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Building blocks

The Building Blocks of HupKwonDo


To understand the concept behind kicking and punching one only needs to go to the animal world.

Think of how a cat strikes. He rolls the shoulder, sweeps his paw with a slightly bent elbow and follows through. You will never see him extending his joints all the way to the end. His movement is blinding fast, remarkably gentle, yet extremely effective. If you have ever been clawed by a cat, you will know exactly what we are talking about.

How does he rear back for another blow? He doesn't have to. The force of the strike has a natural action that springs his foot back into place. He is ready to strike again.

Add to all this the full weight of the creature's body. Imagine getting struck by a seven hundred pound tiger. You're dead.

Now, think of how a horse kicks. Does he flash his leg out all the way. Absolutely not. He squeezes the leg into his enormous rump and then lashes out with a short crushing blow that can take out a wall. He does not kick from the hinges of his leg but from the large muscles under his tail.

HupKwonDo punching and kicking is built upon these dynamics. What is true for the cat and for the horse is also true for human beings. Much more force comes from short sequential motion of the entire body than from the joints of the elbow and knee.

Most traditional forms of martial arts teach you to extend your arms and legs to the maximum. It looks pretty. It is strong, we agree. But half the force of the blow is absorbed by the knee and elbow joints which are not designed to withstand that amount of pressure and in time will collapse. Also, students are taught to hold back their strikes. The negative transfer of power goes directly to the larger muscle groups and joints: the shoulders, the lower back, the neck and so on. Just speak to all the veterans of the arts and ask them to tell you about their sore shoulders, gimpy knees, shattered elbows and aching backs. Many have had to retire because they are no longer physically capable of performing. They burn out because they are banged up.

This will never happen to you in HupKwonDo. You can go on forever if you wish.


The HupKwonDo punch is easy and natural. It is thrown out lightly and quickly. The force comes from the weight of the entire body. You never hyper-extend, as it slows you down for the next move. Most of the concentration is centered on the shoulder but no stress occurs because it is balanced by a follow-through motion from the entire body.

In training, punches are thrown gently in the air as one progress through the basic movements and patterns. There is no sense in straining yourself since there is no target. Form and technique are perfected.

On the bag however, focus and power are emphasized. You have now learned to concentrate all your energy on the target, the bag gets all the force, not you. It absorbs all the power and you receive great feedback as to the actual intensity of your punch.

All this happens without pain.

Later on, you are encouraged to lash out with rapid, repeated punches. Extended sessions on the bag produce endurance. You plow into the leather with non-stop tenacity and come away with great satisfaction.


Similar principles are applied to kicks. For the purposes of introduction we will center on the front kick.

The leg is lifted up and chambered lightly. Then the foot is extended out, three quarters of the way, with a follow through movement. At no time is the leg pulled back as in the traditional forms. All the force is driven outward. The natural momentum of the strike will spring the leg back without any concentrated effort on your part. It happens by itself.

As in punching, training sessions emphasize the form and technique of kicking in the structured movements and patterns. On the bag, focus and power once again take over for a perfectly balanced session.


Even the most volatile missile can be diverted by a very small obstruction. Great massive ships are rocked by tiny waves. Bullets can be deflected by twigs. Jets can be thrown off course by a gust of wind.

In other words, you do not need a great deal of force to run interference.

This is the central idea behind blocking in the art of HupKwonDo.

All motions of interference are gentle, subtle and remarkably fast. They are so quick and easy that punches can be thrown immediately with the same hand used to block without re-adjustment. This adds a dimension that is absolutely devastating. At no time can your opponent predict where your next strike is coming from. Not only that but as soon as he throws his first kick or punch he is confronted with having to block on the same side. He finds himself open, in an impossible situation and is promptly leveled.

Every block is directed toward the incoming blow. There is no rearing back to generate momentum. No time is lost.

The blocks are all done with the fleshy part of the appendages not the bone. The goal is to re-direct the attack away from its target not to meet it head on with equal force. You are looking to throw your opponent off balance. His own strength is used against him. It is equivalent to making him strike himself.

The actual application of a block is based on the same principle as kicking and punching: natural, fluid motion.

Blocks are incorporated with strikes in the HupKwonDo patterns. Master Lim has worked very hard to match each of the different types of attack with compatible defensive maneuvers. There is no tripping up, confusion or contradiction Then, in sparring sessions, all the tools are combined to program you to act quickly without thinking. There is no situation that will catch you off guard. You will be able to intercept and counter attack with adept efficiency in a split second.

It takes an equal amount of exertion to defend and attack in the style on the left. In HupKwonDo, minimal output produces the same result and more power is reserved for offense. You will notice the conservation of time and effort, yet, not a shred of effectiveness is lost. Why waste energy and limit endurance when you do not need to. Save it for the assault.


This is the area where HupKwonDo really excels. Patterns are balanced, flexible, speedy and conducive to real combat. The basics you have learned are applied into advanced combinations in the patterns.

Students are taught to move in eight different directions. First on one side and down the other. This works both sides of the body. Movements are mirrored as you progress.

You are equally mobile from the right hand side and the left. As a result, there are no gaps, no openings that your opponent may capitalize on. Every area is covered. Every angle is fortified. 

The student runs through each sequence of moves back and forth, left body, right body, in sequence. Each pattern features a specific combination of blocks, punches and kicks. By the time you learn all of them you will have performed approximately 1,700 specific moves.

There are presently twelve patterns, one for each belt level and more for each Dan in black belt. However Master Lim is producing new patterns consistently as there is no limit to the number of combinations that can be used. Therefore there is no limit to the number of patterns that can be provided.

The stances are relaxed and compact for maximum flexibility. The spacing of foot movement is shorter, like a walk so that you can dart about as fast as possible. There is always one heel off the ground, similar to fencing. This allows you to propel yourself back and forth in a flash. Also, the shift of weight maximizes blocking and punching without bolting you to the ground and rendering you immobile.

Breathing is rhythmic and in time with every move. It serves the same function as a metronome does for the piano player. It keeps time. Like beautiful music your pattern takes on a precise structure and a steady pace. You soon find yourself flowing and firing, stepping in and exploding in perfect harmony with colossal impact.

The patterns are really the finesse of the art but they are not just pretty to look at. They are extremely practical and can be used in any real life confrontation.

Nothing in HupKwonDo is done for show.