Tedeschi’s chapter provides sound advice for self-defense against multiple opponents. In addition to detailing principles that give any defender a helpful advantage, Tedeschi shows nineteen examples of techniques against two, three, and four opponents that include pressure point striking, throws, arm bars, locks, and a variety of kicks. In the closing chapter, Sean Bradley discusses a few of his favorite techniques, where he learned them, and why they are memorable.
Rich in historical details and practical advice, this anthology will prove to be a prized reference work to all interested in the Korean martial traditions.