Kuk Sool includes (but is not
limited to) the following sets of techniques:
Joint locking/breaking: Various joint locks are employed in Kuk Sool,
including wrist locks, arm-bars, and small joint manipulation.
Soo Ki (Hand Striking): Palm, fist, wrist, finger, closed hand, open hand,
arm, shoulder and pressure-point striking techniques.
Johk Sool (Kicking Techniques): Spinning, jumping, combination, double-leg,
and pressure-point kicks.
Throwing and Grappling (Tu Ki & Jap Ki): Body throws, projection throws, leg
throws, pressure-point grappling, grappling defense, wrestling, and
Nak Bup (Falling Principles): Falling techniques are taught in Kuk Sool.
These techniques allow a practitioner to fall into a variety of positions
while minimizing injury. This is typically accomplished through maximizing
the surface area on impact to prevent damaging force on an isolated area of
Animal-Style Techniques: Tiger, Mantis, Crane, Dragon, Snake, Bear, Eagle
Traditional Korean Weapons: Sword (short, long, single and double, straight
and inverted), staff (short, middle and long, single and double), jool bong
(double and triple sectioned; also known as nunchucks and sansetsukon),
knife, spear, wol do (Moon knife - a Korean halberd), dangpa (triple bladed
spear, or trident), cane, rope, fan, and the bow and arrow (taught in the
traditional style, using a thumb draw).
Martial Art Healing Methods: Acupressure, acupuncture, internal energy,
Meditation and Breathing Techniques: Meditation and breathing postures and
These principles and styles guide the following facets of Kuk Sool Won.
At each rank level, Kuk Sool martial artists are required to know one or
more empty-hand forms or "hyung". These forms are performed solo. Each form
has an overall guiding significance to it, which may range from balance and
linear motion to preparation and practice for a knife form. Once a student
has attained a black-belt level, they are introduced to solo weapons forms.
These are similar to empty-hand forms, except they incorporate a weapon.
Also at black-belt rank or above, a student may learn partner weapon forms,
or sparring forms. These are performed with two people in a scripted series
of events. Caution is taken at first to learn the form and not to injure
your partner, but true mastery is demonstrated (amongst other things) by
full speed and full contact.
In addition, all forms have five guiding principles with each one governing
a specific part of the body and containing a MAJOR and minor rule or
Mind: CALM yet alert
Eyes: BRIGHT & focused
Body (torso): LOW & soft (soft meaning supple, not weak or fragile)
Hands: FAST & precise
Feet: SLOW & controlled (slow meaning deliberate, not slow-motion or
Kuk Sool systematically divides applied principles of martial arts into
techniques which are organized into technique sets. Each belt level has one
or more sets a practitioner is required to know before advancing. The number
of techniques in each set can range from as little as six to more than
twenty, and are ordered and grouped by principle. For instance, there is a
throwing technique set, as well as a counter-to-throwing technique set.
Technique sets also range in level of mastery, with some higher-ranking
technique sets similar to lower-ranking technique sets, but with a more
difficult and/or precise method of application. Individual techniques are
performed with one or more partners from a predetermined stance. Most
techniques end with a proper application of a joint lock, choke, strike,
throw or a combination of any of these. In order to be effective, Kuk Sool
techniques must be performed with speed, accuracy and control.
Kuk Sool Won sparring rules can differ from tournament to tournament, and
can even vary based on age group.
In general, Kuk Sool Won sparring is point based and light to no-contact.
Matches are three minutes long, and whomever has the most points at the end
wins. The match is also over if a competitor's score is 5 or more than
his/her opponent. Legal striking targets include the chest, sides above the
waist, neck, and head. There are no strikes allowed to the back or to the
back of the head. Excessive contact is forbidden and can result in warnings,
point deductions and disqualifications. The points are as follows:
One point - Kick to the body, punch to the body, punch to the head.
Two points - Kick to the head
In addition to scoring a point, a fighter must clearly show technique and
that they could have successfully executed the strike at full force. Points
are determined by a center judge, and two side judges. Two of the three
judges must agree on the point for it to count. At any time, any judge may
stop the fight and ask for a judge's decision about a point. Fighters start
approximately 3 feet apart from each other in the center of the ring, and
are reset to the center if a judge asks for a decision, if a penalty occurs,
or if a competitor steps out.