Dr. Rodney T. Hard

                   PARTY CRASHERS


By:  Dr. Rodney T. Hard

In the summer of 1970, Master PARK Sung Jae and his brother, Master PARK Kyu Jae, took all the Black Belts at our Hapkido Dojang on a memorable summer outing.  We packed food and beer along with drums, electric guitars, and amplifiers on a bus and headed out of the city to a mountain resort village.  

Lewis Hise and I, along with about twelve other Black Belts, carted all the stuff up the mountain along the narrow paths and long stone stairways.  We passed many parties at different beer halls, restaurants, gazebos, and outdoor patios along the way.

We set down the coolers of beer, set up the musical instruments, and plugged in the amplifier at a small fenced off outdoor gathering area Master PARK had rented for the day.  We played music, sang, danced, and drank beer.  Some passing girls liked the music and dancing and came into our area to join us in the festivities.  We were all having a great time.

A couple of drunk men came over and wanted to crash our party.  Master PARK told Hise and me to get rid of them.  In spite of the commotion, the party continued on without missing a beat.  It was up to Hise and me to deal with this minor irritation and get back to the party.

We blocked their entrance, and, in Korean, I asked them what they wanted.  They insisted that we had all the pretty girls at our party and they wanted to come in and party with us.  I explained that this was a private party and that they were not allowed in.  One tried to push past me and I gently restrained him.  I pleaded with them again to please leave us in peace.  I told him that we did not want any trouble. 

They got more belligerent and aggressive.  Hise and I avoided or blocked all of their strikes, trying not to hurt them or retaliate against them.  After all, they were drunk and didn't know what they were doing. 

One drunk took a swing at Hise.  Hise easily avoided the punch, but this time shoved the man away.  Again, I pleaded with them to leave.  I told them that I did not want anybody getting hurt.  The man that Hise had shoved pulled out a knife and made a move on Hise.  Hise did a crossing power side kick that sent the man reeling backwards about twenty feet and landing on his back with a crash.  

The situation had escalated out of control, but the drunks did not know any better and came back after us in a fury. The other drunk came after me with a knife so I picked up a chair and held it between us, keeping him away.    He tried to grab the chair and stick me with the knife so I hit him in the head with the chair.  That drew blood, and now he was furious.

Suddenly, Master PARK appeared.  He grabbed both the drunks with wrist locks that made them writhe in pain.   He started to lead them down the hill and shot an exasperated look back at Hise and me as if to say, "I give you as simple task to handle a couple of lousy drunks and you can't even handle it."

We had lost face which, in Korea, was  a major embarrassment.  We did not know what the rules of engagement were so we had tried to take a soft approach.  The other choice was to annihilate the pests.  Well, no, there was a third choice.  Master PARK had made it look so easy.  He just whisked them away with no commotion and without hurting anybody.

Master PARK soon returned and the party went back into full swing.  One of the young Black Belts had followed Master PARK at a distance to see what would happen to the two drunks.  He returned a few minutes after Master PARK returned and excitedly told Master PARK and the rest of us that the two drunks had recruited back-up.  He told us that the drunks told a bunch of partying Korean Air Force guys down the hill that a couple Americans had beat them up.  The young Black Belt told us that there was a group of about thirteen angry soldiers coming up the path.

Master PARK looked at Hise and me and in so many words said, "You screwed it up, you deal with it."  Everybody went back to the music and dancing and left Hise and me to deal with the new threat. 

We positioned ourselves about fifteen feet apart outside the entrance to our enclave.  I was leaning up against a big shade tree.  The whole group of rowdy Air Force guys headed straight for me.  I pulled a throwing knife out of my hidden wrist sheath and threw the knife to Hise as we had practiced many times in the past year.  He caught the knife and, in one continuous motion, arched it around and threw it straight back at me.  This was all timed so that the lead Air Force guy was just about on top of me when  I stepped back, and the knife stuck into the tree inches in front of the guy's face.  The man froze in unbelief and fear.   The whole group stopped their advanced and sobered up very quickly. 

I pulled the knife out of the tree, flipped it in the air a few turns, put it dramatically back into my wrist sheath, crossed my arms, and asked, "Are you guys looking for someone?"

They shook their heads, "No!" and almost fell all over each other trying to get out of there as fast as they could.  We came back into the party, Master PARK smiled his approval, and all was well.

We all had a great time.  When the party was over, we packed up everything and headed down the mountain to catch the bus.  Hise was about twenty paces ahead of me carrying a guitar case in one hand and an amplifier in the other.  As we got near the bus in the village at the bottom of the mountain, I saw the drunk guy that Hise had kicked earlier step out from an alley-way right after Hise passed by.  He raised a big rock over his head with two hands preparing to strike Hise on the head from behind.

I yelled, “Lewis!” in an alarmed voice and Hise looked over his shoulder.  In a split second, Hise did a rear kick to the drunk’s face which knocked him out cold on his back, and the giant rock he had just lifted over his head fell on top of his limp body.

We did not stick around to see how badly he was hurt.  We just ran for the bus and told the driver to get us out of there.

Rodney Hard praciticing knife throwing in Hapkido dojang in Seoul, Korea in May of 1970.

Master PARK Sung Jae in a fighting pose.

Lewis Hise and Master PARK Sung Jae getting ready to go up the mountain for the party.

Rodney Hard and Master PARK on the way to the party on the mountain.

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What I Learned: 

From the first two drunks, I learned that when people are drunk or stoned on drugs, they often do not have enough common sense to realize that they are outclassed and in danger of harm if they attack you. They will foolishly press their attack no matter what the consequences. Then, you have to fight them and may have to hurt them pretty badly to stop them.   

I learned that having the options, learned in Hapkido, to control your opponent without harming him is really nice for situations like this.

I learned that, in the art of fighting without fighting, you can handle even a large group of attackers with a good trick that blows their mind. Each individual in the group makes up his own mind that he does not want to be the guy who attacks you next.

From the last situation with the guy with the rock, I learned that even when you think a fight is over, don't let your guard down. It is also a good idea to have back-up that watches your back.