Hapkido Dictionary

Principles of Hapkido

Circular Motion

Circles are smooth and continuous. Most of the joints in the body move in some type of circular motion. It is this circular movement which the Hapkido practitioner uses to his or her advantage. Straight, jerky movements are extremely difficult to employ when trying to redirect power. However, by employing the principle of circular motion one can change the momentum of an opponent from a frontal motion to a lateral motion. This is done by simply altering the axis of the circle. Therefore, one can easily move from one circular motion to another just by altering the attack axis.


Do not meet force with force. Non-resistance is characteristic of Hapkido and one of the major areas where the art differs from some other martial arts. As an example, in defending against a powerfully thrown punch, the Hapkido practitioner would never step inside his or her opponent’s area of greatest momentum and block with a hard right angle thrust. Instead they would avoid a direct confrontation by stepping outside to parry the punch with a soft circular motion of the arm and hand. Once the power has been diverted, they would then be free to attack the opponents exposed side. This motion allows the Hapkido practitioner to flow from one movement to the next without interruption and provides an unbroken line of continuous motion, power, and energy.

Water Principle

The water principle is best described by the quiet, direct strength of flowing water. As water flows in a stream it surrounds and eventually wears down any obstruction in its path. Similarly, the Hapkido student flows in and about their opponent, looking for the weakest point and attacks this vulnerable point.

Hapkido Korean Vocabulary


The Way of Coordinated Power
‘hap’ coordination or harmony
‘ki’ power
do’ way or art
Counting In Korean
‘hana’ one
‘dul’ two
‘set’ three
‘net’ four
‘dasot’ five
‘yasot’ six
‘ilgop’ seven
‘yodol’ eight
‘ahop’ nine
‘yol’ ten
Korean Martial Arts Vocabulary
‘dojang’ workout room
‘dobok’ uniform
‘di’ belt
‘ki-yap’ yell
‘joon-bi’ ready stance
‘shi-jak’ begin
‘baro’ return (to previous stance, usually ready stance)
‘shi-ut’ relax (we bow as we return to relaxed)
‘cha-ryut’ attention
‘kyung-yae’ bow
‘kamsahamnida’ thank you

>>Download Printable Vocabulary Sheet (.pdf)

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