Thoughts about Martial Arts


by Gabriel Dutchevici

What I like the most about Aiki-Jitsu (Hapkido, Hakko Ryu) is its tactical potential. It offers the practitioner (essentially unique) numerous technical possibilities.

It is said that we can defend ourselves if we master three or four techniques. I don’t agree on that, because it is enough to only imagine the multiple dangerous situations, to realize the mistake the people with such a mindset are making. I am though in favor of mastering very well the base technique, out of which we can extract hundreds of variations.

Whenever you have enough room to do so, use your legs. But don’t do this in a phone booth or in a toilet. Don’t forget the legs are the longest and strongest part of the human body, but employ them for a wider distance.

The self-defense strategy very much depends on ‘reading’ the intentions of your opponent. And our response should match his intention.
There is this common belief that we can learn a technique and go out on the street and apply it. It takes years of hard work to understand the art of it. From another point of view, the self-defense is initially more physical then mental, and only after the other way round.

The technique employed by our opponent, is not that important. You should also think about the fact that the real threat comes from the one who is trained and has experience in street fights, and not on the tatami or in the ring.
Lately you can very often hear people speaking about the ‘real fight’ because of the new championship that has ‘no limit’ and is in trend. These are not ‘real fights’. A real fight has little to do with these new championships that draw the attention of a certain type of people nowadays.

We must always be alert. Once you understood there is no way to avoid the fight, do it, without losing your temper, but with energy. It all has to be like an instinctive reaction. If you will have any inner hesitation, the fight is lost before it began.

In a self-defense situation, the last thing you want to do is to bring the fight down on the ground. You can fall on his knife, hurt in his knees and the concrete is not a tatami.

The most important principle to learn in Hapkido, Hakko Ryu is the principle of water. Never pose resistance. Follow the flow of your opponent and redirect his strength. This is the Yin-Yang principle.

If I get a punch thrown at me, the punch is Yang, but when it reaches the maximum stretch point, it becomes Yin. If I follow the flow of the punch, I will position myself to become Yang, and I will redirect its strength by eventually using it against him. This is the water principle.

After almost 28 years of practice, I have the feeling I am still learning.
There are no better or worse styles. It all depends to what we use and how we use it. The effect of martial arts is directly related to the way you practice them. It will take years for this to become fully understood.
The martial art is for life. It bonds our body to our spirit. When we refine our technique through years of work, thousands and thousands of hours, then the training reaches both the mind and the body. The goal is to attain a spontaneous, instinctive reaction, ahead of the logical analysis.

There are numerous possibilities to reach this sought after perfection, but the mastery of self, the mental and physical discipline, the speed at which we analyze the situations – these are all elements that we perfect on a human scale.
Hapkido, Hakko Ryu are encompassing trust, skills and discerning ability.
• A new idea, even though good, will never receive unanimous approval.
• When the movements get instinctive, let them flow.
• As the mental attitude improves, the confidence quickly follows.
• Don’t search for the proper distance (MA AI), find it!
• Distance is your friend
• The ones who criticize are usually the ones hiding their own incompetence.
• There is no gradual death, it only comes once.
• Defense can often be the start of an offence.
• In order to favor your action, feed yourself with your opponent reaction.
• Don’t change what is working already.
• Don’t stop studying, keep learning; this is the only way you can accomplish what you had in mind.
• Stick to your decisions; don’t fool yourself
• Look at defeat as a phase of your learning process
• Don’t spoil yourself with negative thoughts. Be positive.
• If you lost, try to understand why that happened.
• The old fashions are long gone; someone needs to take a step forward.
• Train your mind to surpass your body.
• Overcome you pain mentally; you will anytime be able to endure.
• Don’t try to be as good as someone else, try to get better.
• React according to your training.

This post is also available in: Romanian