Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa Reflection — Standardization & Connection

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This weekend I returned home from my 8 day “Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa” in Ramona, California. It was an experience I will never forget. I’m sure many posts will be dedicated towards the event. Here I’d like to give a general overview of my impression of the event.

The shim sa had the theme “Standardization, Connection, and Strengthening the Philosophy through Action.” This was the goal of the entire week. I do not know of any other martial arts organization that maintains the same standardization that we do. We are truly connected worldwide with professional, standardized material. The same philosophy, terminology, and phyiscal technique is used in every dojang (studio). Much of the week was devoted towards standardizing our ki sool (techniques), hyung ( forms), il soo sik (one step sparring), and ho sin sul (self defense techniques).

The Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa began in San Diego, California as a part of the Moment with the Masters Seminars. There we took part in seminars of our own choice, along with a few seminars directed towards the Sa Dan and Sa Bom Candidate Groups. Next, we participated in the National Championships where I participated in Hyung, Sparring, and Team Sparring (I was a Region 8 representative). I was happy to share this experience with many of my students who participated. Later, I will relate a detailed post on the occasion.

Following the Championships, we went to Ramona and stayed at a quiet mountain lodge for the remaining of the Ko Dan Ja experience. On Sunday, I taught a class with Greg Booker, Kyo Sa Nim, fulfilling a requirement for my sa bom examination. The theme was “ki-seh” with an emphasis on practical application of kyo cha rip jaseh. The class was well received and many encouraging comments were made after class and during the evaluation that evening.

Immediately following my class, Griggs Sa Bom Nim, my TAC proctor, elaborated on my concept. I was teaching a defense against a front kick by stepping back into a cross-legged stance and performing a low block. From there, you counter with a roundhouse kick with the front leg. The proper preparation and execution of the roundhouse from this position is particularly difficult. Apparently, my kick was too linear. From this position your partner’s solar plexus is positioned to the side. Therefore, the roundhouse should come around, in a circular fashion, parallel to the ground. Instead of preparing your knee into your chest, you should focus your heel towards your buttocks.

The following days were pure training from early morning moo pahl dan kuhm till late at night trainings and evaluations. I enjoyed every session, being taught by some of the world’s best! The highlights of course was receiving instruction and counsel from Kwan Jang Nim Hwang himself. Each day we received new insights in all of our standardized material, history, and philosophy.

Many friendships were created among the candidates. We had plenty of time to get to know each other through training. The last part of Ko Dan Ja was principally dedicated towards unity and harmony within the group. Griggs Sa Bom Nim taught a class at midnight on unity. He said the 7 steps towards group harmony was

  1. Huri
  2. Ho Hoop
  3. Shi Sun
  4. Shin Chook
  5. Completion
  6. Effort
  7. Success

We worked on one hyung, Yang Pyun, until close to 1:30 attempting to complete the hyung without any mistakes and with group harmony. By midnight, we were all extremely fatigued and our brains were mush. The exercise required every ounce of shim gong we had. It is an experience I will never forget. Thank you Griggs Sa Bom Nim!

We trained hard and before you knew it, the last day approached and we were demonstrating our hyung in front of Kwan Jang Nim and the senior Soo Bahk Do officials. I enjoyed the presentation and felt good about the experience. I’ve learned many things about myself and I have a deeper appreciation for the art. My hope is to be able to pass on my appreciation for the art to my students so they too may receive the rich benefits I have received.


2 thoughts on “Ko Dan Ja Shim Sa Reflection — Standardization & Connection

  1. Hi Kyo Sa,

    re the non-linear Dollyo Cha Gi … it’s an interesting concept; we spend hours perfecting our technique in one particular way, then to apply it slightly differently. Personally I love this part of training as it means you simply MUST THINK instead of only DOING AS YOUR TOLD … I have to explain to students time and time again that we drill them in the foundations so they can then apply the skills as required, when required; we cannot prepare/practice every possibly scenario, but we can give ourselves the best possible start by having solid foundations.

    Enjoying your comments on Ko Dan Ja – a few years off for me but am already preparing.


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