Hapkido's missing link....

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
I think there are several missing links that would make Hapkido much more effective, in my opinion.

But a big improvement, in my opinion, would be to appropriately incorporate striking as not just a distraction to set up joint manipulations, but perhaps more importantly a follow up to a failed attempt at a joint manipulation.

What is most common in Hapkido, from my experience is perhaps a distraction strike to set up a wristlock, if the joint lock fails, then transition to a different wrist lock. This I believe, is not nearly as high percentage as instead transitioning to a well placed strike.

Primarily an elbow or knee strike. Elbows in particular. Who does this extremely well? Muay Thai practitioners. They attempt a throw or sweep, when it fails, they take advantage of the fact their opponent is momentarily off balance and focused on not being taken down, to land deviating blows. Fight changing precision, crushing hits. They come right after a takedown attempt.

Combat Judo would also really benefit from this. The problem is in Hapkido and Judo the focus is usually primarily on control, verse Muay Thai where a strike is as good as a throw.
 
Last edited:

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
7,552
Reaction score
7,579
Location
Lexington, KY
I dont have personal experience with Hapkido, so I wont comment on that. But the general idea of using a sweep or lock as a setup for striking is an excellent point. Im a big fan of that approach.
 

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,389
Reaction score
2,483
I think my experience in Hapkido may not be exactly what everyone else had. My Hapkido class was in a Taekwondo school. We had 20+ TKD classes per week, and one HKD class per week, both run by the same Master. His Hapkido curriculum was hyper-focused on the joint locks. There were maybe 3 tested techniques that used strikes in the defense out of the entire curriculum up to and including the 1st Dan material.

My Master's approach to Hapkido was not that you plan for failure. If you did not successfully execute your technique in a few seconds, he would say, "You died. Start over and try again." Essentially, when you decide that you are fighting back, you need to explode and quickly contain the situation.

In the "Hapkido techniques" in the Taekwondo class, our drills would include a strike to "shock" our opponent into complying with the next technique. For example: opponent punches, I step outside, block with my right hand and grab his arm, punch with my left to shock him into forgetting about the arm, then lock my arms into a figure-4 and do an Americana take down.

In the Hapkido class, we would focus instead on using a pressure point to elicit the same "shock". In the same example above, I might block the punch with my right arm, but then twist the hand over and press my left hand into the elbow to shock him with pain on his elbow or wrist (if I have a good gooseneck), then turn that into the figure-4 and also do the Americana take down.

Our Hapkido system was not focused on fighting an opponent. It was focused on quickly reducing threat against you so you can run away or fight the next guy. Ideally you would do some crippling damage in the process, so that guy would not immediately chase you or rejoin the fight.

The biggest problem with this system is obviously that if it fails, it fails hard. It takes a long time to learn how to properly do the joint locks and pressure points. It takes way longer to be able to instantly feel your opponent's resistance and figure out which technique to use based on where they're applying force.

However, I don't think Hapkido, the way I learned it, would benefit from using strikes in this way, any more than I think boxing would benefit from including some Jiu-Jitsu. I think Hapkido practitioners would benefit from this, in the same way I think boxers would benefit from jiu-jitsu. In both cases, I'm not saying the skill or strategy of the cross-training is bad, just that it doesn't fit with the identity of the art (or at least, the way I trained it).
 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
Here is a video about one of my former instructors "Kru Ten" doing this very well. I have used this very technique in clinch fighting a lot and it works great. But Muay Thai has a lot of this type of stuff. This is a beautiful combination.

 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
This is a great example below. Keep in mind, this could easily be done off a failed Judo through. Or other Hapkido type joint lock, especially if combined with an off balancing shove. It's deviating and simple.

 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
Hapkido was a mixed martial art, designed to combine striking, joint locks and throws to merge them into an effective combat system. If it continued to develop that strategy, instead of focusing on "testing" and "tradition" I think it could be a really cool, effective system.

I hate seeing the system frozen in time, when there are really neat ways to greatly increase its effectiveness.
 

MetalBoar

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
Messages
518
Reaction score
469
I think there are several missing links that would make Hapkido much more effective, in my opinion.

But a big improvement, in my opinion, would be to appropriately incorporate striking as not just a distraction to set up joint manipulations, but perhaps more importantly a follow up to a failed attempt at a joint manipulation.

What is most common in Hapkido, from my experience is perhaps a distraction strike to set up a wristlock, if the joint lock fails, then transition to a different wrist lock. This I believe, is not nearly as high percentage as instead transitioning to a well placed strike.

Primarily an elbow or knee strike. Elbows in particular. Who does this extremely well? Muay Thai practitioners. They attempt a throw or sweep, when it fails, they take advantage of the fact their opponent is momentarily off balance and focused on not being taken down, to land deviating blows. Fight changing precision, crushing hits. They come right after a takedown attempt.

Combat Judo would also really benefit from this. The problem is in Hapkido and Judo the focus is usually primarily on control, verse Muay Thai where a strike is as good as a throw.
I've been away from Hapkido for >20 years now, but I visited a reasonable number of Hapkido schools in the US and a lot of schools in South Korea in the 90's. My big take away was that there's a lot more variation in Hapkido than in most other arts I've been involved with. I've seen Hapkido that looked exactly like Ki Society Aikido and one school in S. Korea that looked a lot like Tracy's Kenpo with a few more joint locks. I've seen Hapkido taught in TKD schools that skipped the HKD striking altogether because the instructor preferred the TKD way and didn't teach HKD as a separate art. I've seen schools with a very heavy emphasis on all forms of close and clinch range striking; elbows, upper cuts, hooks, knees, etc. I'm not sure what the state of the art is today, but I couldn't make any generalized statements about what it included or didn't in regards to striking back then.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,986
Reaction score
4,461
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
If you punch and when your opponent blocks, it will give you a chance to change your punch into a wrist grab. By adding your other hand to control your opponent's elbow joint, you can start your joint locking from there.

All joint lock should be trained in pairs. You apply a lock, if your opponent resists, you can borrow his resisting force, and lock him into the opposite direction.

Both are general MA concept and can be applied to all MA systems.
 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
If you punch and when your opponent blocks, it will give you a chance to change your punch into a wrist grab. By adding your other hand to control your opponent's elbow joint, you can start your joint locking from there.

All joint lock should be trained in pairs. You apply a lock, if your opponent resists, you can borrow his resisting force, and lock him into the opposite direction.

Both are general MA concept and can be applied to all MA systems.
I hear you. As a Judoka, I understand the value of a good 1-2 combination when it comes to throws. But those are body throws that from my experience work a lot better than 1-2 joint manipulation techniques. It's good in theory, but most of the time when the first joint lock fails the probability of the second one working drops dramatically. Because some people are a sucker for joint locks and some people aren't. They work great when they work, but fail miserably typically when they don't.

Which is why when I ever attempted to joint lock someone in a real situation, and it failed, I would switch to a judo throw instead of a joint lock. This worked very well actually and should be strongly considered as a preferred choose as opposed to a second joint lock, in my opinion.

I wasn't elbowing or kneeing anyone, because my job was a law enforcement officer and it was rare that solved a problem with striking. Especially to the face or other vunerable areas of the body.

However for self-defense, and effectiveness, I would much prefer to attempt a joint lock, and instead of trying for a second lock, instead land a deviating strike. I believe it's far, far simpler, and effective.

Take it or leave it, I just wanted to share my thoughts on it. I think it could seriously bump up ones effectiveness at Hapkido very quickly.
 

Mrcaplin

White Belt
Joined
Feb 4, 2023
Messages
1
Reaction score
2
I think there are several missing links that would make Hapkido much more effective, in my opinion.

But a big improvement, in my opinion, would be to appropriately incorporate striking as not just a distraction to set up joint manipulations, but perhaps more importantly a follow up to a failed attempt at a joint manipulation.

What is most common in Hapkido, from my experience is perhaps a distraction strike to set up a wristlock, if the joint lock fails, then transition to a different wrist lock. This I believe, is not nearly as high percentage as instead transitioning to a well placed strike.

Primarily an elbow or knee strike. Elbows in particular. Who does this extremely well? Muay Thai practitioners. They attempt a throw or sweep, when it fails, they take advantage of the fact their opponent is momentarily off balance and focused on not being taken down, to land deviating blows. Fight changing precision, crushing hits. They come right after a takedown attempt.

Combat Judo would also really benefit from this. The problem is in Hapkido and Judo the focus is usually primarily on control, verse Muay Thai where a strike is as good as a throw.
You assume the joint lock is the only technique, or the end game of a Hapkidoist, when we are more than happy, with a good old punch in the face, or other anatomical weak point. joint locks are a tool, if they are on, they are on, if they are not, we are happy to transition to something else.
 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
You assume the joint lock is the only technique, or the end game of a Hapkidoist, when we are more than happy, with a good old punch in the face, or other anatomical weak point. joint locks are a tool, if they are on, they are on, if they are not, we are happy to transition to something else.
Brother, please hear me.... I'm not assuming. I'm basing my assessment on having trained in Hapkido for nearly three years, and TKD also. Having been brought back into a Hapkido schools by a 5th degree, many times to help them understand how to better apply my knowledge of Judo(including Kuzushi), Sambo and Jujitsu to their program.

Also having taught joint manipulation to hundreds of law enforcement, and having successes and utter failures at applying joint locks as a police man against combative suspects.

And ultimately after moving overseas, rethinking everything I thought I knew based on training Muay Thai in Thailand, and realizing these thais are amazing at applying this skill of unbalancing and striking. Not just the idea, or the intention, but the systematic development at how to do it well under stress.

This was posted intentionally in a Hapkido thread because I believe everything you are saying above is true. And I'm suggesting this is a key on how to accomplish that objective that is missing from the training.
 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
In no way is this limited to Hapkido. Judo(which is supposed to be a part of Hapkido) could definitely take advantage of this unbalance and strike technique. If practiced for combat.

Particularly knees would be effective here. Knees are deviating, and most wrestlers and lower skilled Judoka "hip out" especially after a takedown attempt. Lots of perfect opportunities to land knees after a throw attempt, if you understand and practice the foot work.

Some people are just hard to throw and a 1-2 throw-strike combo can be a deviating alternative. Although 1-2 judo throw combos tend to work better than 1-2 joint manipulation combos.

There are no knees thrown in the video, just opportunities to throw them.

 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
15,210
Reaction score
4,871
Location
San Francisco
Brother, please hear me.... I'm not assuming. I'm basing my assessment on having trained in Hapkido for nearly three years, and TKD also. Having been brought back into a Hapkido schools by a 5th degree, many times to help them understand how to better apply my knowledge of Judo(including Kuzushi), Sambo and Jujitsu to their program.

Also having taught joint manipulation to hundreds of law enforcement, and having successes and utter failures at applying joint locks as a police man against combative suspects.

And ultimately after moving overseas, rethinking everything I thought I knew based on training Muay Thai in Thailand, and realizing these thais are amazing at applying this skill of unbalancing and striking. Not just the idea, or the intention, but the systematic development at how to do it well under stress.

This was posted intentionally in a Hapkido thread because I believe everything you are saying above is true. And I'm suggesting this is a key on how to accomplish that objective that is missing from the training.
I am going to respond to this against my better judgement. This just feels like one of those threads that is likely to go sideways in a hurry. Full disclosure: I have never trained Hapkido.

I feel it is risky to make the kind of assessment that you are making here: that something is "missing" from a certain method's training. I disagree with the fundamental premise. The real issue may simply be that you prefer a different type of training, so that is what you ought to do. That is what all of us ought to do: find the training that is best for ourselves, and be able to recognize that that choice can be very different for different people.

The problem with the assessment you are making is that what you are really saying, whether intentional or not, whether you realize it or not, is that Hapkido would really be improved if it were actually Muay Thai. Or if it were actually Judo. Or if it were actually MMA. No, if it were actually those things, then it would not be Hapkido. Whatever you felt was missing from Hapkido may have been true in the school in which you trained (I do not question your experiences) but may not be true for other schools. Or it may simply be that Hapkido does not train in a way that is compatible for you, due to your own interests and likes and dislikes and how you do or do not relate to the material and the training methodology. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I myself have walked away from certain styles that I trained in the past, including the one in which I hold a black belt ranking, because I realized these methods were a poor fit for me and I had other options that were better for me. But there is something wrong with stating that Hapkido can be "fixed" if only it were Muay Thai.

I am sure that within the training methodology of Hapkido, there are plenty of solutions to the conflict and combat problems that one may be confronted with. I am also sure that a competent Hapkidoist is able to creatively apply his training in ways to take advantage of the kind of opportunities that you describe. The goal of martial training, when it comes to combat, is to be able to apply the skills to meet the situation, and not to regurgitate training drills in the hopes that it results in a functional and successful self-defense interaction, nor to view those training drills or the formal curriculum of the system as the limit on what one is able to or allowed to do.

So for what it's worth, I don't think Hapkido needs to be "fixed".
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,986
Reaction score
4,461
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
but most of the time when the first joint lock fails the probability of the second one working drops dramatically.
The reason that your 1st attack (it can be a kick, a punch, a lock, or a throw) fail because your opponent counters you. How well will you be able to take advantage on your opponent's counter depends on your training.

When one door close on you, another door just open for you.
 
Last edited:

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,316
Reaction score
8,032
However, I don't think Hapkido, the way I learned it, would benefit from using strikes in this way, any more than I think boxing would benefit from including some Jiu-Jitsu. I think Hapkido practitioners would benefit from this, in the same way I think boxers would benefit from jiu-jitsu. In both cases, I'm not saying the skill or strategy of the cross-training is bad, just that it doesn't fit with the identity of the art (or at least, the way I trained it).

There is a lot of good structure that is taught by wrestling. That is applicable to good striking but most people are pretty slack with.
 
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
I am going to respond to this against my better judgement. This just feels like one of those threads that is likely to go sideways in a hurry. Full disclosure: I have never trained Hapkido.

I feel it is risky to make the kind of assessment that you are making here: that something is "missing" from a certain method's training. I disagree with the fundamental premise. The real issue may simply be that you prefer a different type of training, so that is what you ought to do. That is what all of us ought to do: find the training that is best for ourselves, and be able to recognize that that choice can be very different for different people.

The problem with the assessment you are making is that what you are really saying, whether intentional or not, whether you realize it or not, is that Hapkido would really be improved if it were actually Muay Thai. Or if it were actually Judo. Or if it were actually MMA. No, if it were actually those things, then it would not be Hapkido. Whatever you felt was missing from Hapkido may have been true in the school in which you trained (I do not question your experiences) but may not be true for other schools. Or it may simply be that Hapkido does not train in a way that is compatible for you, due to your own interests and likes and dislikes and how you do or do not relate to the material and the training methodology. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I myself have walked away from certain styles that I trained in the past, including the one in which I hold a black belt ranking, because I realized these methods were a poor fit for me and I had other options that were better for me. But there is something wrong with stating that Hapkido can be "fixed" if only it were Muay Thai.

I am sure that within the training methodology of Hapkido, there are plenty of solutions to the conflict and combat problems that one may be confronted with. I am also sure that a competent Hapkidoist is able to creatively apply his training in ways to take advantage of the kind of opportunities that you describe. The goal of martial training, when it comes to combat, is to be able to apply the skills to meet the situation, and not to regurgitate training drills in the hopes that it results in a functional and successful self-defense interaction, nor to view those training drills or the formal curriculum of the system as the limit on what one is able to or allowed to do.

So for what it's worth, I don't think Hapkido needs to be "fixed".
This isn't an unreasonable way of looking at it. Thanks for the reply.
 

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,389
Reaction score
2,483
There is a lot of good structure that is taught by wrestling. That is applicable to good striking but most people are pretty slack with.
Like I said, I don't think it's a bad thing to cross-train. But a boxer who only cares about the sport of boxing is probably going to benefit more from having a boxing coach that has cross-trained in wrestling and can pass on these lessons, than he will by cross-training himself.
 

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,316
Reaction score
8,032
Like I said, I don't think it's a bad thing to cross-train. But a boxer who only cares about the sport of boxing is probably going to benefit more from having a boxing coach that has cross-trained in wrestling and can pass on these lessons, than he will by cross-training himself.

I think there are lessons you need to learn in different ways.

So for example boxing you are not supposed to duck and weave at the hips. But you do. Because it only comes in to play at a certain level.


Wrestling if you duck at the hips. It effects you from the outset.

So you can wrestle to learn that good low structure.

When you cross train. Something new becomes prioritised.

Which is important from a basic understanding of your art sense.
 
Last edited:
OP
J

Jared Traveler

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 17, 2022
Messages
824
Reaction score
399
I am going to respond to this against my better judgement. This just feels like one of those threads that is likely to go sideways in a hurry. Full disclosure: I have never trained Hapkido.

I feel it is risky to make the kind of assessment that you are making here: that something is "missing" from a certain method's training. I disagree with the fundamental premise. The real issue may simply be that you prefer a different type of training, so that is what you ought to do. That is what all of us ought to do: find the training that is best for ourselves, and be able to recognize that that choice can be very different for different people.

The problem with the assessment you are making is that what you are really saying, whether intentional or not, whether you realize it or not, is that Hapkido would really be improved if it were actually Muay Thai. Or if it were actually Judo. Or if it were actually MMA. No, if it were actually those things, then it would not be Hapkido. Whatever you felt was missing from Hapkido may have been true in the school in which you trained (I do not question your experiences) but may not be true for other schools. Or it may simply be that Hapkido does not train in a way that is compatible for you, due to your own interests and likes and dislikes and how you do or do not relate to the material and the training methodology. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and I myself have walked away from certain styles that I trained in the past, including the one in which I hold a black belt ranking, because I realized these methods were a poor fit for me and I had other options that were better for me. But there is something wrong with stating that Hapkido can be "fixed" if only it were Muay Thai.

I am sure that within the training methodology of Hapkido, there are plenty of solutions to the conflict and combat problems that one may be confronted with. I am also sure that a competent Hapkidoist is able to creatively apply his training in ways to take advantage of the kind of opportunities that you describe. The goal of martial training, when it comes to combat, is to be able to apply the skills to meet the situation, and not to regurgitate training drills in the hopes that it results in a functional and successful self-defense interaction, nor to view those training drills or the formal curriculum of the system as the limit on what one is able to or allowed to do.

So for what it's worth, I don't think Hapkido needs to be "fixed".
Upon further reflection on your comments, I believe what triggers my interest in ways to improve the art, is based on how it is advertised. As an art for use in real self-defense, and an art that combines arts to provide a more complete, one stop skill set.

As opposed to an art that exists for any other purposes. Which makes effectiveness and adaptive grown critical to it's continued value. And continued adaptation is the only way it has a hope of maintaining it's value as a combative art.
 
Top