Professional Demonstration Teams in Korea

Namsan Tower Park, Seoul

Here, a professional demonstration team perform three times daily for tourists. Perfomances are noted for a very past pace of action with speedy entrances and exits. The team has been in existence for around nine years and was initially trained by Grandmaster Seok Jang Kyun (the Grandmaster of the Keom Mu Kwan).

Korean sword, Korean traditional martial arts, gumdo

Grandmaster Seok Jang Kyun

While most performers are Masters’ holding dan grades in the likes of taekwondo, hapkido or Gumdo, some are not. This is because there are few dojangs in Korea which teach exclusively Gojeon Muye and while most practitioners begin traditional training after specialising in another art, some learn independently. One of the most proficient Gojeon Muye practitioners I knew had no dan grades and his performance with a woldo was awesome. He performs in the Namsan videos below.

The Namsan Team perform exclusively the 18 unmounted systems and traditional Korean archery but some also practice the equestrian skills.

Some Youtube videos of the Namsan Tower demonstration team.


Suwon Fortress, Suwon

Suwon Fortress also has a resident professional demonstration team. I will post suitable ones here when I find them. Once again this team was originally trained by Grandmaster Seok Jang Kyun.

Goryeong (Near to Daegu)

An equestrian team is being established here with numerous martial artists from the Keom Mu Kwan. The team is being led by Grandmaster Seok Jang Kyun.

You can find a list of other interesting Gojeon Muye videos link in the PDF/Info page.

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Gojeon Muye Uniforms

The Korean term for a uniform or training suit is a dobok (도복). This term is used for all Korean martial art uniforms, regardless of style. Gojeon Muye has a number of different dress codes but the one we are concerned with here, are the different dobok used for regular practice and training.

The Gojeon Muye dobok

The Gojeon Muye dobok

The Gojeon Muye style dobok is quite different to many other Korean sword styles which ironically, tend to wear Japanese influenced dobok where the trousers are similar to Japanese Hakama. Hakama are very baggy trousers which are pleated. Likewise, taekwon-do style dobok trousers are based on the baggy Japanese style with open ankles.  Like the traditional Korean hanbok, Gojeon Muye dobok trousers are tied at the ankles. This style dobok is quiet difficult to buy in the UK so we are just about to try out a similar Chinese style uniform which we can adapt. More on this later.

In Korea, in our Keom Mu Kwan dojang, all practitioners, regardless of rank are able to wear dark-blue, blue or black dobok.


1st dan – white suit, single black piping and black belt.

Above - 3rd dan student - red dobok with black belt with central red stripe.

3rd dan student, red dobok, black belt with central red stripe.

OPEN (3)

4th dan (Master) and above – white dobok with double black piping and black belt.


 1st dan wear a white dobok with single, black piping.

2nd dan, wear a blue dobok with double red piping.

3rd dan, a red dobok.

4th dan and above a white dobok with double black piping.

In Keom Mu Kwan, UK, if dobok have been bought via Korea, the above customs may be adopted. However, because of the difficulty in obtaining proper KMK dobok,  our dress code is currently black, or black with a white collar on the neck and sleeve. We use traditional cotton Chinese uniforms for this, which are almost identical, and add our regular insignia minus any piping. Decals on legs and back, to match our Korean dojang, may be added later.

Insignia – As is the usual practice, the wearer’s left breast carries the Korean flag. The right breast carries the Korean association badge. In the UK, the right arm carries the British Association of Martial Arts and Boxing badge.

Decals – The left arm may carry the hanja character for ‘sword’. The dobok jacket is emblazoned on the back with ‘Keom Mu Kwan’ (in Hangeul) though lettering may sometimes carry hanja on a Master’s jacket. The right leg carries ‘Gumdo’, (Geomdo in the new 2002 national transliteration) while the right leg carries Keom mu Kwan in Hangeul.

Keom Mu Kwan coloured belts (gup) are embroidered with name. If bought in the UK belts do not need to be embroidered. However, 2nd and 1st gup (black/red) and 1st-3rd dan  are always embroidered with name, association, and dojang name. These belts are obtained from Korea.

There is no summer dobok, as there is in Korea but jacket sleeves can be long or short. Occasionally, long sleeves inhibit the sword.

Students require a dobok to grade after which they are required dress for all training sessions.

At certain times of the year we can obtain dobok from Korea. You can use the Info/Pdf page to download a form for recording suit measurements.

When you wish to buy a British produced dobok ask Sabeom-nim for details.

(Note: the Korean students above 1-3rd dan, are junior dan grades but the belts and dobok remain the same for adults).

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First Classes Begin

John and Nick (Sabeom-nim)

The first classes of Go-Jeon Mu-Ye began in Wivenhoe at the start of September. The first students are John and Harry Wills (father and son) who come from Brightlingsea. Having recently overcome the usual initial period of arm ache, especially around the elbow which takes the brunt of practice, we have started to step up the training. Lessons are always fun and finish by learning a new skill or technique..

Our initial classes began learning how to hold the sword, draw it from the scabbard and performing the head stroke and downward cut. We’ve since expanded this and are currently tackling our first form, Ssang Su Do Keom Beop Il Jang (쌍수도검법 일장). John and Harry have since bought their own wooden practice swords (목도 – mok-do) and, in preparation of grading, will soon buy their dobok (suits).

Harry and Nick ( Sabeom-nim)

Harry and Nick ( Sabeom-nim)

We’ve also started learning to use the gon bong (곤봉), this being a wooden staff just overt six feet in  length. The Korean gon bong is traditionally made from wisteria though they are indistinguishable from the rattan versions which can be bought from UK martial arts suppliers. The gon bong  also provides a good initial substitute for the flag-spear (기창 – ki-chang) and we’ve already started learning this form.

Our Go-Jeon Mu-Ye classes are possibly the first to be formally taught in the UK and I can certainly find no UK dojang which exclusively practices material from the Muye-dobo-tongi (무예도보통지) of 1791. Currently, we train on a Wednesday at 4.45 – 5.45pm in the William Loveless Hall and Saturday, 1 – 2.30 pm, in the far right corner of the sports fields behind  Wivenhoe football stadium. The first grading is provisionally booked for Wednesday 16th of December.




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