People undertake martial arts for many reasons. Students often discover along the way that their expectations are quite different to reality. Some do it as a hobby, something to keep them healthy. Some do it to learn how to defend themselves.
Others learn a martial art in the hope that by having physical supremacy over others they will be able to control their own interests. Fortunately the last type don’t tend to last very long. They quickly discover that if all they want is to overpower others, then a gun or a bar of iron will do the job very easily without having to expend years of training and sacrifice.
The goals of Hapkido go far beyond merely learning to fight and win. This does not mean that the practical aspects of Hapkido should be completely ignored. Always question the suitability of a technique to your size and abilities. Know the weaknesses and strengths of every technique that you learn so that if required you can utilise your knowledge of Hapkido to the fullest.
The first stages of Hapkido involve trying to achieve a flexible body and a flexible mind. The flexible body is important so that you can perform the complex movements of Hapkido. A flexible mind is required so that you can learn the complex theories of Hapkido. A cluttered mind can never hope to see the truth through the cluttered opinions that are already set into the mind.
Hapkido can be likened to car racing. The mind is the driver and the body is the engine. Until the driver becomes experienced and learns to control the car, it will never perform to its maximum potential. When the inexperienced driver tries to drive too fast, accidents happen, no matter how good the engine is. When the engine is not in tune, the car cannot perform, no matter how good the driver is.
Which is the best solution, a good driver or a good engine? Surely it is better to have a good driver and a good car. This is the goal of Hapkido, to achieve a perfect balance between mind and body. This will help you with everything you do in life, not just Hapkido. Consider the following story:
One day two men met in the middle of a narrow bridge while crossing a stream. One was very young, the other was very old. One or the other would have to yield to let the other pass, but neither of the men would let the other pass.
The young man said to the old man, “Can’t you see by my appearance that I am a warrior?” The old man, not afraid, replied, “I was a warrior when I was young too.”
The young man, to show his power, let out a yell that shook the mountains. A bird that was flying overhead fell down to the ground and died. The old man calmly pointed to the bird and seemed to meditate for a short while. The bird suddenly stood up and flew away.
When the young man saw this, he reflected on his conduct and recognised the true power of this old man. He stepped back and let the old man cross the river.
This story illustrates that it is not the level of your Hapkido skills that matters but rather what you do with them that is most important. Through perseverance, patience and determination along with the correct attitude and etiquette, you can achieve self-control and self-discipline. This will help you to remain calm in all situations. It is very important to remain calm even when your life is under threat. In this way you can react correctly to the situation.