Similarities of Jung Ki Kwan and Yong Sul Kwan

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by Chris from CT, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. Chris from CT

    Chris from CT Valued Member

    In another thread we started discussing the similarities in Curriculum/Principles between GM LIM Hyun-soo's Jung Ki Kwan and GM KIM Yun-sang's Yong Sul Kwan.

    When I first started doing the Jung Ki Kwan material, it was a bit different than the beginning stages of many styles of Hapkido I had come across. Many styles of Hapkido teach “soft and flowing” in the initial stages of a beginner’s training where as the Jung Ki Kwan Hapkido starts off as a very "hard" style and then proceeds to the softer style. We started working with the opponent grabbing hard with some resistance, then we were expected to get into the technique without the usual "fake" or "softening technique." At first, this threw me for a loop because that was what I would have normally done if I felt resistance (without motion) or things were not looking in my favor. What we were getting shown right off the bat was how to "move from your center" to manipulate another person's center to get into techniques. Sounds pretty esoteric, but it was very simple once you understood what was going on. Bottom line… using the mechanics of your body to generate the strength instead of your arms and knowing how to apply it when compared to the physiological weakness of the opponent's action (i.e. method of the grab).

    I have often wondered if teaching this hard style in the beginning is something that is often done with students of CHOI Yong-sul’s. I have heard from other dojangs, such as from GM RIM Jong-bae’s that sometimes new people (with Hapkido backgrounds) cannot even get into the techniques because of the opponent gripping hard. This also happened at a GM CHANG Chin-il seminar with a mid-level dan student. GM Chang asked this person to come up and apply a specific lock on him that we were working on and the mid-level dan student could not even budge GM Chang. You could see the confusion in his eyes of, “should I even attempt to hit GM Chang to soften him up?” He then proceeded to explain how to "enter in" and "pull off" the technique without softening your opponent. That was an eye opener for a lot of people including myself at the time.

    So my question to those who know the Yong Sul Kwan Material is; does GM Kim teach in a similar fashion for beginning ranks?

    Thanks and looking forward to hearing from y’all.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2008
  2. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Great post, Chris---- and a good idea. I don't mind sharing what I know regarding the YONG SUL KWAN though, in fairness, someone like Barrie (Restall) or especially Jarrod (Taylor) are, by far, better informed and experienced.

    Let me start this way:

    In the YON MU KWAN, under MYUNG Kwang Sik, I learned YU SUL Hapkido. This style of Hapkido is heavily dependent on "physics" and is often equated to the use of weight, balance, speed, power etc etc as found in Japanese Judo or Korean Yudo, even Korean SSIREUM. The beginning material is taught off the grab and graduates slowly to dealing with strikes and kicks.

    By comparison, what I found in the YONG SUL KWAN was HAPKIYUSOOL in which the beginning material also was taught by beginning with grabs. However, unlike the YU SOOL material, in HAPKIYUSOOL the partner was alllowed to established a well-executed grab requiring the practitioner to impact the partners neuro-muscular system from the very first motion. I found this very different from the YU SOOL approach wherein, at the more accomplished levels one was never suppose to allow a person to establish a fully accomplished grasp in the first place.

    Along these lines, I also found that, unlike YU SOOL which allowed for the use of rolling and tumbling with the technique, the HAPKIYUSOOL technique were so tightly executed as to all but obviate the ability to "go with" the technique. The result was a very effective technique for the practitioner, but considerable discomfort for the partner.

    Lastly, though this is VERY relative, I know that in practice the YU SOOL material must seem very linear when compared with other Korean arts such as the very "aikido-esque" IHF. However, when compared with HAPKIYUSOOL I found that YU SOOL was far more "circular". Just some opening thoughts.

    Best Wishes,

  3. Chris from CT

    Chris from CT Valued Member

    I hope that Barrie and Jarrod jump in when they get a chance.

    In my mind, it all depends on physics. As far as weight, balance, power, but speed would not be the most important aspect in making the technique work. In my experience practicing the JKK techniques, each technique can all be done at a very slow speed and still get the job done. This seems to be different in the “Yu Sul” method you discuss. Doing the techniques slow but with a well executed grab is one of the issues people have difficulty with when starting because this is the beginning of wrist conditioning. Constant repetition of rotating and turning within a well executed grab gets uncomfortable very quickly when one is not used to that type of training. Here a student’s wrists will get red, swollen or even bruised for a while, but with gradual yet continual practice the wrists will become used to it and no longer becomes a problem. But I digress because this is probably a topic for a different thread.

    The Jung Ki Kwan material also begins with grabs and then progressing to strikes and other attacks.

    If I understand you correctly then “yes” this is similar to the JKK process. For example… defending from well executed grabs in the beginning eventually leading to defending from the same grab without allowing your partner to get a full-on grab.

    Although I do not fully comprehend what you mean when you say, “impact the partners neuro-muscular system.” Could you give an example or two of how this is applied in technique?

    I would agree to a point. In the JKK, the techniques may be tighter and allows a person to drop their partner immediately, but the primary aspect is the off balancing to drop your partner hard without having to break them. The discomfort level is indeed high, but the incident of breaking the partner’s appendage is low even for those who have no idea of what is coming. This is because of…

    1. Physically putting the partner into a position where they have no option but “down.”

    2. Locking up the musculo-skeletal structure as to lock the appendage out while at certain times bracing/supporting the appendage from breaking.

    I think negating the ability to roll or jump-out of a technique is but a by-product of certain entries. On other techniques, the entry alone will make a trained Hapkido practioner think they should “jump it” although no damage would have been done to their joint if they did not. In my mind I think it would be irrelevant whether a person jumps the technique or not because either way they are going down for the finish or to get locked up.

    As far as increasing the radius of circles within a given technique… this is done to personally maneuver the partner and/or give the partner a “false sense of hope” and allow them to maneuver themselves into a position for the immediate takedown.

    Gotta go, but hopefully be back soon.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  4. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Excellent post, Chris!

    I don't have the time to address many of the points you contributed, but I did want to make a quick comment so as not to be misunderstood.

    When I mentioned "speed" I was speaking in terms of the "seven attributes" (or "qualities") that one seeks to manipulate in the course of executing a quality technique. In this case "speed" is the tare at which the body moves and relates to "velocity" which is the rate at which the "weapon" (IE. fist, sword, stick etc) moves.

    When executing a successful technique in YU SOOL all seven attributes need to be addressed in a balanced way. For instance to relay too much on "speed" or to much on "force" means that the other 5 attributes somehow get short-changed, as it were.
    If however, all attributes are addressed in balance while the practitioners seeks to disrupt the attributes in the other person (counter-attributes) it should make no difference what the rate of the execution would be. The message I give my students over and over again is that "Hapkido will work whether it is done fast or slow."

    I want to say more about impacting the neuro-muscular system, but need to get back to the forum after a bit. More to come.

    BTW: Just to help out the discussion:

    ".....Although I do not fully comprehend what you mean when you say, “impact the partners neuro-muscular system.” Could you give an example or two of how this is applied in technique?..."

    I think the classic example of this (that everyone in Hapkido may be familiar with) is the use of "pressure against the thumb" when executing KAL LOK KI (aka: "Knife hand Armbar"). Though it is rapidly becoming part and parcel of standard Hapkido execution, formerly the armbar was taught without this pressue for YU SOOL and with this pressure for HAPKIYUSOOL. This gets into the whole matter of "pressure point work" and "pain compliance" that many YU SOOL folks are advocating more and more to increase successful execution of their techniques. But what I have found is that the YONG SUL KWAN material has this approach from Day One with the very first technique. When I was on the mat with GM Lim there was not much emphasis on this but it was a seminar with many strangers in attendence so I am sure he would not have emphasized this then, yes? Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  5. Chris from CT

    Chris from CT Valued Member

    Without sounding too naive, what do you consider the "seven attributes" specifically?

    Understood. Still, I would say that speed/velocity can be easily over used in techniques. I have seen many times people just ram though a technique just to feel they accomplished a given technique. Ok, I may have done it too in the past. oops. :)

    Without knowing specifically what you are referring to as far as the "seven attributes" it sounds very rational.

    In the Yu Sool method will it still work with a well executed grab and slow movements? I know that with certain styles of Hapkido when attempting to apply "Kotegashi/Son Mok Gukki" from a same side grab it can be very difficult to do it slow without trying to fake or strike to soften your partner when they have grabbed on hard.

    I look forward to it.

    I know there was another thread or two about this, but I have not read those. I am a very visual person, so writing and discussing items such as this does put me at a disadvantage. Would you be referring to applying pressure to the opponent's thumb with the "casting hand" which will be the live hand applying pressure on the tricept/elbowjoint/pressure point or the hand grabbing the opponent's hand bending the wrist?

    Once I am sure what we are sure we are talking about the same thing I'll let you know.

    Take care.
  6. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Thanks, Chris:

    Just to be clear let me emphacize that the Seven Attributes identified here are for the YON MU Kwan. Other folks may have more or less. But these are the ones we use.

    1.) Balance

    2.) Interval (aka: "comabt interval).

    3.) Speed/ Velocity

    4.) Force (aka: Power)

    5.) Timing

    6.) Focus

    7.) Mass

    Here are detailed explanations of these.

    When performing a successful technique the challenge is to enhance one's own Attributes while confounding the partner's. For instance, you were very right about using too much Speed, for instance. To use too much speed means that the other 6 attributes are not attended to as well as they might be and this provides a TEUM or "opportunity" for one's partner to either resist or disrupt the technique. For instance, if I am over-using Speed, both Balance and Force are not being well managed and this means the partner might use either of these to resist my technique.

    As far as how slow a person can do the technique I think its unreasonable to believe that one can allow a person to accomplish a vice-like grip and then excute the technique in slow motion and expect success. I can imagine that happening in training for the purpose of building authority and precision in movement. The point I was making was that consistently depending on speed to power through a stymied situation shows a deficit in training. Thoughts?

    BTW: ".....I know there was another thread or two about this, but I have not read those. I am a very visual person, so writing and discussing items such as this does put me at a disadvantage. Would you be referring to applying pressure to the opponent's thumb with the "casting hand" which will be the live hand applying pressure on the tricept/elbowjoint/pressure point or the hand grabbing the opponent's hand bending the wrist?...."

    For a person seizing my Left wrist with his right hand. The pressure would be from the distal end of my Left forearm against the base of his Right thumb. Better?
    Best Wishes,

    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  7. Chris from CT

    Chris from CT Valued Member

    Been real busy on the homefront. I wanted to keep the ball rolling.

    Thanks Bruce. I will check your descriptions out… hopefully soon.


    I feel that this is a very important training aspect in Hapkido. Too many times we resort to “striking” or “faking” in order to apply many of the techniques we learn because we get jammed up from a strong grab, but by training using this method striking/faking are not usually necessary.

    Years ago I joined the Jung Ki Kwan because training and feeling the techniques answered a lot of questions for me about Hapkido without me ever asking. One of the big questions for me was, if a guy grabs on hard, in or out of the dojang, do I have to hit them/soften them to pull this technique off? I also didn’t like making up excuses for why my technique didn’t work on someone I was training with (i.e. “Well, it would have worked if I hit you in the groin, or face, etc.”). That never sat right with me. When working with the JKK techniques I found I didn’t have to worry about those things. If a technique doesn’t work it’s not because something your partner did/didn’t do or because I withheld a critical aspect of the technique because it’s too dangerous. Bottom line would be… it didn’t work because “I” did not do the technique right (usually the entry), which means “More practice!”

    Yes, thank you. Right there with you. Yes, GM Lim does discuss this in training it is part of our white belt curriculum. He actually notes that, “this is ‘Master Choi’ technique” and Doju Choi liked to use it a lot. GM Lim warns to be careful because it’s very easy to snap the thumb. This is easily understood especially when you and/or your opponent are experiencing an “adrenalin dump” (pain thresholds and brute strength go through the roof, but the skeletal structure stays the same)

    One option I have found to be effective is instead of going towards the thumb, angle your ulna towards the web of the thumb. By doing this you can crank the wrist with your hand that has control of the opponent’s hand while at the same time cutting into the web of the opponent’s thumb with your ulna, cutting downwards. This will increase the amount of torque on the opponent’s wrist while at the same time saving the opponent's thumb from becoming a “Christmas ornament for my tree.”

    Hopefully be back soon.
  8. dortiz

    dortiz Valued Member

    I think of two separate thumb attacks. First is as you roll off your wrist strikes or pushes the thumb breaking it. The second is after your other hand has trapped and grabbed that you not only hold the meat by the pinky with your three fingers but your thumb crushes their thumb as well while torquing.
    Is this whats being described?
  9. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    For what we have started with, your first approach is what Chris and I are commenting on. I have seen the second "thumb crushing" approached used in a few later techniques such as the Outer Wrist Throw and Two-Finger Takedown series.

    As far as Chris' use of the term "Hapkido" I tend to stick with the distinction between YU SOOL and HAPKIYUSOOL. I know that in recent years, with the growing number of seminars and videos, many of the details in HAPKIYUSOOL are becoming more widely known and are readily being integrated into the YU SOOL work--- often with the disclaimer that "that's how its always been done". Personally, speaking for myself, I would rather see people keep the separation of the two practices. I have two thoughts on this.

    The first thought is that I have a special fondness for keeping traditions alive and as pristine as possible. Its part of that whole theme with me about keeping what I have been given as authentic as when it was given to me. My second reason probably is more to the point.

    In this world of students blatantly challenging teachers to demonstrate that what is being taught is effective combat skills, I find that the teacher is very much at a disadvantage. If, to prove a point the challenged teacher DOES sprain or break the thumb as indicated, he is open to criticism for "excessive use of force". If however the teacher restrains his technique and the technique fails to have sufficiently impressive results the teacher is criticized as a "fake". Its a "no-win" situation. My view is that we practitioners need to with-hold what we know and what we are capable of in order to keep such details out of the public domain. Thoughts?

    Best Wishes,

  10. American HKD

    American HKD New Member

    I noticed something people don't mention which is in some schools they always teach grabbing with a hard grip and other systems like Sinmoo GM Ji teaches both hard and soft grip techniques. He makes it a point to explain his systems is designed to work in all situations.

    What happens is with my students that if someone is grabbed with a soft grip and the defender uses a hard grip the tech it will most often fail and visa vera. Because our tech. are designed for specific grips.

    Reading the story about GM Kim going to Choi and when grabbed hard was unable to escape etc.... made me wonder if he knew the different mechanics required for hard vs. soft at the time or just had bad tech at the time.

    Do other people train for different grip strengths?

  11. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Personally, I think the whole "hard grip"/"soft grip" issue is getting way out of hand. Its almost as though its become the question of "does this work on the street" by another cover.

    The other day I was doing my college class and, as sometimes happens, the student started messing around twisting this way and that way and generally wanting to see what would happen. The short version is that he wound-up on his back with my thumb at his eye. I guess my own message here is that I, for one, am tired of this whole "does it work?"/"does it work each and every time?"-thing. People who come into my class already know that I "know something" so their attacks are going to be "hedged" in the direction of being able to readily resist what I do. Further, while their attack may be extreme I am not permitted to use MY stuff in the extreme. Along these lines I can relate two anedotes that may help.

    One anecdote is that when I trained with KIM Dojunim there was not a lot of talk about whether stuff "worked on the street" or not. It just didn't come-up. Personally I think this is the sort of thing that caused Koreans coming to America to take umbarage at Americans asking the same question.

    The second anecdote is that KIMM He-young relates in his book a situation where CHOI Yong Sul was teaching a class and some of the younger students started to "test" him. After he dealt with them he told the rest of the students that class was over. Needless to say there were apologies all the way around and he wound up continuing. I think he made it clear that he wasn't about to put up with this crap either. FWIW.

    Best Wishes,

  12. American HKD

    American HKD New Member

    No the street thing wasn't my point at all, I was simply talking technique differences.

    For example in some techniques if one grabs you loosely and you react strongly you may not get the tech because you knocked the attackers hand off your body.

    If you approached a softer grip in a softer way and secure your counter without throwing to much power the tech would work.
  13. dortiz

    dortiz Valued Member

    Or if its a hard grip the abilty to put more stress on the fingers or wrist as you enter vs. soft where you might grab the clothing and move more in larger circles to flow.
  14. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    OK, but bear with me as I take this a step farther. To me ---IMHO---- the issue is not about how one grabs but rather then degree to which a person will, of themselves, investigate this matter. For instance, training with Kim's students, the pressure of the grip was about a nice firm middling handshake or a bit more. Sometimes people asked to be gripped harder so as to examine how their response fared. Noone I know consistently grabbed with vice-like grips--- it simply serves no purpose. Noone grabs like that, and if they DID grab like that I would not waste a lock or throw. I put-up with people grabbing me because thats the best-structured way to learn the techniques that we do, and from there we graduate to more sophisticated attacks. Even Judo people I know do not grab with vice-like grips. In fact the only person I have heard consistently reported as having developed a vice-like grip was Ueyshiba, who was said to have been able to freeze a person in place simply by grabbing their forearm---- and leaving bruises when he let go. I don't see the point anymore than I see the point in being able to do the sorts of high-jump/spinning heel kicks.

    Note to Chris: Thanks for keeping this thread moving. I was getting concerned. What do you think of comparing the opening sets of techniques--- for order if nothing else? Comments?

    Best Wishes,

  15. American HKD

    American HKD New Member

    No that's not about large or small circles could be either or clothes no clothes, it's more about sensitivities and type of mechanics applied against hard vs soft attack.

    Actually the harder one grabs holds the more damage the tech will usually do, the more relaxed or softer the grab the more forgiving outcome will be.

    Think of Tai Chi for softer application vs hard Jujutsu.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2008
  16. Chris from CT

    Chris from CT Valued Member

    In this instance I would have to disagree. Whether the opponent grabs on very soft or with a vice-like grip, how much "damage" that will be done would depend on how much damage I choose to do (i.e. break the arm/wrist). The only reason that doesn't apply is if the adrenalin dump overloaded my ability for control. When entering into the technique a practioner will want to manipulate the opponent's balance and strength, usually by movement (but could also include a healthy dose of pain) to put the opponent into a position of few options but to be planted on the floor.

    On the other hand, if you replace "damage" with "pain" I would agree with you wholehardedly.
  17. American HKD

    American HKD New Member

    Chris try this.

    Think of a rubber band loose and a rubber band pulled tight, you can break the rubber band regardless of which position it's in I agree with you. But the tightly flexed rubber band (strong grip) will break or damage faster than the loose one will.

    I hope that explains my point better.
  18. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Uh.... Is that it? Are we done?

    Best Wishes,

  19. Chris from CT

    Chris from CT Valued Member

    Unfortunately, for me, it is at this time. I have had a shift in priorities lately with the arrival of our first child, "Katie Elizabeth."

    I think this topic is very interesting so I'm hoping someone else can jump in from the JKK camp.

    Take care.
  20. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Well, if ever a person needed a reason to cut a discussion short, I don't think you could have come up with a better one!

    Congratulations and many happy returns. I trust mother and child are both doing well, yes?

    Best Wishes,


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