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  1. #1

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    Newbie hapkido question

    I started taking Hapkido lessons about a month ago and I have some questions that I would feel embarrassed asking the instructor. I figure you guys might be able to provide some insight. For background, I'm very new to all of this, with no prior experience.


    1. I notice that Hapkido likes to slap, e.g. like a backhanded bitch slap. Is this actually effective? I've never actually been bitch slapped nor have I bitch slapped someone but I can't imagine that this would be as effective as punching someone. What's the rationale here?
    2. What's with the silly breathing exercises where you crouch and lift your hands and such?
    3. There is a ton of emphasis in my school on learning to counter wrist grabs, etc., and what I infer is that by focusing on this I am gradually learning the situational awareness necessary to be able to apply the concepts from the techniques in scenarios in which you are not actually being grabbed. (How often does that happen to a man?) Is this method of instruction justified or impractical, in your opinion?
    4. I really went into this just because I was looking to have fun, and I think it is fun, but I still would like some day to be at a level where I am proficient. How practicable is what I am learning? After a year? Two years? Etc.?
    5. Do any out of classroom resources exist that would help my development in the classroom?
    6. What else should I know that I might not be asking?

  2. #2

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    How many techniques does your school have? Do you practice rolling and break falls yet?
    Breathing is very important so those exercises are good.

    Is there technique in your school to defend against punches and kicks?

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by prnz View Post
    I notice that Hapkido likes to slap, e.g. like a backhanded bitch slap. Is this actually effective? I've never actually been bitch slapped nor have I bitch slapped someone but I can't imagine that this would be as effective as punching someone. What's the rationale here?
    Do students in your school spar with any serious degree of contact? If so, how well do backhand blows seem to work in sparring? If not—well, people who never spar are not very likely to be very good at hitting people.

    There is a ton of emphasis in my school on learning to counter wrist grabs, etc., and what I infer is that by focusing on this I am gradually learning the situational awareness necessary to be able to apply the concepts from the techniques in scenarios in which you are not actually being grabbed. (How often does that happen to a man?) Is this method of instruction justified or impractical, in your opinion?
    I would call it impractical.

    The police-compiled statistics I have seen (sadly I lack a source: Google it and you may get lucky) indicate that unprovoked unarmed assault on men tends to begin either with a punch, or a front clothing grab followed by a headbutt or a punch. I don’t recall wrist grabs being high on that list, if they were there at all.

    What else should I know that I might not be asking?
    YouTube- MATT THORNTON ALIVENESS - martial arts most important thing Straight blast
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by duralmaru View Post
    How many techniques does your school have? Do you practice rolling and break falls yet?
    Breathing is very important so those exercises are good.

    Is there technique in your school to defend against punches and kicks?
    Our school teaches what I believe is supposed to be the full syllabus. White belt has what I believe are the traditional fifteen techniques. We starting rolling/breakfalling on day 1. We generally do it every other class, I would say.

    We've done some minor punch and strike blocking, but we do it in the context of the grab-counter techniques that we do and not as its own exercise, if you get what I mean (e.g. I grab you and you release and strike, and I block).

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by prnz View Post
    We've done some minor punch and strike blocking, but we do it in the context of the grab-counter techniques that we do and not as its own exercise, if you get what I mean (e.g. I grab you and you release and strike, and I block).
    In the context of what Matt Thornton talks about in the video I posted above, this is “dead” training. It has its place—you need to learn a technique somewhere—but unless it’s ramped up to an “alive” training scenario it’s not terribly useful. You’re learning to block attacks under conditions where you know exactly what’s coming and when. You’re not learning to deal with unexpected attacks, you’re not learning to deal with an attacker who really wants to hit you and therefore surprise you; you’re not learning to deal with resistance or with timing. —In that drill, that is.
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”

  6. #6

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    I'm trying to keep an open mind because I have only been to about a month of lessons. There aren't many students that attend lessons. The instructor tells me that this is because summer is unusually slow. I'm inclined to believe him because of the large number of gis hanging up in the back.

    I actually asked the instructor about sparring and the response I got was "oh with everything we do, you'd be too tired to spar at the end of class" or something like that. Honestly though, we put such little emphasis on striking/kicking that I'd be hard pressed to actually have anything to do during sparring that could be considered hapkido because I don't know much anything yet.

  7. #7

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    I'm confident that my instructor knows his **** and he seems like a good teacher, but I do have this overhanging worry that I might be better served by BJJ or judo, or something. On the other hand, I do think what we are doing is fun, and I think that it would be very useful if I actually were proficient in it. *shrug*

  8. #8
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    I've seen people use the slapping stuff in conjunction with other joint manipulation arts. It's meant to be a small distracting motion or a means to get their arm (if they block it). It's definitely not a very effective strike by itself.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by prnz View Post
    "oh with everything we do, you'd be too tired to spar at the end of class"
    That sounds…well, I’m going to try to be charitable here, so I’ll politely call it idiotic.

    As far as I am concerned, there are two valid approaches any martial arts school can take to sparring:

    1. Practice sparring. This is the only way to build useful fighting skills.
    2. Don’t practice sparring; instead admit frankly and openly that the purpose of this school is not to build fighting skills, but e.g. to maintain traditions, to practice moving meditation, gymnastic performance skills, &c. (I expect a number of styles like iaido, XMA, &c. could be represented here).
    [ petterhaggholm.net | blog | essays ]
    [ self defence: general thoughts | bjj: “don’t go to the ground”? ]
    “The plural of anecdote is anecdotes, not data.”

  10. #10
    Vorpal's Avatar
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    If your Haokido looks like this:
    YouTube- Pro-Hapkido Championships '05
    Stay

    If your hapkido looks like this:
    YouTube- 2 on 1 Attacker/Defender Sparring - Hapkido Technique February 2009
    Go

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