Master Marlin Sims of the United Martial Science Federation (formerly of WKSA)
Compare to Master Sung Jin Suh’s interpretation. Both are valid, and knowing Master Sims, the power you see in the form is very much in line with his style of things.
Call it a Mook Jong, Muk Jong, Muk Yan Jong, or just a wooden dummy, it’s an essential training tool of various martial arts, especially Wing Chun. I don’t study Wing Chun, but I do study a relative art, Jeet Kune Do. Furthermore, with my Filipino Martial Arts study, such a tool is handy.
You see, much of the empty hand martial arts study I do involves hands: using my hands, defending against my opponent’s hands. I may need to block, grab, strike, counter-attack, trap, move around their hands and body. This sort of work and practice is easy to do when you have a partner, but when I practice I home I don’t have such a luxury. Sure Wife and Kids humor me and are my uke now and again, but on the whole it’s not a tenable solution. I have longed for a way to have arms available when I practice (even back in my Kuk Sool days).
I do have a Century Wavemaster XXL. Great training tool. I wondered what I could do with it to make arms.
I found something called an Attach-mate, which straps onto the Wavemaster and provides the 3 arms of the mook jong. I’ve heard it’s pretty good, but it can break if struck too hard. Plus it’s expensive.
If you want to buy a proper wood mook jong, look at spending $1000 or more, and then you need a way to mount it and have the space for it.
There are some people making mook jong’s out of big PVC pipe, which is a lot less expensive than wooden ones but still costly and the space issue remains.
Then there’s stuff like this Hitman. Not sure how durable it is, but it’s pretty cool. And expensive.
But upon seeing The Hillbilly Mook Jong, I got inspired.
I present to you, my DIY mook jong:
As you can see, it’s nothing special. I had a bamboo pole, which I cut in half to make 2 3-foot lengths. I used a little rope to attach the poles to the side of the Wavemaster, and viola. Low-cost mook jong. 🙂 I was actually looking for wiffle ball bats, but they’re amazingly difficult to find for some reason. I had the bamboo pole so eh, use that. I can’t say this is “no cost” since I did have to buy the Wavemaster and the rope, but certainly this didn’t incur the expense of any of the above mentioned options. If the bamboo breaks, no big deal to replace it. I tried some basic sinawali and gunting drills, some basic trapping and footwork. Worked like a charm. Sure it’s not a proper mook jong, but for my purposes it gives me what I need.
One trouble is the bamboo is hard and only gives so much. The back of my hand was getting sore after a lot of striking (yes, this is a good conditioning opportunity). Solution of course is a bit of padding. Keeping in the spirit of not wanting to spend any money:
I had an almost empty roll of Shop Towels, which fit over the bamboo and provides just enough padding so the back of my hand doesn’t get banged up yet there’s still some felt impact. I did have a new roll of towels that was of course very cushy, but was way too much padding. Plus the weight hung on the bamboo and caused too much shifting.
So yeah, it’s cheap, it’s far from sexy. But it works. It allows me to train. It cost me nothing out of pocket. Easy to use, easy to remove, easy to put back. If it breaks, easy to fix or replace. I can also whack the Wavemaster as I work. I can adjust lengths, heights, positioning. There’s just a lot I can do here.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go practice. 🙂
Ki Cho Hyung is the foundational form learned in Kuk Sool. It is learned at the white belt level. It is not an easy form, it is not a beginner form. It is a foundational form. All things in Kuk Sool build upon it. It remains one of my favorite forms.
I wrote an article about Ki Cho Hyung and included this video:
Ki Cho Hyung is being performed by Master Sung Jin Suh (oldest son of founder/Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh, and heir apparent to the throne). It’s very slow and stylized, to point out the ideal technique and performance of the form.
Compare now to this performance of the form:
That performance was done by In Hyuk Suh, and I believe is the original version of Ki Cho Hyung. Anyone that says Kuk Sool hasn’t changed or evolved doesn’t know their history.
While the form remains fundamentally the same, some differences are:
What other subtle differences can you pick up?
Masters Barry and Choon Ok Harmon are wonderful people. I always enjoyed the seminars taught my Master Barry, as he is a wealth of knowledge and a pretty nice guy too. One thing that’s always great about them is watching their demos. Since they are married, they have a special harmony and it always showed in their demos… with of course, Choon Ok always getting the best of Barry. 🙂
There are lots of good video out there of the two of them performing together. I especially love their weapons demonstrations with Choon Ok using the double short sword and Barry the single straight sword. I’ve been trying to find more video demo of just the two of them together but can’t. Lots of them demoing with others.
Oon Hak Hyung or “Crane Over Cloud” form is learned at the 5th degree black belt level in Kuk Sool.
Previously I linked to a video of Master Sung Jin Suh that had some snippets of his performance of Oon Hak Hyung along with other things.
Well, the World Kuk Sool Association 2009 World Tournament was just held last weekend and someone has posted video of the Masters demo. What I was thrilled about was seeing a complete performance by Master Sung Jin Suh of Oon Hak Hyung:
Unfortunately I can’t get wordpress.com to preroll the video to the performance, but you can flip ahead to 1:11 in the video to see it.
I have never seen this form interpreted as well as Master Sung Jin does it. His performance is amazing. The power, grace, fluidity. It’s simply awesome.
The video has some other cool things too. I really enjoyed Master Jack Harvey’s demo at the end of the video. Fun. 🙂
The curriculum of the martial art of Kuk Sool does contain animal techniques. Unlike Chinese arts which may form a style around the characteristics of a single animal, Kuk Sool looks to view animals as a whole. There are things we can learn from animal fighting styles and techniques, but we are humans, not animals. Thus when Kuk Sool views animal techniques, they take principles from the animals and adapt them to human means.
Some years ago I found a reprint of an article that discussed animal techniques in Kuk Sool. The website is long gone, but I saved the article in PDF’s.
Here’s an old video of Master Barry Harmon demonstrating various animal techniques.
I would love to know what the backstory is for the production of this video. Looks like it was done in a quasi “kung fu action theater” style, but as some sort of a promotional vehicle. I know In Hyuk Suh has a good sense of humor, and back in the 70’s when he first came to the US he was looking to do all he could to promote and publicize his art.
It’s good fun, and demonstrates Kuk Sool curriculum.
It reminds me of The Curse of Chubbs (starring my former instructor, Dewain Perry)
Kuk Sool Won Master Gene Gause of Valencia, California has quite a collection of old and new Kuk Sool Won videos.
I personally love seeing the old stuff. There’s obviously a huge video library in people’s private collections of old Kuk Sool Won videos, from demos to training tapes to promotional materials. It’d be great if it could all be put online for people to experience.
That said, you can see a lot of Master Gause’s efforts on two YouTube channels:
TheDragonClips channel (I suspect this is Master Gause himself)
richhewton channel (I believe a student of Master Gause)
I’m going to make some separate postings of some of these videos as I think they deserve their own discussion.
Thank you Master Gause for putting these online. Looking forward to more!
When I was reading part 1 of the interview, a lot of it hit home. Again, Mr. Morgan’s answers to questions in part 2 hit home.