Focus on Technique

The Principles of Hapkido and Combat Hapkido

Hapkido can be translated literally as "the way of coordinated power." Each Hanja or Chinese character can be translated as follows:

     · Hap (합) - unification, coordination, harmony
     · Ki (기)    - energy of nature, power
     · Do (도)   - way, path

An in depth explanation of Hapkido might fill volumes but what is presented here is simply the purpose and training principle of Hapkido.

Hapkido aims to harmonize with earth, heaven, and nature. It is a study in enhancement of internal and external power. The character of this power can be found in coordination and harmonization. It follows these principles for defense of oneself and others. It cultivates a sound character, healthy body, and the ability to protect oneself in any encounter.

Training develops the bones and muscles on the outside and gathers Ki on the inside, developing a body capable of soft and fluid defences coupled with devastating attacks. Its techniques encompass the point (dot or spot) to the circle (range of linear and circular techniques), synthesis of hardness and softness (principle of um/yin and yang) that allows for the easy transition between defensive and offensive techniques. In addition, knowledge and utilization of pressure points and joint locks greatly enhances the self defence techniques, which makes it possible to turn the opponent's strength against him.

Moreover, although there can be no true separation of the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of martial arts, for the sake of explanation to those less familiar, mental training can be classified under simbub (law of the mind), physical health training as kibub (law of Ki), self defense training as shinbub (law of body).

The World Kido Federation states that the basis of Hapkido is ultimately an understanding of these basic elements of the human condition; that of the mind, body, and Ki. The mind can be represented as a circle so that it can be maintained at a level state. Ki can be represented as a square so that healthy Ki can be harnessed, drawn in to fully cultivate. The body can be represented as a triangle so that it can be ideally balanced in development. These separate elements must also come together and seek harmony and coordination at a higher level.

Hapkido is mainly realized through physical movements, but through training it is apparent that there are other benefits at hand. There are the mental and philosophical teachings of positive life actions together with the responsibility to follow the path of the righteous person, a true martial artist and Hapkidoist.

Fundamental Principles of Hapkido

The following are the building blocks of Hapkido:

Ryu - Flow

  • Do not meet the force straight on. Disperse it and let it flow by.
  • Fluid movement maximizes the transition between offense to defense and defense to offense. Manipulate the opponent's openings.
  • Fluidity allows for the synthesis of external and internal energy. Learn to coordinate both forces.

Won - Circle

  • Centripetal, centrifugal, spinning forces are utilized for efficient self-defense techniques.
  • Circular movements make it possible to use the opponent's strength against him. It also allows for offensive and defensive techniques to be executed simultaneously. The stronger the attacking force of the opponent, stronger the force of retaliation.
  • The circle symbolizes the source of the universe and its limitlessness . In Hapkido the circle represents the comprehensiveness of the art, which includes linear, arcing, circular offensive and defensive techniques. It also reminds us that there can be no bounds in our martial arts training. Only through continual training and patience one can progress forward.

Wha - Harmony

  • Harmony of the law of mind, Ki, body implies the foundation of martial arts.
  • Harmonize with opponent's force and make that force your own.
  • Harmonize the principles of martial arts to understand its true meaning. Never discontinue training in order to find the righteous path of man.