May 18, 2024


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The Hapkido Principle of Circular Force

The Hapkido Principle of Circular Force

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that utilizes defensive motions to get in harmony with the attacker, thereby deflecting their force. One of the basic principles of Hapkido philosophy is the principle of the circle or circular force. Here’s how to visualize this principle and understand it.

Things You’ll Need: Circular object, like a glass, coin, or CD, and a Tabletop

First, find a circular object, like a bowl, CD, or even a coin. Seeing a circular object will help you to visualize how the principle of the circle works.

Next, hold the circular object in your hands. Notice the perfection of the circular shape. Think of other “circles” in your life, such as the circle of personal space that all of us have. In Hapkido, there is no need to set up a defensive motion if your personal space has not been violated. Think of what constitutes your own personal space and how deep it is.

Then place the object onto a table, with the circular edge resting on the tabletop. When you press against the circle with your finger, notice how gracefully the circular object rolls to the side and deflects your force. The art of Hapkido uses graceful, circular motions to deflect incoming blows, rather than meeting them head-on with directly opposing force.

Next watch a circular object roll on the tabletop. It is hard to maintain it stationary, to stop it. It is not like a square object that just stays in one spot. Hapkido practitioners use this principle of the fluidity of motion to inspire them to keep moving when practicing the art.  This constant motion makes it difficult for an opponent to grab hold or pin them down.

Finally, notice that the circle has no beginning and no end. Take from this the lesson that what you send out will come back to you. For example, traditionally while white belts bow to higher ranks, while black belts bow in return to them.  If you desire respect from others, you must also demonstrate in return that same willingness to respect them.  

Those who learn eventually teach and just as a circle has no end so will what you have to learn from the art and from those who participate in it have no boundaries.

About the author: Richard Hackworth is a Grand Master of Hapkido, Taekwondo, and Korea Sword. He also holds a Masters License in Tai Chi. Hackworth is best known as the host of the “World Martial Arts TV Show” and “Fight for Your Health TV Show”. To learn more about Richard Hackworth and the martial art of Hapkido visit his website at .