The entire art of Shim Gum Do is composed of hundreds of forms of Sword, Shin Boep (which translated to mean Body Dharma and is a weaponless art like karate), Ho Shin Sul (which translates to mean self defense and is a system of breaking grabs, pressure points and counter moves), Long Stick, Two Sword and Short Stick. One begins in the study of Sword or Shin Boep. As one advances they may also learn the other arts of Shim Gum Do.
Basic forms are learned first. The basic forms help to develop basic strength and flexibility. Then one begins to learn Shim Gum Do forms. Each Shim Gum Do form is a sequence of blocking and attacking techniques. Each form introduces new techniques and balance points and there is an overall energy, movement pattern and meaning to each form as a whole. Shim Gum Do practice is very much about mind and body energy alignment. Sitting meditation is an integral part of Shim Gum Do training. Practicing Shim Gum Do strengthens the body, brings clarity to the mind, and conditions the body's organs and systems. Training Shim Gum Do goes beyond the realm of martial arts by putting Zen into action. The training is an avenue towards getting enlightenment.
In the words of Shim Gum Do Founding Master Zen Master Chang Sik Kim:
"Why train Shim Gum Do? Training is all action. Shim Gum Do has clear forms. To have clear form you have to move clearly each moment by moment, that is action, that is the highest light. Follow that light. That is why you have to train everyday for one hour, to make correct action appear. You make it, it appears and you have to practice. That makes your thinking clear, your mind clear; it makes all clear. If you train and follow the forms for one hour, you don't make any 'thinking'. Of course you have thinking. You make your thinking and mind all clear automatically by following the Shim Gum Do forms. It is the same as if you have some dirty dishes. You put them in soapy in water, wash them and automatically those dishes are clear. The universe's highest light is action. You have to do correct action everyday. What is correct action? Eat clearly, work clearly, be polite to your parents, help your friends, help your sister and brother, help your own country - that is the highest action. Every moment by moment if you do that way, that is the universe's highest light. You can get the highest universal light. That is correct action. You have eyes, you have a nose, you have a mouth, you have ears, you have hands and feet. Move correctly, then the universal kingdom is yours."