1] Anne, Instructor Alex and I with our Sunmudo Master.
2] Handing Winston Churchill Fellowship Letter to Grand Master Oh & Grand Master Jung, Heads of Korea Headong Kumdo Association.
3] Instructor Alex learns to cut.
4] Instuctor Cliff, Anne Marie & Instructor Alex at Gulgol Temple.
5] Kumdo training with Grand Master Oh.
6] Relaxing with Grand Master Oh and family.
7] Mrs Oh prepares dinner.
8] Instructor Cliff learns The Way of The Sword.
The following was written at 5:30am on Sunday 1st Aug.
We have had an excellent first few days. In the context of the Martial Arts, we have managed to train with a living legend within Tae Kwon Do, Grand Master Lee -which in Alex's 30 years my 24 years of practicing TKD- is the first complete, all round Tae Kwon Doist that either of us have ever encountered. Didn't dare ask him his age, but he must be well into his 60's, possibly early 70's but his knowledge (which I expected to be great) was awesome but even his ability was unbelievable!
Also gained the opportunity to stay with Grand Master Oh and his family for one night - which gave us an insight into how Korean families live. Grand Master Oh is a master of Kumdo (Way of the Sword) and we had the rare chance to practice sword forms with him -a very humbling experience - and to actually do some cutting. After which Mrs Oh prepared us some home cooked Korean dishes all washed down with some nice rice wine (in my case two or three glasses!).
Other things we have managed to do in the last few days are: visit a Korean monastery, high up in the mountains near Seoul -the capital of Korea and we ate in a restaurant that specialised in Tofu. This evening , or should I say Saturday night, Alex, Anne Marie and I managed to navigate the underground system and find our way to the heart of Seoul's shopping district. Lets put it into perspective for you; name brand shoes/trainers from around 15, 000 - 20, 000 Wun. Does that sound expensive? Well bear in mind 10 pounds = 17, 000 Wun -so everything is so CHEEEAP!!
Anyway, to answer your question, why am I up so early? Well, we're getting ready to go and catch a train, as we have a four hour journey to Golgul Temple, in Geyeongju province, where we will be spending the day and staying the night. Oh, by the way the temple is run by the fighting monks of Korea who practice Sunmudo which translates as Zen Martial Way and as such, puts a great emphasis on meditation before, during and after Martial training.
Part to the programme is waking up 4am tomorrow morning to chanting, running and training with the monks.