Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday Tip...to keep you safer

Hello all,

What not to carry in your purse or wallet.
Never carry irreplaceable items, such as one of a kind photos, or original documents such as birth certificates or social security cards.
Keep an inventory of the credit cards you carry in a safe place at home, with numbers and toll free numbers to cancel and replace the cards if they are lost.
NEVER fight for a purse or wallet - everything in it can be replaced - you cannot!
Have a safe Tuesday!

Your friends @chicagohapkido 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Searching for Hapkido

 Searching for Hapkido

I was not sure how to start this Blog...or this post...

Choi Yong Sul Dojunim
I train and teach the art of Hapkido...and the debate has raged for years over exactly what this is...I realized that on the forums and amongst the community of Hapkido-in at large is what to me appears to be a conspiracy, one that is quite open and even one that is talked about.  So, what really is Hapkido?

I am going to write this one as I have been taught and have researched myself.  I am going to truncate some of the story of this art because I know that some of this material is enough for a full post...so I will be saving some of this for later.

When a new student walks into a dojang, with a Hapkido sign over the door, they should expect to learn Hapkido - or at least know that they are learning a derivative or sub-style. Now I am not going to rail against the derivatives or sub-styles here - but I think that it is important that the vast majority of "Hapkido" taught across the globe falls into this category.

Let's start with a reasonable definition of Hapkido, one that is plausible and understandable.

Choi Yong Sul started to teach material that he learned in Japan in 1948.  I will explore the story of Choi Dojunim at another time.  He had students that stayed for a variety of time right from the beginning of his teaching.  In addition,  the use of rank was something that Choi used from the very beginning, and there is plenty of evidence that rank was something Choi Dojunim was very consistent with. I will examine the use of rank by Choi Dojunim in another post.

The material that Choi Dojunim taught was combat oriented.
Low kicks, strikes that look like ward offs, joint breaking and disables of all sorts.  Choi Dojunim's teaching was about combat, that was the emphasis, anything else that was gained that was more esoteric seems to be based on how people interpreted what Choi Dojunim taught.
Choi Dojunim taught in a very consistent manner; he taught approximately 100 techniques to 1st dan black belt, and the rate and pace of gradings seems to be the same even from the earliest students.
Choi Dojunim was not a literate man and even those who knew him extremely well say that his broken Korean-Japanese language could be hard to understand at times.  Choi Dojunim more often taught with his technique and his demeanor.  Many of his direct students have told me that when he needed to be understood his hands often did the work with a quick snap to the chest, although everyone who knew him well said although his training style was tough, he was a kind and thoughtful man.

Choi Dojunim's techniques were taught at close range.  At fighting range.  There was no distance that was present between attacker and defender, Choi Dojunim's Hapkido is designed for fighting, not demonstration.
Choi Dojunim worked from three primary principles; Circular Motion, The Water Principle, and the Principle of Null energy (often characterized as the "Harmony" Principle - but this is Aikido, not Hapkido).  All of these principles are represented in the material that Choi Dojunim taught.It is important to recognize that if a technique that is taught as Hapkido does not represent these principles, it is not Hapkido.  I will cover the principles in depth in other posts. But the core of Hapkido is the elements that flow from these core principles. 

Choi Dojunim taught kicking from the day he founded the art.  Those that say otherwise clearly were not present when Choi Dojunim was teaching.  All the kicking that Choi Dojunim taught was designed to fit seamlessly with technique and all the kicks were directed at the lower part of the body - and they were designed to be felt rather than seen - no flash in his kicks, just solid contact to the lower part of the body.

The strikes that Choi Dojunim taught were not added to the style until 1952.  From 1948 - 1952, every technique ended with a throat rip and kill.  By 1952, his students had convinced him that a kill at the end of every technique would not make it easy to sell his art to a broader audience and so the unique strikes of the style were added.  The most basic strike being a back hand strike to the face or temple.  One thing that separated the strikes that Choi Dojunim taught was the limited use of the ubiquitous front punch.  Almost never seen in the style, many of the strikes look more like "ward off" than actual strikes.

The joint locks and breaks that Choi Dojunim taught were unique to him on the Korean Peninsula and made people  both want to train with him and fear this same training as well.  There are many well documented accounts of the screams that emanated from the windows of Choi Dojunim's Daegu dojang.   The joint locks were fast and efficient, none of the multi directional material that one sees on the internet today.  Once a body was committed to a single direction, that direction was maintained and the joint was destroyed in that single direction.

The weapons that Choi Dojunim taught were limited but effective, they included cane and 3 lengths of Dan Bong (short stick).

Choi Dojunim did not teach acrobatic or overly complex motion, instead the footsteps were simple and the use of "stances" was kept to a minimum.  Basically only a tiger stance and simple t-formation stance were the only ones used. 

Even with this incredible simplicity, there are some 3806 techniques that Choi Dojunim taught as part of his entire curriculum with new material up through the rank of 7th dan.

This brushes the surface of the art of Choi Dojunim. I am going to fill in more and more detail with subsequent blog entries.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What is Hapkido?

This is going to be very simple.

Hapkido is the art of Choi Yong Sul Dojunim .

This Blog will provide information not only about the Jungki Kwan but also about Hapkido and its founder Choi Dojunim.
Hapkido is often misrepresented and its variants are often mistaken for Hapkido.  It will not be the purpose of this blog to try and  belittle the numerous variants but to shed light on Hapkido for the art that it is and is not.

Welcome to the Jungki Kwan Midwest Blog.

Here you find a great resource for information about Hapkido, Kuhapdo and other martial topics!

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