Hapkido

Hapkido Techniques vs. Front Kicks From Multiple Ranges

Hapkido master Han Woong Kim demonstrates hapkido techniques against a front kick.

In all likelihood, the front kick was the first leg technique you learned when you took up the martial arts. Now you know it like the back of your hand. So does everybody else.

Reality-based translation: Because the front kick requires very little training to pull off — it doesn’t have to be precise to do damage — it just might be the most common kick in the world. Therefore, if you don’t know how to counter it efficiently and effectively, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to defeat in a tournament or to injury on the street.

Enter sixth-degree black-belt Han Woong Kim, who teaches Jang Mu Won hapkido, the fighting system founded by his father, Black Belt Hall of Fame inductee Chong S. Kim. Like all Jang Mu Won black belts, the junior Kim is a master of kick defense. In these hapkido technique videos, he teaches his art’s responses to a front kick delivered from four different distances.

HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Long-Range Front Kicks



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Billy Jack Flashback: How Tom Laughlin and Hapkido Techniques Master
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HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Medium-Range Front Kicks


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Traditional Hapkido — Volume 1

Combat Hapkido: The Martial Art for the Modern Warrior

Dynamic Kicks: Essentials for Free Fighting


HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Close-Range Roundhouse Kicks


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HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Very-Close-Range Roundhouse Kicks

Hapkido Techniques vs. Roundhouse Kicks From Multiple Ranges

Hapkido techniques master Han Woong Kim demonstrates counters against roundhouse kicks in Black Belt magazine.The roundhouse kick is one of the pillars of the martial arts. New students generally learn to execute it within their first month of lessons.

“Everyone who knows martial arts and even many who have never trained can do it because it’s so natural and instinctive,” says Han Woong Kim, a sixth-degree black belt in Jang Mu Won hapkido, the version of the Korean art that was founded by his father, Black Belt Hall of Famer Chong S. Kim. “Because it’s so common, it’s a very important kick to know how to defend against, whether you’re training for tournaments or self-defense.”

The hallmark of the roundhouse kick is versatility. Don’t believe it? Name another kick that can function at long range (by striking with the instep or the ball of the foot), at medium range (by striking with the lower shin) and at close range (by striking with the upper shin).

That’s great for offense, but it makes defense difficult.


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Billy Jack Flashback: How Tom Laughlin and Hapkido Techniques Master
Bong Soo Han Made a Martial Arts Cult Classic


In these exclusive videos depicting hapkido techniques shot at Gokor Chivichyan’s Hayastan Mixed Martial Arts Academy in suburban Los Angeles, Han Woong Kim discusses and demonstrates counterattack solutions using hapkido techniques against roundhouse kicks from multiple ranges.

HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Long-Range Roundhouse Kicks


HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Medium-Range Roundhouse Kicks

HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Close-Range Roundhouse Kicks

HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO
Han Woong Kim Uses Hapkido Techniques to Counter
Very-Close-Range Roundhouse Kicks

Analyzing Hapkido Techniques vs. Long-Range Roundhouse Kicks

Your opponent launches his kick from long-range distance. Chances are it will target your upper body or head. You move or lean backward to avoid the impact, then watch the foot sail past you. “Just let his energy go right by,” hapkido techniques master Han Woong Kim says. “You can help it along by using your lead hand to push his leg a little. The strategy is to take his energy and use it to off-balance him.”

Having missed his target, the attacker will eventually put his foot back on the ground, probably after it’s swung past your body. That means his back will be turned slightly toward you. “Now you move forward to close the gap and sweep his right leg with your right leg,” Han Woong Kim says. “At the same time, use your right arm to push against his right shoulder to ‘help’ him down.”

Of course the fall might incapacitate the assailant, but you shouldn’t count on that. Therefore, Han Woong Kim recommends following the attacker down so you can control him using hapkido techniques.

The natural follow-up is to maneuver his arm, which you’ve probably been holding since the sweep, into an armbar using your knee as the fulcrum.

“If he just lies there, you can break the arm,” Han Woong Kim says. “If he raises his upper body to escape when you apply pressure on his elbow, that’s when you can ‘help’ him up by lifting his shoulder and then turn him around and put him on the ground facedown. Drop your right knee on his shoulder while using your arms to lift the trapped arm to control him or break it.”

Learn more about these techniques in the April/May 2014 issue of Black Belt magazine!


About the Author:
Robert W. Young is the editor-in-chief of Black Belt magazine.…

From Hapkido to Kuk Sool: Exploring Korea’s Martial Arts

Korean martial artsI found several kumdo schools (kendo in Japanese), countless taekwondo, hapkido and kuk sool academies, and a boxing gym within 100 yards of the apartment I occupied in Pusan, Korea. On the same block as my building, there stood a school that taught the rare art of tae kyon, and if I expanded the search radius to 300 yards, I could find facilities for wrestling, muay Thai and ssirum.

But most of the world doesn’t know that. How come? Because from 1910 to 1945, Korea was a colony of Japan. Its culture, language and martial arts were suppressed. In their place, Koreans were forced to act Japanese, speak Japanese and learn Japanese martial arts like karate, kendo and judo. But after World War II and especially since the end of the Korean War, all that began to change.

Koreans approach the martial arts with gusto. They’re expected to train five days a week, usually in the evening after work or school. Adults from abroad may have trouble keeping up with Korean martial artists, especially those who started training when they were kids — which pretty much includes everybody. Youngsters attend class one hour a day, five days a week. Typically, they take a belt test every month, which nets them a black belt in a year or two. Most of them don’t do martial arts again until they serve in the military, but those that elect to persevere get good. Fast.


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Because so many kids train, martial arts schools are big business. That’s great for the school owners but not so good if you’re searching for serious training on your own dime.

My first martial experience in country was at a kuk sool gym. Like most instructors, mine didn’t speak much English. At our first meeting, I strained to understand him, but I soon realized he was reciting a string of numbers, explaining the payment options. Yes, in Korea, the martial arts are a business.

I ended up paying $130 to sign up and purchase a uniform. Monthly tuition was $90, and belt tests were free. To register for a tournament cost $30. While checking a number of hapkido and taekwondo schools, I found that the rates were average. By Asian standards, that put Korea on the expensive side, but it’s offset by the opportunity to earn a good living as an English teacher. More on that later.

Korean dojang tend to focus on a single art. One time, I approached my kumdo teacher and broached the idea of lifting weights to build the muscles I needed to wield my sword and running to boost my cardio for those long sparring sessions. He looked at me like I was nuts. “Why would a kumdo competitor need to run and lift weights?” he asked. “This is kumdo.”

To stay in shape, I bought a gym membership for $80 a month. Gyms in Korea are unbelievably clean. They even provide you with workout clothes — when you’re finished, you toss them into a hamper and leave. Many facilities include a sauna and a public bath with hot and cold tubs.

At the dojang where I trained, students always arrived on time but would often start training late. That meant warm-ups were frequently rushed, forcing me to stretch on my own. On some days, we ran through intensive kicking drills that were every bit as hard as what I’d done in other countries. But on other days, we did rolls and tumbles, which kept the intensity at a level mere mortals can handle easily.

Training in Korea can be an incredible experience. It gives you a chance to learn the language and helps you get to know the people and their culture. As I mentioned earlier, it’s also a relatively easy place to find a job. All you need is a bachelor’s degree and a Korean school to sponsor your visa. If you contract to work 25 hours a week, you can score a free apartment and $2,000 a month for spending money. Bonus: Your employer might even cover your round-trip airfare.

In the past, you had to make the arrangements to teach in person, but with the ubiquity of the Internet, now you can visit a website such as Dave’s ESL Cafe (eslcafe.com) and find a job in a few hours. You can apply by email and be interviewed over the phone. If all your documents are in order, you could find yourself training in Korea a week later.

FAST FACTS
NATION:
South Korea
CAPITAL: Seoul
POPULATION: 48.6 million
SIGHTSEEING: Olympic Village, Cheju Island, Kyungju City
NEIGHBORS: North Korea, China, …

Hapkido: Can One Martial Art Function in All Four Ranges of Self-Defense? (Part 4)

Many would argue that the Korean martial art of hapkido functions best at the closest distance of all — grappling range. There, throws, chokes and joint locks become the dominant techniques. With thousands of twists and throws, hapkido seems well-prepared to deal with close-up confrontations. “If you have an opportunity to block a punch or kick, or simply touch somebody, joint locks and grappling come into play,” says Stephen Petermann of Jang Mu Won Hapkido. “That and the kicking part of hapkido make a perfect balance.”

“Usually, when we grab someone, we take him to the ground and finish him so he is unable to rise again,” says Jeffrey D. Harris, also an instructor in Chong S. Kim’s Jang Mu Won Hapkido. “Whether we finish with a strike or controlling technique, or throw him and let the fall finish him, we always take our opponent to the ground; he’s never left standing.”

To Each His Own

Not all hapkido’s myriad grappling techniques work for all people, Stephen Petermann admits, but in a fight, immediate selection of an alternate can save the day. “There are pressure points on the body that some people are not affected by at all,” he says. “One of the black belts here has none of the pressure points on his body that we would like to use, but if you grab his hair, he falls like a baby.”

“For the average person, being exposed to hapkido’s [more than 3,600] techniques and picking the ones that work best with your body type is the most practical way of training,” Jeffrey D. Harris says. “But an instructor needs to know everything to keep the art going.”

Hard But Effective

Throwing is probably the most difficult part of hapkido’s grappling repertoire, Stephen Petermann says. “However, if you get the other person off-balance, throwing is easy. That’s why judo tournaments are sometimes very boring: Both guys know throwing and know not to let the other guy get under them. If the other person doesn’t know that, you have a better opportunity to throw. You can create that moment of imbalance, maybe by hitting him in the eyes. And anytime a person gives you a great deal of his power — really throws that John Wayne haymaker or that full-extension, face-high side kick — he’s asking you to use a throw.”

“Throwing is effective because the ground does most of the work for you,” Jeffrey D. Harris says. “Gravity can work wonders. If somebody attacks you with a kick or a punch, you throw him, and he takes you to court, you didn’t physically strike him. He kicked and punched, you moved, and he fell. The ground is definitely your friend.”

Ultimate Goal

A big part of hapkido involves combining techniques from all four ranges in a single, flowing encounter. An advanced practitioner might throw a kick on his way in, then distract his opponent with a hand strike to the solar plexus. He might then finish with a throw and a standing armbar. “It’s part of creating a diversion,” Jeffrey D. Harris says. “Going one place to create a diversion while you go to your real target: striking the legs while you go for the eyes, striking the groin as you go for a wrist lock, or vice versa.”

The entire range of hapkido’s techniques makes the art what it is, Jeffrey D. Harris says. “No one facet is dominant over another. The strikes, twists and throws make it effective. Not always will a twist work well; not always will a throw work well; not always will a strike work well.

“But in any situation, one of those three will work well.”

(Read Part 1 of this article to learn how hapkido functions in kicking range, Part 2 to learn how the Korean art functions in punching range and Part 3 to learn how it functions in trapping range.)

Hapkido: Can One Martial Art Function in All Four Ranges of Self-Defense? (Part 3)

When you move inside kicking range and punching range, you enter trapping range. There, attacking arms get deflected and immobilized; and knees, elbows and head butts cut loose. Hapkido teaches a variety of hand techniques for trapping range, says Jeffrey D. Harris of Jang Mu Won Hapkido, the international organization founded by Black Belt Hall of Fame member Chong S. Kim. “When your opponent grabs you, you trap him with his own arms as you move in to twist and throw. We cover that extensively,” he says.

Stephen Petermann, also of Jang Mu Won Hapkido, describes the art’s simple trapping philosophy: “It’s OK to just trap his hands so he can’t smack you, but it’s better to get them out of the way so you can smack him. One of my favorite techniques is to trap the guy’s arms, then kick him in the face with an outside crescent kick.”

Against Weapons

Traditional hapkido knife defense falls into this range because the attacker’s knife-wielding arm often gets trapped before the weapon is taken away or directed back toward him. “The general way is to control the limb with the weapon using a trapping technique, joint manipulation or pressure-point strike,” Jeffrey D. Harris says.


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“As far as weapons are concerned, when you’re fighting somebody, concentrate on the thing that can do the most damage but be aware of the others,” Stephen Petermann says. “Once you get your hands on the weapon-bearing arm, you’re not going to let go of it. You’re going to damage it.”

Many martial artists criticize traditional knife defense as too unrealistic for street use. They claim trained knife fighters never attack in the simple, linear fashion often depicted in class. Yet Stephen Petermann defends hapkido’s knife-defense techniques: “If you put yourself in a situation where you face someone trained in how to use a knife, you are in the wrong situation. Defense is certainly much more difficult. But in a typical situation where the person is out of control, where he is really not a knife user but just picked up what happened to be handy, how good is he going to be with it?”

He claims hapkido techniques directed against such impromptu opponents form a good foundation for self-defense.


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Elbows and Knees

Hapkido’s trapping-range arsenal also includes numerous elbow and knee strikes. “They are some of the most deadly tools because they can be used very close,” Jeffrey D. Harris says. “If your opponent is right on top of you with his arms wrapped around you, you can still use your knees. If he picks you up, you can use your elbows.”

Even if he bear-hugs you, Jeffrey D. Harris says, you can use your elbows to wiggle free, then continuously strike with them if he’s behind you or thrust with your knees if he’s in front.

In self-defense in trapping range, head butts are much more important than most people think, Stephen Petermann says. “When you head-strike a person’s head, body or joints, try to have his energy coming directly toward you while you deliver the strike with your energy. And when you’re doing twists, a forehead becomes a worthwhile object to get the person hopping. It’s a good fulcrum.”

“One example is against the side kick,” Jeffrey D. Harris adds. “As the opponent kicks, you enter, block the kick, trap it and strike with the head to the thigh.”

(To be continued. Read Part 1 of this article to learn how hapkido functions in kicking range and Part 2 to learn how the Korean art functions in punching range.)

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