Using the Principles of Hapkido in Daily Life

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

In the Martial Art of Hapkido, the student is taught early on about the use of the Three Principles of Hapkido.  They are: The Water Principle, The Circular Motion Principle and the Non-Resistance or Harmony Principle.  In combat or self defense, these principles differ greatly from the striking arts of Karate and Taekwondo and such where force meets force and someone gets lucky.  Instead, in arts like Hapkido and its cousin Aikido, the student is taught to "blend" with the attack and not resist, but become "one" with it.  Easier said than done when some thug is all over you trying to hurt you.  However, with proper training, one soon finds that Arts such as Hapkido and Aikido make sense and have less legal issues than simply kicking someone in the head.  I am not trying to debate Arts here, but simply show that Principles of Hapkido and Aikido tend to flow into our daily lives as we leave the training hall.  

The Water Principle teaches how to "flow" with an attack.  The Circular Principle teaches how to "redirect" the attack.  The Non-Resistance Principle teaches one to be "flexable" when attacked.  The name itself, Hapkido can be broken down to this:  Hap-to combine, Ki-internal strength, and Do-the way.  So we say that Hapkido and Aikido translate into "a blending of energy" with the on coming attack.  It should be noted that these two arts evolved from the Takeda family in Japan who taught the founders of Hapkido and Aikido the art of Daito Ryu Aiki-Ju Jutsu.  Although they come from the same source, the philosophy differs between the two.  However, the Principles remain the same.

There is a famous Bruce Lee quote that says, "Be formless, shapless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle.  You put water into a tea pot, it becomes the tea pot.  Now water can flow or it can crash."

The martial art student learns how to put this into practice in the dojo/dojang or in combat.  However, these principles apply to daily life as well.  The Taoist say that to set up resistance to things in life that we have no control over, is a source for our pain.  If we can utilize these three Principles in daily life and understand the quote of Bruce Lee, than we too can flow with the natural progression of life with little resistance.  It is often said, which is stronger, the Oak or the Willow.  Well, it is the Willow the usually survives hurricanes and such because the Willow flows and bends with nature.  In our daily lives, if we learn to flow with what life presents, we will be better off and more centered and present as a father, mother, friend, employee, employer etc...  

If one can apply these three Principles to daily life, one will be more balanced and find a fuller life even if one has never studied a martial art.  We have much to learn from history and from the masters.  However, one thing we all have in common, is we are all on the same journey.