nederlands english
The Centre for Korean Studies of Leiden University and the Korean Institute for Martial Arts present


A Cycle of 5 Master Classes by Dr. Bok Kyu Choi:

The Korean Institute for Martial Arts and the Centre for Korean Studies of Leiden University present a cycle of master classes on the ancient martial arts manual Muyedobotongji.

In five consecutive lectures, Dr. Choi will reveal the meaning of this book, which is considered as the key to understanding Korean martial arts history. The lectures focus on the 5 most significant weapons, each complemented with a practice workshop.

Compiled in 1790, the Muyedobotongji represents Korean martial arts at its height and it accurately demonstrates the synthesis process of East Asian martial arts traditions. It shows Korean, Japanese and Chinese martial arts in drawings and detailed descriptions through the prism of Koreans. This manual guides us to a deeper understanding of traditional martial arts and provides directions to its future development.

Up to now many people have been interested in this manual but couldn’t find access to its contents. Written in Classical Chinese, it wasn’t easy to overcome the language barrier. Secondly, knowledge of the very specific jargon and traditional martial arts theories is required to decipher the content. This resulted in a myriad of misunderstandings and myths in the field of Korean martial arts.

Dr. Choi is considered one of the authoritative scholars on the Muyedobotongji, the main focus of his more than 20 years of research. He published on this subject for the Ehwa University Press, Seoul National University Press and Korea’s national newspapers. He is temporarily based in The Netherlands which offers the Dutch people with an interest in Korean martial arts a unique chance to study The Classics in both a theoretical and a practical way.
MC 1: Sunday March 1st         – Jedokgŭm (Admiral’s sword)
MC 2: Sunday March 29th        – Ssangsudo (Double handed sword)
MC 3: Sunday April 26th        – Jangbong (Long staff)
MC 4: Sunday May 24th        – Bongukgŭm (Silla sword)
MC 5: Sunday June 14th        – Ssanggŭm (Double swords)

Every master class entails 3 parts in the following structure:

Part I - Theory class 10:30 to 12:00hrs.
1)    the historical background of the development of Korean martial arts in relation to the weapon concerned;
2)    the weapon in the context of the relation between Korea and its neighboring countries;
3)    the Korean classics;
4)    the origins of the weapon concerned and its theoretical significance for the martial arts.

Lunch break 12:15 – 13:00 hrs.
Unfortunately we’re not able to serve Korean lunches on Sunday. Participants of the master classes are therefore recommended to bring their own lunchbox.

Part II - Practice class 13:30 - 15:30 hrs.
1)    the standards in basic stances and body movements specifically for the weapon concerned;
2)    the features of the weapon and the essential techniques;
3)    specific training techniques;
4)    combination form and its applications.

Part III – Evaluation and discussion 15:45 – 16:15 hrs.

Location theory class:
Lipsius Building, Cleveringaplaats 1, Leiden.

Location practice class:
Universitair Sportcentrum, Einsteinweg 6, Leiden,

Eligible for registration:
Korean martial arts professionals: masters and (assistant) instructors from
1st dan and higher.

•    Price per single master class € 75,- including vat and syllabus.
•    Entire cycle of 5 master classes € 295,- including vat, syllabi and certificate.
(Booking before 15 February 2009.)

forms available on request with Mrs. J. van der Hoff: joseonmuye@gmail.com.

Brief descriptions of the subjects:

MC 1 Jedokgŭm - Sunday March 1st
This particular style of swordsmanship was introduced by Li Rusong (?‐1598), commander of the Korean‐Chinese allied forces during the Japanese invasions. The skill required both a sharp sword and a waist sword in 14 basic techniques. Li used straight‐bladed swords (jikdo) taking advantage of the strength of a single‐edged sword (do) for slashing and a double‐edged sword (gom) for stabbing.

MC 2. Ssangsudo - Sunday March 29th
The long sword is handled with both hands. These frighteningly big, heavy swords were originally called "long swords" (jangdo), or sometimes "applying sword" (yonggum) or "plain sword" (pyunggum). Swords of this type came to be known during invasions of China as they were used by Japanese pirates invading China's coastal areas. Wielding these swords, the Japanese pirates cut long spears, or even enemy soldiers, into half in a single strike. The long sword skills were therefore introduced in Korea to prepare its troops for combat against Japanese pirates.
MC 3. Jangbong – Sunday April 26th  
Jangbong is a long staff, which is considered a mother technique of all martial arts. In the Muyedobotongji, there are two sorts of staff sparring forms, one is staff vs. staff sparring, the other is a staff vs. flail form.
Staff techniques entail strike, stab, block, parry etc. These techniques are fundamentals of all weapon techniques. After mastering staff skills, the study of other pole arms such as spear, sword, trident, moon sword etc. is accessible.
MC 4. Bongookgŭm – Sunday May 24th  
The skill especially stressed the independent valor of Korean swordsmen. It was originated from the sword skills of the Hwarang, the elite paramilitary organization of the Silla Dynasty, hence its other name, "Silla sword," or "sin-gum." Double‐edged swords were presumably used at early stages but the skill had been rearranged to use single‐edged swords by the time it was included in Sibpalki, the 18 essential skills.
MC 5. Ssanggŭm – Sunday June 14th 
A fighting skill using two swords with both hands, this was one of the most difficult skills to master. Double swords on horseback required even greater prowess. The fighter could attack and defend at the same time using two swords. The smaller, saber‐size swords with round hand guards (hwando) were generally used for this technique. The swordsman kept a pair of swords, one referred to as male and the other one as female, in a single scabbard to draw them quickly. The folk double swords dance (Ssanggum Moo) was derived from this skill.