A Look at the Ancient Korean Martial Art of Kouk Sun Do

"If I teach you how to break stones, will you follow me?"

On this page Tiago Costa looks at the origins and benefits of the ancient Korean martial art of Kouk Sun Do.



It must have been something like this a strange mountain dweller named Chung-Woon asked Be-Kyung when he was still a child.

The young Be-Kyung agreed and Chung-Woon showed him out to break stones with his fingers. In 1967 by order of his master, Be-Kyung left the mountains and started teaching Kouk Sun Do, a Toaist art of healing that had been practiced in secret by monks in the Korean mountains for over 9700 years.

Be-Kyung (whose real name was Chung-san) practiced Kouk Sun Do daily about 10 hours, for nearly 20 years.

His demonstrations were more than impressive. He could do things that were beyond human capabilities such as sitting on fire without being burned. In 1970 he established the first Kouk Sun Do center in Seoul, Korea.

There are many exploits said to have been performed by Kouk Sun Do masters, such as staying for several minutes underwater. This is the kind of thing that carries our imagination to the fantastic world of movies and even animated series.

But the inspiration behind those things is the usage and development of one's life energy, known as Ki, Chi or Qi. This is what Kouk Sun Do is all about.

Through a practice that is known as Danjun (Tanjun) breathing (which is also used in other arts like Hapkido and Taekwondo), the student learns to focus and develop the Ki and circulate it through the three energy centers of the body: Ha(inferior), Jung (medium) and San(high).

The healing that is generated through the 'Sam Il We Chae' the Balace of the three energy centers is more gradual than the healing through acupressure points and other treatments, because if elevates the person that state of balance rather than just accelerate the healing process.

Danjun breathing is a sort of practice that improves health, concentration and even power. The Danjun point is placed three inches below the navel, and is the center of the body and where our Ki is stored.

Through Danjun breathing we learn to release that energy and use to heal our body or increase our strength and perception. It is used in practices such as putting candles out with the energy release of a punch, as used in Haidong Kumdo (Gumdo) training.

In Kouk Sun Do, that practice is deeper as the balance of the three centers of energy create an unmatched flow of Ki.

Other healing arts such as Qi-Gong which focus on the same principles are said to have aided many people in the cure for various diseases, even of terminal illnesses such as cancer.

But Kouk Sun Do is considered deeper than Qi Gong. This is the kind of thing that can make anyone, especially westerners like me either drop our jaws in amazement or simply say that we don't believe in such things. The truth is that unfortunately healing arts aren't nearly as famous as bottles of pills that people buy without prescription and self medicate themselves with those chemicals.

I advise anyone to try Kouk Sun Do, or even just Danjun breathing. Practices like these, when done regularly can bring a sense of wellbeing and vitally that we lack on our demanding daily routine. Too bad there are few Kouk Sun Do centers outside Korea, but if by any change you are close to one, check it out and see for yourself.

Tiago Costa

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