The name ‘Hapkido’ actually combines three Korean words: Hap means the coordination of mind and body, Ki is the inner power needed to create hap, and Do refers to a disciplined life.
It is this concept of discipline that can be found throughout the martial arts, but what does that actually mean? To the new student it may be about doing what you are told, calling your instructor “Sir”, or bowing as you enter the dojang. As the Hapkido practitioner develops though he later realises that even the simple bow has much more of a profound meaning.
When asked why people want to train in Hapkido, Korean Grandmaster Gedo Chang responded, “Some want to learn self-defence techniques, some to condition mind and body, some for physical discipline. No matter what they want first, eventually they realise that Hapkido is much deeper, more profound than they ever expected. Hapkido is more than physical health or self-defence techniques. The more important part of Hapkido training is inner peace, wisdom and discipline; which is what I try to teach.”
To Master Chang discipline means emptiness of mind. This is not a void, or empty space, but rather a place where the layers with which we distort our own reality have been set aside. It is a place where one is free of fear, hatred, anxiety, or arrogance. Our ki (internal energy) flows fluently around the body; we are at peace; we see things as they are.
Freedom from fear does not mean absence of fear. We achieve freedom by making peace with our own internal enemies. Ironically we learn to stop fighting and are able to transform our enemy into a friend who no longer bothers us.