The philosophy of Hapkido stems from three basic principles. The first is non-resistance. Yield to your opponent by meeting force with minimum force deflecting and not clashing with your opponent’s power. The second is circular motion. One uses circular, fluid, flowing movements, as opposed to linear movements. The third is the water principle, a total penetration of an opponent’s defenses through continual attack.

Instead of opposing force by force, Hapkido completes his opponent’s movement by “accepting his flow of energy” as he aims it and defeats him by “borrowing” his own force. In order to reconcile oneself to the changing movements of the opponent, the Hapkido student should first of all understand the meaning of Yin and Yang. Hapkido is based on Yin and Yan, a pair of mutually complementary and interdependent forces that act continuously.