2nd Annual Kuk Gung Festival beats the Korean traditional archery drum loudly

The crew from the 2nd Annual World Kuk Gung Festival of Korean Traditional Archer.
Traditional Korean Archery Master Heon K. Kim speaks at the festival.

Traditional Korean Archery Master Heon K. Kim speaks at the festival.

North County San Diego might be known for avocados, awesome weather and lots of fun, but who knew it was the center for Traditional Korean Archery in the U.S.? You do, now.

You can thanks Heon K. Kim, high volume succulent dealer by day, award-winning master of long-bow and very long target traditional Korean archery by skill and enthusiasm.

That’s what brought the center of the traditional Korean archery universe to Master Kim’s 29745 Lilac Road ranch for the highly anticipated 2nd Annual World Kuk Gung Festival of Korean Traditional Archery last weekend.

The 2-day affair featured all-day mixes of competition and ceremony with a large does of Korean culture, music and fun and thrown in for good measure.

Competition is serious to be sure among the cream of local –and by extension since it’s not being done elsewhere — only U.S. traditional Korean archery students.

Kuk Gung remains a Martial Art practiced by many to hone the body and mind into one. Modern Kuk Gung practitioners still train with a composite recurve bow refining  their skills using precise techniques and shooting at 145 meter targets.

The Korean Traditional bow was invented from the early stage of formation of our race,” Kim has said, “and developed as hunting equipment, religious ritual, military weapon and training equipment for body and spirit through ancient dynasties of our country.”

Saturday kicked off festivities with basic lessons and shooting exercises in the morning following by opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. Archers tilted back their long bows and sent arrows flying. Then, came the big drums throwing out everything from Buddhist monk dances to the Korean spiritual beats.

Gyunggi Sword Dance anyone?

Ami Kim did the Gyunggi Sword Dance. She didn’t mess around with multiple swords and a whole lot of, you know, swordplay.

Taekwondo? Of course and we’re not talking “Star Wars” either. Sword dances and drum performances continued. Demonstrations, lunch and lessons ensued. Shooting competitions and demonstrations continued through an evening-finale Pan-Asian buffet.

Day Two began with presentations on Korean traditional archery and question-and-answer sessions. Short and long distance shooting exercises and competitions led into 1 p.m. lunch. Competitions finish up during the afternoon capped off by the highly anticipated awards ceremony and closing ceremony.

Kim hosts what is believed to be the only such traditional Korean archery training center in the U.S. There he works with budding archers from ages 8-to-80 showing them the art of long, long, long-range archery with a fun dose of Korean culture and tradition thrown in for good measure.

For more information, call (760) 749-7211, email kukgung@yahoo.com or visit http://www.kukgung.org.