July 23, 2024



The Hapkido Water Principle

The Hapkido Water Principle

Hapkido’s Water Principle is one of the three basic principles taught to Hapkido students. Hapkido is a Korean martial art that is gaining in popularity worldwide. Here is how you can understand and use the Water Principle of Hapkido to understand this martial art as well as life in general.

Observe a river or stream near you. If you cannot go to a nearby river or stream, picture a river in your mind.

Notice how the water moves in the river. It is not simply placid or stationary, but rather pulsates in waves. Study the motion closely.

See how the river reacts when it comes up against an obstacle like a rock or tree. Water is adaptable and can flow over the rock or around it. When you are faced with opposition from others, create an advantage by using your adaptability to go around their opposition.

Scoop up some water. It will conform to any container that you pour it into, yet it will not lose its basic nature. Think of the ways that you too can be adaptable yet not lose your spiritual integrity.

Feel the softness of the water, as opposed to the hardness of a rock or stick. Although hardness is often equated with toughness, the truth is that softer things tend to be more resilient. For example as has often been said, the tree that bends with the wind does not break.  This is why Hapkido emphasizes softness and fluid techniques more than most other martial arts do.

Think about the many forms of water. It can evaporate away, like steam, or freeze hard as ice. Like water, you must be able to change to suit the situation you are facing. Keep this in mind when you try to live according to principles of Hapkido.

Drip some water on your hand. Although one drop is barely noticeable, several hundred drops on the same spot will cause pain. Thousands of drops will wear away stone. Use this lesson to help you remember to focus your energies on one spot to maximize your force.

Like water, Hapkido is both a hard and a soft art.  Its hallmark is its flexibility in response, its fluidity of movement and the concentration of force when necessary.

Ronald W. Stone, D.V.M

7th dan Grandmaster, HaeMuKwan Hapkido

American Dragon Martial Arts