Hapkido And The US Military: The Motivations Behind The Integration

The martial art that originally came from Korea have come a long way today and now its combat application is lauded by the world’s biggest and most experienced combat forces in the world – the US military. The reason why Hapkido won the US military over is its solid approach to rendering the enemy in the battlefield little chance of resistance and if necessary, survival.

Hapkido is a martial art known for pressure point techniques, throws, kicking and punching, and even grappling. It also works with weapons such as knives and sticks making it handy in combat zones that are becoming more intimate between enemies like in the case of CQB. But there are some very important reasons why the armed forces of the Unites States choose Hapkido as a feasible martial arts discipline for its soldiers.

Hapkido is Not a Traditional Martial Art

There is nothing wrong about “traditional” martial arts. There will be no existing and viable martial art without the tradition component of each. Hapkido is the same, but the combat version of this martial art is not as fanatical about form, posture, stance, and movement. It goes directly to the usable components of the discipline in the context of today’s battlefield. It goes away from the convention of the rules of engagement of the past and even the very kind of war fought today.

Hapkido is an evolved art that is fitted to accompany the modern warrior. This is why the US military is attracted to it. There is no classical stances and positions anymore just the combative core of Hapkido. The joint locks are kept the same but the approach is changed – like how to employ it in tight spaces and how to effectively apply it with the gear a modern soldier has in a typical combat mission. This kind of contextualization allows hapkido to be welcomed to the US military and should also be the reason why people should start knowing more about it for self defense.

Hapkido and Individual Combat

There is a lot of individual combat out in the battlefield today especially those American soldiers are fighting in right now. The battle situation has changed tremendously over the years. Soldiers today are not battling it out in remote jungles and secluded and uninhabited stretches of desert but in the middle of urban areas. Battles are waged in buildings and houses complimented with missions that include neighborhood patrols, house to house weapon seizures, and even clearing of residential complexes from armed enemies that can easily blend in with the civilian population

This kind of war demands some specific skills that do not use guns even though soldiers today are carrying more powerful and efficient firearms than in the past. Their better weapons cannot give them protection at all times especially when they are inside a house where innocent women and children are also inside. Sometimes the enemy can jump on the soldier from behind or come in fast in their faces, so close and too quickly that discharging their weapon is impossible. Hapkido can help soldiers have enough skills to subdue an enemy with their bare hands, perhaps throw them off, or hit them efficiently to subdue them quickly without risking innocent lives by pulling a trigger in very tight spaces.

Furthermore in war it is almost inevitable that a solider finds himself alone. Perhaps he is separated from his unit, or that his patrol team got ambushed or tripped on a land mine. A soldier can easily find himself operating on his own in hostile territory and there will be instances where hand to hand combat is not just an option but a necessity. Hapkido is a martial art that provides the needed skill to neutralize enemies in a very practical manner. No more traditional spinning kicks or space consuming movements – just simplified techniques that are quick, effective, and efficient.

What Hapkido is Teaching the US Military?

There are specific skills that hapkido are imparting to US soldiers. One of which is teaching them to make use of their hands to make sure attackers do not easily grab their weapons. Attackers from nowhere would likely do this to make sure that the soldier cannot use it against them. Hapkido is also teaching soldiers to better use their knives and to defend themselves from bladed weapons in confined spaces.

Trapping techniques are some of the most hammered-in skills of hapkido. This allows soldiers to deal with knife attacks. Hapkido is also teaching soldiers to always hit the head first to render the attacker blind and rattled. This will enable him to control the fight early. Hapkido also teaches low-line kicking, joint locks, and the application of pressure points. The combination of these things provides the American soldier enough skills to survive and thrive in the modern battleground.

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