The Hankimuye Summer Seminars 2016 have come to an end. We shared the mat with a group of very enthusiastic hankido practitioners. Training, sleeping and eating 24/7 at the headquarters of our federation in Incheon, South-Korea. The official seminars lasted two weeks, but some people decided to stay a week longer. Here is an overview of what training in Korea looks like.
The seminars started on Monday, but in the weekend all participants had already checked in to the dojang. With temperatures around 34 degrees (94 F) we knew the next weeks were going to get hot.
Every morning at 7 AM we started our day in the park with breathing and visualisation exercises, hwansangdobeop. Every day one or two techniques were taught. This way the group could learn all twelve exercises.
After this first session, we walked back to the gym to have breakfast and coffee before we started with our second session. This session lasted from 10 till 12 and focused on hankido self-defence. The visualisation techniques learned in the park were now turned into real self-defence techniques.
Lunch was served in the gym by master Ko Baek-yong’s wife. The Korean meals were terrific and gave us plenty of energy to get us through the day. After lunch, when the temperature in the gym was sky rocketing towards 40 degrees (100+ F), we had time to cool down in a nearby park.
The third training session of the day started at four in the afternoon and lasted until six. During these sessions, we either focused on self-defence again, but there was also time to learn hankumdo (sword techniques) and hyeong (forms). Master Ko Baek-yong and his son Ko Se-hwan really took the time to give each and everyone personal attention.
After a good Korean diner, the fourth and last session of the day was usually taught by a guest instructor. Master Yang Yong-seok taught kicking and sparring. Instructor Choi Won-yeong was our drill instructor and nunchuck teacher. He made sure that whatever energy the participants had left, was gone at the end of the day.
After a quick shower, the day usually ended in front of the convenience store downstairs with a refreshing beverage.
During the weekends the participants were free to do what they want. Most of them used these days to see a bit more of Korea. Some visited Seoul to see the palaces and other tourist attractions. Others choose to visit some of the Incheon islands and relax at the beach. To each his own.
The training schedule for the second week was exactly the same as the first week. Only this time we visited two other training facilities.
The first visit was made on Tuesday to the gym of ‘martial arts director’ Park Jeong-yul. Park has made a name for himself in Korean cinema. He runs a training institute for people who want a career in the film industry has stuntman or woman. We trained our group in some film techniques and how they related to real martial arts. Flashy falling and tumbling techniques were part of the program but also realistic self-defence. Park is a skilled martial artist and always pointed out how the more fancy film techniques related to real self-defence.
On Thursday afternoon we visited a ‘begi-jang’ (a place where you can test your sword cutting skills on different materials like bamboo). This begi-jang was also the working place of sword smith Jeong Yeong-hun. Everyone got the chance to practice his or her skills on four bamboo sprouts.
With some extra instruction every was able to cut the bamboo.
The seminars ended on Thursday night and Friday morning with a belt test. Rick, Ralph and Amy tested for their first degree black belt. Damiano, Pieter, Lennart and Frances tested for their next geup.
Two weeks of intensive training really pays off and everyone passed their test.
Five people stayed for another week of training. On Monday the schedule continued as before, but on Tuesday afternoon the boarded a plane to Jeju island. Their mission: to climb Hallasan (Halla mountain). Hallasan is the highest mountain, volcano to be more precise, in South-Korea.
On Wednesday morning our inexperienced mountaineers started their mission. Late in the afternoon, everyone was back at the foot of the mountain. The walk up and down the volcano had been underestimated, a good lesson was learned this day. But hey, we made it to the top and it is the result that counts.
On Thursday we visited the gym of master Choi Yeong-ju on Jeju and taught a class to his younger students.
On Friday Richard and Jacob tested for fourth and third dan respectively. A test like this is of course more than just showing your techniques to the board of examiners. The test started on day one of the seminars and lasted three weeks.
Richard and Jacob received their dan certificates from master Ko Baek-yong personally.