Training in Hapkido is much like walking along a road. If you are completely on one side of the road, then you are safe. If you are completely on the other side of the road then you are also safe. However, if you dash from side to side, then sooner or later you will be run over.
The meaning behind this story is that you should either do Hapkido completely and correctly or don’t bother doing Hapkido at all. If you train half-heartedly then one day you may cause injury not only to yourself but also to others through a lack of concentration.
There is no way that a student of Hapkido can just attend a couple of lessons per week, with no extra personal training, and hope to improve at a reasonable rate. Hapkido should not be in your mind for only those few hours during actual classes.
Whenever you have a free moment, practice some movements you may have had difficulty with in the last lesson, even if only in your mind. Imagine situations and consider possible lines of response.
For example, what if someone were right behind you right now?
Try to prepare yourself mentally for that moment when you may have to save your life or that of someone else.
A flexible body cannot be achieved by only doing the stretches in the class. If you want to attain the degree of flexibility required to use your kicks effectively, then you must STRETCH EVERYDAY.
Just 10-20 minutes in the morning and the same again at night are all that are required to convince your muscles that they had better stretch because you are going to be doing a lot of this from now on.
During training, it is important to concentrate totally on the techniques you are performing. However the life that most of us lead, is full of stress and anxiety. These elements have no place in your Hapkido training. Thus an important part of Hapkido is the meditation before the class.
The purpose of this meditation is to rid the mind of stress and unclear thoughts. The following story may help to illustrate this point.
A student was having a cup of tea with his master. The master had poured his own cup and proceeded to pour the student’s cup. When the cup was full, the master continued until the cup overflowed.
The student questioned this action and the master replied “A full cup has little use to its owner as it cannot contain anymore. Only an empty cup can be filled”
Thus only a mind that is humble and void of the owner’s opinions and preconceived ideas, can absorb totally and learn effectively. The following story is a useful for consideration when you are meditating.
The mind is like a pool of water. When the pool is turbulent, the reflection is distorted and unclear. When the pool is calm, the reflection is clear and pristine.
When you are sparring and you become angry or annoyed, then you are not able to make clear and rational decisions and you will make many errors.
However when the mind is calm then you can judge events more clearly and thus make the correct decisions. Even though your body is moving, your mind should be still and calm.
The quality of your life has great effect on the quality of your training. Your diet should be good and your conscience should be clear.
Hapkido is a lifetime journey that has many rewards beyond the superficial benefits of good health and a means of self defence. The principles and philosophy of Hapkido can benefit all aspects of your life.
Learning and improvement continues throughout our entire life and the ultimate reward of Hapkido is not to be able to master others but to be able to master yourself.