June 12, 2024



The Hapkido Paradox: Why Busy Professionals are Finding Refuge in the Art of Circularity by Richard Hackworth, PhD.

The Hapkido Paradox: Why Busy Professionals are Finding Refuge in the Art of Circularity by Richard Hackworth, PhD.

In the contemporary landscape of anxieties, the pressure cooker of professional life simmers with a potent blend of deadlines, demands, and existential dread. We, the modern-day Sisyphus, strain to push our boulders of ambition up the mountain of success, only to find them tumbling back down with each passing quarter. In this context, the search for solace, for a space of personal mastery and empowerment, has become a desperate, yet often futile, pursuit.

Enter Hapkido, a Korean martial art, founded by Choi Young Sool, that seems to defy the very limitations of our time-strapped existence. Unlike its flashier counterparts, it eschews the brute force of kickboxing or the stoic rigidity of karate. Instead, it offers a paradoxical blend of fluidity and power, a dance of self-defense woven from the fabric of circularity. And surprisingly, it is this very counter-intuitive approach that has drawn busy professionals into its embrace.

The Allure of the Circle:

We live in a world of linear thinking, of A to B to C, of quarterly reports and daily to-do lists. Our minds, conditioned by spreadsheets and deadlines, struggle to grasp the concept of the circle, of a path that returns to its origin, stronger and more refined. Yet, Hapkido thrives on this very principle. Its movements, like the ebb and flow of tide, redirect force rather than meet it head-on. It teaches us to harness an opponent’s momentum, to use their own strength against them, to find victory in yielding.

This philosophy resonates deeply with the modern professional. We are bombarded with information, with demands from all sides, and the constant pressure to perform. Hapkido offers a respite from this linear onslaught. It teaches us to step outside the box, to think not in terms of brute force, but of adaptability, of using the very chaos around us to our advantage. It is a martial art not just for the body, but for the mind, a way to navigate the complexities of our professional lives with grace and resilience.

Beyond Self-Defense:

Of course, the allure of Hapkido extends beyond mere self-defense. In a world where stress and anxiety are as ubiquitous as smartphones, this art offers a much-needed sanctuary. The rhythmic flow of its movements, the focus on breath and mindfulness, provide a meditative counterpoint to the cacophony of daily life. It is a space to reconnect with our bodies, to rediscover the power of focus and presence, and to find solace in the quiet confidence of self-mastery.

The Time-Crunched Warrior:

One might argue that a martial art, with its demands of training and discipline, is ill-suited to the busy professional. But Hapkido defies this expectation. Its unique structure, with its emphasis on technique over brute force, makes it accessible to individuals of all fitness levels and time constraints. A dedicated hour of focused practice can yield more progress than weeks of aimless gym sessions.

Furthermore, the lessons learned on the Hapkido mat transcend the physical realm. The art cultivates a sense of discipline, focus, and self-confidence that spills over into all aspects of life. It teaches us to manage stress, to prioritize effectively, and to approach challenges with a calm, collected demeanor. These are skills that are invaluable in the pressure cooker of professional life.

The Takeaway:

Hapkido is not just a martial art; it is a philosophy, a way of navigating the complexities of the modern world. It offers busy professionals a chance to break free from the linear treadmill of their lives, to rediscover the power of adaptability and grace, and to find solace in the circle of self-mastery. In a world that often feels chaotic and unpredictable, Hapkido provides a grounding force, a reminder that even the most formidable opponent can be overcome with a well-placed pivot and a deep breath.

So, the next time you find yourself drowning in deadlines and anxieties, consider stepping onto the Hapkido mat. You might just find the warrior within, not in the brute force of a punch, but in the quiet confidence of a perfectly executed circular kick. Remember, the path to success is not always a straight line; sometimes, the most empowering journey begins with a step into the unknown, into the embrace of the circle.

This article, inspired by my students who are highly successful professionals and entrepreneurs, aims to provide a thought-provoking perspective on the appeal of Hapkido to busy professionals. It emphasizes the philosophical and practical benefits of the art of Hapkido, drawing parallels between its principles and the challenges of modern life.

About the author: Richard Hackworth is a multi-arts Grand Master who has dedicated his life to the research and development of the martial arts lifestyle. As the Chairman of the Hapkido School Growth Committee he is a Business Coach and Mentor to martial arts school owners and instructors around the world. He is the President of the USA Hapkido Union and Vice President of the International Independent Hapkido Alliance.

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