1. I’d love to come down and try it, but I need to work on my fitness and flexibility for a while first.
Classes are structured in such a way that you will improve your fitness and flexibility from your first session. You will be surprised at how quickly your body changes and adapts. You will only be expected to perform to levels suited to your current fitness and experience, and this will be pushed further as you improve.
2. Is Hapkido better than other martial arts?
Each martial art tends to have specific areas they concentrate on and are very good at. It all depends on what an individual is looking for, so no one style is better than another. Hapkido being very comprehensive does cover most facets of a martial art, and as a result a good Hapkidoist should be capable of adapting their style to handle most self defence situations.
3. Martial Arts is all about being able to beat someone in a fight.
Hapkido is a traditional Martial Art with a strong focus on discipline, self improvement and respect for oneself and others. Self confidence without ego is fostered. Often without realising it, the Hapkido student becomes a very good and capable fighter. There is no need to win at all costs as is often the case in some Martial Sports where point based tournament fighting is the focus.
4. Training with weapons is so unrealistic. When would I be carrying a long stick or sword down the street?
Learning to train with traditional weapons is far deeper than being able to kill someone with them. Weapons are only taught when the Hapkido student has started to have a better understanding of footwork and use of their hands. Most weapons are considered an extension of one’s hand, and encourage coordination, forearm strength and the ability to generate large forces and power beyond the hand. Proficient use of weapons does give the Hapkidoist the ability to use simple articles to defend themselves, such as a broomstick, pen, rolled up magazine or rope. Sword training is far deeper and involves very advanced mental processes, timing and footwork. A Hapkidoist good with the sword is often very good at free hand sparring and reaction to threat.
5. Traditional martial arts are out of date, most people are now interested in MMA and cage style fighting.
The introduction of UFC (Ultimate Fighting Challenge) and Mixed Martial Arts has increased the popularity of fighting styles over recent years. They really do show what techniques are effective and which ones are more for demonstration purposes. With the full contact fighting in these styles, comes a higher risk of injuries which is an unfortunate reality of realistic fighting. Hapkido training aims to prepare its students to be able to train vigorously and spar with moderate contact, but it encourages the use of protective gear and a respectful training attitude to minimise risk of injury. Our goal is always to be able to go to work or school the next day, and then be able to train again the next night and keep this up for many years. Many Hapkidoists in our association are able to keep up their training until well into their 60’s and later.
6. How much Meditation is involved in Hapkido?
Meditation takes on many forms and remains an integral part of Hapkido training. At an early level students learn the importance of breathing exercises to strengthen their inner core. Hapkido also utilises Pong Ryu Do (a Korean form of Tai Chi) which essentially is a dynamic meditative form which teaches balance, footwork, mind control and smooth circular movement whilst applying realistic self defence moves.
7. My child is having difficulty concentrating at school, and the doctor has even suggested they may be showing signs of ADHD, is Hapkido good for them?
Today society is fairly quick to label children’s behavioural patterns. It is true that ADHD exists and needs to be treated appropriately, but many times children are not used to boundaries, guidelines and consequences. Hapkido encourages respect, discipline and mental focus all within a firm yet nurturing and fun environment. It is amazing how many parents come back to us with positive feedback from teachers and peers as to the change in their child’s outlook, concentration and behaviour. The kids and teenagers classes aim to influence all areas of the students life, and often in class inferences are drawn with the child’s School report cards, homework or involvement in other sports and school activities.
8. Martial arts is a bit too rough for girls or women.
On the contrary, Hapkido utilises principles of circular motion and the use of the opponents strength to apply often painful and effective self defence techniques against an opponent or attacker. A Hapkido student learns to re-direct an attacker’s force aiming to unbalance them and then counter attack. This is the principle which allows Hapkido to be mastered by anyone, regardless of gender or age.
9. I have always been stiff, it runs in my family, so I’ll never be able to kick above the head.
It is true that genetics play a large part in how flexible and agile our bodies are. In the medical world we refer to different body types as “Stiffies”, “Floppies” and “Flippies”. Each has their own characteristics and for optimum health each needs to work on their body differently. It is a given that the stiffies need to become more flexible, the floppies need to strengthen their core and supporting muscles whereas the flippies need a bit of both. Hapkido training covers all of these aspects of training. It usually ends up that the stiffies have powerful lower section kicks, usually become very good at the throws, groundwork and self defence. The floppies are often well suited to the higher kicks, are fast and agile and are often formidable at free sparring if they also work on their ground work. Although Hapkido training will improve your flexibility, the moral of the story is “It doesn’t matter if you can’t kick above the head, there is always an area suited to you which you will excel at”.