Forms are a sequence of techniques, a pattern, practised repeatedly; they usually occur towards the start of a class.  At Chang’s Hapkido Academy, each new level requires the student to memorize a new form which is then practised under the watchful eye of the instructor.  As the student develops, so does the complexity of the form.

Largely, forms are a conditioning exercise. They teach us to move, to engage specific muscle patterns and to help us develop strength, power and endurance.

Forms focus on full range of movement and ideal delivery of a technique, rather than a shortened delivery or partial skill that one might see in an actual fight situation. Repeatedly practising forms grooves certain movement patterns, allowing for the development of a kinaesthetic awareness of body positioning and balance, whilst also learning to generate momentum from a strong and stable base.

From a teaching perspective, an instructor can also understand a lot about a student from watching how they approach their form. Are they sloppy, distracted and rushed; or do they have a meticulous eye to detail? The student’s approach to their form is often a reflection of how they are approaching life.

Forms, then, can be seen as the building blocks of our action.


Should martial artists do static stretching? Read more here.

Q. What’s the point of practising hyung (forms)?

2 thoughts on “Q. What’s the point of practising hyung (forms)?

  • 1st May 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks Saboumnim,

    Its been really intersting to see how challenging forms are when your geographical sign posts have been moved. It made me realise how important it is to learn the forms in your heart so that I can concentrate on the actual movements rather than worrying which way I need to turn.
    Forms have always been a useful way for me to get in touch with my inner self as well. If my forms are ‘off’ its usually becuase Im not present, and im thinking about something else. So I know I need to work out what the problem in and reconnect with myself.
    Finally as I learn each new form, I realise that performing the form before is less tiring. That has taught me that nothing is quite as exhausting in life as you might think at the time!

    Thank you for the blog.

  • 28th November 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Miss Glover’s point about geographical sign posts is an interesting one. Performing the same forms in three different gyms has made me appreciate how much my understanding of forms was based on orientation to a specific space, namely starting a form by facing the stage in our old gym at Topnotch. By practising forms in different gyms and sometimes in different orientations a more autonomous understanding of the form is required rather than simply a sequence of moves relative to the surroundings; now I turn to the stage, now I turn to the mirror, etc.

    During Mr Chang’s visit to London in the summer I was alarmed when, during the Red Belt class I became quite disorientated for not one, but several forms, because we were doing the forms facing in the opposite orientation to the usual orientation in class.

    This proved to be a useful lesson. Although I had not been aware of it, I had been heavily reliant on the external environment to perform each form successfully.


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