Koreaner gelten bei manchen Historikern als ein Stamm der Hunnen. Ausserdem stellen Sie
bis heute die besten Bogenschützen weltweit und besitzen eine interessante Tradition des
traditionellen Bogenschießens. Hierein Artikel von Thomas Duvernay, dem Koreakenner par
Video ihrer traditionellen Sportart Gung Sul
The Way of
Re-printed with permission from
Drawing by British Officer Frank Dadd R.I., 1901
Archery in Korea is probably as
ancient as the country itself. Although other countries may claim the same thing, in Korea
archery is still at the very heart of the country's culture. Korea has had
virtually uninterrupted, since prehistoric times. Before we begin discussing Korean
traditional archery, we should briefly mention the Korean language.
The Korean alphabet
(Hangul) is phonetic, with twenty four letters (ten vowels and fourteen
consonants). It was invented
during the reign of King Sejong in 1443 AD. Before that time, Koreans relied upon Chinese
characters. For romanization, there are some conventions I will make and generally
For consonants, I will use the letter sounds that
are closest in romanization, with the exception of names that are already well established
(with some exceptions to that, also). I think you should be able to catch on.
The bow was a vital part of Korea's defense from
ancient times up through the nineteenth century. It was used
during the Three-Kingdoms period, which ended in 668 AD (when the Silla Kingdom defeated
Kingdoms, unifying the country). During the unification wars, Silla had elite young
Hwarang (Flower Knights). They were trained in both military and
literary arts. They had five major precepts:
- Loyalty to the monarch
- Filial piety to parents
- Amicability among friends
- No retreat in war
- Aversion to unnecessary killing
The city in Korea where I live,
was the seat of power for the Silla Kingdom. Outside the city's interchange is a statue of
a Hwarang on horseback, with bow at full draw. On the outskirts of the city is the Hwarang
Educational Center. This is a place where the academically and athletically elite youth of
the country go for extended training. While in high school, my wife attended this center
as a modern Hwarang. (It is interesting to note that archaeologists have found
strong evidence to support the theory that the Kyongju campus of Dong Guk
University where I teach was built upon the original Hwarang training grounds.)
After the Three-Kingdoms
Silla gradually pushed back the Chinese Tang army. Originally, the Tang army was in Korea
helping Silla defeat the other two armies. However, as it usually goes, they wore out
their welcome. It took some time as successes went back and forth until 735 AD when the
Tang finally gave in.
The next major point in Korean
history where the bow played an important role was the Japanese Hideyoshi invasion of
Korea in the late sixteenth century. Although the war was devastating to both
Korea successfully drove the Japanese back. During the war, Korean archers rained deadly
salvos of arrows on the Japanese invaders. These were frequently at long
Probably the last major use of
the bow as a military weapon in Korea was in the nineteenth century. At that time they
were defending against invaders from the Western Hemisphere (mainly France and the United
States). In 1866, the United States tried opening Koreas door, sending in the ship
General Sherman. The ship was attacked and set on fire. Next, after a massacre
of Catholics, France sent a squadron to Kanghwado. They, also, were repulsed by Korean
units. The doors to Korea were finally opened, but not without valiant struggle by the
years, Korea has
excelled in Olympic-style archery. A great percentage of the top ranked archers world-wide
are from Korea. Some reasons for this include not only the transfer of traditional
philosophy and training, but also the very practical reason that top athletes in Korea can
gain benefits, both monetary and otherwise. The top archers spend their days not at a
nine-to-five job, but training for their sport. Archery is taught uniformly among Korean
archers; that is why they have generally uniform results-winners.
Hwarang statue outside Kyongju Tollgate
STARTING AT THE
Probably the most logical way for
me to introduce you to Korean traditional archery would be as though you, the
joined a club. I will show what would happen from first signing up to the end of your
first competition. First, you should learn some terminology. I will romanize Korean terms
and explain them briefly. I will not go into detail or list terms that are not important
to this discussion.
There are so many more
these are the most basic.
Now that you have joined the club
and learned some basic terms, it is time for you to start your training. I will add new
words and old Korean sayings in italics. As a beginning archer, a shin sa, you will
not start shooting yet. First, you must learn how to hold the bow. We will use a modern
bow for training. Grip the bow firmly but not tightly. Grasp the bow as you would grasp
an egg. The middle, ring, and little finger are held together around the bow
index finger is held a little higher and is crooked downward. The thumb is held near the
top of the grip and is crooked in a little. There should be no gap between the thumb and
SHOOTING LINE: SA DAE
PERFECT END: MOLGI
PERFECT END: JUB JANG
UNBRACED BOW: BU RIN HWAL
BOW HANDLE: JOOM TONG
BAMBOO ARROW: JOOK SHI (HWASAL)
SHI NU DAE
|THUMB RING: GAHKJI
ARROW CASE: JUN TONG
BRACE RING: SAM JI
SAJUNG FLAG: SA JUNG GI
ARROW RETURN SAL NAL
Ready to draw...
Ready to release...
arrow is on its way
Next you should learn how to draw
the bowstring properly. For beginning training, you will draw with a three finger style,
as it is easier than the Mongolian style. Pull straight back and hold for five
After that, slowly let up on the string. Check the bow nocks to be sure the string is
still centered. If not, keep trying. This practice should continue for a couple of
preferably under the auspices of a trained archer. The hand with which you hold the bow
should be like pushing a high mountain; the string hand should be like pulling a
The bow should be pushed using
the ball of the palm of the hand, with power being shared equally with the arm holding the
bow from wrist to shoulder.
If the bow is grasped so that the
hand is bent back, power will not be distributed equally in the bow. This incorrect arm
position will often make the arrow go wide of its mark. In this case, the bow should be
re-grasped. The knuckle of the middle finger grasping the bow should be pushed toward the
target. The bow arm elbow should be straight, with the inside of the elbow perpendicular
to the ground. After you are able to consistently draw and relax the string, you now ready
to shoot a tethered arrow.
The tether pole is usually made
from a tall (20 ft.) bamboo shaft. A long line is attached to it and an old arrow is
attached to the line through a hole drilled in the point. Before shooting, you need the
correct stance and the correct way to hold the string. Your feet should be positioned at a
two o'clock position (ten o'clock if left handed). The standing position, when
shooting, should neither be a T shape, nor a V shape. The weight of your entire body
should be evenly divided between the forward and backward feet. Your abdomen should be
tight. If your abdomen isnt strained to its fullest, it'll cause a loss of balance
due to your haunches being pushed backward. Your abdomen can be naturally strained by
standing with power
in your legs.
The targets as seen from the Sa Dae (shooting line).
There are Chinese characters carved on the rock admonishing "Don't talk while
Correct breathing is essential.
Take a deep breath, then release it slowly, emptying your lungs. Your chin should be
positioned by your left shoulder (if you are right handed). Your neck should be held as
straight as possible. Now you should put on your thumb-ring. Fit your thumb through the
outer side of the ring and twist it so that the pointed end is toward the end of your
thumb. Draw back on the string with it resting against the ring. Wrap your index finger
around the end of your thumb. Draw back on the string with it resting against the
Wrap your index finger around your thumb as if your were going to flip a coin. Be careful
not to rest your finger over your thumb-nail. Raiseou your bow-hand to the height of your
forhead, straightening out your bow-arms elbow. Your eyes should steadily gaze at
the target, at the same height as the lower bow nock. Your jaw should be close to your
bow-shoulder armpit. When you draw the string, you shouldnt give power to the hand
holding the bow first: draw the string first, then give power to the bow hand.
This hould be practiced until it
become a steady, fluid motion. The string should be drawn back slowly to your string-hand
shoulder. When at full draw, hold the position for about three seconds before
The angle at which the bow should be held will depend upon the cast of the bow. Some
archers shoot at a forty-five degree angle while others have a more flat
angle can be adjusted individually. Release is made simply by relaxing the thumb-ring
hand. Dont jerk it. The follow-through should be a slow back and downward
Now you are ready to practice
shooting the tethered arrow for several days.
Now that youve practised
shooting the tethered arrow, it is time for you to shoot a live arrow at the
positioned 145 meters (158 yards) away. Remember a few basic rules:
Check the wind.
Breathe from your lower
Hold at anchor for three
When you first arrive at your
jung, you will stand in front of a sign with the Chinese characters "Jung Gahn"
carved into it. The meaning of the characters is literally "Righteous Space."
The meaning is varied, depending on location. Generally, it is understood to mean you
should be upright in both mind and body. Next, you will give a slight bow. As for
clothing, Korean archers dress nicely. It is a widely-held belief in Korea that the
clothes make the person. In competitions, archers are required to wear white
pants, and white shoes.
You should now prepare to
First, brace your bow. As you are using a modern bow at this time, bracing is not a
problem. It can be braced in a similar fashion to a western recurve. The horn bow will
come later. Next, your bow cover should be tied around your waist. The tie should be made
on your thumb-ring side. Start by tying it as though you were tying your shoe. Then loop
the long end, bringing up the middle of the loop around the other side (ending up with
half a bow, as though you tied your shoe and pulled too far). After you have accomplished
the last feat, it is time to tie your arrows in the bow cover. Take five arrows and slide
them under your bow cover on the thumb ring side, points in, feathers out. Twist them in
the cover once, so they are firmly in place. The arrows should routinely be tested for
straightness and soundness. The former is done first simply by sighting down the
another way is to balance the shaft on your thumb nail and middle finger nail pressed
together spin the point as though you were snapping your fingers. If it spins
easily, it is probably straight and balanced. Soundness can be tested either by bouncing
the arrow on its point or by dropping it flat on the ground, listening for a
crisp, sharp sound. If the sound is flat, dont use it.
Before releasing the first arrow
of the day, a Korean archer will say "Hwal bae oom ni da," which means
"I'm learning the bow." If other archers are present, they would reply
ma chu sayo," which means "Have many hits." Whether others are
present or not you should still say this phrase, which is a reminder that, no matter how
good an archer you are, you are always a student.
After you've practised for a
time, you will eventually reach certain milestones in Korean archery. The first one is the
first hit. When an archer hits the target for the first time, it is a special
occasion (A hit is defined as an arrow hitting the target without breaking the plane of
the target). First, you should bow towards the target (a practice that all novice archers
must follow after making the first hit of the day). The next time you visit the jung, you
should bring refreshments for the other members. For the second, third and fourth
congratulations are in order, nothing else. However, when you have a perfect score of five
arrows hitting the target in a row, you have reached a very special level. This event is
known as a molgi. The date and time should be noted. There should be witnesses. You
should bow to the target whenever you make a molgi.
You will now be given a
known as a muho. Usually, this name is given by the director of the jung. The
name will usually describe something out of nature, When I reached this level, my director
gave me the muho of Chung Ho, which means "Blue Lake." This was thought
to be appropriate, as my hometown is in Michigan, the Great Lake State. Other members will
call you by this name from now on. You will also be given an elaborate ceremony by the
other members. During the ceremony, many rituals are performed and you will receive a
certificate and trophy commemorating your achievement.
||Korean traditional archery has
ranking similar to other martial arts, such as taekwondo. The dahn level system is
used. At special ranking competitions, archers try to advance in rank. The first
is reached when you hit the target twenty five out of forty five tries. The next levels
(second through ninth) are 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37, and 39 hits, respectively. Only two
level advancements are allowed per year. Rank is signified by moogoonghwa (Rose of
Sharon) flowers embroidered on the archer's bow cover. When an archer reaches fifth
another milestone is reached. This level is known as Myong Goong, or
"Famous-name Archer". At this level, the archer will be given another ceremony
and the archer's name will be registered nationally.
The shooting pavillion
The archery competition is
divided into team and individual events. At some competitions, only dahn holders
are allowed; at others, the competition is open to all. The competitions are further
divided between city, province, and jung matches. In the city match, seven members
will represent a city; teams from other cities will send their representatives. In the
provincial match, the top five archers from the province will compete against the otherhe shooting pavillion
We should, at this point, talk
about the opening ceremony. Usually, several ends (soon) will be shot beforehand.
At the ceremony, a moment of bowed silence is given to the national flag.
Next, the precepts of Korean
traditional archery are read aloud by an emcee, a pledge is made by a chosen
representative, and short speeches are given by VIPS. The whole thing takes fifteen to
twenty minutes (members will be standing in front of the sa dae in rank and file.)
Now, we can begin the competition in earnest.
First, there is the individual event. All members of all participating
jungs can compete. The individual event is
divided between the Men's Division and Women's Division. There is no difference in the
rules between divisions. In individual competition, archers will be arranged in shooting
groups called dae. Each dae will shoot three soon (ends) of five arrows, for a total of fifteen
arrows. The archer with the best score out of fifteen wins.
In the case of a tie, there will be a playoff. In team competition, the top five archers
from each jung will shoot one soon of five arrows This is the quarter-final
usually involving eight jungs. The semi-final event will be between the top four
and the finals between the two winners of the semi-finals (Is there any other way?)
After the competition is finished (most will take several
hours), it is time for the closing ceremony. Many awards will be given, from grand prizes
(usually large trophies and pennants) to honourable mentions.
Certificates seem to be everywhere. When it comes to traditional events, Koreans tend to
be more geared to honours than to cash.
Now would be a good time to
explain Korean manners, both archery-specific and general. Korea is a country with a very
ordered society. This attitude comes from ancient Confucian teachings. You will find that
many attitudes that are held in Western countries don't hold up in Asia. The opposite is
also true. Let's look at some customs in Korea.
||Never beckon someone with your index
your hand, palm down, similar to a wave.
||Don't drink directly from a bottle; use a glass.
||Don't lick your fingers while eating.
||Never give or receive anything with one hand; use
||Stand when elders or superiors enter a room.
||Pour drinks for others and let others pour for you
||When entertaining out, try to pick up the tab, if
possible (usually, everyone will try to be the one to pay for the bill)
The above-mentioned customs are just a few of the
many. They are representative of those you will find in Korean archery. Korean traditional
archery was founded upon traditional values, much like that of the Hwarang of the
Silla Dynasty. There are nine major precepts in Korean values.
- In Ae Duk Haeng
Be seen as a model of love and virtue
- Sung Shil Gyum Sohn
Act with humbleness and honesty.
- Ja Joong Jul Jo
You should solidly protect your integrity through discreet behavior.
- Ye Eui Um Soo
- Yum Jik Gwa Gahm
When in a position of power, act with integrity and bravery.
- Sub Sa Moo Un
Don't speak while there is shooting.
- Jung Shim Jung Gi
Have a straight mind and straight body.
- Bool Won Seung Ja
Don't resent someone who wins.
- Mahk Mahn Tah Goong
Don't touch another person's bow.
INTERVIEW WITH A MYONG
Now that we've looked a little at
what Korean archery is like, let's have a talk with a true Korean archery master. His name
is Mr. Bak Dong Sub (His muho is Duk Sahn). He passed Myong Goong
level a couple of years ago. I'm very lucky to have him both as a friend and as my
What type of equipment do you
prefer to use in Korean traditional archery?What type of equipment do you
prefer to use in Korean traditional archery?
I will only use the traditional gahk goong (horn bow) and jook shi (bamboo
Is there any particular reason you like this
type of equipment?
Yes. Nothing can beat the performance or feel of the gahk goong and jook
shi. When you
shoot this type of bow, you don't get hand shock and the feeling upon release is
fantastic. Another reason is I love traditionalism. Anything else just wouldn't be
When did you first try Korean
traditional archery that mirror those traditional archery?
I first started in 1987, after a friend of mine introduced it to me. Shortly
thereafter, I was hooked. I've been. practicing this art ever since.
Do you have any special methods
Practice, practice, practice. Nothing can replace practice. However, you have to
practice correct form, not mistakes. To do this, whenever I'm at a national
spend any free time I have studying the forms of other Myong Goong. I have learned many
new techniques that way.
What do you like most about
Korean traditional archery?What do you like most about
Korean traditional archery?
The tradition involved. Tradition is everything.