Hapkido Hand Strikes: Neglected?

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by Doomx2001, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    In most styles of Hapkido there are hand strikes (knifehand, ridgehand, vertical fist, horizontal fist..etc), but, how often do we train our hands?

    The point and question I'm eluding to is this: we often practice kicks almost every class if not every single class, but do we treat hand strikes with the same respect as we do our legs?
    In my opinion some styles do, while others neglect it all together.

    So what is your all's striking training methods? Is hands strikes neglected in Hapkido?


    - Brian
     
  2. Uncle

    Uncle Blue Belt

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    Improper balance of hand and foot techniques seems to be the norm in Korean martial arts and seems to be one of the major reasons they can't compete with other arts at higher levels.
     
  3. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    Higher levels of what?
     
  4. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    I have another theory: Korean arts in the US are notorious for fast promotion; so, you have a lot of Black belts that should have had more time in the art, but I wouldn't discount the arts themselves. Geez! LOL :)
     
  5. Uncle

    Uncle Blue Belt

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    I would never discount Korean arts entirely but you don't usually see a whole lot of taekwondo guys in high level full contact fighting and when you do what you usually see is kicks common to kickboxing and muay thai and that they've cross trained in boxing/kickboxing/muay thai to shore up the weaknesses in hand techniques.
     
  6. iron_ox

    iron_ox Black Belt

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    Hello all,

    From my perspective, most people, even those in "Hapkido" don't even know what strikes are from the art of Choi Dojunim, and which are just add ons from other places because the actual strikes are not known. Another issue is that most people do not take the time to find the correct muscles in the hand that must be tightened and conditioned to make strikes effective. That would be the first thing that should be addressed. "Finding" the muscles in the hand that actually are part of the contact of the strike and learning to control them is a bit of a slow process, but very useful.

    Not sure what is meant by "improper balance" between use of hand and foot, certainly is not all the case in Hapkido. Possibly in some sort of sporting venue, but certainly not as a martial art.
     
  7. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    I would agree with that overall. The thing I've notice with almost all martial arts is that for martial arts (regardless of country of origin) that have kata's, the students don't fight/spar the way they train. Their kata's don't reflect their fighting nor does their fighting reflect their katas.

    Regardless of kata's (as that is a different issue altogether), most people (but not all) who train to do blocks, certain hand movements, and joint locks, never do them when sparring. It always looks like a kick boxing match, because it is. And that to me is very disappointing. Training how to use hands is very important as that is a 'close range' tool. And 'close range' is where Hapkido operates. Kicking is good for distance, distraction, and 'long range' fighting. You really do need a balance of both.

    For me personally, I feel training the hands should be about 60% and the legs 40% of your training at any given class. Especially since most kicks taught today are unrealistic in a street fight, and that is not to say that people can't do high kicks in a street fight, just that most of us humans cannot. I think it is fine to train to do flashy high kicks for the purpose of loosening up your lower body for more flexability, but for practicallity low level kicks aim at the belly or lower should be the focus of the kicking regime.

    Anyway, my opinions aside, what blocking and striking sets do you all train? How many repetitions?
     
  8. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    Could you expound on this a little more? I'm curious as to GM Choi's perspective on hand strikes/blocks as you was taught. I think that would add more depth to what were talking about.
     
  9. iron_ox

    iron_ox Black Belt

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    Hello all,

    I think one of the most important things is to recognize that Hapkido is a "Sword art without a sword". The strikes likewise are very similar to sword motions, and often have not only similar trajectories but also similar targets. It might be easier to explain in video I'm thinking.
     
  10. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    With respect, Korean arts in Korea itself are rather fast. On the flip side, the quickest I've seen a Korean Hapkido GM here in America promote to Dan rank is a single weekend with no prior HKD training. That unfortunately isn't an exaggeration. Sometimes it is more about the greenbacks than quality.
     
  11. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    As far as the striking aspects, in our training hand techniques far outweigh foot techniques. The reason is that the majority of my/our students are more apt to be involved in a close-quarter altercations where a quick strike with the edge-of-hand/forearm/elbow followed by a lock/throw is far likelier than a kick. And the kicking we do is also designed for CQ tactics i.e. low kicks, kicks to off-balance/set up for something else etc.

    I'm not claiming this is the norm for other HKD schools, just ours (if/when we use that label).
     
  12. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    So how do you guys practice your blocks and strikes?
     
  13. Dwi Chugi

    Dwi Chugi Orange Belt

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    The system of Hapkido I teach is dedicated to pure street defense in the first year of training. It's more of hoshinsool/yusool system at first and less of a Hapkido art form.

    In MuSool Hapkido; we only use palm heal strike, hammer fist and elbow strikes in the first year in training.

    The only kicks or leg strikes we use in that time period is front kick, round kick (with the ball and instep), inverted kick, cut/push kick and knees. Most of the kicks are done on the lower part of the body. The cut/push kick is used for distance control and the knees can be thrown in the clinch.

    We spend about the same amount of time striking as we do kicking however, we spend more time on takedowns and throws then striking and kicking.

    Most of the blocking is done in a more of a covering fashion. Our goal in the first year is to close the gap and tie up the attackers arms. Secure a take down or throw and lock up the attacker while the defender is still on their feet.

    Our system focuses more on someone with no or very little skill attacking you at first. I believe you are way more likely to be attacked by a street thug than a trained martial artist. Someone that knows nothing attacks differently than someone that is trained. We use a lot of drills to secure muscle memory.

    In the second and third year of training (after green belt) our system starts to look more like Hapkido and less like a yusool or jujitsu style. We add more of the strikings you see in other Hapki systems. They include knife hand strike, ridge hand, Hapkido knuckle, spear hand, spear fingers as well as strikes you may or may not see in other systems like jab/cross punches.

    The only other kicks added to the second and third year of training are side kick, twist kick and spin back kick. All the kicks are low kicks except for the back kick. That is aimed for the mid-section of the body.

    We add soft outer, inner and upper blocks so we can trap the hand of our attacker for throws.

    Our time from white to green belt is right at a year. It takes another year to 18 months to obtain a purple belt. To earn a brown belt a student needs to be training regularly for a year or a little more. Brown to deputy black belt takes about a year and a half. Deputy black belt to black belt takes six months to a year.

    My cousin has been training for 8 years and will be testing for his black belt in October. I only mentioned the time frame because someone posted that Korean systems give black belts fast. That may be true in some styles of the Korean arts but both myTaekwondo and Hapkido Masters made me wait for the appropriate time so in turn, my students do the same.

    I know I "quoted" the original question but tried to answer all other questions and statements posted after that question as well.
     
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  14. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Most of our blocks are actually strikes in-and-of-themselves. For example, what is typically called a high block (which typically is very ineffective/dangerous as an actual high block) is a forearm ram/strike while pulling the attacker off-balance. A low block (which again is a very ineffective/dangerous movement if used as a block) is a hammer fist strike to a lower extremity, again while off-balancing the attacker and setting them up for a throw or other conclusion. An inside knife hand block is far more effective while grappling to damage an attackers arm either from the inside (to set up a low block/hammer fist or from the outside to set up an arm bar/take down). As an actual block to stop an incoming punch it is marginal to ineffective due mainly to action/reaction time.

    As far as an actual block is considered, we do so off of the flinch response and it is all gross motor skilled reactions. In this regard, a palm heel block is effective as is the O'Neill Cover and wedge block.

    For training on striking we use a variety of methods. Live action drills of course where we are striking someone that is moble and doesn't want to be struck. Use of the BOB is great for targeting and conditioning against a big, heavy object and of course solo/kata/form training (like shadow boxing). Also body conditioning where your partner is throwing a live punch at you and you are blocking it as hard as possible (within the bounds of safety and common sense of course) to condition the arms/legs/torso etc. This isn't necessarily HKD and is actually an old Okinawan karate drill that I use from my early days in Karate.
     
  15. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I like this, it is the way it should be done. No need to rush just for a piece of colored cloth.
     
  16. Dwi Chugi

    Dwi Chugi Orange Belt

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    Thank you. I agree. I take very little stock in rank. It was made up for judo and comes from a Japanese board game called go. Japanese swimming used the rank system first and Kano adopted it from them. At first it was white belt and black belt but when judo started to spread to Europe they adopted a color belt system. The Koreans jumped on board with their arts.

    A few years back I had a father bring in his 15 year old son that had obtained a third degree black belt in Taekwondo. He wanted to know how long it would take him to earn his Fourth Dan in my taekwondo program and I told him 5 or 6 years at least. The father took his son to a school two city's north of me and he received his rank at age 16.

    After obtaining the rank the kid comes back and says "I'm a master of taekwondo and I'm looking for a job to teach". I'd just hired one of my First Dans and I told him that I only hire my own black belts. He relayed to me that I was making a mistake because he was a master and my 1st Dan just got her black belt.

    I just saw the kid again and he is now in his 20's. He asked me about training in Hapkido. I told him to come in for an interview and he asked if he could wear his 4th Dan black belt. I told him if he could stay on his feet for more than two minutes against a green belt I would allow him too. He thought for a minute and asked, "well they are allowed to throw"?. My reply was "of course, it's Hapkido". He said "but I don't know Hapkido so that wouldn't be fair". I guess the light bulb went off because he volunteered to wear a white belt. Blows my mind.
     
  17. Dwi Chugi

    Dwi Chugi Orange Belt

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    With the above being said, I do respect martial artist of any rank that has earned that rank. :)
     
  18. iron_ox

    iron_ox Black Belt

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    Hello all,

    In terms of striking, many if not all of the strikes are designed to be done in concert with other techniques, and are rarely done as stand alone things. While I feel everyone should express their idea of how to fight, when talking about Hapkido, things like "boxing punches" are not really appropriate for the art. But again, if someone is teaching a hybrid/variant of the art, it is their choice clearly.

    As far as the discussion about "time to rank"....yes, in Korea it takes about one year, or a little more to get to black belt - this is because, and I agree, that black belt is a beginner rank - it is not designed to confer mastery, but to show that the person has a grasp of some basics, can take a break fall, and is beginning to have a knowledge of energy dynamics in a conflict. The Founder of Hapkido only taught for 36 years, he made four 9th dans, a few dozen 8th dans, and more 7th dans - the end of the training curriculum.
    I have found that often the reason people are not ranked is because there is a lack of material after black belt from that instructor for the student to learn. That has been my experience, and may not be the case always. Rank was done on ability, thus many moved very fast through the ranks, they were not held back artificially to drag out, as another example a financial obligation like a contract.
     
  19. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    Great analogy...
     
  20. Instructor

    Instructor Master Black Belt

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    This is the exception rather than the rule though. Most Hapkido Schools expect several years of training for Dan rank(at least one year for quick students). Most also agree that 1st Dan is really the beginning of learning.123
     

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