Arts

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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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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Jackson Rudolph Podcast

Join Black Belt Hall of Famer Jackson Rudolph as he interviews Co-Founders of the ISKA US Open Tournament Mike Sawyer and Mike McCoy.

The very nature of the environments chosen for the majority of suicide bombings — which is to say, crowded venues — and the added aspect of the scum not caring at all about being able to leave the scene of the crime make specific measures and predictions tough to implement.

There are, however, a few general guidelines that all martial artists should keep in mind. To simplify, I will divide them into three tiers.

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The island of Bali is part of the Indonesian archipelago. While the rest of the nation is Muslim, Bali traditionally has been populated by Hindus. It was a Hindu, a traditional wrestling master named Putu Witsen Widjaya, who originally invited me to this tropical isle to try my hand at mepantigan wrestling. (See the December 2018/January 2019, February/March 2019 and April/May 2019 issues of Black Belt.) He explained to me that his life's ambition is to meet and organize all the martial arts masters in Bali in an effort to preserve the culture.

On my subsequent visit, Putu introduced me to several local martial artists, including masters of san da, judo and silat. That last style, in particular, intrigued me because on a previous visit to Malaysia, I'd studied silat kalam and silat tomoi, in addition to having documented a few other variations of the art.

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