Tag Archives: Self defense

Guess Who Didn’t Get In The Hapkido Beginners’ Course

Here I am really psyched about learning more of the Korean martial art of Hapkido.

This is what I have found out about Hapkido:

The term Hapkido itself consists of three words which are

hap ‘coordinating’
ki ‘energy’
do ‘way’

Let’s just settle for ‘the way of coordinating energy’, shall we?

Hapkido is a form of self defense that uses joint locks and techniques of other martial arts.

It also incorporates traditional weapons, including the short stick, cane, rope, nunchucku, sword, and even the staff.

As a Hapkidoka (does that sound right?) you learn how to apply long and close range fighting techniques, using dynamic kicking and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, jointlocks, or throws at closer fighting distances.

Hapkido is all about circular, non-resisting movements, and about controlling your opponent.

You learn the advantage through footwork and body positioning to get leverage, so you can avoid using strength against strength.

Hapkido was developed from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu or a closely related jujutsu system taught by Choi Yong Sul who returned to Korea after WWII, having lived in Japan for 30 years.

This system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of taekkyeon and tang soo do.

But back to me being all psyched about starting with Hapkido.

The latest publication of my local county’s Parks & Recreation Fall Activity Guide listed a beginners’ course with 8 lessons for a really reasonable fee which definitely got my interest.

So, I call the program coordinator who tells me that they needed just one more participant for the course to take place. Sounds like a plan to me!

I jump into my car and head on over to their offices to sign up.

There I am filling out all the forms as diligently as you would expect from any serious, law-abiding martial artist.

Then the program coordinator drops the bomb after I had completed all the filling out stuff:

“Sir, you are aware that this course is targeted to kids from 6 years and older?”

Well, now that he brought it to my attention, I was. Thank you very much!

While I processed this new and vital information, I asked him to tell me what the average age of the other course participants who had signed up so far.

Guess what his answer was!

“Six years old.”

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but that is not the kind of course yours truly wantedto get in.

I was looking for something more like what you see in the video below, just click on the YouTube link:


If you have tried Hapkido or have been a practitioner for a couple years now, let me know about your experience. I really want to know.


My First Real Krav Maga Experience

After learning that a local Krav Maga school would be offering a free 90 minute introductory session on Saturday afternoon, I was very interested to say the least.

For those of you not too familiar with Krav Maga, here’s something I posted about it many moons ago to bring you up to speed.

I counted 20 participants plus 2 instructors (1 female, 1 male) who were knowledgable and approachable.

After a brief warm-up and light stretching, we proceeded without further ado. And it got real. Real fast.

Basic fight stance. Always keep arms up and hands/fists  protecting one’s jaw.

A lot of partner exercises and striking pads.

Front jab and cross. First using your fist, then using the heel palm of your hand.

It looks something like this:

We then moved on to a very basic and extremely effective technique: The Front (Groin) Kick.

There are self-defense situations in which the attacker has already closed in on you and you cannot execute either of the described techniques.

Let’s say he’s applying a two-handed front choke or a choke from the side. Yep, Krav Maga offers responses to that, too.

Break the choke by pulling your opponent’s hands to the side like this:

What about a choke from the side? Yep, they got that covered, too:

To top it off and to add that some more adrenaline, we formed one line of 10 participants who were the defenders and another line of 10 who were the attackers.

As a defender, you were to close your eyes and only to know and expect either a front or side choke and respond accordingly.

Your attackers would constantly change. All of this with loud “Angry White Male” music.

Our instructors incorporated numerous cardio exercises during our 90 minute session and I must say I wasn’t the only one with a dripping wet shirt after everything was said and done.

If you’re looking for a good workout and a practical approach to self-defense, you have a real option with Krav Maga.

Stay safe, my friends!


The Eye Jab Is A Great Self-Defense Technique

Many times even seasoned martial arts practitioners are overwhelmed by the variety of self-defense techniques at their disposal.

More often than not the solution to a problem, in our example, self-defense could be much easier than we first think.

And that’s why today I thought it might be a good idea to draw our attention to a self-defense technique that doesn’t even require years of training, if applied correctly in the appropriate situation.

Bruce Lee  said it best, when faced with a choice of hitting your opponent in the ribs or poking him in the eyes, you go for the eyes every time.

The technique that I am referrring today is simply known as the eye jab.

You can use this effective technique to “buy time” during a surprise attack and to thwart an attacker.

What’s really cool about the eye jab is that even if you miss the eyes, your attacker will blink and will give you the opportunity to follow up.

Should your jab however connect, meaning touch his eyes, they will immediately water and your attacker’s vision will severely blur.

The rest is up to you.

Especially among Kali and Jeet Kune Do practioners this swatting finger jab is a popular hand technique.

And because one doesn’t require a lot of  strength the eye jab is a very practical technique. It does rely on speed, accuracy and timing.

Thus, if you have just halfway decent motor skills, you can do this one, no matter how physically fit you are.

Just make sure you are loose and not stiff during its execution. It’s like swatting a fly.

It’s also very important that your fingers of the jabbing hand are close to one another and slightly bent to avoid injury on the finger joints in case you accidentally hit bone on impact.

You should try to project toward the target without telegraphing it to your attacker.

The actual execution reminds me of a striking cobra.

I found a video clip with the legendary Paul Vunak, who puts it all together with an eye jab, elbow strike and head butt.

The execution is so fast that you might want to watch it a couple of times.

Use the eye jab responsibly and always stay safe!

Road House – The Real Deal

Anybody remember the Patrick Swayze movie “Road House”?

You know the one in which he plays a professional “cooler” (i.e. specialized doorman, or bouncer) with a mysterious past who is enticed from his current job in New York City by  a club owner to take over security at his club/bar.

I agree that this was not one of the finer specimens presented on the Big Screen, but at one time or another in our lives we just want to watch a couple of fight scenes, right?!

Did you know that martial arts great, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, was actually the fight choreographer? Really ….


But there’s another martial arts great I wanted to tak about who is also known as “Road House” and for me he is the Real Deal.

I’m talking about Grand Master Steve Sexton, 8th degree Hapkido black belt.

He is a street fighting legend in the San Fernando Valley area of California who has been in real combat situations. On a regular base, Master Sexton is one of the few martial artists who uses traditional Hapkido techniques in real life self-defense situations.

Master Sexton has over 25 years experience as a professional Bouncer and his Hapkido skills have kept him safe in countless dangerous street fighting encounters against all kinds of aggressive people out to do bodily harm.

 On the night club circuit he has experienced every type of assault from one-on-one confrontations to multiple attackers. He’s been shot at and has disarmed numerous knife, bottle and club wielding crazies. He attributes his survival to the hightly effective self-defense techniques of Korean Hapkido which includes striking, kicking, throwing, joint locking, chokes, ciruclar movements, angle attacks, weapons disarming techniques, leveraging, redirecting your attackers force against himself and much more.

Remember that Patrick Swayze movie “Road House”? Well, then you’ve got a glimpse of the Legend of Steve Sexton, hence the nickname “Road House”.

And if you think a cane can only fulfill one purpose, think again:

Krav Maga – Martial Art Or Not?

Is Krav Maga a martial art or not?

As far as Krav Maga practitioners are concerned it’s more about martial than art.

Now what does that mean? Good question.

For some, traditional martial arts appear to be too rigid and simply too tradition-bound.

Krav Maga strives to be a ‘defensive tactics system’ which means it has to constantly adapt to situation and circumstances.

It is NOT a sport. It is about self-defense that will get you home safely.

Krav Maga incorporates elements of many martial arts themselves.

Krav Maga has been the prime fighting system of the Israeli Defense Forces since the State of Israel was founded in 1948.

Imi Lichtenfeld, who created Krav Maga (Hebrew for contact combat), was the Israeli military school’s chief instructor for physical training and Krav Maga.

He already developed the concepts of an effective self-defense system while still living as a Jew in Eastern Europe and fighting fascist thugs in the 1930s.

Years later in Israel, Mr. Lichtenfeld continued to refine the system to base it on the body’s natural instincts under stress and making it a very aggressive, “never quit” combat system.

Check out this video clip and as always viewer discretion is advised.
Do not attempt without a certified instructor and not before consulting your physician!