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Improving accuracy

Sometimes during target practice a student will repeatedly miss the striking pad. It can be incredibly frustrating when a beautifully executed kick becomes useless through a lack of accuracy. But how does someone improve their accuracy? When a skill is first being acquired, a great deal of attention is focused on component parts of the technique.  […]

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The fear of making mistakes inhibits our potential

Sometimes a student has difficulty executing a skill they’ve been performing well for months. How come? Surely that’s a problem? There could be many reasons a technique stops working: lack of practice or bad posture, poor alignment or loss of connection to one’s opponent, bad timing or too much tension, loss of concentration or compromised […]

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Q. What’s the point of practising hyung (forms)?

Forms are a sequence of techniques, a pattern, practised repeatedly; they usually occur towards the start of a class.  At Chang’s Hapkido Academy, each new level requires the student to memorize a new form which is then practised under the watchful eye of the instructor.  As the student develops, so does the complexity of the form. Largely, forms are […]

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Posture, power and performance (part one)

One word my students consistently hear me use is ‘posture’. In this two part series I want to look at how posture affects how we feel and also how we perform. Firstly let’s consider our physical performance… In Hapkido the body should be working as a unit. When you jump, kick, punch, throw, and generally […]

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Skills, skills and more skills (part two)

Last month I spoke about how knowing a variety of martial arts skills can be beneficial to your practice (part one).  Today I’d like to play devil’s advocate and argue the contrary. So why are more skills a bad thing? Well it comes down to one simple word, “practice”.  If you’re constantly chasing the next […]

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Skills, skills, and more skills (part one)

By the time you’ve reached black belt in Hapkido, you’ve accumulated hundreds of Hapkido techniques: from the basic punch to the more complex self-defence skills and the multitude of variations.  In this three part article I’d like to talk about why understanding a variety of techniques is a good thing (part one), how more techniques […]

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Hapkido training as we age.

How old do you feel? I often find that the way people answer this question has a direct correlation to how active they are. The greater the activity level, the greater the difference between reality and fact. If we look closely at sport, we can find many examples of athletes, supposedly past their prime, still […]

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Don’t neglect the kihap!

Recently a few of my newer students have been asking why we are ‘grunting’ or ‘shouting’ during techniques. What they are referring to is the ‘ki-hap’: literally, Ki means inner power, and Hap means coordination. So the shout is an expression, or perhaps the result of the student coordinating their inner power. The shout shouldn’t […]

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Tension vs. power in Hapkido training.

I find that many new students need to first spend time understanding the difference between tension, strength and power. In the English language, if we want to improve at something, we often say that we must knuckle down, train hard orgrit our teeth. Each one of these strangely denotes a state of tension, something that we must […]

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Practising what we’re bad at.

I had a student about 4 years ago who complained to me that people were advancing ahead of him and that I wasn't teaching him any new skills. To some degree this was actually true; he had reached a bit of a plateau in my opinion (as we all sometimes do) and I felt his […]

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