Company: Turtle Press
Tape Name: Haedong Kumdo: Traditional Korean Sword Art (KCA3)
Tape Cost: $19.95
Length of Tape/Time: 58 minutes
Number of Moves/Techniques: Information and Concepts
Return Policy: Defective Merchandise or By Authorization
Experiences in dealing with this company: Excellent
The Instructor: Sang H. Kim
Company's Address: 403 Silas Deane Hwy., Wethersfield, CT., 06109
Company's Phone Number: 1-800-778-8785
Web Page:

Primary Grading Criteria:

1. Production/Tape Quality: 9
2. Instructors demonstrated skill level: 9
3. Comprehension Score/Immediate Understanding: 9
4. Degree to which this will make someone a better Martial Artist: 9
5. Score on delivery vs hype: 9
6. Degree to which we would recommend this product: 9
7. Wasted Time ( The higher the number, the less " fluff" /repetition ): 10
8. Playback Score/Watching if over-and-over again: 9
9. Would I purchase more of this company's products: 9
10. Overall grade based on cost vs. Value: 10

Grand Total: 92% (Good = 3 Stars )

Secondary Grading Criteria:

1. Beginners benefit: Good
2. Intermediate benefit: Good
3. Advanced benefit: Good
4. Time to benefit: ?
5. The need to buy additional tapes to understand this one: None

Written Summary:

I don't know about you, but when I think of the martial arts and swords I think of the Japanese Samurai first, Japanese Ninjas, then the Chinese. I often wondered if their was anyone else to add to the list. Now, after seeing this video, you can definitely add the Korean's. Honestly, that surprised me. After years of doing TKD, with several different instructors, never did any of them mention that the Korean's had a sword art. I guess every now and then, even those of us who've had 20 years in various arts, learn something new!

Having said all that, welcome to Haedong Kumdo (Traditional Korean Sword Art). This video gives a fairly thorough overview of this Korean sword art. I have to hand it to the folks at Turtle Press, they have 3 videos that introduce arts that many people probably don't know exist. We previously reviewed Ssierum (wrestling - like Sumo), there's this video, and they have a Korean archery video.

OK, so what about the video? This one was a pleasant surprise. Personally, I have no interest in a sword art. Therefore I was somewhat hesitant grading it. I even said to myself several times, "I can't grade this thing, I know nothing about swords". However, once I started watching it, I realized that this video was designed specifically for people that didn't know anything about swords. In fact, this video was so thorough, that in my opinion, in an hour it gives a person a quite through overview of the art. So what was on the tape? Here's the table of contents:

1. History
2. Fundamentals (cuts and footwork)
3. Breathing Exercises (helps develop chi for powerful strikes)
4. Stances
5. Mixture of things (bowing, withdrawing sword, grip, shaking blood off the sword, etc)
6. Basic Techniques (10 of these - various strikes, angles of strikes, and combinations)
7. Forms (4 forms were demonstrated - this I found very interesting!)
8. One-on-One Practice (against another opponent - with wooden swords)
9. Demonstrations (of power & speed - cutting canes, hay, fruit, putting out candles)
10. Classroom Practice (shows different scenes from an actual class)
11. Interviews (with different masters - including a couple of females!)

So what impressed me? The forms, a couple of them show the person doing forward rolls with a real sword in their hand (sure hope they don't hit a patch of sweat on the mat). Also the demonstrations were interesting. But the most interesting thing were the interviews, and hearing various masters explain little details. This video provides alot of the little intricacies that you would think might be left out on a short one hour tape.

What didn't I like? Actually I can't think of much. Sang H. Kim has a history of producing "Good" videos. This one was so well produced, that in my opinion it would make for a great one hour documentary on TV. Missing was detailed instruction on how to perform various techniques. However I felt this was meant to be more of an introductory tape about this art than it was to be an instructional tape. And again I was amazed, because being that this is a topic I don't have much interest in, I really enjoyed watching the tape.

So who would I recommend the tape too? Anyone that's into a Japanese or Chinese sword art, and wants to learn about the sword arts of other cultures, or anyone interested in Korean arts, and wants to know what other arts the Korean's offer.

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