Good HuShinSool Practice (Self-Defense Grappling Techniques)

The Korean term for what we call "self defense" is HuShinSool. HuShinSool is NOT our primary practice and HuShinSool techniques tend to be a fairly loose set of techniques that we do. It's an important part of our practice though -- because grappling is common out on the street. It's very important to know how to break out of various holds and especially chokes to learn effective self-defense.

Setup for a strike or kick:

However, because this is not our mainstream practice -- the first goal we have is to break out of the hold -- so that we can setup for a kick or strike. In self-defense the easiest response is always to HURT your opponent. In a self-defense situation where you are surprised and get a good adrenaline dump -- you also loose the ability for fine-motor control. So gross-muscle movements are the best options -- which is exactly what striking and kicking is. Most joint locks are complex and require fine motor control and lots of practice to have down. So it's good practice to have this as your first line of defense.

Also need options that won't hurt:

As we advance we also want to build some options that won't hurt your opponent. In self-defense there are various reasons you would want to do that: they are drunk, you know them, they are just pissed off, they are a relative, your are so superior in your technique that you can risk it. However, when these options don't work -- you have to default back to the options that do hurt.

Ok, now what are some good principles of practice?

  1. Start our easy -- go with the technique let the partner get in some success.
  2. As they advance -- resist more
  3. Again as they advance -- try variations
  4. Tap out when the pain is sufficient or when you are sufficiently pinned
  5. Immediately release when partner taps out
  6. Respond to opponents strikes/kicking -- loosen up
  7. Kibon (basic) -- is to let partner establish a good hold -- then get out
  8. Advanced is to start flowing out of the technique -- before the hold is established
  9. Both 7 and 8 are important!
  10. If you ignore the above -- you setup for your opponent to really HURT you
  11. Be able to drop your ego
  12. For a demonstration -- flow with the technique
NOTE: The above principles are the same for TKD as they are for martial arts that are primarily grappling (such as Aikido, which I studied for a few years). The one you might add for TKD is that because striking is our primary emphasis most of the HuShinSool practice we do should be done with a basic grappling technique that a thug on the street might use rather than an advanced martial artist. Still good to explore out there a bit -- but let people do the basic before advancing.

Now let me go through the points one by one...

  1. Start our easy -- go with the technique let the partner get in some success.
  2. For the opponent to learn the technique -- they HAVE to start with success. Let them go through it several times with mild resistance before up-ing the ante.

  3. As they advance -- resist more
  4. As they have success -- then start resisting more and make sure they take your balance.

  5. Again as they advance -- try variations
  6. You can vary a technique slightly -- and completely change if a given response will work or not. For example, some techniques require that the opponents arms are straight -- others need them to be bent.

  7. Tap out when the pain is sufficient or when you are sufficiently pinned
  8. Immediately release when partner taps out
  9. These are pretty self-explanatory. Since we don't always practice Hu-ShinSool -- make sure your partner knows about tapping, as otherwise you may go too far and hurt them.

  10. Respond to opponents strikes/kicking -- loosen up
  11. To get out of a good hold -- you almost always want to start with a strike, stomp or other distraction technique. In a self-defense situation this could be sufficient, when you actually make good contact. In practice since we aren't actually making contact your partner needs to simulate this by loosening up a bit.

  12. Kibon (basic) -- is to let partner establish a good hold -- then get out
  13. Good basic practice is to let your partner establish a good hold -- then get out. In self-defense you will be moving before they establish a good hold so it will be easier. But, it is good practice to ensure you can respond to the adrenaline of a situation and able to get out when they have

  14. Advanced is to start flowing out of the technique -- before the hold is established
  15. This is more what you would want to do with a real situation. You brush off the attempted grab or you move with it and use it to your advantage.

  16. Both 7 and 8 are important!
  17. You want to practice both ways shown by 7 and 8 above. Starting from a static position lets you know you can get out even with a maximally resistive assailant. And flowing with the technique before it's established -- is more what you would want to do on the street in a self-defense situation.

  18. If you ignore the above -- you setup for your opponent to really HURT you
  19. If I don't work with my opponent -- the only options I give them is for them to go to options that will get me hurt. If I don't loosen up on their strikes -- then they will strike harder -- to the point I get hurt. If they are doing a throw --when the throw happens -- I'll be crumpled on the ground in pain -- because I wasn't prepared by being loose.

  20. Be able to drop your ego
  21. This is important for safety in class and also an important self-defense principle. Rather than hurt my partner and score an impressive technique in sparring -- I'll drop it and continue. On the street I also want to be able to drop my ego and allow my potential assailant to save face. Quite often if I do that -- the situation won't even have to go physical.

  22. For a demonstration -- flow with the technique
  23. For a demonstration you need to flow with the technique so that the technique can be demonstrated. This is the principle of "what is the need of the moment?". When a technique is demonstrated -- nothing is served with maximal resistance to the point that the technique can not be performed. Being flexible and flowing with the situation is also an important self-defense principle. If I can be strong but relaxed and flow from one situation to another -- I will be much more effective than maximally resistive. Things that are stiff -- break. Things that are flexible bend -- but don't break.

In summary, good practice means to start out slowly, go with the technique until your partner can do it well. As they advance in their practice you can start to resist harder, make sure they take your balance, and try variations on the technique.

Erik Kluzek, May/18/2006



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