Hapkido--Is Combining Philosophies Okay or will it Hinder my Progress?

drewtoby

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I am relatively new to the Hapkido style I have transferred into. After much reflection (and a lot of help from MT) I have come to the conclusion that my old school gave me valuable perspectives on flowing/changing techniques that my current school does not emphasize. My first school lacked terribly in the details/technique department (stating to perfect 3 or so moves to rely on in real life), but allowed me to see that the majority of moves could be utilized from grappling to various grabs (dead, pull, push) to striking. It emphasized flowing like water and not forcing techniques (yeah... we still had to force but we could at least flow). I have since "exchanged" favorite techniques as I have perfected techniques more at my new school school after several months than I did in several years at my old one (with little exception).

I guess it took me a while to realize I did not waste my time in my first school as I had originally thought. It gave me great insight on how to change techniques. All I have to do now is think about where I can change my new techniques and go with it (most are still somewhat forced as I am still perfecting the curriculum).

My current school is much more traditional with everything by the book. Great for perfecting techniques and learning footwork/concepts/etc (not to mention striking). However, not every technique can be realistically used against a larger opponent, neither can every combo (my teacher admits to this and covers what will not work on bigger/smaller opponents). For me not everything works yet as is, although a lot of things do. We work mostly off of dead grabs to refine technique (advanced practitioners drill differently (faster/with resistance) as it becomes second nature to them). Right now I am up to ten or so moves I feel comfortable "flowing" into (not to mention better kicks/combos).

In summary: I want to learn the art of Hapkido for self defense but my current school is giving me bad habits (albeit great tools) for a real life encounter. For instance, today I tried to armbar a much larger training partner (after class). It almost worked, but went south due to him knowing how to use his size to help throw me off. Out of habit I kept going for it. By the time I realized I could flow into another move I was comfortable with it was too late to do anything. In real life he had an easy shot after escaping.

Why did it take me so long to realize I could flow? I have dropped everything from my past school so I would not hinder my progress at my current school. I had not thought about flowing for a month or two. When I first switched schools I held on to too much and that hindered my ability to learn technique. I am now seeing this differently, as in forgetting too much hinders me as a martial artist and my ability to defend myself. What is the middle ground? Retaining old knowledge but surpressing my urge to switch techniques in class? I am stuck as learning the new material to perfection is hard enough (even with a great teacher and great partners). Please help.


Thanks for bearing with my long post! I hope this all makes sense. I have a feeling that this all has to do with "making the art my own."
 

MAist25

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Interesting post, and it really all comes down to experience. You say you are new to Hapkido so don't take your dilemma too seriously, because it really isn't a dilemma at all. Do not mold yourself to the style, it is much more important to mold the style to fit you. Everybody is going to fight differently, even when they are learning the same style. The way we fight is an expression of who we are, and nobody will ever have the same style, even when practicing the same style.

For real self defense it is more important to master a few techniques, and learn how to utilize those techniques in as many situations as possible. Learning new techniques is always great, and you need to do so in order to master the style you are practicing. However, you as an individual will find techniques that simply work better for you. These are the ones you really need to perfect, as they will most likely be your go-to moves simply by reaction, in a combat situation. Learn to apply them under pressure and in as many different scenarios as possible.

Also, learn what some common reactions to your application of a specific technique, that you may encounter if your technique doesn't work like its supposed to and either A) learn what techniques you can easily flow into, and practice those so they become second-nature or, B) strike your opponent to disorient and overload the brain, which will take away his ability to perceive the joint locking technique and allow you a split second to execute your joint locking technique.


Do not ever simply discard what you have learned because you have begun training at a new school. However, you must remember that you switched schools for a reason and you want to learn this new schools way of doing things, not simply bring your old schools way of doing things and continuing to do them, as it will hinder your ability to learn new material. But, this does not mean you should simply discard any of your previous teachings, and instead, incorporate them into your new schools way of doing things. You must find a healthy balance, and figure our what works for you.
 

oftheherd1

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I don't understand. You studied several years at your old school? What ranking did you achieve? Were you really only taught 3 techniques in all that time? Somehow I don't think I am understanding what you mean. Do you really think you are being taught bad habits? I think you should talk to your teacher about that. He may be taking you a baby step at a time.

What did you do to set up the arm bar against your larger partner? Some arm bars are very easy to counter, but the better your technique, the more difficult the counter. That may be where the real problem was.
 
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drewtoby

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you as an individual will find techniques that simply work better for you. These are the ones you really need to perfect, as they will most likely be your go-to moves simply by reaction, in a combat situation. Learn to apply them under pressure and in as many different scenarios as possible.

I need to work on finding, perfecting, and applying my new go-tos. I have not had as much "live" practice with the ones I have now and this lowers my confidence in using them in real life, coupled with my old go-tos not working reliably (lack of technique).

t. He may be taking you a baby step at a time.

What did you do to set up the arm bar against your larger partner? Some arm bars are very easy to counter, but the better your technique, the more difficult the counter. That may be where the real problem was.

He is taking us a baby step at a time (we need it, especially me). Its just that I have gotten used to having to do a specific technique in drills and not being able to "flow" when one does not work. I think I need to have a different mindset outside of class hours. The armbar was off a wrist grab and I almost got it to work.

Thanks for the replys. I have to test into the new school once I have mastered my material. I will test to be a 3rd gup (what I was at my first school) so I have a heck of a lot to learn/perfect as well! I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at times...
 

WaterGal

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So, if I understand correctly.... at the new school you have a bunch of specific hoshinsul drills that you use to train various techniques, which you're expected to do exactly correct? While at the old school, you just learned a couple basic techniques and worked them in a more loose, improvisational way?

I do think both approaches have value, but I think it makes sense to develop the technical grappling skills first and then do the "flowing" later. It's like playing music - if you want to jam or write your own songs, you need to learn to play the instrument well enough to correctly execute your ideas. Once you have the technical chops, you'll have an easier time getting the result you want, in the long run.

Do you know if your teacher allows higher ranks to do grappling sparring, or to improvise and develop their own hoshinsul drills?
 

K-man

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I need to work on finding, perfecting, and applying my new go-tos. I have not had as much "live" practice with the ones I have now and this lowers my confidence in using them in real life, coupled with my old go-tos not working reliably (lack of technique).

He is taking us a baby step at a time (we need it, especially me). Its just that I have gotten used to having to do a specific technique in drills and not being able to "flow" when one does not work. I think I need to have a different mindset outside of class hours. The armbar was off a wrist grab and I almost got it to work.
Trying to make a technique work in a training situation almost always requires a compliant partner for several reasons. These relate to relative skill, physical strength, relative size etc. To me 'almost got it to work' means it failed and in reality that is normally the time to move on to your next option. In a real life situation you don't even try to make a technique 'work' unless you are super strong. You work with what you are given and if you are given the arm bar you say "thank you" and apply it. If it is not there you don't go chasing it.

In training it depends on your level of training as to whether you could apply an armbar from a wrist grab with a non compliant partner. I would suggest only a very experienced practitioner could achieve it. So take a step back and get your partner to use less resistance until you have the physical movement perfect, then start to increase the resistance once you have the technique perfected.
:asian:
 
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drewtoby

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So, if I understand correctly.... at the new school you have a bunch of specific hoshinsul drills that you use to train various techniques, which you're expected to do exactly correct? While at the old school, you just learned a couple basic techniques and worked them in a more loose, improvisational way?

I do think both approaches have value, but I think it makes sense to develop the technical grappling skills first and then do the "flowing" later. It's like playing music - if you want to jam or write your own songs, you need to learn to play the instrument well enough to correctly execute your ideas. Once you have the technical chops, you'll have an easier time getting the result you want, in the long run.

Do you know if your teacher allows higher ranks to do grappling sparring, or to improvise and develop their own hoshinsul drills?

Correct. I now see that I have learned to run before I could walk... or crawl for that matter. I can see different ground locks/etc. that we can go into that my teacher is holding off teaching. I know that we will do grappling sparring, although I am not so sure if we can develop our own drills or not. He is flexible, however, so I am sure that he will consider it if I bring it up once I am more advanced (after all, we spent a few months drilling techniques outside our immediate curriculum to emphasize footwork and balance). If not the whole class, he will at least be willing to help me. As for the techniques, it helps a lot in the short run as well!

K-man, thanks for the suggestion. I'll keep on working with it. I was more surprised from my inability to recognize this as a switching point than I was from my technique's failure.

I think that I need to keep the whole picture in mind that WaterGal pointed out then (and have the patience to progress a lot slower but more thoroughly than I am used to). These are not really "separate" philosophies, now are they? They mesh together just fine.
 

Cirdan

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If as you say you are going to do grappling sparring, I suppose flowing wil be adressed. Making the art your own is very important (particularly with experience from multiple styles), but maybe you are getting ahead of yourself just a little bit. Good luck.
 

oftheherd1

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I need to work on finding, perfecting, and applying my new go-tos. I have not had as much "live" practice with the ones I have now and this lowers my confidence in using them in real life, coupled with my old go-tos not working reliably (lack of technique).



He is taking us a baby step at a time (we need it, especially me). Its just that I have gotten used to having to do a specific technique in drills and not being able to "flow" when one does not work. I think I need to have a different mindset outside of class hours. The armbar was off a wrist grab and I almost got it to work.

Thanks for the replys. I have to test into the new school once I have mastered my material. I will test to be a 3rd gup (what I was at my first school) so I have a heck of a lot to learn/perfect as well! I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at times...

It sounds like your two schools are different from where I learned Hapkido. 3rd gup should be rather advanced. I would have expected you to have learned wrist grab defenses at 10th gup, in either school. Just out of curiosity, can you tell me what the technique consisted of?
 
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drewtoby

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It sounds like your two schools are different from where I learned Hapkido. 3rd gup should be rather advanced. I would have expected you to have learned wrist grab defenses at 10th gup, in either school. Just out of curiosity, can you tell me what the technique consisted of?

I am in the middle of transferring, so I would consider myself to be around 7th gup when it comes to technique at the moment (I am facing the same issues other 7th gups are when it comes to technique). I have all the escapes and most of the basic techniques down, just need to keep drilling and refining. Higher for weapons and forms (maybe 4th or 5th gup). I mean it when I say I have a ways to go, especially since I "know" all of the drills/techniques by rank to 3rd gup but NEED to further refine them...

Both of my schools combined learning grab defense, kick defense, punch defense, weapons, etc. from the beginning (but mostly grab defense). How does your school do things?

The armbar was an opposite wrist grab. I brought my arm up and used my forearm to try and roll him over. I probably pushed out too much and did not circle enough here, causing the failure. He was able to circle back from there. We also do this technique off of punch defense for 3rd gup (knifehand body block, 45 roundhouse, armbar, dislocate elbow and punch). For some reason I find that to be easier. Probably the kick's momentum.
 

oftheherd1

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I am in the middle of transferring, so I would consider myself to be around 7th gup when it comes to technique at the moment (I am facing the same issues other 7th gups are when it comes to technique). I have all the escapes and most of the basic techniques down, just need to keep drilling and refining. Higher for weapons and forms (maybe 4th or 5th gup). I mean it when I say I have a ways to go, especially since I "know" all of the drills/techniques by rank to 3rd gup but NEED to further refine them...

Both of my schools combined learning grab defense, kick defense, punch defense, weapons, etc. from the beginning (but mostly grab defense). How does your school do things?

The armbar was an opposite wrist grab. I brought my arm up and used my forearm to try and roll him over. I probably pushed out too much and did not circle enough here, causing the failure. He was able to circle back from there. We also do this technique off of punch defense for 3rd gup (knifehand body block, 45 roundhouse, armbar, dislocate elbow and punch). For some reason I find that to be easier. Probably the kick's momentum.

As you know a lot can go on in a moment, so I am not understanding what you meant to do. It sounds like a basic break, but I would expect you would grab his hand with your free hand, twist his arm, then use your forearm against the nerve bundle in his triceps as you step forward and force him to the ground. Was that it, or another of the many techniques in Hapkido's arsenal?
 
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drewtoby

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As you know a lot can go on in a moment, so I am not understanding what you meant to do. It sounds like a basic break, but I would expect you would grab his hand with your free hand, twist his arm, then use your forearm against the nerve bundle in his triceps as you step forward and force him to the ground. Was that it, or another of the many techniques in Hapkido's arsenal?

Ah, that is a similar variation ;)
 

WaterGal

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The armbar was an opposite wrist grab. I brought my arm up and used my forearm to try and roll him over. I probably pushed out too much and did not circle enough here, causing the failure. He was able to circle back from there. We also do this technique off of punch defense for 3rd gup (knifehand body block, 45 roundhouse, armbar, dislocate elbow and punch). For some reason I find that to be easier. Probably the kick's momentum.

If you're doing the technique I'm thinking of, I think you're right about what went wrong. Circling/pivoting as you do the armbar helps keep them from escaping. Also, did you turn your grabbed wrist and return the grab? If you didn't, that helps turn his arm over and traps his hand.
 
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