Training in Hapkido, Watching Billy Jack and becoming a sheepdog

On the East Coast and West Coast, schools had been emerging and multiplying since the mid-1960s, but those of us who lived in "flyover country" had few opportunities to broaden our understanding of arts like karate, kung fu, judo and taekwondo.

At Union University in my hometown of Jackson, Tennessee, I'd been fortunate to train from 1969 to 1970 in the then little-known art of hapkido. In a field-house basement, a Korean student and former captain in the ROK Army known only as Mr. Suh organized and taught the system to a small group of dedicated students. Suh ran a no-nonsense traditional class, and for 10 months, we couldn't get enough of his instruction. Despite the bruises and the blood, we always looked forward to our next session.

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Learn the mechanics and do the drills, then unleash the beast that is your round kick!

Because of its versatility and power, the round kick — known to some martial artists as the turning kick, the saber kick or the roundhouse kick — is one of the most common leg techniques in our world. No matter your particular interpretation, the basics are the same: You swing your leg along an arc until your foot or shin strikes the target.

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How it stacks up agains 3 other go-to responses to an attack

In hand-to-hand combat, you face a constant and undeniable danger. Among other injuries, you can sustain broken bones, torn cartilage and ruptured organs. You also can be knocked unconscious or killed.Over the millennia, various cultures have developed their own techniques and strategies for dealing with such threats. One of the most pervasive is punching. That's the case because in most unarmed encounters, a properly thrown punch is the most efficient and effective tool a martial artist can use.

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NE ZHA: With an elegantly constructed allegory that mirrors William Ernest Henley's 1875 poem Invictus — which asserts, "I'm the master of my fate; I'm the captain of my soul," — the Chinese animated feature Ne Zha is loosely based on a martial arts legend from the Ming-dynasty novel Creation of the Gods. With earnings that topped $650 million in 30 days, Ne Zha clearly rivals the glitz of any production from DreamWorks or Pixar, and it's appealing to audiences everywhere.

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This article was published in the April 1974 issue of Fighting Stars magazine, a sister publication of Black Belt. That means it appeared just five years after the original Star Trek was canceled and many years before the sci-fi series became a staple of film and television. At the time, William Shatner was not the international superstar he's recognized as today. He was just an actor who'd had a good run on a series that happened to be set in space. And he was a martial artist.

When the USS Enterprise abruptly splashed down from its three-year trek to the stars, angry fans denounced the TV "high-thinkers" who chose to ground the space adventure with the hope of replacing it with an even higher-rated show. The industry captains never did find that higher-rated program, but the adventures of Capt. James T. Kirk and his Star Trek crew still delight science-fiction aficionados, even if only in syndication.

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