When I hear the words “martial arts,” I imagine boards breaking, self-defense, Bruce Lee movies and fighting.
Sunmudo is pretty much the exact opposite.
What is Sunmudo?
If I had to sum it up, I would say Sunmudo is a combination of Zen Buddhist monks flying through the air, kicking their way up stairs while doing pushups, performing a wheelbarrow race and meditating the whole time.
The official Golgul Temple Web site describes Sunmudo as:
“Sun (禪), also spelled seon or son, refers to meditation. It is the Korean pronunciation of the Chinese word “chan;” it is perhaps best known as “zen”, its Japanese pronunciation. These words are derived from the sanscrit “dhyana”, which literally means ‘meditation’, or ‘meditative state’. The essence of this state is profound stillness.
Mu (武) means martial art in Korean (pronounced “wu” in Mandarin Chinese, as in “Wushu”). Do (道) means discipline, or the way of doing something; the method.
Sunmudo, then, literally means “the way of doing meditative martial arts”. It is both meditation and martial art. It is a unique in that it contains a variety of different elements that complement each other. It envelopes the dynamic and powerful movements of a martial art into the peaceful practices of meditation, yoga, and chi qong exercises.”
Sunmudo is More than Jumps and Kicks
On Day 7 of filming Lost in Korea, Jesse and I found ourselves in a Zen Buddhist monastery that specializes in Sunmudo.
While Golgulsa offers daily short public demonstrations of the acrobatic portion of Sunmudo, our affiliation with National Geographic Channel meant we were treated to the whole show.
Tomorrow, I Try Sunmudo
Jesse already has experience with Sunmudo, having filmed another Korean travel show in this exact location.
I, however, will be trying out this ancient martial art for the first time tomorrow; bright and early, as the monks wake us up at 4am!
Now, it’s time for bed.
Have you ever practiced martial arts?
GET LOST IN KOREA
In 2013, I was hired by National Geographic to film a TV show in South Korea … following my adventures as a travel blogger and photographic storyteller.
The single-episode show offered a mix of humor, tradition, adventure and stunning imagery; as I teamed up with Jesse Day: a Canadian entertainer who lives in Seoul and raps in Korean.
Here are the highlights from filming Get Lost in Korea …
EXPLORE SOMEWHERE NEW