Kuk Sool Won is a Korean martial arts system.
The study of Kuk Sool Won includes many modern day techniques such as gun defense and weapon improvisation. Kuk Sool Won has many facets and is performed for self-defense, healing, conditioning, competition, fun and aesthetic purposes.
Kuk Sool Won encompasses many different traditional Korean "arts". However, it still has some discernible characteristics that set it apart from other traditional martial arts. It is typically characterized by having low stances and fluid, graceful motions. There is also an emphasis on joint locks and pressure points. Kuk Sool Won is also described as being a hard-soft style, which includes hard and forceful strikes in addition to circular and fluid movements.
Kuk Sool Won includes (but is not limited to) the following sets of techniques:
- Joint locking/breaking: various joint locks are employed in Kuk Sool Won, including wrist locks, arm-bars, and small joint manipulation.
- Soo Ki (Hand Striking): palm, fist, wrist, finger, closed hand, open hand, arm, shoulder and pressure-point striking techniques.
- Johk Sool (Kicking Techniques): Spinning, jumping, combination, double-leg, and pressure-point kicks.
- Throwing and Grappling: body throws, projection throws, leg throws, pressure-point grappling, grappling defense, wrestling, and ground-fighting techniques.
- Nak Bup (Falling Principles): Falling techniques are taught in Kuk Sool Won. These techniques allow a practitioner to fall into a variety of positions whilst minimizing injury.
Kuk Sool Won systematically divides applied principles of martial arts into techniques which are organized into technique sets. Each belt level has one or more sets a practitioner is required to know before advancing. The number of techniques in each set can range from as little as five to more than twenty, and are ordered and grouped by principle. For instance, there is a throwing technique set, as well as a counter-to-throwing technique set.
Technique sets also range in level of mastery, with some higher-ranking technique sets similar to lower-ranking technique sets, but with a more difficult and/or precise method of application. Individual techniques are performed with one or more partners from a predetermined stance. Most techniques end with a proper application of a joint lock, choke, strike, throw or a combination of any of these. In order to be effective, Kuk Sool Won techniques must be performed with speed, accuracy and control.