The study of weapons and how they are used teaches students to defend against the weapon. Studying the use of swords and the bong-sool (cane staff) also teaches students eye-hand coordination. It also develops good overall coordination, increased flexibility, and improved cardiovascular conditioning. From all of these physical practices, one can have a stronger body.
About five thousand years ago in Korea, the Buddhists were often raided by bandits up in the mountains. Buddhists used the Long Staff to defend against the bandits. The movement of the Long staff was derived from the geography of the mountains. For example: Strikes, Blocks, Sweeps, Chops, Crook Strikes, Stabs, Punches, Jabs, Pull Downs and spinning all derives from the hills and the shapes of the mountain. The Long Staff mainly focuses on distance, accuracy, speed, relaxation, focus and power. It is designed to be very proficient with the elements of these skills. These are the same concepts used in Tae Kwon Do, therefore, making it more simple and easier learn for Tae Kwon Do students. Although the Long Staff is used for defensive measure, such as defending a temple, it should not be taken lightly, as it can be deadly if used properly. Before using the Bow Staff, careful training measures should be taken.
Short Staff has the similar concept to the Long Staff. It is also used mainly in defensive measure, but used for short distances. Since Tae Kwon Do tends to lack in short distance attacks, because Tae Kwon Do mainly uses kicking techniques, the Short Staff complements Tae Kwon Do kicks very well. Staffs represent virtuousness; we can see staffs are used in many stories and movies, such as Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings.
Tae Kwon Do and many martial arts are innocent training of your mind and body; we do not use any type of weapon during sparring. However, if there is a threat, such as an enemy with a knife, without proper training, you will have a hard time dealing with enemies with weapons. Knife Defense is used to take the enemies’ weapons out of their possession, therefore now able to have a fair fight with the enemies.
Nun-Cha-Ku is two smalls stick combined together with a chain, providing the flexibility that Long Staff or Short Staff doesn’t have. However, Nun-Cha-Ku can be very hard to control, and if attempted to be used without proper training, you can end up getting seriously hurt. Nun-Cha-Ku is used to keep the enemy at bay, then attacking when getting an opening.
Grand Master Cho