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I have begun to wonder. Is Hapkido Hapkido? What I mean is this. Is Hapkido a specific codified art, with set rules and philosophies or is it something that can vary, be fairly different from school to school to the point where if a student went from one school to another they would not truly be able to hold rank without it being honorarily given. Is/has Hapkido become more of a general name for a type of technique or arts the same as Kung Fu, Wu Shu, Karate is. Is it the way of Bruce Lee's JKD where there is JKD Concepts and then there is JKP Philosophy?
It's interesting to see you following this train of thought. You used to be outraged by the way Hapkido has differentiated. You used to say that "real" Hapkido was being lost and diluted.
My response is that Hapkido has never been a specific codified art. When GM Choi came from Japan he was only teaching what he called Yawara, which was pure Daito-Ryu Jujitsu, right? Then some among his first generation of students, such as Ji Han Jae, added native Korean striking techniques, and it became Hapkido. But even among that first generation, they had different backgrounds and I'm sure their Hapkido differed from one to another.
This is how I define Hapkido: It is a a joint locking and throwing art which follows the principles of blending and non-resistance, and has a body of striking techniques that can be used to aid the locks and throws, or can be used independently.
The striking techniques and the generally aggressive approach are what differentiate Hapkido - in my mind - from softer arts like Aikido and some of the Japanese Jujitsu styles that have become very gentle in their approach.
Hapkido has yet to find its stride, in my opinion. The locks and throws that make up the core of the art are taught independently from the striking techniques. It's like two separate arts jammed together but not truly fitting. When the two can be blended together seamlessly, then Hapkido will have come into its own. That's what I've been trying to do with Hammerhead Hapkido the last several years.
Well, one must grow and evolve.... The more I learn over the years the more I question everything.
And I agree that all to often Hapkido seems to be 2 arts trying to merge together. But, I have seen some people merge them well. My GM has done a great job of this and it had always made me wonder. But now that I know more about our history I understand so much more.
And I have come to the conclusion that Hapkido is more of a generalized system that a specific art.
I'm not surprised to hear that your GM has done a good job of blending the striking techniques with the locks, because I've seen some of Fariborz Azakh's later videos and I see him following the same path. I understand he came up in your system as well.
Azakh's teacher Sexton attained his3rd Dan under my Gm. A lot of his stuff is his own interpretation, as is Azakh's. We have evolved even more since those days and have continued to try and grow and progress. The basics of what they do and how they move do give an insight into how things are with us. And last time I was at Azakh's school they were still doing a good job.
I saw Azakh incorporating a lot of punch defenses / entries from Southeast Asian martial arts, which is something I do myself as those systems specialize in that.
My teacher was a Golden Gloves Boxer and we use that combined with the Kung Fu influence, Muai Thai and Wing Chun. This is our current evolution. I saw it before I learnt the more about our history but didn't really piece it together. But, our Kung fu influence included Eagle Claw.