Stepdad's Thoughts

My thought and feelings.


What is Hapkido?

합 – Hap (Harmony) = Together or the harmony of body and spirit.

기 – Ki (Energy) = Life and body energy.

– Do (Way) = Way of life or way of learning.


Hapkido focuses on self-defense from attackers. Considered a “soft” martial art, Hapkido does not focus on simply exerting force against an opponent, resulting on strength and size being most effective in combat. Instead, Hapkido focuses on diverting an attacker’s energy in order to open him up for counter attack and defeat. Placing an emphasis on circular movements, Hapkido practitioners focus on moving close enough to an opponent to execute a joint lock, throw or close-range strike. Techniques in Hapkido focus on pressure points and vulnerable joints, making incapacitating an attacker easy, requiring little strength.

The most difficult part of Hapkido for someone that has been trained in another Martial Art like Tae Kwon Do or Karate is the circular motions. In these arts you are trained to meet an opponent head on while Hap Ki Do teaches to get out of the way and get close. The various techniques used to lock joints are tough to grasp also; once you understand and take in the need to have wider circular movements it will come together. I know from first hand experience on this.

Having been studying Hap Ki Do for just over a year I feel this is something anyone interested in the Martial arts for self defense should consider. It would be great for women since there is limited concern of strength to complete the techniques. One of our Masters is a woman in her early thirties… she is able to manhandle one of our students as if he were a rag doll. He is 6,5″ tall and easily ways 250+. It’s all about the angle as she has told us before. The has been a story told of her controlling a big body builder type; he was told to try to attack her with him not knowing how she would react; as the story goes she had this guy in the ground in no time begging to be let go.

For what it’s worth I highly recommend Hap Ki Do.


December 8, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , | Leave a comment

First Deer

On Friday 26-Nov-2010 my stepson got his first deer. We had Thanksgiving lunch with my parents then headed to the family deer lease. We arrived right at dark and my cousin was there waiting for us. Friday morning we got up and headed to a stand near our east line. We first sat in a ladder stand and saw a bunch of nothing. At 930 we moved to a box stand right on the east line; we sat there for about an hour and saw nothing. By 1030 we were back in camp where I fixed us breakfast… My cousin was not there because he had to work a half day; fortunately he works about 45 minutes away from our property. After eating and my stepson taking a short nap… I had gone into another stand for a short time… we headed back to the stands. We chose a stand on what we call our small high line, it is a clear area that has three strands of power lines running through our property.

We arrived in the stand by 2pm and started the hunting/watching for movement. He was getting fidgety and talkative… I tried to keep him focused but also indulged him in his converation, trying to make it fun. At 4pm he asked if I was ready to go back to camp; I told him we needed to stay a little longer… it was tough because we were not seeing anything. Then at 415pm we saw a small doe coming out of the creek into the highline for a snack. He was up and ready to shoot… I told him that was a SMALL deer and that it would be a good idea to wait but that he was the shooter and it was his choice. He decided to hold off and wait for something bigger, a buck.

At 515p he got his wish. A nice 8 point, nice for a first deer, came out of the tree line. We both got hyped up… him getting his gun redirected and me trying make sure it met the 13″ spread requirement by state law. It was a good one so I told him to shoot twice before he finally did… he was VERY slow about his actions, not overly nervous as some get. He lined up the gun and made a clean shot.

We got out of the stand and began to search for the deer. We had some trouble since there was limited sign… it took about 20 minutes to find it, not a real problem since it ran down an old tram road.

My cousins showed up and we all celebrated. I’m not sure who was more proud my stepson or me. I think it’s me.

He was about useless the rest of the weekend… he told me one deer per weekend thus he did not do much hunting on Saturday or Sunday while I did. Fortunately my cousin already had his two deer so they spent time together while I hunted. NO I didn’t get anything but like I said my stepson did and that was the important part for me.

Sunday we spent 6 hours in the truck going home and dropping of the deer for processing and taking the antlers to a taxidermist to have a European mount made. I look forward to our next hunt, maybe he can get a spike and I can get a nice buck.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | General, Kids | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Deer Season 2010 – The Family Lease

I’m back on the family deer lease this year and plan on staying there. I left the lease nearly 10 years ago when my grandfather stopped hunting then when he died I could not see myself ever going back. This year my uncle died and my thoughts changed. I missed my family, my hunting family – the male members I spent so much time with. Mostly my cousin, there are several but one in particular, Kenny, made the biggest impact on me. At his dad’s memorial he told me I needed to come back. We hugged and shared some tears. I later found out my mother was watching and she was crying also.  Any way I’m back!

Opening weekend was a lot of fun. We all shared laughs and even a tear or two. I was able to talk with my uncle, my grandfather’s last sibling, and Kenny. I explained why I had left and what brought me back; I think it made since to them.

Only 4 deer were killed on opening weekend but much fun was had. We ate great, laughed too much, spent a lot of time in the woods. I saw almost 30 deer in 4 days of hunting; I chose not to shoot a doe and the smaller deer I saw.

We all left for home and other places on Tuesday… I got home on Wednesday and began to prepare to take my stepson hunting when he got out of school on Friday.

My stepson was able to see 9 deer in the two days he hunted; even got a shot of at one but missed.  He was able to spend time with my uncle and cousin, seeing them at a time other than a funeral helped him to know them better. Unfortunately he did not grow up as I did with the opportunity to shoot guns much which makes me think he does not fully understand the process of lining up the sights, etc… I am taking him to the gun range this weekend to work on his shooting. He did have fun; he told me so without me asking.

He is now the designated shooter until he is able to get his first deer. He’s 13 and has not hunted much therefore we still sit in the stand together. I want to get him in the Hunter Safety course which he must have before he is able to legally hunt alone. He still hunts with me until I see he truly knows how to be safe with a gun and understands how to determine the right deer to shoot. I can hear the things my grandfather told me many years ago coming out of my mouth.

Of the time I have taken my stepson hunting this past weekend is the absolute best ever. I realized I need to have fun with him; it will make life better at the house. It will bring us closer together.  He’s asked to have his first deer mounted in a shoulder mount, I have agreed if; it’s a nice buck and I have the money to do it.

I am looking forward to more time in the woods, sharing our family traditions, talking of old times and making new memories.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | General, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Burning the Quran and global reaction

The world is full of idiots. The most recent one to show up is a pastor of a small church in Florida. He is planning to burn multiple Qurans on 11 Sept. in a protest demonstration aimed at the radical Muslims that act out against others. The USA has a 1st Amendment that does allow such a protest to take place just as that same 1st Amendment allows the burning of the US flag and other demonstrations. It does mean it should be done or is smart. I personally think the guy’s of his rocker by thinking he will accomplish anything. In fact I am willing to bet that the very groups he is protesting toward will use his actions to promote the wrong impression of the USA and say this is being done by all Americans not just this one clown. Once the seed is planted of how bad America really is, what will the followers of the radical Muslims do next?

I know for fact that the planned burning of the Quran is being reported in Europe as not a little church but as America is burning the Quran. How far from the truth can that be? There are protests in Afghanistan over this; they are burning the US flag… the AP reports: “If Quran is burned it would be beginning of destruction of America,” read one English-language banner held up by the protesters, who chanted “Down with America!”

This is either the tip of the iceberg that will hopefully melt or the beginning of more trouble for America, and the world.

September 9, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


I have been slow at reading over the past few weeks but started again last week. I am now reading Cody Ludin’s 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive. It covers the basics of staying alive in the wilderness, it uses a group of characters to illustrate points. I find it entertaining and informative.

I took a few minutes and put together a list of books, a few I have read others are on the “going to” list;

  • Finding Your Way without Map or Compass – Harold Gatty
  • Build the Perfect Survival Kit – John d. McCann
  • Urban Survival Guide – David Morris
  • Bug Out – Scott B. Williams
  • Civil War II: The Coming Breakup of America – Thomas W. Chittum
  • 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive – Cody Lundin (Currently reading)
  • When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes – Cody Lundin
  • How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times – James Wesley Rawles (Completed)
  • Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse  – James Wesley Rawles (Completed)
  • One Second After – William R. Forstchen (Completed)
  • Green Eyes and Black Rifles: Warriors Guide to the Combat Carbine – Ret. SGM Kyle E. Lamb

Whether anyone else finds these books interesting is yet to be seen but if you have an inkling that you could be caught up an a disaster or left to your own to survive in the world I think you should consider these books or books of this type. Yep… it sounds like chicken little but you just never know. Think about the numbers of people that were left to fend for themselves after hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike… What would you do? How would you take care of yourself and family? I’m not running scared but I do have my eyes open to all possibilities.

Many of us have watched the survival shows on TV, seen fire started in various ways; rubbing sticks together, using flint and steel, etc… have you ever tried to do these things? It’s not easy and takes practice. Think about it this way… Consider driving from Houston to Fort Stockton, TX to El Paso, TX. There’s not much out there once you get west of San Antonio. what would you do if you car broke down in the middle of this trip? I’ve been there and there are places that the wonderful cell phone doesn’t work. Stranded on this stretch of road could make for a long night, if you are one that travels at night. What if your daughter or son is making the trip alone to go to college or visit family or friends? Are they prepared? I know my stepdaughter isn’t but I try to get her to learn things or just see the need.

Damn that’s more than I planned to say on the need, as I see it, to learn basic skills. The books listed I believe can help.

If nothing else…It’s entertaining.

August 3, 2010 Posted by | Books, Concerns, General, Parenting, SHTF | , , | Leave a comment

Hap Ki Do – Hamstring

I did it again…. Tuesday I pulled my hamstring pretty good. We were doing simple kicking drills, front kick, roundhouse, etc… then we did a spinning hook kick… OUCH!!!! I think I didn’t warm up and stretch properly. I went to a sports medicine doctor/friend who worked magic… I have taken the rest of this week of from practice (hard practice) to allow the muscle to heal. Today, Friday, it is much better, the light stretching, icing and massaging seem to working.

The moral here is to make sure you properly prepare yourself for strenuous activity and also to remember you are not a kid any more… I have trouble with that one, I still act more like 10 at times and think my body can do the things it did when I was in my twenties. 40+ and out of shape will win every time if you are not careful. I hope in another year or so I will be in better shape and be able do more, better.

May 7, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Used Car

It looks like I’ll be purchasing a ‘New used Car’ for my stepdaughter. In July 2009 we found a used 2001 Hyundai Sonata for $2300 that we purchased for her. It unfortunately has turned into a money pit… I am by no means a car buff and will not pretend to be one. I did have the car checked out by the shop we use and nothing major was found to be a problem.

Now the alternator and A/C compressor have gone and it will cost just about the price of the car to get it fixed.

Time to cut our loses and find something better, more mechanically reliable. Now to figure out what that is. I refuse, as does my wife, to buy her a new car. I am actually thinking about having her, stepdaughter, make payments on the new used car.

Just one more thing to add the stress bucket and cost bucket of the last two weeks.

The bucket: Bear, work, Home, car…

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Excercise safety

Last night as Hap Ki Do practice was ending our Master gave us all a bit of advise. He started off by saying  we have been here 6 mo. or more and are starting to feel much stronger; he was right. He then told us that we would start to feel that we could do more than we really could and that this is when injuries will begin. From my personal experience he was dead on. There are others that have been having knee problems, hamstring pulls, etc… He had to remind us we are not as young as we once were, the age range in this particular class is 35+ to 55+ and most of us have not stayed in the physical shape we should have.

He told us to make sure we kept our practices injury free, “take it easy” he said. “Continue to work hard, but be safe”. Talk about timely advise. I want to improve but will definitely slow the pace a bit so the progress can come with out injury.

At the rate I am going I should test for my Green Belt in early April, that will be 6 months. At this rate I might make Back Belt in two years. It is amazing what I have learned. The techniques being taught are the best self defense techniques available, my personal opinion.

I continue on safely…

March 4, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What are your plans for SHTF?

What are your plans for SHTF?

I am working on my plan right now. It is not easy to fully get your head wrapped around what you need. Do you need to plan to “shelter in place” or “get the hell out of dodge”? Each has its pros and cons; being prepared is the key.

What does SHTF really mean? To me there are several things that constitute SHTF.

  • A hurricane that directly hits us similar to Ike, but MUCH worse. One that would knock out power for the entire area not these little pockets we saw. Yes they were bad but still livable with the exception of the Galveston area.
  • Chemical plant explosion either by carelessness or manmade (terrorist).
  • Flu or other illness like we were told H1N1 would do but didn’t.
  • Economic collapse; a point where money is absolutely worthless. There are indications in my opinion we are headed to another depression similar the 1920’s and ‘30’s. If it does happen the USA will not be able turn it around quite the way it was done in the past. People are too soft now; they have no understanding of how to survive.

How long do you need to be able to take care of yourself? A week, Two weeks, A month, six months, a year?

In any case I am working on figuring out the best course of action to take. Learning new skills to add to what I already know. It sounds strange to talk about learning things that our fore-fathers knew how to do. Such as curing meat, canning meat and vegetables; I know how the preserve food in the freezer but will be hard pressed to can it, store it in salt, smoke it, etc… I can hunt to provide food, know some of the wild edibles but none of that does much good living in a subdivision as most in America do now.

I was talking with a co-worker on this topic, he told me he ran into a woman with her kids, she told him her kids thought fish came from the grocery store. They were all at a park and he was teaching his boys how to fish and explained they were going to eat the fish they had caught; this shocked the woman’s kids.

We’ve all seen the shows that put one man in the wilderness alone to survive on his own for a week. This is a small glimpse of the skills I think are needed to really survive a SHTF scenario.

There is another concern that needs to be on the table, security. When times get REAL tough many will revert to violence to get what they think they need and want. You need to be ready to protect yourself, your family, your property, etc…

Prepping: Gathering of the THINGS needed to live. Food, Shelter, Clothing, Skills, Security

Food: Gather the type of foods that can sustain you with limited prep requirements.

Shelter: Where will you live? In your house you are in now, somewhere in the country?

Clothing: Have the proper clothing you will need based on the environment. Something not often thought of is shoes, have multiple pairs and have extra shoe laces.

Skills: Having the knowledge to do what is needed to live. Start a fire, find water, build shelter if needed, etc…

Security: Yes I mean guns and ammo, and the ability to use them properly. Along with this is the need to have people around you that you can trust and rely on to help you.

This is all a work in progress; I will be ready to cope with SHTF when it happens, I hope.

February 25, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, General | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

SHTF Part 1

I have been on SHTF watch for some time but have said little about it. Mostly because I don’t think my family sees the need to be real prepared. I have managed to do a lot under the “Camping Gear” disguise. I have also used the hunting I do as another way to prepare. Many look at the SHTF as a need to bring more fire-power to hand. I look at it more as a need to be able to be self-sufficient. I can support myself and family, meaning food, water, etc…, for quite some time. Whether I need to hunt, fish or pull from supplies.

This is part 1; if I feel it is appropriate to provide more detail I will create a part2, etc…

January 6, 2010 Posted by | General | , | Leave a comment