Philosophy of Hapkido

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The study of physics, geometry, psychology, and physiology are the base of a very important program when studying Hapkido as well as Chiropractic. Hapkido’s techniques are applied by combining physics, geometry, psychology, and physiology much like it’s brother art, Aikijujutsu.

Hapkido and Aikijujutsu differ only by Hapkido’s skillful implementation of dynamic below waist level kicks. Kicks are learned to learn defense against kicks and hand strikes learned to defend against hand strikes. 
It was this difference in mind that Hapkido was created by Choi Yong-Sul, producing a dynamic balance of both methods of defense and attack within each technique. The sword and staff (long and short) are the main weapons we train with and which all empty hand techniques come from. The study of Chiropractic is encouraged for all of our certified instructors.

The simplest definition of theory can be found in the translation of the word Hapkido: “The way to harmony through body and mind coordination.” HAP=harmony, KI=body and mind coordination, DO=the way. Uem / Yang, or the concept of balance through “full circle wholeness” (mental, physical, spiritual) is the cornerstone of Hapkido philosophy.

Using your opponents “energy” against them has no religious meaning. It’s simply physics, you will see as you read further. Spirit refers to the person (who you are). Mind refers to emotion and thought (choices). Body refers to the physical body.

Physics: The defender must become the center of motion, like a spinning top. A Typhoon is a perfect example of this. In a typhoon, water/air spins around absorbing everything to its center and at the same time throwing everything out away from its center as long as it’s motion is continuous and keeping perfect balance between all movments within itself. Moving from it’s center.

If you want to destroy a typhoon, you must first get to its center (if you can). What can withstand the force of a typhoon? All body movements must be fluid like water. This means your techniques must be adaptable. Water in a river will pull a pebble with the current, go around a boulder, or carve a valley through a wall of rock. The act of dripping water can drill a whole in stone. A continuous and fluid motion in the right direction makes for a most destructive force. Also, moving in many directions at one time while maintinaing a single movement and balance.

Geometry: To unbalance the converging body so as to throw or pin, manipulating human physiology causes it to happen without using an aggressive force or muscle strength. There is a huge difference between strength and power. A law of geometry that says in a circle, any angle formed using two points on the circle that are opposite each other (or form the diameter), if you draw lines from each of them to the same place anywhere on the circle, it will form 90 degree angles, and thus perpendicular lines.

You must also take into consideration all the angles contained within a sphere. In other words, no matter how they attack there is an oposite and complimentary angle to defend with. The entire use of geometry in Hapkido is to deflect the attack, not to “block” it using brute force. The perfect compliment to physics, keep the momentum going and redirecting the attackers “energy” as to create unbalance within a sphere. Their body WILL follow their forced direction of attack.

Physiology: There are many vulnerable spots on the human body called pressure points or trigger points. The locations of these vital spots usually coincide with that of the nerves, blood vessels, and internal organs. When these vital spots are stimulated, the result can be anything from severe pain, to impairment, to death. Permanant or temporary damage of the internal organs is an emense concern.

You can alter the function of the organ as well as the form. The later having absolutly deadly results. Points can be hit, push, or rub and from an angle that is personal to each point. Every pressure point has its own way of stimulation. Some are complex points which can be stimulated more than one way. Just because someone knows where pressure points are doesn’t mean they know HOW to use them.

You may know where Korea is but, to really know Korea and all its roads, rivers, railways and so forth, you must study it in depth. This knowledge is necessary for a successful defense. Remember also that the joints are only designed to move within their “parameters of motion” as perscibed by the laws of human physiology. The pressure points realease the joints so that they may be displaced or completely dislocated during the course of a technique. You do not need “brute force” to disassemble the joints or cause internal injury.

Psychology: Hapkido is a way of physical and mental (psychological) coordination. Every movement requires the coordination of both the mind and body acting in unity. Consistent practice is necessary to maintain this coordination. Repetition is the way to build relfex and muscle memory as well as pushing it deep within your subconscience.

Hapkido is an art of dynamic motion which means more than just a quick reaction. Reaction means “thought before action”. It is reflex, NOT reaction! You have no time to think when being attacked. Remember, If they don’t attack, they don’t get hurt. Don’t ever feel sorry for defending yourself.