Friday, October 31, 2008

Response to Locks/Flow Drills Videos...

This time, the videos we are responding to are similar to the following:

and also


There are a number of other lock/flow drills from Hapkido schools on YouTube, but these two are fairly good representatives of what you'll see.

So: In the first one, we see someone flowing quite well, moving easily, the other person being driven around by the locks...

...I wonder if it would have looked like that if the person doing the locks had been smaller than the attacker? Or if the attacker had been resisting at all? Go back and look at the motion again---see how the defender created force to use. How much is arm strength and size? How much is body movement?

In the second one, look at how the arm bar is applied---the defender puts their upper-body weight on the arm, and folds over at the waist. That is one way to drop your weight---but what does it do to your balance? What does it mean with regards to the size difference requirements between the attacker and the defender?

and then there was ours...

One of the reasons I continually harp on "drop into a cat stance" during the angle 2 lock isn't because I really need to see you settle into a static stance at the end of the movement. I do, however, need to have you rotate and drop your weight as you perform the lock--otherwise, it is just your arm strength vs your opponent's arm strength. (Remember, the point of stances is so that you can generate power by bodily movement without sacrificing balance and structure.)

We use our center to create force downward during an angle 2, forward then downward (using a front stance) during an arm bar, then rotationally and downward during the angle 1 throw at the end. If you step into a position, stop, then apply the lock/throw--all you are going to do is create a situation where it is your arm strength vs theirs.

That arm bar is a good example for that---if you step, stop, and then try to force the other person downward, they just aren't going to go if they have any strength/stature that is comparable to yours. If you use your upper body to force them down, you'd better be heavier than they are---and your balance had better be really good as you stand there with a resisting opponent with your knees straight and your body folded in half.

Or how about instead, driving their upper body forward with your body weight as you step forward, then roll their shoulder downward as you continue your movment into a low front stance, extending them past their balance point, and downward after they have no more support. Your balance is kept by the good stance, and you are able to move them using your center's movement, instead of your arm strength.

Everything comes from the center. Whether it is for a lock, a throw, punches, or kicks---all power comes from your center's movement. (Granted, it is more obvious to see this when performing a lock.)

When performing a technique, figure out where your center is---then figure out where it needs to go to create the force to apply your technique.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Roundup at the Roundabout Demonstration...

Members of the NHA class performed an extended demonstration at the Roundup at the Roundabout on October 25th, 2008. Taking mats and a crash pad, students set up outdoors in the strip mall's parking lot at 10am and demonstrated various techniques until 2pm.

Luckily for us, the weather cooperated perfectly, and it was a wonderful sunny day for the Roundup. Lots of kids in costumes, various games and demonstrations, and people having fun.

The students gave a couple of formal demonstrations, and then spent the rest of the time beating each other up in true approved Hapkido fashion.

Here are some pictures and video from the time we spent out there:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Student's First USPSA Action Pistol Match...

On October 5th, Ardi participated in her first ever Action Pistol match. 5 stages, with various types of draw, movement, reloading, and moving targets. In her division, she ended up 8th out of 13, which is excellent for a first-timer!

She's planning on participating in the November pistol match also, so check back later to see how she did!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Some things you see on YouTube...

Comments from Sabumnim:
Why is it that when you see videos of Hapkido (or many other martial arts) on YouTube, it makes you cringe? I know that Hapkido is a great art, and very useful for self-defense--and yet, often when I see Hapkido videos on YouTube, it makes me embarrassed for my art.

One of the things we are going to do to promote Hapkido as a viable, valuable self-defense art is create some video clips showing what our class considers useful techniques, and put them on YouTube. Not only will that tell the world about our school, but more importantly, hopefully work on changing some of the opinions that people must have about Hapkido after seeing some of the other videos available.

I realize this makes me sound as if I believe our school has a monopoly on Good Hapkido(tm), and that isn't how I feel. But I certainly do feel that there are a lot of martial arts schools out there who don't know what they are doing, yet still feel compelled to demonstrate their "abilities" for all the world to see.

A few days ago I was sent a link to this YouTube video, which is about a single defensive movement in response to a hook punch. As I watched it, I kept thinking "this person learned this move from someone who didn't understand it." The defensive strike's target is good, the basic idea is sound--but it is missing the details that actually make it effective. It is like learning a martial technique from a picture--your body might end up in the proper position, but the underlying structure and movement that make it work isn't there, because the picture didn't include the details that actually make the technique effective.

So, I and one of my students recorded some commentary and action regarding this specific technique. This isn't about self-defense in general, nor is it about applications or followup techniques--this video is only about a specific defense blocking a hook punch. That being said, it seemed important to make a distinction between a defense that will work, and one that won't. Feel free to watch both videos, and think critically about the difference in effectiveness. If you think I'm wrong, feel free to let me know.

Original Video:

Nebraska Hapkido Association Response:

I note also that the followup strike shown in the first video (the hammerfist strike to the nose) sounds really good---up until the point that you realize that you are trying to obliquely strike a small target on a person who is going to turn away just as you hit them. Hammerfist strikes are indeed useful at that point--but striking to the cheekbone or lower jaw (depending on how much their head is turned) is a much more useful strike because your chances of missing are much lower. If they are facing full front into you, by all means hit the nose---but certainly don't do it sideways, striking away from your attacker.

We might put together another video about that strike, too. We'll see.