Haidong Gumdo Grading

On Tuesday I have a grading or test for Haidong Gumdo.

I have to perform

Gyukgum 1 through 8


Ssangsoo GumBup 1 through 11

In Taekwondo terms, Gyukgums are basically two step sparring, but with an imaginery partner.
Ssangsoo Gumpups are poomse or Kata.

I think I should do all right except:
1. I have trouble remembering which Ssangsoo Gumbup is which. I can perform them, but sometimes I might do no 10 when the instructor says no 9, oops. Worse yet, when I am stressed I might mix up two gumbups.

More practise will solve the first problem.

2. I am too heavy
This makes it very hard to perform techniques properly because it puts so much stress on your body. Which in turn makes you tired quicker leading to more mistakes and possibly injury.
This is a much more serious problem. I think with another year of practise I could get my weight down and improve my technique dramatically, but unfortunally I am only in Korea until September 1st, a mere four months.

If I pass this test I have only one more test and I will be a black belt!
This test would consist of

Shimsang Gumbup and Ssangsoo GumBup 12.

The later is relatively easy because I learnt it last year and it is not too stressful on the body. Shimsang Gumbup on the other hand is very involved.
If I manage to pass both tests and become a black belt I don’t think I would be comfortable calling myself a black belt. Back home in Australia at my Hapkido dojang it can take up to four years to get your black belt. The standard of 1st dan black belt is much higher than in Korea.
I would only feel comfortable saying I am a black belt when I pass and have another six months or so of study “under my belt”.

I am currently working on an essay about martial arts in Australia and Korea. It is taking a bit of time because I want the grammar and prose to be of a much higher standard then what you are reading now.
The one thing I have settled on is the title “MacDojangs” which is a reference to McDonalds and Dojangs (Training Hall)
Like McDonalds, Korean Dojangs have very quick service, i.e a black belt in 12 – 18 months
and a lot of them are franchises like McDonalds.
The situation in Australia is very different.

How to import and own a sword in Victoria, Australia

This article is an update of


To import and legally own a sword in Victoria Australia the cheapest and easiest way is:

2. When importing the sword into Australia tell Customs you are a member of the Australasian Knife Collectors club. Customs will let the sword through as long as you have an exemption with the Victorian Police. Being a member of the club is a valid exemption.
3. Check out the storage requirements for swords. Make sure you comply with them.
4. Thank the Victorian government for protecting the public from the likes of you

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More sword violence back home

UPDATE: There appears to have been more sword releated violence in Victoria.

I hope this does not lead to more laws restricting what I can do with swords when I get back home. I wonder if it effects my ka-gum. A Ka-gum looks like a sword, but it is blunt. Would it be considered a weapon under the law? … probably 🙁

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An era long lost. Myself in 1989 at University.
At 179cm I was only 79 kg and very thin.
Even through I was thin, the height / weight tables you saw in high school physical education textbooks said I was overweight!

Now 17 years later I am overweight but I hope to lose that excess weight like I have lost my hair 🙁
The worse thing is in October 2004 I was 10 kilograms lighter then I am now. But I hurt my ankle and stopped exercising. What a difference that makes.
You don’t appreciate your health until you lose it. Fortunally I am well on the way to overcoming my ankle injury, but it is still with me now as a minnor irritant.


When I go back to Australia in September, I will miss all the apartment buildings and the wonderful snow in winter.

Already it seems a distant memory and I haven’t even left yet. Still to be home again, to experience a cold wet winter again will be nice … for the first 5 minutes. Then it will just be cold and miserable.

2005-01-16 Songan Snowfall - Apartments 03

Gumdo Observations

Sperwerslog at http://www.sperwerslog.com/index.php/sperwerslog/snuffing_out_candles_w_a_sword/
is talking about snuffing out candles with a sword. This is very difficult and often results in flattened candles when your focus is off.
After a few minutes it also kills your eyes.
He also mentioned his legs getting stiff after being in a sitting position for a while, a problem I can relate too.

I remember doing a grading for Hapikdo in Australia. The most important thing in the test was not your actual techniques but you attitude, so no slouching while sitting on the sidelines. So there I was sitting there for 20 minutes, the instructor calls me as a sparring partner and I get up. But my whole leg is number because I had cut of my circulation. You know the feeling where your leg feels a few inches bigger and then when the blood starts to flow again you get that lovely electrical feeling where you don’t know if you should cry or laugh.

Fortunally in my class there are two students, a kid and myself.
So when the kid is being instructed I get to practise by myself. It also allows me the opportunity to stretch because I have found I really need to stretch otherwise my knee gets very irriated at me.
When you are part of a much larger class, you can’t really do this because the class is much more formal, not to mention a bunch of Korean children walking around with big sticks.

My number one physical goal is to do the splits again ( ok… 95% of the way there) Gumdo is number two.
I have found that if I don’t have a flexible body I get injured very quickly. Even when you are flexible I have also noticed that it is best to strengthen the muscles and joints that you are flexible in, otherwise, you guessed it — injury
Even more so for a fat prick undertall person like myself.
When I went to university I could not even touch my toes! But after 9 months of Aerobics and 6 months of Taekwondo I could get +30 cm in a straight leg test and could nearly do the splits.
I found Aerobics teaches you lots of safe ways to stretch while martial arts teach you lots of potentially unsafe ways (but a lot more effective).
So this means part of my routine again will be sitting in the splits position reading the Economist for 10 minutes. This is not the most effective or quickest way to obtain flexibity but it works and it toughens your mind.