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Escape to the front ...

"The flight forward ..."
The distance is defined either as "spatial distance, space, distance" or "reluctance, inner distance in dealing with other people". Both are also good when it comes to distance in an impending or actual physical conflict. We actually want distance. Distance from danger, impending damage, we want distance from the person who threatens us. This is not always possible if you only think of fleeing away from your opponent. Fortunately in Hapkido we also have another option: to flee “to the front” towards the opponent. What may seem counterproductive at first glance quickly turns out to be a profitable and efficient variant of distance control. Why is that?

Our opponent has a goal, he wants to hurt or hold us with his attack, maybe to fix us. To do that, he needs a certain distance from us. One kick more than one punch. If we successfully increase the distance by dodging backwards, the attack goes nowhere. If we cannot flee or launch a successful counterattack, the opponent has the chance to start another attack. If we shorten the distance for the same attack, we will no longer be where the attack would have landed with full force. Now it is necessary, however, that we combine this reduction in distance with a counter technique that prevents the opponent from being able to start further attacks. At Hapkido we have a variety of techniques that we can use to do this:

Striking and impact techniques

Classic hand techniques, more rarely foot techniques in the near distance, are carried out simultaneously with the distance reduction. The principle here must be that you can use technology to force your opponent directly to the task so that you don't get involved in a wild exchange of blows, which is also difficult to hit. That is why it is important to be able to apply these techniques to vital points, as taught in hapkido.
Leverage and strangling techniques
By moving the attacker, we have the opportunity to fix it using suitable techniques. Lever techniques force the opponent into an uncomfortable position so that he is no longer a danger. With a successful choke technique, the opponent even loses consciousness. The technically good execution is important so that the attacker is really fixed. If it is particularly strong or aggressive, it can be a difficult task.

throwing techniques

We move under the opponent's center of gravity or position ourselves so that we can break our balance and bring the opponent to the ground. This alone can mean serious injuries from the fall for an inexperienced attacker. Furthermore, we have the possibility to flee or to fix the opponent on the ground. So there are many ways to work with the opponent in the "shortening the distance". It is crucial that we know beforehand what that should look like. It is good to focus on the principles of hapkido again:

• Principle of the circle
• Principle of the river
• Principle of action
Principle of the circle (Yu)

Hapkido is based on natural and harmonious movements. We use the power of circular movements to redirect and then increase energies for our purpose. So we don't block attacks, we move out of the attack path and forward the attack with a circular motion. So we do not use our muscle strength unnecessarily and use energy, remain natural and relaxed and use the opponent's energy.

Principle of the river (won)

We use energy. The attacker's power is turned against him. It is not stopped, it is passed on and potentiated with our energy and turned against him. Our energy comes from within, it is the "Ki". As hapkidoin we learn to be able to release our energy through breathing exercises.

Principle of action (Hwa)

We act on the opponent, physically and psychologically. We direct the energy of his attack against himself, forcing him into a position and situation that he does not want and maybe could not have imagined. We move towards him, make contact with him and remain relaxed ourselves. This has a psychological effect that should not be underestimated. Ultimately, we act on him so that he cannot and will not be able to successfully carry out his attack. In a combat situation, it can look like this: The attack is a wild bat attack. For our part, we shorten the distance, take up the attack energy with the arm by lifting it up to protect it in order to make contact with the attack arm. Almost at the same time we turn our bodies in, direct the attack arm around us by train, and ultimately use the massive energy of the attack to throw over our own hips. The enemy flies hard on the ground and is perplexed and disoriented. We can escape from the situation. Here are all the principles in a defense. Using these principles means not using your own energy, not engaging in a strength test, because in a self-defense situation that can mean losing, because the attacker may be stronger. If we close the distance to the opponent in order to control him and end the conflict situation, we must have internalized the principles of Hapkido and apply the techniques accordingly.

This “escape to the front” is therefore an extremely promising way to defend yourself effectively as an apparently physically underpinning person if it is carried out consistently (control of the opponent) and the Hapkido principles are also applied.

Yours Timo Meusel
Timo Meusel
3. Dan Taekwondo
6. Kup Hapkido
Baumberger Taekwondofreunde e.V.  Coesfeld / Nottuln