Culture fair kicks off with a martial arts demonstrationWant to know how to fend off a mugger? How about learning to do a Korean fan dance?
T he World Culture Open, a four-day meeting and performance demonstration that began yesterday at the COEX Center in southern Seoul, has a lot to offer. Under the theme “Strong body, open mind and healthy spirit,” a wide range of cultural events are scheduled throughout the festival.
One of the events is a Korean martial arts performance that takes place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the center’s auditorium.
Lee Tae-yong, a martial arts instructor and director of the show, says that about 100 martial artists, musicians and other traditional performers have blended the fighting arts with music and drama to make the show more appealing to the general public.
Saturday will be big for martial arts as well, with 12 martial arts organizations demonstrating their fighting styles to visitors.
Among the organizations, the Korea Haedong Kumdo Association will give viewers a glimpse of traditional Korean sword fighting techniques, while the Korea Special Martial Arts Association, which teaches a blend of judo, taekwondo and other martial arts used by the Presidential Security Service, performs in one-on-one matches and one-on-three matches. The demonstrations will focus on how to stop a knife attack.
In April at SENI 2003, Europe’s largest martial arts exhibition, the special martial art known as Teukgongmusul garnered praise for its practicality in real combat situations. As a result, the Russian military, which participated in the event as well and also claims its own fighting style, has agreed to cooperate with the association in the future to promote the exchange of combat techniques.
Thursday included a variety show that opened with the American folk singer Pat Humphries, who sang songs like “Keep on Moving Forward,” “Common Thread” and “Swimming to the Other Side.” The singer also performed “We Are One,” which she wrote after seeing the historic meeting of the head of states of the two Koreas in June 2000.
The Didim dance group, which is led by Guk Su-ho, who choreographed the opening ceremony of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, also performed. The group’s performance centered on the different sounds of traditional drums. The show has been performed since 1985 in over 50 countries.
The Coyaba African Dance Company was also featured. The troupe has been led by Sylvia Soumah since 1999 and aims to provide cultural awareness about African and Afro-Cuban dance and rhythm. The company has performed at places like the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Closing out the show was Kim Duk-su and the Hanullimyesuldan, an art group specializing in traditional Korean percussion performances. The group was formed in 1978 and has made several world tours. The same lineup of artists will perform again on Sunday at 6 p.m. in the center’s auditorium.
Those who are interested in learning more about traditional Korean culture can look forward to tonight’s 6:30 performances in the auditorium that includes traditional Korean dances such as the Korean fan dance or the Jindo drum dance.
by Brian Lee