- Sep 21, 2005
- Reaction score
- San Francisco
I don’t know how Hapkido is advertised. I also don’t know if what you have seen in that regard is unique to the school in which you trained, or is more-or-less consistent across most or all Hapkido schools. One’s own experiences, while real, are not automatically typical.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.
That being said, I don’t know why Hapkido would not have plenty of viable solutions to self-defense problems. This all comes down to the skill of the individual, and that hinges largely on the quality of the training. Not all schools of any style offer the same level of quality; in fact some are quite dismal and others are excellent. So I always resist the notion that a particular style needs fixing, or simply sucks, or whatever. It isn’t the style that is broken, but is a lack of skilled practitioners, typically because somewhere in the history of the transmission from one generation to the next, the bar got lowered. While this may be true of a particular lineage, it isn’t automatically true for all practitioners who train within a different lineage.
The kind of opportunity attacks that you are referencing in your critique are certainly viable ideas that can be effective. Anybody who trains the fundamental tools that go into those attacks (the kicks, knees, sweeps) ought to be able to make use of them. It does take some training to develop that skill, but if the tools exist in the system, then those kinds of options already exist and anybody can potentially do them. So it is already within the system, even if a particular school is not specifically working on them. So I guess this is what triggered my response: the notion that Hapkido is somehow broken or missing something and they need to sort of become Muay Thai. I don’t believe it is broken or missing anything. I do believe that people need to train intelligently and learn to creatively apply their skills to fit a situation.
As to how Hapkido was developed, whether it was through mixing other styles or something else, I simply do not know. I am not familiar with the art’s history. I will say that there is no such thing as a “pure” style of any sort. No style sprang forth fully formed from a vacuum. They all developed on the shoulders of something that came before them, and they have all been influenced by other arts that exist along side of them. However, if an art is intelligently constructed and designed, then there needs to be some kind of consistency in how it is structured. I mean things like body mechanics and power generation and combative strategy. A good martial system is not simply a collection of tricks. It is a consistent methodology that creates a working foundation upon which a body of concepts and techniques and strategy is built. If new ideas are to be brought into the system from elsewhere, it is important to consider the consistency. There are things that may be extremely effective in the context of one system, that are completely ineffective in the context of another system, because they are built upon very different foundations.
This is why I object to the notion when one says to fix a style it needs to turn it into another style. There may be a high level of incompatibility that simply will not mix and blend well. It is oil and water. If you perceive that another style is more effective (a better match for you), then you really ought to just go and train that other style rather than try to turn the one style into that other style.