MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — You know those martial arts films where you see the sword fighting? Well, not only is it action-packed, but it’s also a great workout.

The sport of Haidong Gumdo is entertaining to watch, but also takes extreme concentration.

“Swinging a sword is not easy.  It’s not like the movies show it as.  The focus, the control comes into play with technique,” said Haidong Gumdo master Robert Frankovich. “There’s a lot of development and focus that goes into it.”

Haidong Gumdo is a Korean sword martial art based on battle field applications with the sword.

“Ours is how to cut, how to move with the sword and actual applications of the sword,” said Frankovich.

It takes athleticism to swing a two-and-a-half-pound sword around for hours, but Haidong Gumdo is surprisingly easy on the body.

“The real benefit is that it’s low impact.  It’s good conditioning, but not jarring on the joints,” said Frankovich. “It helps range of motion, especially in the arms and the shoulders.”

The sport has attracted students from ages 12 to over 70 here in Minnesota, including Austin Hummel, who has been doing martial arts since 1974. Six years ago, he started Haidong Gumdo.

“Because I can still do it. Even though I have two artificial knees, four-and-a-half toes, arthritis on my hands,” said Hummel. “I wear gloves to keep my hands warm.”

The workout goes beyond the body. Student Melanie Galloway says, she’s in it for three reasons:  body, mind, and spirit.

“You can go to the gym for your body, school for your mind, church for your spirit,” said student Melanie Galloway. “Martial arts is the only one that draws all three together.”

But one of the main reasons people choose Haidong Gumdo: working with swords can simply be fun.

To take part in Haidong Gumdo with this group requires monthly tuition, adjusted as people need.

Frankovich says if you want to train, train. They’ll figure out the rest.


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