Jang Sa Bom Nim and Chil Sung Philosophy

The last week of December, my family and I traveled to Santa Barbara, CA to visit Helena’s grandma. There I trained with Jang Sa Bom Nim, who I highly respect and admire as a martial artist and a high-level person. Not only is he a master of Soo Bahk Do, but he is also a master calligrapher, who got his training in Korea. Below, you will see a beautiful piece of calligraphy on the left and a scroll on the right.


The scroll has the characters that denote “sincerity” and the writing on the far left means roughly all things come from the heart, which is the meaning of sincerity.

The fan has special significance to me.  The whole fan is symbolic of Chil Sung, which is Jang Sa Bom Nim’s expertise.  Chil Sung is a term well-known to Soo Bahk Do practitioners, especially dan members.  It is a set of forms that are unique to our system.  The direct translation means 7 stars, which refer to the 7 stars of the big dipper.  These set of forms are our guide in Soo Bahk Do much like the Big Dipper was a guide for sailors.


For most of my life, that was the complete meaning of Chil Sung.  Apparently, Chil Sung is a term richly engrained in Korean culture.  Chil Sung is a composite of Tae Guk (Um/Yang) plus O Haeng (5 Elements) .  The Um Yang is the red and blue symbol found on the Korean flag and are located on the far right side of the fan.  In the center of the fan, you’ll see 5 symbols, represening the 5 elements:  Wood, Metal, Fire, Water, and Earth.  Earth is the center symbol in Yellow, which also represents the Golden Mean.  Everything in our world are manifestations of Chil Sung and through careful study, we can find elements of Chil Sung throughout our training and also in our daily life.

Perhaps in time, I’ll write a little more about Chil Sung Philosophy.  I’d be interested to know if there are many people out there who would be interested in further information on the subject.  I know I am.

2 thoughts on “Jang Sa Bom Nim and Chil Sung Philosophy

  1. I am studying SBD and am researching Chil Sung. I would appreciate any information you have gleaned in your study.


    1. Hello Yemia,

      I’d be interested to know who your instructor is. I haven’t taken the time to compose a good post about Chil Sung Philosophy, but the idea is that Chil Sung is found everywhere in Korean life. The way they eat, sleep, work, and exist revolves around the idea of Chil Sung.

      As I said above, Chil Sung is divided into Um/Yang and O-Haeng. Um and Yang are the two entities in the universe that represent plus and minus. Everything in nature can be categorized into either Um or Yang energy and everything in nature will have its opposing nature, the summation of both will bring about balance or neutrality. One way of expressing Um and Yang is through O Haeng, or the 5 Elements. For more information on O Haeng, plus visit my post on the Ship Sam Seh or 13 Influences. I speak a lot about O Haeng there. Another useful post would be about Taekukki Philosophy, which is the Korean National Flag.

      To sum it up, if you understand Um/Yang and O Haeng, then you understand Chil Sung Philosophy. Please note that thus far, most of my writings have been about the physical manifestation of these principles in our Weh Gong, or physical technique training. The real benefits of Chil Sung, O Haeng, Um Yang, Ship Sam Seh, etc is in the internal benefits. For example, eating a well balanced diet in Korea means eating the 5 colors everyday, each color representing one of the 5 Elements (O Haeng). Please check back periodically as I am anticipating an article discussing more of the internal benefits of these principles.

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