(by Master Joon Shoong Park- A Hapkido Grandmaster)
The purpose and significance of the Martial Arts has been misunderstood by the Western World. It has been known as a system of fighting and self-defence using kicking, punching and weapons. It is no wonder that many people think the Oriental Martial Arts are a kind of violence. But the self-defence techniques of traditional Martial Arts are only a small part of the total Martial Art. And yet, Martial Art has its own philosophy which was influenced mainly by Taoism and Buddhism.
We can have the very basic and simple meaning of Martial Art by analyzing the Chinese character which means Martial Arts.
This "Martial Arts" character is a combination of two characters; the first means stopping and the second represents a spear, therefore, the chinese symbol for martial arts means stopping a spear, in other words stopping violence.
Who is the ultimate opponent in self-defence? That is myself. Buddha said: ''If one man conquers in a battle a thousand men, and if another conquers himself, the latter is the greater.''
The emphasis of Hapkido as well as other traditional Martial Arts, which have not changed in the Western World, is particularly on mental cultivation and spiritual training rather than pure physical culture training only. Meditation has been practised by Martial artists to accomplish the above purpose. There are many types of meditation practices which are generally employed by Zen Buddhists, Yogis, Martial Artists, etc.
But Hapkido has three different types of meditation practices for the following purposes:
Three types of meditation practices are:
According to Oriental philosophy, there is an equation between the universe which is a vast organism or large universe (macrocosm) and the human body which is a small organism or small universe (microcosm). These large and small universes functionally interact one against the other though most people do not normally realise it. Through meditation a practitioner attains the ''emptiness'' or super consciousness when the little ego merges with the cosmic consciousness.
Through the breathing exercises, what we call Tan Jun breathing, lower abdomen breathing, we can cultivate Ki, the internal energy which flows in a human body along the life meridians. There are 14 major life meridians and countless minor ones in a human body. Ki can be manipulated through specific postures and movements. The cultivation and manipulation of Ki is very important to the health because Ki is the fundamental energy to keep a human body in good health and is the natural source of healing.