HAN MU DO in Korean means The Korean Martial Way.
The Way means the Korean Philosophy of Han.
The philosophy is incorporated in the Korean fighting strategies.
The Han Philosophy
Balance between high and low positions.
Balance between oneself and one's surrounding
An optimistic attitude towards life.
Balance in intellectual and physical development.
Throughout ages, man has a desire to worship a higher God. Man seeks God above as his protector, helper, physical and spiritual provider, purpose and moral guidance .
In traditional Korean culture, by honoring God, man has establish a moral code of honour and respect between himself and his elders and juniors in his family, his village and community, and in his country.
Students respect teachers in order for teachers to willingly transmit knowledge to their students.
Similarly in the martial arts class, students bow to their teachers before a class. In martial art strategy,when one attacks high, the defender attacks low and vice versa. Also there must also be strategy for both standing and ground defence.
When we put ourselves in the centre, everything revolves around us. Our relationship in a circle is with people around us like friends and the community, and harmony within the circle. The whole universe is based on the Circle.
In the Solar System the planets revolve harmoniously round the Sun. The planets has a moon or moons revolving around the planets. Because the Earth revolves round the Sun, we have the cycle of Seasons-Spring, Summer, Autumn ,Winter. Nature exists around seasons, and farmers plan their stocks and grow their crops around Seasons. Animals, including Man prepare their living according to seasons.
In Asian traditional medicine , Ki Energy and health follow cycles of seasons. Emotions,and health flow according to seasons. Henceforth Ancient Koreans practice Tao ,the philosophy of Cycle of Life Changes-The I-Ching. That is the reason the Korean national flag Kuk Ki ,has the symbol of I-Ching,the cycle of Life.
Within the I-Ching is the philosophy of balance between hard and soft and the transition between this, Um and Yeung (Ying and Yang) In martial practice, the circle movement has no beginning and end.It can increase or decrease in diameter. It is never tired and never stops.
In Hanmudo , MU HAN DE, the infinity movement (horizontal figure 8 Sine Curve) is used in simultaneous attack and defence. In the Yin Yang (Um Yeung) Circle, martial practice for health and self defence must consist of both Hard and Soft Techniques to be a balance martial art. Hard overcome soft and soft overcomes hard.
Conditions in Nature can be harsh. Living things that cannot adapt to changes die and become extinct. Hence the selection of the strongest that can adapt quickly to changes. Ancient Koreans were nomadic tribes who migrated from the northern regions of Central Asia to where Korea is today.
During migration,they experience harsh, cold conditions with little food and constant attacks from other tribes and wild animals. They adapt using what they can gather around them to keep them warm, grow crops they can find along the way, and acquire fighting techniques to ward off wild animals and their enemies.
They also willingly learn from the neighbouring tribes, even from their enemies, new skills in farming and martial arts and adapt them to their own requirements. Kimchi the Korean favourite vegetable pickle is an ancient recipe brought to modern day.
The Korean women preserve the cabbage during the growing season and preserve and store them for winter,so they wont starve. A Korean president once put these words on a banner "In the Highway of Knowledge , there is No Gate."
Today, South Korea is one of the Asian Economic Tigers, first to rise up from the last Asian Crisis. The nature of the Korean people-tough, resilient, adaptable, willingness to sacrifice for each other, is a testimony of their positive attitude towards life. When we learn Korean Traditional martial art, we learn this philosophy of Positiveness too.
Korean culture places a heavy emphasis on education and exams.
In the Royal Courts of Ancient Korea, government scholars (Sun Bae- Scholar Warriors) were selected based on their performance in the written exams and martial skills. A warrior who is not educated in the strategy of warfare and governance ,will not be respected by his men. On the other hand ,a scholar who is not physically fit, may not have the ability to focus or make clear decisive decisions when he is tired. A swordsman, who loses his limbs in battle, still has his mental capabilities to see him through his challenges in his life.
Grandmaster He-Young Kimm,
the Founder of Han Mu Do,
President of The World Han Mu Do Association and International President of the Korea Ki Do Association, has over 50 years of teaching,studies and research in traditional and modern Korean martial arts.
He has studied under the founder of Hapkido, Grandmaster Ji Han Jae and achieved 9th Dan Black Belt in Hapkido. He also studied Kuk Sul under the founder,Grandmaster Suh In Hyuk and received 8th Dan under him. He also holds the rank of 9th Dan in Korean Judo.
He also studied other Korean systems like Taekwondo,Kum Do(Korean Swordsmanship),Tang Soo Do,and rare ones like Tae Kyon, Ship Pal Ki, Sun Mu Do, Sundo and Muye Yi Ship Sa Ban under the systems' founders and grandmasters.
With the advice of Hapkido founder,Grandmaster Ji, and Kuk Sul founder,Grandmaster Suh, he founded the Han Mu Do System.
He organised his knowledge of traditional and modern Korean fighting arts into a balanced fighting system that is adaptable to counter different combat strategies in the modern era.
He categorised Hanmudo techniques into:
Mental and Physical conditioning (Ki Training)
Techniques of hand striking and leg kicking
Techniques of Head Butting
Techniques of attacking Pressure Points and Cavity Press
Techniques of Joint Locks and Bone Separation
Techniques of Choking
Techniques of Throwing
Techniques of Grappling and Ground Fighting
Techniques of Korean Tai Chi (Han Tae Keuk)
Techniques of Korean weapons
Hanmudo technical defensive techniques are based on the Mu Han Dae (The Infinity Wave),Circle Principle, Water Principle, 9 direction movements and natural body movements. Its mental strategy is control of breath and mind,"Yu Shim Kang Kwan Han"(gentle mind strong fist) and the highest level "Mu Shim Mu Kwan" (empty mind empty fist).
By being continuously fluid and "gentle", the opponent's strong offense is penetrated and enveloped. The aim of Hanmudo defence is to bring the opponent to be immobilized on the ground where his kicks and punches have no effect,and to lock or choke him out for submission.
There are primarily 3 defensive principles
1.When an attack comes, SEE and ASSESS the situation.The eye sees and send signal to the brain to decide which approach to take.
2.STOP the attack. Blocks are essential defence techniques of Han Mu Do. Evasion or escape, Mu Han Dae Infinity Wave block , and hard and soft blocks are used.
3.SOLVE the situation -with 3 levels of intensity : Firstly, Escape through avoidance,deflection or take downs. If attack continues, Control via joint lock or pressure point. If the defender's life is in danger, Destroy by striking and kicking of pressure points, bone breaking using joint locks , and throws, and using weapons.
There are altogether 12 levels of rank training and testing before a student of Hanmudo achieves his 1st Dan Black Belt.
In each level,there are 6 divisions:
Philosophy of ancient Korean Masters
Ki Training(Internal Strength and mental training)
Striking and Kicking
Ho Shin Sul (Self Defence techniques)-Joint locking, pressure point techniques, striking, throwing, choking, ground techniques
Weapons-Long pole, short stick, knife, Korean sword, rope or belt, cane, fan
Free Sparring(Dae Ryun)
From 1st dan onwards , higher levels are taught – technique combinations and counter attacks, weapons (pole and sword) sparring , ground fighting strategy, jumping kicks, stone and knife throwing, archery.
Hanmudo is like a cousin of Hapkido.
To a non-hapkidoist, Hanmudo looks like Hapkido.But when a hapkidoist practice Hanmudo,he can see the difference. Hapkido compared to Hanmudo is more aggressive and harder in nature.
Hanmudo uses the same philosophy as Han Tae Keuk (Korean Tai Chi). When a lock is applied in Hapkido,it is followed with a pushing forward downward motion to throw or bring down the attacker.In Hanmudo,a pulling action coupled with a either upward or downward motion is used. The purpose of this is to allow smooth follow up movements to other techniques. Eg. A lock followed with a throw.
Hanmudo motion follows the infinity sign (Mu Han Dae) in blocking and attacking movements. Hand techniques of Hanmudo also differs from Hapkido.Hanmudo uses hand techniques from both soft Korean arts like Kuk Sul , Sundo and Han Tae Keuk (Korean Taichi) and hard arts like Taekwondo,Tang Soo Do,Ship Phal Ki (Korean Wushu)) and Sun Mu Do . Most of its hand strikes are open palm (Iron Palm). Hapkido uses handstrikes from hard styles like Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do. Hanmudo locks are taken from both Hapkido and Kuk Sul. Kuk Sul locks utilise a bigger circle like in Wushu, whereas Hapkido uses a smaller circle as in Daito-ryu Aiki Jujitsu.
In Hanmudo, small circle and big circle locks are used depending on the situation. Ki training in Hapkido is basically stationary, either sitting or standing.In Hanmudo, Ki training starts from lying down, progress to sitting, standing and then to moving meditation. A unique aspect of Hanmudo not seen in other martial arts is the mental and physical coordination during training. A Hanmudoist has to mentally kihap (Ki yell) "Yu Shim Kang Kwan Han" to coordinate with the certain technique he is doing , so as to let his mind "move" his techniques.
Hanmudo weapon training starts in early stages of training, whereas in Hapkido, weapon training is at higher grades. Hanmudo weapon forms are taken from Korea's oldest martial art text, Muye Dobo Tong Ji.
Sequence of Hanmudo techniques are organised in such a way that there is continuity between each and every technique,so as to easily remember and use them. Each technique learnt in a particular situation can be adapted for usage in any other situation. Each technique also easily flows into another technique. Hapkido arrangement of techniques depends on the kwon's (school) founder,so each hapkido kwon's arrangement can be different from the other. Hence there is difficulty remembering the order of techniques.
A unique aspect of Hanmudo is its forms,or Hyung Sae. Hanmudo forms movements follow the order of techniques learnt. The types of forms start with forms with hard movements, then progress to the forms with hard and soft movements and finally those with soft movements. Some Hapkido schools do not have forms.
Hanmudo training of character development follows those of ancient Korean warriors of the Koguryo Dynasty called Sun Bi (or Sun Bae). Sun Bi in Korean means scholar or intelligent warrior.The main emphasis is on development of Penmanship (education)and Swordsmanship (Martial Art).This philosophy is not found in Hapkido.