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Technical Principles of Hapkido


In Hapkido, an attack is not met straight on. Power against power, preferred in "hard styles" is discouraged as it increases the risk of injury. In Hapkido an attacker's power is used against them, by manipulating the attackers balance or redirecting their energy (external and internal) you increase the efficiency of your own technique.



Hapkido techniques are distinguished by a constant flow of strikes, blocks, locks, chokes and throws. Movement is constant and may incorporate circular and spinning actions. By constantly varying body movement you become more difficult to target and are much more likely to disorient and frustrate your opponent.



Many Hapkido techniques are made up of circular movements. Large or small circles can be seen in the motions of strikes, blocks, joint locks, chokes, takedowns and throws. Circles can also be seen in footwork, grappling and general body movements



Ki-Power is referred to using internal energy (Ki). In essence Ki is adrenaline used to assist in the application of a technique. When fighting an overpowering opponent, the addition of Ki may be the difference between a technique that will work and one that fails. When adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands (located just above the kidneys), it produces cardiac stimulation, constriction of blood and bronchial relaxation ultimately elevating your performance. In Hapkido this is done through a visualisation of energy from the core (two inches below the navel) upward through the body and projected outward with a Ki-Yap (shout/yell).



The term "Live Hand" (spreading out of bone structure in your hand keeping it spread) refers to the specific hand formations which are used to increase the flow of Ki into the arms. This will increase arm strength and power when required, such as during a wrist escape or application of a joint lock. Live Hands assist in many strikes, blocks, locks and throws, they are also used in breathing exercises. A typical live hand formation is an open hand spreading the fingers wide and slightly bending the finger tips inwards.


6. LEVERAGE (Push/Pull)

One can use the mass of the body (or part of it) as a strength to perform an action by pressure, push-pull or twist. Keep your attacks in your strength zone (shoulders to hips and outward, elbow to tips of fingers). However, the ideal would be to make use of leverage to reduce the effort. A point of support must be found, which allows strength to be multiplied during the execution of a submission, sweep, throw or takedown.


Principles of Leverage:

"Leverage is the act of using a small amount of effort to move a large load".

A lever has three components:

  Fulcrum: The point at which the lever pivots;

  Load: The force applied by the lever system;

  Effort: The force applied by the user of the lever system

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