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Tuesday, 09 February 2016 12:37

Hyung Thoughts

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A Few Considerations for Hyung Training

korean traditional drum websiteGrandmaster Shin listed two main goals of the WTSDA from the its beginning as “traditionalism and professionalism.” Therefore, I view training in hyung as essential to our “traditional” martial art of Tang Soo Do.

Since the first Masters’ Clinic in 1990, the Masters along with GM Shin’s guidance began standardizing hyung, il soo sik dae ryun, and ho sin sul, ultimately resulting in the publication of several books. It was GM Shin’s reasoning that by standardizing techniques, a student could travel to any WTSDA dojang around the world and find everyone practices the same techniques.

While the books provide step-by-step instruction using photos and text for each hyung, an individual student can only progress just so far in memorizing each move. Only with guidance from a qualified instructor can the full benefit of knowing, understanding and applying a hyung thoroughly be achieved.

The books, therefore, are “academic” guides to each hyung and are important in continually reviewing and comparing the book description of moves with the ones that each student makes when training. In other words, over time one might become a bit lax and start using a hu kul ja se instead of a chun kul ja se or maybe add an extra move or delete a move. Following instruction and referencing the books leads to the standardization that GM Shin advocated and to that elusive nature of “perfection.”

Completing the proper technique for each move in a hyung is essential. The transition from one technique to the next, however, might involve small variations from student to student and place to place. As the rule book states, small variation in hyung techniques shall NOT affect the scoring decision.

Practicing hyung is not just a physical exercise. Indeed, it should employ an important mental element and ultimately an awakening and expression of the spirit. In the beginning one must focus the mind on every move to insure that the proper techniques and stances are accomplished. The goal over time is to meld the mind and body such that consciously thinking or subvocalizing the moves (i.e. saying or thinking each move to one’s own self) is unnecessary. On this pathway, there is the opportunity to inject spirit into the hyung which would complete the mind-body-spirit triad leading toward moo shim and mastery. While the physical and mental are somewhat mechanical processes in learning hyung, spirit is an expression of its feeling or personality which can vary from student to student and can make the hyung “come alive” not only for the student but also for the spectator.

Enjoy the journey!

KCN Bill Strong

Kwan Chang Nim Bill Strong has practiced martial arts for over 40 years. He received his 8th Dan rank, and title of Grandmaster, in 2014. He travels the world supporting member schools of the World Tang Soo Do Association, and teaches in his North Alabama Tang Soo Do studio, Florence, Alabama, USA.

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