I was teaching at a seminar a couple of weekends ago….After performing a joint lock, someone asked me, do you then break their arm with this? Without thinking I said “no, I would never break their arm. Why would I do that?”…. then a long pause, … “Sure maybe you could.”

When we look at Hapkido from the outside, it’s easy to think it’s all about fighting. But, who is more deadly an opponent, the opponent out there…. or the opponent within here?

I heard a wonderful story recently. One of my students (a white belt) was walking down the street. This man started staring at him. He said my old self would have stared back, but since coming to Hapkido and Ki class I didn’t need to, instead I smiled and looked away. When he and his friends came out of the shop that same guy was on the other side of the street in a fight.

I think this white belt is already a successful warrior!

Have you noticed any changes in yourself since attending Hapkido and/or Ki class? I’d love to hear about them!

The opponent within.
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3 thoughts on “The opponent within.

  • 16th January 2012 at 11:50 am

    I had a similar experience , I was travelling on the underground and I was leaving the tube station I was on the escalator on the way out and a guy typically dressed up like a hoodlum started staring at me backwards as he was walking up the escalator.Before Hapkido I would of been straight into a stare down , but Hapkido allows me to control that side of me . I believe my greatest opponent is not the one on the horizon but its the one deep inside me , too better myself means i better my opponent without any actions.

  • 2nd May 2012 at 11:40 am

    Hi Saboumnim,
    Thank you for this post, I really like these examples – do you have any stories that show the same principle, but within a confrontation?

    I ask because last night after class, I had dinner with friends and got a late bus home. A man sat next to a woman behind me and started asking her where she was from, where she lived, what stop she was getting off and so on. I could see by the reflection in the glass that she was visibly annoyed and trying hard to hide her emotions (fear or anger, or both). I felt uncomfortable, so I turned around and, ignoring the man, spoke to the woman – asked if she was OK and told her that I wouldn’t appreciate somebody approaching my sister in such a way. She said she was OK, and the man stopped talking to her. In the end, he got off at my stop, and either pushed past me or slipped because he was off balance, and walked away – as the bus drove off the woman smiled and waved at me. I ignored him and waved at her.

    After the bus had gone, I thought about this entry on the blog. I think before Ki classes, I would have spoken directly to the man and ignored the woman, asked him where he lived, if we could get off the bus together, etc…

    Do you teach, through Hapkido, non-confrontation? – Or is the point more nuanced, that through co-ordinating mind and body we forget our ego (the opponent within?) and act in a specific moment, removing the hesitation that comes from thinking about past and future (whether that act is to confront or to avoid)?

    • 2nd May 2012 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Michael

      Personally, I’m not a fan of confrontation. But there are times when a situation does need to be confronted; we shouldn’t always shy away from acting. You did act – and it sounds like it was the right response in that circumstance.

      I believe it is important to understand the motivation of our actions. If we are doing something (or not doing something) out of prejudice or fear or arrogance or worry or a desire to be liked or save face etc…and we are oblivious to that, then we are being governed by our ego. It’s helpful to understand where are actions come from … to use an analogy… we don’t want to be the owner being led by our dog (our ego).

      When we are awake to our motivations, to what makes us act, think, speak etc… then naturally we can choose to act with more wisdom.

      You might also like this story: http://www.wanttoknow.info/inspiration/aikido_surprise

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