Thread: Hapkido
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Old 11-20-2008, 06:53 PM   #20
matthew rogers
Dojo: Scarborough Martial Arts Training Group
Location: Toronto
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 6
Re: Hapkido

Mr Davidson's observations and criticisms seem completely on point and consistant with my experiences as well.

There is plenty of material in the systems which differ but there is a fair bit of overlap.
Phil Davison wrote: View Post
I can vouch for a strong relationship between Hapkido and Daito Ryu. Almost everything I learned when I was training in Hapkido (with Master Kim Sung Do in Sydney in the 80s) I've also seen in Daito Ryu. What I was taught as defenses against rear grabs is virtually identical to the Ushiro set from the Daito Ryu Hiden Mokuroku (as taught by Kondo and Kato).
Interestingly many techniques which are considered basic hapkido techniques are taught later in the Daito-ryu system so some with only a basic exposure to Daito-ryu may not have encountered some of the techniques held in common. Not that these techniques are actually more 'difficult' or 'advanced', exposure to them just comes later in the Daito-ryu system than in hapkido.

It is also interesting that Sokaku did not teach the fundamental kata (Hiden Mokuroku) to the members of the Takumakai. Sagawa Yukiyoshi also stated that Sokaku did not teach through kata but 'only taught practical things' or dealing with specific attacks. So it may be that Sokaku's teaching system differed with different students.

Phil Davison wrote: View Post
There are additional techniques in Hapkido - most notably striking and kicking, but also techniques that appear to have been borrowed form Judo.
The earliest students of hapkido were practitioners of other arts such as judo and various 'karate based' arts such as tang soo do. Suh Bok Sub, Choi's first student of note and partner in the first commercial hapkido school opened by Choi in Taegu in 1951, was already a black belt in judo before he began studying hapkido.

Most of the major throws of judo are indeed incorporated into judo although often modified to be applied without relying on the dogi (dobok). There is also a whole section in some styles of the art which are referred to as 'anti-judo' techniques consisting mostly of attacking the joints of a person who is reaching for 'grips' for throwing or jacket techniques attacking the joints of balance of those who taken hold of the uniform.

It seems obvious that hapkido was aware reacted to the arts which were present during its formative years, absorbing some and setting up defenses for the tactics of others.

Phil Davison wrote: View Post
There is also internal training in Hapkido - although this seems to be very poorly understood by most practitioners (you could say the same for Aikido or Karate though).
Hapkido employs the standard forms of seated meditation and 'following the breath' practise which would be familiar to anyone who practised buddhist meditation.

We also practise what we refer to as 'tanjon' (Jap-tanden) breathing where he focus on moving a consciousness of internal force from our centre below our navel to different areas such as our hands etc. Our school practises this much more gently than do some where you see the shaking of hands and what not as they go through movements designed to change the focus of our attention on the force moving through different parts of our bodies.

We also practise using this mental control to allow us to more completely relax parts of our bodies so that we can strike more effective and to 'join our breath' with specific parts of our joint manipulations. We also do specific exercises designed to test our focus such as breaking technique, breaking pieces of wood (against the grain) and other objects using minimal body movements. These minimal movements would not be effective if one was not able to relax sufficiently to drop one's weight properly. We believe that the breathwork assists greatly in allows the necessary relaxation to occur.

Hapkido may employ less of these techniques than do some Chinese arts but it certainly a part of the hapkido practise I have followed.

Phil Davison wrote: View Post
Much of Hapkido that I have seen recently seems to be taught very poorly - as a sort of add-on to TKD. This can also give a negative impression, but we must not confuse the art with some poor examples or some low level exponents.
Many of the differing interpretations of hapkido have to do with two factors 1) There are different styles or 'kwans' of hapkido and they differ in what they chose to add to the jujutsu like core of the Choi Yong-Sul based tradition. 2) There are many Taekwondo teachers who believe that adding a few jointlocks into their hoshinsul or self defense curriculum makes what they are doing hapkido and they offer belts in both arts.

The style of hapkido that I learned was a complete system with its own aesthetics, tactics and manner of doing striking which differs greatly from the taekwondo approach.

Hapkido that has this approach is not what one most easily comes in conact with here in North America, though.
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