Posted On:2/27/2008 12:51pm
Style: Shim Gum Do Zen Sword
I have lived and trained at this Temple for 7 months. Focusing in Zen Sword (Shim Gum Do) I can only really speak to that.
For residents we perform morning Buddhist ritual every day but Monday. Classes are held Tues-Thursday and Saturday morning. Instruction quality varies. As this is still a relatively new art the number of quality instructors is rather small. The founding master teaches seminars and holds blackbelt classes but no longer teaches general classes. He still does form checks regularly in the weeks leading up to tests and any opportunity to learn from h im is jumped on as the teaching is unsurpassed. The highest ranking student and Abbot of the temple has been training for over 20 years and is the highest level student in sword, weaponless, and self defense. She is phenomenal and her attention to detail is great. There are generally 2 other masters (7+ years of experience) who lead classes regularly but there are several days when class is led by lower ranking instructors (2-3 years experience) and honestly little is gleaned during those.
Generally classes start together for 10minutes of stretching/warm ups with the whole group together. Then Shin Boep peels off and goes to the adjacent room and Sword students remain in the main Dharma room. All the floors are wood and mats are in storage but accessible when needed. The training is not as rigid and intense as I would prefer but it does allow for a varied approach to the arts which is nice. There is a strong focus on personal training and daily training. I don't want to go into how legitimate a lot of things are as I'm still very new to the system. That said I have watched enough BB free fighting to see how fast, agile, and natural the movement of Shim Gum Do become.
Training focuses on forms. Both more traditional type kata and fighting forms. Each form and fighting form is intended to teach different manuevers and expand the detail put into each one. I love this temple but I'm going to avoid taking self defense simply because the Abbott is the best teacher and she seldom teaches this class and leaves it to a relatively hyperactive master who by reputation is not always as focused as the others.
Living and training here have dramatically improved my quality of life and for that I can't complain. I feel like I get quality detailed instruction and moreso when I approach instructors for help. Attitude is great, classes are not too intense. Only complaints so far is that I would like a bit more application and combat but that isn't really what this art is about with it's ties to Buddhism so I know I'm looking for that elsewhere.
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