Hapkido Concepts

Programs – Hapkido Concepts

On the “hard-soft” scale of martial arts, hapkido stands somewhere in the middle, employing “soft” techniques similar to aikido and “hard” techniques reminiscent of taekwondo and tangsoodo. Even the “hard” techniques, though, emphasize circular rather than linear movements. Hapkido is an eclectic martial art, and different hapkido schools emphasize different techniques. However, some core techniques are found in each school (kwan), and all techniques should follow the three principles of Hapkido.

  • Nonresistance (“Hwa”, 화 or 和)

  • Circular Motion (“Won”, or 圓)

  • The Water Principle (“Yu”, 류 or 流)

Hwa, or non-resistance, is simply the act of remaining relaxed and not directly opposing an opponent’s strength. For example, if an opponent were to push against a hapkido student’s chest, rather than resist and push back, the hapkido student would avoid a direct confrontation by moving in the same direction as the push and utilizing the opponent’s forward momentum to throw him.

Won, the circular principle, is a way to gain momentum for executing the techniques in a natural and free-flowing manner. If an opponent attacks in linear motion, as in a punch or knife thrust, the hapkido student would redirect the opponent’s force by leading the attack in a circular pattern, thereby adding the attacker’s power to his own. Once he has redirected the power, the hapkido student can execute any of a variety of techniques to incapacitate his attacker. The hapkido practitioner learns to view an attacker as an “energy entity” rather than as a physical entity. The bigger the person is, the more energy a person has, the better it is for the Hapkido student.

Yu, the water principle, can be thought of as the soft, adaptable strength of water. Hapkido is “soft” in that it does not rely on physical force alone, much like water is soft to touch. It is adaptable in that a hapkido master will attempt to deflect an opponent’s strike, in a way that is similar to free-flowing water being divided around a stone only to return and envelop it.
“As the flowing stream penetrates and surrounds its obstructions and as dripping water eventually penetrates the stone, so does the hapkido strength flow in and through its opponents.”

Hapkido students gain:

  • Physical Ability
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Concentration

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