Hapkido Breakfalls

The relationship between uke (person taking fall) and tori (person throwing) is one of partnership. There is no competition in hapkido and we change roles easily because we need to be fluent in both halves of each body technique.

The trained uke is a person who has added an entire dimension of movement to their repertoire; movement through the horizontal plane. The serious uke becomes a very difficult person to attack successfully.

This is a direct result of their increased ability to move in all directions and of their developing a calm awareness. The practice of nakbop (breakfalls) also brings with it other important benefits: It improves physical conditioning of the body, teaches the fundamentals of rational movement, builds self confidence and is essential to all future learning in hapkido. For gup ranks, one's ability as an uke is probably the single most important criteria for judging the seriousness of students.

Without good ukes, true hapkido practice cannot take place. Training is a cooperative process. The ability of the tori to execute techniques properly, with speed and power, is heavily reliant on the uke's ability to take the fall successfully and get back up, ready to attack again. Remember that uke and tori are a team, each doing their part, each helping the other along the path of learning. Proficiency in the defensive art of nakbop is the most basic and, in many ways, one of the most important elements of hapkido. Serious students should take advantage of the time before class by engaging in light stretching followed by personal nakbop practice. This warm up should be done carefully with an orientation towards perfection and refinement of technique. Keep in mind that the essence of nakbop is controlled movement.

The extension of your sogi (stance) is directed through your body to the sogi of your tori. You must give an intelligent attack where your kan (proper distance), sogi, and safety are clearly understood. In time, the fine line between continuous attack and artful surrender becomes apparent, yet not all the time. It is the ultimate sensitivity to practice good nakbop. Watch carefully the demonstration of both uke and tori. Hapkido requires both to work successfully in order to teach us the harmony of energy. Remember, learning how to fall properly is as important as learning how to throw properly. In addition, learning how to fall properly is the key to learning how to throw properly.