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Old 07-25-2001, 10:26 AM   #14
Location: South Korea
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 32
Hi, Jim

While I haven't practiced Hapkido myself, since I live in Korea, a lot of my dojo mates have experience in Hapkido, some up to the junior instructor level, and our chief instructor in fact was a Hapkido champion when he was younger(one of his many accomplishments, but that's another story). Since Koreans naturally don't feel much goodwill towards the Japanese, Aikido in its original form was only first introduced about ten years ago into Korea by our instructor, and there is some political tension between practitioners of both arts.

Anyhow, as jk mentioned, and as you probably gathered from your readings, Hapkido is an eclectic art, and the sentiment among aikidoka who have experience in it seems to be that this contributes to a generally lower level of technique across the spectrum. This is simply a practical matter - if you practice kicking, aikijutsu techniques, weaponry, judo throws, striking, etc, etc, and the time you can commit is fixed, how good are you going to get at all of it? The politicking and splitting of factions and the output of young, low-quality instructors who haven't had enough time to become fully accomplished don't help either.

My dojo mates are generally very happy with the in-depth understanding they gain into the techniques which are outwardly almost identical but are approached very differently. For example, techniques in Hapkido are often accompanied by strikes and kicks to the joints and weak points in the body, making them look very powerful, but doing this from an early level prevents students from gaining an understanding into how to apply a pure technique against resistance - it's too easy and tempting to just kick someone in the groin or stomach to get them to bend over for ikkyo, but when you reach a certain level, you come up against a brick wall in your development.

In spite of what I've said, I don't mean to imply that Hapkido is a deficient art, simply that the practicality of training and instruction in Hapkido is plagued by its own problems, much as some people find Aikido training to have problems. There are true 'masters' of the art, but the instruction level across the board seems to leave something to be desired at this point in time.
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