Is Hapkido your main art or a complimentary art?

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by miles, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. miles

    miles Valued Member

    I am a Taekwondo instructor. Three years ago, while training in the backyard with at that time an acquaintance, we went inside to my home dojang where I have a rather extensive martial arts library. My friend was looking through my library when he spotted a Hapkido book I'd had since 1996 and said of the author, "He was my Grand Master."

    Since then, I've taken small group classes in Hapkido with my friend/Master and hope to test for my Hapkido black belt later this year. I've changed my Taekwondo curriculum to include some of the basic Hapkido techniques (defense against same side wrist grab, cross-wrist grabs, two hands grabbing 1 hand, two hands grabbing two hands, etc.). I find Hapkido is very complimentary to Taekwondo.

    I am thoroughly enjoying the Hapkido experience but it is a side art for me. Is it your main martial art?
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    I started off in Taekwondo in the US and then went to Korea, where I studied traditional Hapkido and furthered my study in Taekwondo. When I came back to the states, I became a TKD instructor and spent a lot of time with my instructors rebuilding our Taekwondo self defense program, mainly through the addition of Combat Hapkido. I then taught both TKD and Combat Hapkido for several years.

    I have hit the point where I am no longer really interested as much in patterns and competition and where I am more and more interested in self defense and in exploring other arts... so I have really shifted from being TKD oriented to almost completely Combat Hapkido based now. For where I am now in my life, it the main art for me now.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  3. armanox

    armanox Kick this Ginger...

    It's a side art for me currently. My main art (and first) is Shorin Ryu, but I've been studying more Hapkido lately. I have a couple of friends for whom Hapkido is their first and main style.
  4. bushidoka

    bushidoka Valued Member

    Initially, growing up, Karate and Judo were my main studies... Back then, almost every thing was grouped under the Karate banner. I went to a s.k. Hayes seminar back in the late 80's or so, and it was some thing that was just unattainable at the time. Information like that was VERY hard to come by back then...

    Now a days, you jump on the internet, and you can find a teacher for this or that within minutes. Back then, you needed a letter of introduction, pass ports, travel docs, etc. You showed up in the country and hoped you could survive long enough to get into a school that you desired, and even then, you were an outsider. You had to take the beatings and fight for every lesson you got, and some you didn't want.

    Aikido was very difficult to get into pre 1980...

    HapKiDo was a very fortunate happenstance for me. At 20, I was the only student of an immigrant from Korea that had just landed the previous year. I was a punching bag, lol, to be more precise, because there were no other students. He just wanted to stay in shape and figure out how to teach his science here in Canada. He taught me enough to stay with him in training. The more advanced stuff that he wanted to train in, the more he had to teach me. I was a white belt for 6 yrs, training 2 times a day, 4 hrs a day, 6 days a week, with no mats, and with 90 mins a day weight training on my own.

    By the time he had developed a curriculum, and was ready to open a school, I had completed Uni degrees in Kinesiology and Exercise physiology.

    When the school opened, I was still a white belt :) And we burnt through some students, lol... it seemed we were to hard to retain any but the most ardent at the time. We persevered for the first year, sharing a gym with Mr Park to cut costs.

    As we had a student that had met the curriculum, than I would grade ahead of them, so we always had a senior student.

    Just to interject a point in the middle of all this... my teacher always taught me that there are only 3 belts in Korean HKD... the White belt of the student, the Black belt of the Teacher, and the Grey (Aged, worn, washed, and frayed Black Belt) belt of a master.

    We found that we could not make money teaching HKD as he knew it. We just burnt through too many bodies. The numbers did not work for profit.

    At this point in the story I will stop... it would just take too much space to portray an accurate description of the journey from here... and I am just getting waaay off topic, lol.

    Suffice it to say, HapKiDo is now my main Science. Due to my involvement and prompting from my teacher, I am a Kinesiologist BSc with a major in Biomechanics and various other miscellaneous courses related to our training.

    I AM HapKiDo :) :) :)
  5. hapkidonet

    hapkidonet New Member

    Hapkido is my primary art. I also have advanced ranks in Shorin-Ryu and Japanese Jujitsu, as well as instructor status in Silat and 3.5 years in Kali. I have used my experience in those arts to overhaul my Hapkido. I have almost completely abandoned wrist grab defenses, keeping only three or four of the 50 or so I learned. Instead we practice Hapkido techniques using the bridge (crossed forearms) and hubud-style flow drills as entries.

    I've kept the many traditional body grab defenses, however our focus is achieving locks and throws against punches, whether crosses or hooks (we typically just parry the jab). We work close-quarters or stand up grappling heavily, using tools like head control, trapping the legs and unbalancing the opponent.

    I feel this is a much needed change. The obsessive focus on wrist grabs is outdated and of little use. People need defenses against the types of attacks we see today, which are close-range strikes and takedown attempts.
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Sounds good... I bet you have some fun classes.

    Do you also work in ground grappling and weapons much too?

    In many ways, I agree. However, I always looked at wrist grabs from the perspective of being a safe, easy, and consistent way to teach a technique. Once a student can do it from the wrist grab well, then we can shift to other applications... but many students seem to need the focused application of learning the technique before adding the various level changes footwork, movement, unbalancing and so on....

    I think it is a problem when the bulk of the time is focused on learning static wrist grabs because it's in the curriculum instead of working on applying the techniques to more real world style of attacks with increasing power and focus (pressure).

    I agree. The system I study now sounds very similar to what you are doing. Hapkido's core operating system really works. It just needs to be tailored and trained to match the goals of what you are doing.
  7. hapkidonet

    hapkidonet New Member

    We have about 25 ground grappling techniques for 1st degree black belt. The focus is on getting back to our feet as quickly as possible.

    The only weapon we work with up to 1st degree is empty hands vs. knife. At 2nd degree it's knife vs. knife, 3rd is cane, and 4th is flexible weapon (belt, scarf, etc).

    As far as wrist grab defenses, for a long time I justified them by saying that they're simply static positions to learn the technique from first, before applying them dynamically.

    The problem is two fold. One, there are many techniques that can only be done off wrist grabs, and are not possible or practical otherwise. This is especially true for double wrist grabs. So these techniques are pointless and self-serving.

    Second, it's common for new students to try a martial art for a few months, maybe six months at most, and move on. In the case of Hapkido, if they go away having learned nothing but wrist grab defenses, breakfalls and a few kicks, it reinforces the public perception that Hapkido is nothing but wrist grab techs.

    I would rather give a new student something right off the bat that they can use in real life to defend themselves. If they never come back after the first session, I want them to go away with something useful.

    I'm frankly fed up with wrist grab techniques. I guess that's obvious, haha. I can't stand to watch Hapkido seminar videos that are nothing but wrist grabs. I've never been to a Hapkido seminar for this very reason. I'd rather go to a Silat seminar where I know the focus will be on striking attacks and dynamic entries. I then take those entries and look for realistic ways to apply Hapkido locks on the fly.

    Wael Abdelgawad
    Hammerhead Hapkido

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