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Can how you define success stop you from feeling successful?

What we consider an achievement and how we define success affects us at every level.  It affects confidence, self-esteem and psychological well-being.  It affects motivation and how satisfied we feel with life.  It influences the choices we make and the pressure we put ourselves under. Our own definitions, therefore, mould who we become. For some, […]

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Out with the old, in with the new

Last weekend I was presented with my 5th degree black belt. Many of my students have asked how it feels – I’m not sure I totally know yet, but here are some initial thoughts… As with every new level one gets a new belt. My 4th degree belt had been worn for almost nine years. […]

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Being the best

Another old story for you… A young man turned up at the school of a famous martial arts instructor. Upon arriving, he told the Master that he wanted to become his student and be the best martial artist in Japan. He asked the master, “How long should I train under you?” “Ten Years,” replied the […]

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Posture, power and performance (part two)

In part one I looked at how poor posture and body mechanics decrease the effectiveness of our Hapkido techniques and expose us to potential injury and pain.  This understanding is key to our physical wellbeing, but posture also has a significant effect on our mental wellbeing. A study conducted in 1988, for instance, showed that […]

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Skills, skills, and more skills (part three)

After spending the past few months arguing for (part one) and against (part two) the importance of learning more skills, I’d like to question the relevance of either argument. So why does focusing on more or less skills actually miss the point? I’ve noticed that those students who are becoming expert performers no longer come […]

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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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Training beyond black belt (part two)

[part 1] Before Christmas I surveyed some of Chang’s Hapkido Academy (CHA) black belts to discover what keeps them coming back after achieving their black belt.  I’ve received over a dozen responses now from black belts across four of our schools, which gives me quite a bit of data to start noticing various recurring themes. […]

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Training beyond black belt (part one)

To achieve a black belt in Hapkido requires many years of practice.  Practicing anything long term requires energy, passion and commitment.  But like anything else, our ability to perform a technique effectively will eventually decay – that’s why continued practice, even after achieving black belt is essential if we want to maintain and hopefully improve […]

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Expert technique takes time.

A green belt student asked me for advice on his side kick the other day. He expressed disappointment when I told him that his side kick was fine. “But it doesn’t snap and sometimes I lose balance. Your kick is much better!”, he told me. Each class, students are instructed to perform 100 side kicks. […]

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Struggling with difficulties

A student came to me last week and said, “I love Hapkido, but I think I’ve reached my peak”. I was a little confused because that was not what I was thinking at all. “What do you mean?”, I questioned. The student said that he didn’t think he could do the current skills, that he […]

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