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How we kick.

At Hapkido Vancouver we don't practice some kicks that are otherwise well known in the world of martial arts, for example the low spin kick. Without them our curriculum might seem incomplete, but the presence or absence of any given kick becomes intuitive once you accept a few basic tenets.

The first is that any good curriculum has to be modest in size. As a student, you have to focus on the what's important and interesting to you because no one can master everything. There's simply not enough time in the day or capacity to remember. Given this constraint, we've decided not to include variations of kicks that are the merely the result of slightly different applications. For example, a Taekwondo 'stepping hook kick' to the head is very similar to what we call the 'opposite seven kick', which is delivered to the kidney. In our curriculum those two kicks fall under a single entry. It's up the student and instructor to work together to master the basic principles and then from there explore various applications.

The second fundamental principle is that Hapkido is for everyone regardless of size or age. A lot of the jump-turning kicks that might catch your eye take advantage of the spring and flexibility that comes naturally when you're in your teens and twenties. But as you get older your kicks get lower and slower. We also tend to get heavier as we get older too. It's is not strictly a function of age though. Your physiology changes based on all the things you do when your not practicing martial arts. Cycling, running, and even sitting at your desk for eight hours a day all chip away at your flexibility. Martial arts takes years of practice and you don't want age out of techniques you've worked hard on. We think you're better served by practicing techniques that can be with you your whole life.

The third principle is that we train for the practical application. Hapkido is not a sport, it's not played in a ring or on a mat. So when it comes to high kicks, low kicks, aerial, turning, stepping, jumping, or the endless combinations there of, think about whether you can do it wearing denim, on asphalt wearing runners, in a crowded bar, with multiple attackers, or with your back against the wall. What you'll find is that, in those situations, a lot of kicks get riskier, and there are some safer options available. 

That last point is the strength of our club and the reason you don't see some of those classic kicks in our curriculum: the one's we practice are the ones that will keep you safe when your mind goes blank, your execution isn't perfect, and you're slower than you used to be.