SECRET OF HAP KI DO
onion sometime. Strip the skin, pull off the first layer
and there's another like it below. Pull off the second,
you find a third ... strip the third and there's a
fourth ... all the way to the core.
Do the same to your martial
art. What happens when you peel away the punches, the
kicks, the forms and the sparring? Do you find more of the
same? Is that all there is?
The ancients taught us that form rules substance.
Within everything, there is a quintessential essence, a
guiding spirit, a "form" which gives it its true and
unmistakable identity. It's in the onion, even though we
can't see it. It's in the martial art, even though we
may have yet to discover it.
Whatever your style,
martial arts are the transformation of concept into
reality. Fundamental to growth in the martial arts is
adherence to a strict philosophical course which
ultimately leads to indomitable spirit, impeccable
attitude and ability to convert your knowledge into
principle of non-resistance is as
simple as escaping from a choke by
stepping back with your left foot.
The final image demonstrates how
this position opens up opponent's
vital facial targets to counter.
of Hap Ki Do underscore the
spiritual/philosophical foundations of the
art. The name Hap Ki Do translates to the "way
of coordinated power", but also gives rise to
other translations, such as the "centered
path", or the "way of the unified spirit".
Whatever the translation, the implication is
clear that Hap Ki Do changes the practitioner,
elevating him or her to a new level of
It brings to
mind the story of the magician's apprentice.
The disciple was commanded to learn the
"secret of water." His task was to take a
container of water, freeze it and thaw it for
one thousand cycles, then report back to the
wizard with the "results". Some years later,
the apprentice was asked the "secret of the
water." Having mastered the discipline and
patience necessary for the experiment, he
replied, "I am the secret of the water. It is
I who have changed," after which he brazenly
drank the water, to prove his point. His
teacher smiled with satisfaction.
In Hap Ki Do,
there are three guiding principles, and from
these three wells spring the distinct
combination of philosophy, physical movement
and fighting style which is uniquely Hap Ki
Do. Like the magician's apprentice, the
student of Hap Ki Do embarks on a course of
discovery lasting years and ends only when he
or she has come to terms with the "secret of
Hap Ki Do."
Principle of Non-Resistance
First comes the
principle of non-resistance. Philosophically,
this parallels Funakoshi's Shotokan maxim
that, "The first move holds no real
advantage." The principle of non-resistance
sets the standard that the student of Hap Ki
Do is not to be the aggressor. Still, the
concept runs deeper. Resistance is a tactic of
size and power. Non-resistance is a strategy
of mind and technique. The starting point in
Hap Ki Do is the premise that you study the
art to cultivate peace and harmony. However,
if threatened, you will have the discipline to
accept your adversary's attack or aggression
and to neutralize it through correct
application of strategy and technique.
In Hap Ki Do, the
student learns that power travels in circular arcs.
Learning how to package power in circles, and to use
circular movement to your advantage adds a new dimension
to your self defense strategies.
Have you ever played
"Battle of the Titans" with a sparring partner? That's
when both of you have such similar fighting habits that
you begin to feel like you're standing in front of a
mirror. When you throw a kick, your opponent throws a
kick, feet sometimes colliding in mid-air. As the fight
unfolds, bodies bang, legs crunch and noses bleed.
Bowing out, you wonder whatever possessed you to do
martial arts in the first place.
Mastering the circular
principle means goodbye "Battle of the Titans". When
your opponent attacks, you instantly glide to where his
attack will not connect and from where you can safely
"circular" power, defender flows away from
opponent's punch, cups his right hand around
opponent's neck, and literally "slams"
opponent onto the ground.
The blades sparked in
the moonlight as the attacker lunged forward to deliver
the fatal stroke. The defender's dark figure appeared to
embrace the incoming silhouette. Suddenly, the cold
sound of metal dancing on concrete. The defender and the
attacker appear to be moving not as adversaries but as
one person, except that the defender's control is
absolute. In seconds, the attacker is on the ground,
This is the water
principle. And whether you know it as the water
principle or not, it symbolizes the highest level of
martial arts development.
Just as water can shape
mountains and carve canyons, the first step in
understanding the water principle embodies the apparent
contradiction that even while enacting the most
effective defense, we merge with our opponent, embracing
his directed energy, and in the embrace, cause his
energy to dissipate. When he thrusts, we recede; when he
retreats, we fill the void. That is the water principle.
Though we are initially apart from our opponent, by
applying the water principle, our movement becomes one
with his. We, together, become as one. In the end, there
is only one movement.
Mastering the water
principle means always having the next move at hand.
Water flowing downhill comes upon innumerable
obstructions, yet always enacts the perfect response. No
matter how the opponent attacks, we are confident and at
home knowing that without even thinking about it, we
will produce the right move to neutralize our opponent's
principle...defender simply "accepts" the
attack, then systematically erodes
attacker's power and stance. Notice
defender's placement of right knee into
opponent's rear right leg and how that move
can become a knee dislocation when attacker
is brought to the ground. Now, look at
the second picture. Can you see that
defender's right leg was already in position
when he executed the initial block?
That's the water principle!
Secret of Hap Ki Do
The principle of
non-resistance, the circular principle and the water
principle characterize the essence or soul of Hap Ki Do.
The student who has mastered the art of Hap Ki Do is
guided by the three principles at all times, whether at
the gym, at the office or idling in traffic. These same
three principles make the student a better martial
artist and a better human being. As with the magician's
apprentice, the Hap Ki Do student may also expect the
day when the master will ask, "What is the secret of Hap
Ki Do?" The response can only be, "Sir, I am the secret
of Hap Ki Do." And looking at your progress over the
years, the master grudgingly approves, knowing that
student and art have again become one.
it all together...can you identify the three
principles of Hap Ki Do in this photographic
(Click here to see Video