Hyung Bup — like all principles of martial arts — can also be applied to life off the mat. “Hyung,” which roughly translates to “connected moves, patterns, and/or forms,” and “Bup,” which is translated as “law, principle, art, and/or theory,” is a form of conditioning for Kuk Sool Won™ practitioners. Kuk Sa Nim developed these Five Principles to give his students a solid foundation for not just how to practice their forms, but why they’re practicing them.
Here, we review these fascinating principles — but always consult your WKSA Textbook for the most accurate outline of theory and practice.
1) Eyes: Bright and Clear
THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE
Mindset is everything. “Attitude affects our altitude,” as they say. Next time you’re practicing your forms (“hyung”), try imagining your eyes are bright, like two pools of water reflecting moonlight. Visualize your entire body’s energy (“ki” or “qi”) shining out through your eyes, penetrating whatever your gaze lands upon, without effort or force. Just let it flow naturally, like your breath. If we keep practicing, we eventually learn how to apply these principles outside of class into everyday life — letting our light shine on all that crosses our path. It lets others know that we are aware, present, and grounded — which is a signal of strength. This positive, calm, self assurance repels potential predators and attracts others of like energy — which is a form of self-defense.
2) Mind: Calm and Focused
BE HERE NOW
When practicing with this principle at the forefront of our minds, hyungs become a deep form of moving meditation. Focus on your breath, on grounding yourself out through the movement — from your core, out into your limbs, and eventually exiting your hands, feet, and mouth/nose. You will find that your body and mind will naturally start to calm down. This can be an excellent method for alleviating stress and anxiety, in addition to perfecting your forms.
3) Body: Soft and Low
THE ULTIMATE CARDIO
Practicing one’s forms can be an excellent and intense cardio workout. Next time you are craving a good sweat, focus on keeping your body and stances (“ja-se”) as low as you can while maintaining stability and a sense of “softness.” “Soft” does not imply weak or limp, it implies a state lacking any form of tenseness. Next time you have the honor of watching a high belt perform their hyung, note how calm and relaxed they are — or watch a cat while it’s jumping — it is very relaxed as it lands, which dissipates the energy from the impact.
Practicing forms in low, soft stances not only builds strength — should you ever need to use your skills in a real world self-defense scenario, you will be far more effective in a normal stance if you’ve been practicing low stances. It’s like running with weights for weeks, and then racing with no added weight — you will be far faster, more efficient, and in the case of self-defense, more likely to escape whatever danger has crossed your path.
4) Feet: Slow and Precise
FIND YOUR RHYTHM
Focusing on your footwork develops balance and timing. Forms can be thought of as almost like a dance that moves to your own inner rhythm, and developing your footwork also develops your sense of rhythm. This makes your hyung more smooth, grounded, and focused. It also maximizes the amount of power you can channel — if your rhythm, balance, or timing is off, you stifle your potential power.
5) Hands: Fast and Controlled
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HANDS
This is often one of the last principles focused on while studying hyung, because it is more achievable when one has balanced the other four principles first. Without the proper foundation, one cannot achieve speed and accuracy. When focusing on this aspect of forms, the goal is to keep the hands fast, yet precise and relaxed. Hands must move faster than feet to generate force, as they are smaller and lighter. Without accuracy as well as speed, however, one will be less efficient in their movements and could even incur injury.
Focus on cultivating these principles, continue to study your textbook, ask your Instructor any questions you may have — and you will go far in your training, and beyond!
We hope this is helpful to you during belt testing, or anytime you need some focus.
Kam sam ni da!
Published: May 2, 2023