Chung Moo Doe
Several years ago, I took a wonderful course in Tai Chi Chuan offered by a local community school for adult education. I found great pleasure and relaxation in the movements, slow and gentle, a kind of East Asian ballet. But suddenly the ten weeks were up; the instructor was not from the area and any other nearby Tai Chi courses I came across were, again, of limited duration.
Then I found it; not only Tai Chi but seven other martial arts combined and taught together as one. It is called Chung Moo Doe, a martial art practiced for over 1500 hundred years in East Asia under various names. Along with Tai Chi, Chung Moo Doe includes Kung Fu, Ai-Ki-Do/Hap-Ki-Do, Jujitsu, Tae-Kwon-Do, Bagwa Chang, Ship Pal Gae (18 Weapons) and Samurai Sword. Originating in China, about 20% to 30% of the movements are from other East Asian countries. It was brought to the United States in the early 1970's by Chong Su Nim (Master) "Iron" Kim of Korea, the only non-Chinese practitioner of Chung Moo Doe to attain the level of Master.
|"I know it sounds like 1,001 ways to beat someone up, but that's not what it's all about."|
|"Where just one martial art will use certain muscles, Chung Moo Doe, with its combination of eight complete martial arts, touches all muscles and joints."|
All lessons begin with deep breathing, using the abdominal muscles to draw air into the lungs through the nose and then to expel it the same way. The students warm-up with various exercises to stretch, strengthen and loosen up the body. Different forms are then taught and practiced. The last part of the lesson is usually devoted to general self-defense techniques. Lessons begin and end with the ancient tradition of bowing to the instructors and the other students as a demonstration of respect.
Prior to my first lesson, which, by the way, was free, I was asked what my goals were in terms of learning Chung Moo Doe: exercise, physical fitness, self-defense, self-confidence, etc. I answered, "all of the above". I was also asked about any physical problems that they, the instructors, should be aware of. I explained I had problems with my knees, I'm forty-eight years old and aside from an occasional game of racquetball and off again on again weightlifting, I'm not very athletic. It didn't matter. They gave me some exercises to strengthen the muscles around my knees and after a few months I was doing things I didn't know I could do. I eventually began to give up weight training and those boring cardio-vascular movements like treadmills and stationary bikes.
The ages of the students at the Oradell, New Jersey School of Chung Moo Doe, Chong Su Nim "Iron" Kim Style, range from six to sixty-eight from all walks of life. About 40% are women. The staff, Assistant Regional Instructor Larry Ross, Head Instructor Andy Dutcher and Assistant Head Instructor Mike Welke truly have a saint's patience. With me they need it.
Chung Moo Doe