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I found out some very interesting things lately. First off, my GM has been in the U.S. since 1970. Even so his English is poor at best. His ability to get across what he wants to say past instruction can be frustrating for everyone to say the least.
Over the years I have learnt pieces of his training history and our lineage. My primary senior had spoken to 2 other masters that spoke great English and who had trained under my teachers original master as well. We learned some interesting things that took us back and now many things make sense.
Based upon the broken English conversations we believed that our teachers Hapkido instruction was as follows. That his first teacher was a private student of Grandmaster Choi and in time be began training side by side with his original teacher and Choi.
By speaking with others that had more info we were able to learn the truth. My teacher was training with his original master for 12 years before he met Choi. His first and actually his only teacher was a Shaolin monk who was a practitioner of Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. As it turns out his teacher never trained under Choi, but was actually very close friends with him. They were also training partners, sharing knowledge. When my GM began training along side them as well (Before Hapkido officially had a name) he began adding all he learned while training with Choi and his teacher (Not as a student of Chois but as a training partner) into his personal style.
When Hapkido was officially adopted my Gm took the name the same as everyone else. And even though we are very similar in many ways to other Hapkido styles there are differences that I have seen. And now many things make sense; our more than usual Kung Fu influence, more of an Eagle Claw style of holding onto an opponent when grappling and trapping. I have found that what I have learnt has been some of the most effective techniques I have ever used.
This info is important for us since we are doing a lot of work within our art to revitalize things and ensure our teachers legacy, trying to be true to what our background truly is.
Being that Hapkido is not one codified system under one banner and has many different branches and styles to it, I guess we can still consider ourselves Hapkido, even though my GM was never a student of Choi or any other Hapkido teacher. Interesting times…..
Fact is, if my teacher's comprehension of the english language was better we would have known this years ago!
He really should make an effort to learn English.
I lived in Panama from 2005 to 2008. Lots of retired Americans there. Some make an effort to learn Spanish, while others don't even try and expect everyone else to speak English. I once saw an American woman grow visibly irritated with a salesgirl because the girl didn't speak English.
Yea, but old dog new tricks thing, ya know. We understand him pretty well, but sometimes it is him understanding what we are asking, saying. And him being in his 70s, he is not to concerned.
Ah, now reading this post I can see where you're coming from on the other one ("Is Hapkido Hapkido?). So your style's striking techniques are rooted in Shaolin Kung Fu, that's very interesting.
I would say yes, of course you can still consider yourselves Hapkido.
And in reality my GM never actually studied under any Hapkido instructor but more with some as training partners. It all is very eye opening.