WonHwaDo is a relatively new Korean martial art, and it was founded in 1972 by the Garndmaster Bong-Ki Han. The name means, roughly, “The Way of Circular Harmony” (Won = Circle, Hwa = Harmony, Do = Way).

The basis of this marital art art lies in circular motion, effectively making use of full 360° rotations of the key joints of the human body. This serves to conserve energy and reduce the risk of injury caused by forced linear action.

WonHwaDo Great Grand Master Han Bong Ki, Photo courtesy of wonhwado.de

Founded in 1972 by Grand Master Han Bong Ki, WonHwaDo has its origins in traditional Korean dance and prayer. The latter consisted of holding the hands in the traditional prayer position and then rotating them, as if spinning a wheel.

This represented the rotation of the Yin and Yang within the person, bringing them into alignment and harmony, thereby bringing peace and healing.

The WonHwaDo techniques are based on 360 degree circular motions that could be shown as a very flowing movement like Aikido or Taichi.

Also dynamic throwing techniques, joint locks,punching. kicking techniques are performed based on circular motions of hands, legs and the whole body.

Circular power doesn’t stop flowing and it creates a continuous effective attack and defense movement. Since December 2003 the World WonHwado Federation was recognized by the Korean Government as one Korean International Martial Arts Organization and being supported by the Korean government since then.

What is WonHwaDo? Won-Hwa-Do is a traditional Korean martial art where the circle forms are the basis of all movements. Many natural phenomena such as tornadoes and waves have a circular or elliptic shape and are in constant motion. In its techniques, Won-Hwa-Do uses these same natural, ergonomic and economic motions. Won-Hwa-Do is known as the path of the harmonious circle. It’s a way of life spiritually as well as physically. In addition to traditional combat elements it includes a moral sense of what should or what shouldn’t be done. Through Won-Hwa-Do one can achieve a feeling of harmony with the environment and other people.

The Origin of Won-Hwa-Do: Won-Hwa-Do has not traditionally been a secret vision of an individual or a group. In olden times people in Korea got together to dance and sing and they moved naturally according to the rhythm of the music. Won-Hwa-Do’s roots lay also in the ancient circular motion called Bi-Son (Bi-Son = empty, circularly moving hand). The origin of Bi-Son is the praying position (hands together in front of the chest), widely used throughout the world for centuries. Won-Hwa-Do with its natural movements has been developed from these elements. The organization has been systemized and in 1972 Won-Hwa-Do was given its now existing name by the Grand Master Han Bon Gi, who still teaches in Korea.

Courtesy of World WonHwaDo Federation – www.wonhwado.compuz.com

Basic Forms and Practising Won-Hwa-Do: The basic movements are the circle or ‘Bi-Son’. In Won-Hwa-Do the circle or sphere is being used in all possible angles. The circle can be modified in volume, distance, speed and direction (vertical, horizontal, diagonal) in connection to attack and defense. This circle is applied in hitting, kicking, twisting, locking, throwing and weapon techniques (eg. sword, long and short stick). Won-Hwa-Do is suitable for anyone, whether male or female, young or old, in good shape or not. All movements are circular, and therefore, the joints do not suffer from unnecessary strain. Basic training includes the study of the four cardinal points, which help to learn the right way to move and to understand and use the circle.

WonHwaDo Philosophy: Circular motion to harmonise with the Universe,Heaven,People,Nature.

WonHwaDo Curriculum: There are many diverse techniques thought in WonHwaDo, all based on the fundamental ideal of circular motion. In a normal class there is usually a warm-up to prepare the body, followed by tumbles/rolling exercises and/or various kicks. Many techniques for self-defence are thought, including protections from punches, kicks, locks, and grabs. There are also 20 Basic Forms, divided into four sub-categories for each of the four cardinal directions. These are:

  • JeongMyeonGongBang 1 2 3 4 5
  • PyeongWoeGongBang 1 2 3 4 5
  • HuMyeonGongBang 1 2 3 4 5
  • PyeongNaeGongBang 1 2 3 4 5

Weapons are also sometimes used, including the short and medium Stick (Korean: Bong), Sword (Korean: Gum/Kum),Knife,Belt,Tonfa and Nunchaku.

WonHwaDo Belt structure:

  • Yellow Belt
  • Green Belt
  • Blue Belt
  • Red Belt – Assistant Instructor
  • Purple Belt- Instructor
  • Purple Belt with green line – Master
  • Purple Belt with blue line – Grand Master
  • Purple Belt with white line – Great Grand Master

Each belt have two stripes before change to next colour belt. Basically, Wonhwado has this structure.

Man Photo is courtesy of Smreko at Deviantart