What is Kuk Sool?

Kuk Sool is a martial art unlike any other! Kuk Sool is an internal, hard/soft martial art. It is “internal” because it is based on the development and use of Ki, or internal power. The “hard/soft” description means that Kuk Sool combines the graceful, flowing ease of soft styles like Tai Chi with the awesome power of hard styles like Tae Kwon Do. It combines kicking, punching, throwing, falling, joint locking, and weapons techniques into a beautiful and dynamic martial art, emphasizing speed and fluidity.

The name “Kuk Sool” is best understood by breaking it down into its three sections. “Kuk” translates to “nation”, “state”, or “country”. “Sool” literally means “martial art technique.” However, “Sool’s” implied meaning goes deeper to include the mental, spiritual and philosophical heritage of Korean Martial Arts. “. The entire name, “Kuk Sool” can be translated to “Traditional (Korean) Martial Arts.”

breakKuk Sool is a comprehensive Martial Arts system that is derived from the rich and varied Martial Arts techniques and traditions that have arisen in Korea through the ages. Kuk Sool is not a sport, nor is it simply another oriental self defense method. Kuk Sool is a complete martial art that is dedicated to the cultivation of mental strength and well being and to the preservation of traditional Korean Martial Arts.

The basis of Kuk Sool is the development and use of “Ki” (internal power). Therefore Kuk Sool is considered an internal martial art system. However, to classify Kuk Sool under any one name is incorrect due to its vastness.

For self defense, Kuk Sool is unsurpassed. It combines kicking, punching, throwing, falling, choking, joint locking and a myriad of weapons techniques into a beautiful and dynamic “hard-soft” style, emphasizing speed and fluidity. In conjunction with physical training, meditation, breathing, acupressure and acupunction techniques are employed to improve and maintain health, develop internal power and slow the ageing process.

Philosophically, Kuk Sool stresses humility, self discipline, loyalty and respect for others. Together, these four aspects of Kuk Sool provide the means for attaining a longer and healthier life.

Kuk Sool can benefit women, men and children of any age. Through regular practice, Kuk Sool training will develop strength, quickness, balance, timing, flexibility and coordination. At the same time, Kuk Sool will significantly improve powers of concentration, self discipline, and self control. Consistent practice will enhance circulation and digestion, reduce back and joint problems, aid in weight loss and help to develop and maintain a youthful appearance. Kuk Sool self defense offers the benefit that could prove life saving at some unexpected moment in the future!

As a Martial Arts system, Kuk Sool covers the entire spectrum of the traditional Asian fighting arts and techniques of body conditioning, as well as mental development and traditional weapons training. These include (but are not limited to):

Hand Striking

  • Closed and open hand striking methods: including palm, wrist, finger striking techniques and specialized hand training techniques
  • Pressure point striking
  • Striking using arm and shoulder
  • Blocking and parrying

Leg Techniques

  • Foundational kicks
  • Spinning kicks
  • Jumping kicks
  • Combination kicks
  • Double leg kicks
  • Pressure point kicking
  • Specialty kicking

Throwing and Grappling

  • Body throws
  • Projection throws
  • Leg throws
  • Pressure point grappling
  • Grappling defense
  • Wrestling techniques
  • Ground fighting
  • Control and redirection techniques

Joint-Locking Techniques

  • Restraining methods
  • Joint breaking techniques
  • Combination joint locking
  • Control and redirection techniques
  • Arresting and “come along” techniques

Falling Techniques and Acrobatics

  • Body conditioning and agility techniques
  • Body protection techniques
  • Acrobatics for defense and offense

Body Conditioning

  • Overall stretching and flexibility training
  • Cardiovascular conditioning
  • Muscle toning
  • Ligament and tendon strengthening
  • Joint flexibility and conditioning

Animal-Style Techniques

  • Techniques based on movements and/or characteristics of certain “martial” animals such as Tiger, Praying Mantis, Crane, Dragon, Bear, etc.

Traditional Korean Weapons

  • Long staff
  • Medium staff
  • Straight sword
  • Inverted sword
  • Double sword
  • Double short sword
  • Jool bong (nunchaku)
  • Short stick
  • Double short stick
  • Spear
  • Cane
  • Belt
  • Folding fan
  • And much more (there are 24 different traditional Korean Royal Court weapons in the curriculum)

Martial Art Healing Methods

  • Acupressure
  • Acupuncture
  • Internal energy systems
  • Herbal medicine

Meditation and Breathing

  • Various breath control techniques
  • Meditation and breathing postures
  • Concentration techniques

More importantly, Kuk Sool has a wide range of responses to an attack. They go from the avoiding, to the merely controlling, to the painful, to the injuring, to the deadly. An important part of the philosophy behind Kuk Sool is that one meets an attack with an equal response. If someone grabs your shirt, the only response some people know is to break their knees with a kick. Kuk Sool considers such a response inappropriate. In Kuk Sool one learns that small threats can be met with small responses which will probably avert further trouble without causing more problems than they solve.

What is the Philosophy behind the fighting style of Kuk Sool?

The primary theory behind Kuk Sool is that of “You Won Hwa”. This literally translates into “Soft, Circle, Harmony.” One must flow like water. Water is soft, but strong. It has no shape; it adapts to its environment. A circle represents the perfect geometric figure. Each person has his or her own private circle that they seek to protect. A person is best in martial arts training when one finds harmony within oneself.

The ramification of the theory of “You Won Hwa” is that as flowing water seeks a harmonious state with its environment, constantly adapting to external changes, we should also seek to maintain harmony within our inner circle so that all trespassers in this space are redirected in direct proportion to the force they introduce.

Interested in learning more?

Still have questions? Refer to our handy FAQ which answers over 2 dozen of the most common questions we get asked, or visit our video page to see Kuk Sool in action!