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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.)