Combat Hapkido provides self-defense training to fall back on
By Senior Airman Siuta B. Ika, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 14, 2013
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- People practice martial arts for a variety of reasons, one being to learn how to protect themselves should they ever encounter an attacker in a one-on-one situation. But what happens when there are multiple attackers? Or the attackers are armed with firearms or knives?
While tactics learned from wrestling, Judo, Taekwondo or boxing, for example, may be sufficient in dispatching would-be attackers, one martial art prides itself in training practitioners to do so in the safest and most efficient way possible. Practitioners at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, devote themselves to a style that seeks to prepare them for almost anything by working hard on the simple things.
"Combat Hapkido is a self-defense system - not really a style that's constrained by anything," said Tech. Sgt. Thomas Locke, Combat Hapkido instructor and 694th Intelligence Support Squadron policy and evaluations inspector. "The structure and a lot of the techniques we use are from traditional Hapkido like the joint locks and the self-defense mind set, but it's also very progressive and inclusive of a lot of different styles."
Because of its organic nature, Locke, who has been a practitioner in various martial arts from around the world over the last 18 years to include Russian Systema, Military Combatives, Goju-Ryu Karate Do, and Martial Blade Concepts, said Combat Hapkido is one of the most comprehensive self-defense oriented systems.
"Other styles like mixed martial arts, Taekwondo, or Muay Thai are often trending toward sport and competition," Locke said. "They structure their training with the methodology that their opponent is trying to do the same things to them under the same constraints as they are, which may not be the case in a real-life situation."
Practicality is one reason why one Combat Hapkido student takes the class, which is offered every Monday and Wednesday at the Osan Fitness Center from 7-9 p.m.
"What I love about this martial art is that it's not all about flash and presentation, but about realistic application when applying it to self-defense," said Tech. Sgt. Ian Bobnes, 694th Intelligence Support Squadron quality assurance technician. "It's not about doing a movement exactly right - you do want to get the core elements down so you understand how the movement is supposed to be formed - but sometimes if it doesn't work right you may find that another move has opened up that might not be what you practiced exactly, but still is just as effective. You also don't have to practice the same move over and over to get it exactly right, because it's really about neutralizing or getting away from threat any way you can."
One common misconception that may exist with any martial art is that the moves or concepts may be too difficult to grasp or replicate, but that's not the case with Combat Hapkido, Locke said.
"I have trained a lot of military members and police officers, but somebody could come in with no legs and I would teach them," Locke said. "I strive to foster the right kind of training to create an environment that nearly anyone can actually want to come in and learn. I welcome all martial artists of any level, any style. I feel that if someone's goal is to just learn about self-defense, if that's the one thing that's in your mind, don't be concerned about the term 'martial arts' because that may be a barrier if you imagine it as something foreign or mystical."
Above all, Locke said the self-defense concept is an extremely important skillset to develop, especially for military professionals and spouses.
"It might not be somebody accosting you on the street here, because, well, most Koreans are pretty nice folks, but you never know when or where you're going to be when something happens," he said. "I'm going to be here at Osan for at least three years, so this school will continue on consistency and longevity. For those that are only here for a few more months and they're just now hearing about it, that's totally fine, there's combat Hapkido classes all over the world and I can connect them with other instructors."