Hankido’s hwansangdobeop (환상도법, hwan-sang-do-beop) are part of what makes hankido unique. The term hwansang is often translated as ‘imagine’ or ‘vision’. When doing this techniques you either imagine doing one of hankido’s twelve self defence techniques or you imagine someone does them to you. It is comparable to what other martial arts do with forms, where you practice your moves without an actual opponent.
Hwansangdobeop gives you a method to focus on the details of the technique without actually needing an opponent. Right posture, right balance, right breathing and much more is part of what you try to improve when practicing hwansangdobeop.
Heaven and earth techniques
The twelve techniques where you practice doing hankido self defence are called Cheongibeop (천기법, cheon-gi-beop). Cheon means heaven (or sky). The techniques for the receiving end are called jigibeop (지기법). Ji means earth. You could also called them ‘heaven and earth techniques’. Just like heaven and earth are opposites, the techniques are. This also relates to the concept of eum (yin) and yang.
There are three ways to practice cheongibeop; sitting, standing and in motion. Your motions follow the line of the actual technique. Because there is no actual opponent that is distracting you, it is easier to focus on your technique. Aspects that are important in a technique can no be practiced with distraction. Think of things like staying calm, keeping your balance, controlling your breathing, stay relaxed, moving from your body core and generating power from it.
Jigibeop are also called ‘hosinbatgi-undong’ (호신받기운동) which you could translate as ‘exercises to receive self defence’. These techniques are used to relax, stretch and prepare your body so you will be better prepared to receive the technique. Being able to actually receive a technique is a form of self defence as well. You prepare your body, so the damage done can be minimised or avoided. It helps you to keep your mind calm and body relaxed when the other party tries to damage you. You could compare it to practicing nakbeop (falling techniques), which we believe are a form of self defence as well.
Somtimes jigibeop and nakbeop are combined to form one exercise.