Hello Hapkido Friends,
First I would like to congratulate Tony Diepenbrock for earning his Yellow Belt this week, great job Tony!
I just want to remind you all that I will be on leave all next week attending Master Tim's Hapkido conference in Tennessee. I hope in my absence you will continue to meet and practice.
Master Tim has been kind enough to let me film a host of new material with him for Hapkido Online so when I return I should be able to add loads of new content. I know we will all benefit from his wisdom.
We will have practice today 1530 - 1630 I hope to see you there. I regret that I am going to stop streaming the practice on the Digital Dojang. It seems the gyms Wi-Fi just isn't up to the challenge. The Digital Dojang will still be available to remote students via appointment. Simply send me an email and we will schedule a time to get together to conduct distance learning.
Master Tim and his wife Denise appear on TV!
Way to go!
Can you really learn martial arts from a website?
The short answer is yes you can. When you learn martial arts in a school you essentially watch the teacher and try to emulate his movements.
Then the teacher watches you and corrects deficiency in your movements. In Hapkido you also grapple with an uke (partner). Hapkido Online requires a partner to learn. A skilled instructor can watch you and a partner training and see if the technique is correct. As you gain skill you will also begin to intuitively know if you are doing it correctly.
Is learning Martial Arts from a website easier than a brick and
Emphatically no. Learning Martial Arts from a website requires greater self discipline than attending classes in a school. It also requires self integrity for only you know if you are actually practicing. A skilled instructor can usually spot somebody who isn't putting in the time though.
What advantages are there to learning from a
Well first off, you will get one on one instruction, albeit through the computer.
In a traditional school the instructor might have to watch over some 10 to 30 students, it's hard to focus on each one. With a website I can watch your techniques and focus on them. You can watch my teaching over and over and focus on it, without distractions. The other advantages is it's great for people who have busy lives or people who move about from place to place. You can decide what time class is and where it will be held. You can take your teacher with you everywhere you go.
Can't somebody just fake it to pass the test?
First of all. We aren't here to get belts, we are here to learn Hapkido. If you just
want to get a bunch of belts, go to your local strip mall and join a McDojo. If you want to learn
something than you are in the right place. An instructor can spot somebody who isn't doing the techniques correctly, it's as plain as the nose on your face.
Is this cheaper than learning from a traditional Hapkido School?
Is this inferior to a regular school?
Well I might be cheaper, some schools teach for free. I have taught people for free for years and years and so has my teacher, as a labor of love. The only reason Hapkido Online isn't completely free is it costs money to own and maintain. I can say that I've gone to great lengths to make it as affordable as possible. It is considerably cheaper than most traditional
Hapkido Online is inferior to no one. Hapkido Online IS a regular school. In fact Jon teaches people regularly in person. I would even say that Hapkido Online is better than 90% of the McDojo's out there. If you want to learn an effective martial art then this is a perfectly
acceptable way to do it.
We have noticed over the years that teaching people for free and or very cheaply often gives people the impression that what we are teaching isn't as "Good" as the schools that charge $100 a month. It is only a perception though and is
usually totally wrong. Our students are as skilled as anybody and often they are better.
A school that relies on your money for income has them working for you, you are the boss. It's not in their best interest to say or do anything to upset you. Whereas Hapkido Online and our partner schools don't rely on your income, we don't work for you, you aren't the boss. We are the teacher, you are the student.
What do I need to buy to learn
Well, nothing really. I am not selling anything here. Modern schools sell crap to make money, it's their income. Historically all you need to learn Martial arts is a teacher and a student (you will need an uke). Don't waste your money on trappings, save it for more important things like your kids college.
You obviously will need a computer and video camera. A good webcam would really be an asset. I assume that since you are reading this online you at least already have a computer.
The other items are fairly affordable nowadays.
What about training
Our school traditionally requires a dobak to be purchased by the time of your first test.
In the interest of making Hapkido training available to as many people as possible I have waived the requirement. Whatever clothes you normally exercise in are acceptable.
If you do decide to purchase a dobak then the rule is you may only wear colors if you've earned that color on a belt. For example Jon often wears a red top with black bottoms, since he has earned both of those belts it is acceptable.
What about a punching bag or padded targets?
This things can be useful to develop power and accuracy. We don't require them
but they DO help. I suggest finding this stuff second hand at play it again sports or a similar place. In a pinch, an old military duffel bag filled with old washed clothes works fairly well.
If you are a person of means, I am particularly fond of the water filled punching bags.
Can Hapkido be used for tournaments?
Hapkido is not a sport, it's a Martial Art devised to protect you against violent attack. If you want to learn sports than you should look for a good Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or MMA School. Incidentally the modern trend is for Martial Sport schools to tell people that what they teach can be used for self defense. It can be used that way but it's not ideal. For example a moped can be used to drive from coast to coast but wouldn't you rather take a plane? I do not mean to slight Martial Sports, they are fine if that's what you are looking for, Hapkido just doesn’t happen to be one of them.
Is Hapkido appropriate for
Teenagers and up please. Why? Would you teach a child how to break some bodies arm or choke them; how about how to shoot a handgun? Hapkido is a powerful weapon, it should be handled with care by responsible, mature people. Hapkido Online reserves the right to terminate memberships of any student that is found to be irresponsible, without refund.
Do you spar?
We do occasionally spar, the emphasis is not on scoring points though. The emphasis is on mastering range, power, speed, tactics, and strategy. If you choose to spar with your uke then both of you assume all risk of injury, Hapkido Online is not liable. Please take precautions such as protective gear and keep the emphasis on becoming better fighters and not on competition. Remember training injuries impede progress.
Does Hapkido have forms
Some schools do and some don't. Hapkido Online as yet is not teaching forms. If a student desires to learn forms he or she may ask to learn them and I would be happy to oblige but
they are not part if the testable curriculum. To the best of my knowledge most
'Hapkido Forms' are actually borrowed from other martial arts. This is not uncommon in the martial arts world. For example many Tae Kwon Do hyung are derivative of Okinawan Karate
katas. To some extent, a punch is a punch, a kick is a kick, a block is a block. It's how you do them that sets you apart.
Do you thing forms (hyung) are
I do think they are useful actually and encourage people to learn them.
What about weapons?
Hapkido Online mostly focuses on how to defend against various modern weapons (knives, guns, clubs). If you want to learn swordplay or archery from horseback then you should look elsewhere.
How do I test?
You may visit a member school or send a video to us and we will review. You can
also schedule a test in the digital Dojang and teacher and student can interact
in real time. We focus on ability. If you can demonstrate the techniques and principles we teach you will be promoted. Upon passing the test you will be mailed a certificate.
You can buy your own belt or send us money and we can buy one for you.
What if I've learned another martial art somewhere else, will
you honor my rank?
Yes! In fact I prefer students that have some previous training as they often
grasp the concepts more rapidly. I have had students that actually outrank me in other martial arts that just want to add to their arsenal of skills. We make room for everybody here.
What about people with
I am willing to teach you if you are willing to learn. If your disability prevents you from
doing certain techniques then we will substitute techniques that you CAN
do. It is advisable to get the permission of a doctor first. My goal is to teach people Hapkido, we all have strengths and weaknesses, we will work within them.
Today we explored the line of stance, line of vulnerability, and the pushing hands game. The ideas are covered in the Yellow Belt stances tutorial.
I added a training log requirement and template
for students and instructors to track training. This is at the bottom of the Digital
I also added better belt page mapping and a more descriptive of
how Hapkido Online works.
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
Pai Mei Diet
I just wanted to share something that is working for me. Trying to shed a few pounds and I
decided in addition to my exercise I would diet.
But which diet? I finally
decided to just kind of invent one for me and so far the results are
promising. Nothing special about
this diet and it probably exists under a whole host of other names.
I was inspired by the Pai Mei character on Kill
Bill vol.2. In the film he pretty
much only eats rice and fish heads (yuck!). I decided that I should try to adopt
the spirit of the thing though and eat only what a movie warrior ascetic like
Pai Mei might eat.
So first things first. I try very hard to limit
my meat intake to fish. It's not
always possible. For example if we
are out at a restaurant and the choice is between grilled chicken and fried
fish, I go with the chicken. The
main thing is I seek purity in the food, for lack of a better term.
I ask myself, what is healthiest here, and I choose to eat
The only carbs I choose come from mostly brown
rice. I accept that I get enough
carbs accidentally throughout the day so when I am making choices I avoid
them. I steer clear of bread and
Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables.
Pai Mei isn't shown eating them but many real life monks are vegetarian
so I figure it's within the realm of possibility.
The cheapest source of veggies seems to be the big bags of frozen mixed
veggies for stir fry or teriyaki.
These usually come with a little pouch of sauce, I usually just chuck
that little pouch of fat and carbs right into the garbage.
What's left is a colorful and tasty assortment of veggies.
Now I have no illusions I am an American and the
junk food is fairly inescapable here.
So my goal is to be a 2/3's good guy and a 1/3 bad guy.
In other words if I can eat this way for two out of my three meals a day
I am in good shape. This really
helps keep the cravings for all things junk food under
So far it's working beautifully.
The pounds are coming off and I am not suffering from horrible
cravings. In fact I feel
incredible. This is week three of
the Pai Mei Diet and so far I've lost seven real pounds (not water weight
fluctuations). I know some of you
may find this slow but bear in mind that for one meal a day I can pretty much
have whatever I want. Sometimes
if I am feeling particularly warrior-ish I eat all three meals Pai Mei style but
never fewer than two.
If you visit my home you will see a lightly used black belt with
gold embroidery. It has the name
of my school and looks very fancy.
My wife found it in my duffel bag along with my other training
implements. She had her father
build a nice wood and glass display box for the belt and it resides in the
box. I tested and received this
belt 19 years ago.
My waist was thinner in those days so I rarely wear the fancy
belt because it doesn't fit so well anymore. Middle age is humbling.
Is this belt special to me? Well it is in a way, it reminds me of my test
and the pride of passing it. In
some ways the box that holds the belt is more special to me because it reminds
me how much my wife and her parents love me.
My other black belt is the one I mostly wear.
It has no fancy embroidery, and it's not as ebony as it used to be. In fact it’s not even black anymore but
has a gray patina to it. The edges
are frayed and worn in places.
Some of the seams are tattered.
When I pick it up it is supple with use. This belt is the one that is most
special to me. Not because it is
fancy but because it more closely represents what I have learned and what I
It was passed to me informally by my teacher one day, he had
worn it for years before giving it to me and he had a new belt.
This belt was with him while he trained multitudes of people, including
me. It looks very plain but I
cherish it because it represents all the qualities of a good teacher (I write
‘he’ but it can also be a she):
He must love his art
He must be patient
He must be kind
He must value his students and honor them
He must be selfless
He still learns every day
He exists to serve others not himself
I see a lot of fancy schools out there that focus on
performance, winning, and the spotlight.
They charge vast sums and have rows of students, many of them black
belts. The instructors have gilded
belts with rows of stripes. The
walls have affiliations and awards, the windows frame rows of trophies. I am not saying these things don't have
their place, but I am glad that I didn't learn in a place like
I look back at my teacher. He has been teaching for 30 years. He has had scores of students come and
go like other schools. Out of all
those people to my knowledge he has only promoted three to black belt, me and
his two sons. When I talk to him
he often calls me one of his sons.
He hasn't made a
lot of money in martial arts, in fact he usually teaches for free nowadays. Just for the joy of it.
I was poor growing up and even now I never seem to have much money. My first belt my teacher bought for me
and he never asked for compensation, he did it because he loves his art and he
loves his students, they are family.
Nowadays if you visit his school often you will see his son teaching
advanced techniques to higher students.
If you want to find my teacher follow the joyous giggles of children as
he teaches them to tumble on the mats.
You might think that because our school is simple and doesn't
have all the trappings of success that it is not successful.
This is simply untrue. My
teacher gave me an invaluable gift.
On one occasion it saved my life and the lives of my two children. All my years of training coalesced at
that one fateful moment.
The rest of the time his other gifts serve me, faith, trust,
honesty, humility, hard work, and love.
I carry on with my own school and my own students, I just hope I can be
half the teacher that he is and be worthy of wearing his special black
Teacher and Hapkido Online Developer.