Han Mu Do: The Key to Healthy Living

Han Mu Do is a martial arts form that is comprised of the study of empty hand techniques, the study of weapons, the study of Ki, and the study of martial arts philosophy (Kimm, 2003). Believed to have been developed at least ten thousand years ago, Han Mu Do is gaining in popularity in not only America but in other parts all over the world such as Europe and Australia. Han Mu Do is derived from the basic principles of the Han Philosophy which has four distinct characteristic.

The First Characteristic of Han Mu Do is that Han means head or high position and is symbolic of the leadership and guidance that the early Koreans looked for from the Han or people in high positions (Introduction to Han Mu Do Philosophy, 2006). The Second Characteristic of the Han Philosophy equates Han to big or whole. It emphasizes that harmony in the whole community is very important in the pursuit of happiness (Introduction to Han Mu Do Philosophy, 2006).

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The Third Characteristic of Han means brightness or optimism, which signifies the peace, cleanliness and honesty in life (Introduction to Han Mu Do Philosophy, 2006). The Fourth Characteristic of Han means higher learning which emphasizes the importance and value of education and culture (Introduction to Han Mu Do Philosophy, 2006). These four characteristics of the Han Philosophy are the foundation of the martial arts system known as Han Mu Do or “The Way of Korean Martial Arts”. Han Mu Do was developed by Dr. He-Young Kimm in 1989.

After 40 years of training and research in Korean martial art systems, he sought to integrate the techniques and philosophies of these martial arts styles which had new and innovative techniques into a single comprehensive balanced system and thereafter Han Mu Do was born (Kimm, 2003). Han Mu Do has four basic divisions which are Yuh Kwon Sul which is basically the Study of Empty Hand Techniques, Mu Ki Sul which is the Study of Weapons Techniques, Son Do Sul which is the Study of Ki, and Han Chul Hak or the Study of Han Philosophy.

These four basic divisions al revolve around the central tenet of Han Mu Do which is balance (Kimm, 2003). The importance of balance is manifested in the techniques that Han Mu Do uses such as the balance in the empty hand and weapons techniques, the balance on techniques that rely on physical strength and Ki energy, the balance in the training of the physical body and philosophical, mental and spiritual training, the balance of techniques of the left and right side of the body and finally the balance between the traditional and modern philosophy and techniques of martial arts systems (Kimm, 2003).

These techniques, characteristics and philosophies have made Han Mu Do one of the few martial arts systems that emphasize the importance of balance but not only having physical conditioning but also include mental conditioning. There are many people who currently practice Han Mu Do today. Even in ASU, there are students who do Han Mu Do. Certain members of the “Body & Brain Club” even integrate the practice of Han Mu Do as one of their integral activities.

An interview with one of the instructors of Han Mu Do at ASU revealed that more and more people are getting into the sport. People from all walks of life and all ages, ranging from 8 to 88, participate in the Han Mu Do classes that the instructor teaches and more and more of them, according to the instructor, are enjoying the sport and getting better while also becoming healthier. The main factor in the rise in popularity of this martial arts form is because of the fact that Han Mu Do is a fun, easy and healthy way to attain a sound mind, heart and body.

It is focused on getting energy and strength and places emphasis on “oneness” of mind and body and of balance. Unlike other martial arts forms which are violent, Han Mu Do does not encourage aggression and violence. It instead focuses on channeling the energy of the body and creating balance between all the systems. Having a sound mind and a great looking body are more than enough reasons why people should get into Han Mu Do today.