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Kumdo is a martial art that deals exclusively with sword work. This area of study use both sparring and forms (hyung) to help the student understand this traditional weapon. Korean Kumdo is closely linked with Japanese Kendo, and practitioners of both styles often compete in the same tournaments. Sparring emphasizes awareness, acute observation, and perserverance along with controlled, quick, and precise movements in such a way that allows anyone of any age, size, or gender to be competitive with anyone else. Timing and skill are key to all martial arts, but are epitomized in Kumdo study.

The Kumdo Federation of India, founded by Master Jumbo, can be found here.

The History of Kumdo starts in the Three Kingdoms period. Sword study had been brought to Korea through China and each of the militaries in Korea began to refine and reinterprete these techniques. During this period, the text Bonguk Geombup was authored. This text illustrated Korean two-handed sword technique.

While it is a topic that is under some nationalistic contention, many argue that this text along with the philosophical beliefs of ancient Korean warriors like the Hwarang greatly influenced early Japanese sword study. In any case, the Japanese further refined sword technique along with sword making. The Japanese brought their sword study, then called Gekiken, to Korea to be taught to their police force around 1896.

In 1910, much of Korea was annexed by Japan and the occupying force began suppressing native Korean history and culture. The name Kumdo was coined around this time in Korea and was applied instead of Gekiken. Kumdo begins growing in popularity in Korea during the occupation along with the study of foriegn as well as native martial arts - the later being something that was done in secret.

In 1945, Korea regained its independence from Japan. During this time, Korea began making an effort to reassemble the suppressed parts of their history while still keeping the positive influences the Japanese had made. Kumdo still continues to grow in interest both in Korea and worldwide.

A brief time line of Kumdo

  • 1896 Japanese introduce gekiken, the precursor to modern kendo into the Korean police academies
  • 1904 Gekiken introduced as part of curriculum of the military academies
  • 1906 Gekiken introduced into Korean school curriculum
  • 1908 a tournament held between the Korean police and their Japanese counterparts. Gekiken was also included in the first official national physical education program for the general public.
  • 1910 Joseon is formally annexed by Japan and becomes part of growing Japanese empire. The term, kumdo, coined according to the Korea Kumdo Association. Japan begins efforts to replace and repress Korean culture
  • 1919 According to Japanese records, the term kendo is coined in Japan on August 1, 1919.
  • 1927 Kumdo becomes an official curricular subject in junior high schools.
  • 1935 Kumdo included in the 16th National Joseon Sports Festival
  • 1938 National Joseon Sports Festival prohibited by Japanese
  • 1945 Kumdo began to flourish again after Korea regains independence from Japan
  • 1947 Korean kumdo began to restructure itself with the holding of the Seoul Police Kumdo Tournament
  • 1948 Approximately 100 highly ranked kumdo instructors gathered in Changdeokgung Palace and formed the predecessor to the Korean Kumdo Association
  • 1950 The 1st National Police Kumdo Tournament was held
  • 1952 A committee was created to oversee the formation of the KKA
  • 1953 The KKA was inaugurated and became affiliated with the Korean Amateur Sports Association
  • The 1st National Individual Kumdo Championships were held (Same year that the All Japan Kendo Federation was formed)
  • 1956 Kumdo was once more included as an official event of the National Sports Festival after a break of 20 years
  • 1959 Kumdo became increasingly popular with the Presidents Cup Grade Category Tournament, and the National Student Championships
  • 1964 The Student Kumdo Federation became affiliated with the KKA
  • 1970 The Student Federation separated into the Collegiate Federation and the Secondary Schools Federation. The International Kendo Federation was formed and a Korean named as Vice President
  • 1972 Kumdo was included in the National Youth Sports Meet
  • 1979 The news agency Dong a Ilbo joined forces with the KKA in sponsoring the President Cup National Championships
  • 1988 The Korean Social Kumdo Federation was formed and followed by the 1st National Social