Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bad-Ass Military Hapkido

Those of you who read Dojo Rat regularly know that I am often critical of the "McDojo" aspect Korean Tae Kwon Do has devolved into.
I have a Second Dan in TKD so I feel my criticism is within bounds.
But strip away the sport aspect of Korean martial arts and you have one of the most bad-ass fighting systems on the Planet.
My TKD instructor, the late Tae Hong Choi, taught these techniques to Special Forces guys while he was stationed in Vietnam during the war. This demonstration clearly appears to be a military team, and the cream-of-the-crop. Top level guys, weapons disarms and sentry elimination.
Of course, not all Korean soldiers are trained to this level. My friend Brian was an Army Ranger and we trained together at the old TKD school. He had been in Korea, and had lost team members on the DMZ doing stuff that nobody is supposed to talk about.
He told me that the bulk of the South Korean soldiers he met and watched in demonstrations were not exceptional in martial skills. In fact, his Rangers were a lot better in some cases. You have to realize that with mandatory service in Korea, young guys roll through on a two-year program and then head to College and a bussiness career.
But I have to admit, this video demonstrates some exceptional skills...


Charles James said...

Hi, DR:

Hmm, nice demo yet certain thoughts enter my mind when I see these.

1. Notice the floor pads. Would anyone really want to do some of the rolls across the ground outside where it is not so smooth and padded to accomplish their goal.

2. Would this go well if all parties had not practiced and choreographed the demo?

3. If not for sempai-kohai cooperation following the script would the results be the same.

Don't get me wrong. Such types of drilling is great for the combat world but some of the items appear to be detrimental to the practitioner if done in combat.

We all have to analyize what we practice as to combat to make sure it works and reduces our causing self inflected injuries, i.e. stay away from a lot of ground work cause it puts you in bad situations in combat, etc.

In the end I agree these guys are really pro's but practical? I wonder which are and which are not.

I especially appreciated the chin-na stuff.

Anyway, just my two cents. Demo's get my dander up and most times in today's FA world it is used to draw in customers.

Sean C. Ledig said...

Is this Hapkido or Tukgong Musul?

It is a nice demo, but it is definitely more of performance for armed forces recruitment. There were a lot of techniques, like the high kicks, that no soldier would use in the field.

Also, while Charles James makes a good point about rolls and falls, I do consider those a crucial part of martial arts training. I think my training in breakfalls and rolls has served me many, many more times than my knowledge of self defense.

And yes, I've seen and even taken part in jujitsu or aikido classes which were held outdoors and practiced on grass.

One of my sifus was a nut for breakfalls. His training started on mats, but then progressed onto grass, gravel and concrete. One of his rules was that if you could successfully pull off a breakfall on concrete, he would never ask you to do another one in class.

Dojo Rat said...

Both of you make good points, and of course this is just a Demo after all. I doubt anyone would really use a jump spin kick to take out a guy with a rifle. I too saw some things that would have gotten the guy shot or otherwise.
--As far as breakfalls or rolls on hard surface, we have trained for that for sure. One seminar the best moment for me was when my Tai Chi Chuan instructor launched me and I did a perfect breakfall on a hardwood floor. Slooow motion time stands still stuff. I loved it.

Charles James said...


Hard wood floors are one thing but in combat you run into things such as broken glass, rocks, rocky terrain, stuff sticking out of the ground, etc.


Dojo Rat said...

I admit, the ground is a bad place to be, and I try my best to stay off it!

Zacky Chan said...

I thought the gun techniques seemed especially hairy, but the other stuff looked pretty impressive, if maybe a little hokey and pumped up.

steve-vh said...

Loved it. My first training was in Hapkido prior to getting my 2nd in TKD as well (and then a great many other things including FMA and Aikido).
I still lament the lack of quality instruction in Hapkido in this area.
Yes it was a demo, but knowing the art, the underlying techniques were fantastic.
Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

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