Hapkido is a Korean martial art which deals with all aspects of combat: kicks, strikes, punches, throws, break-falls, locks, blocking, redirecting and other defensive movements as well as weapons training. Hapkido is also known for its breathing and energy (Ki) exercises as well as its healing techniques usually practised at Master level.
Main goals: self‐defence, self‐discipline and self‐control.
Hapkido is a comprehensive martial art system which adapts itself to all: grapplers and hitters, men and women, young and old.
• A wide spectrum of kicking techniques ranging from high spinning kicks to low sweeping ones, very typical of native Korean martial arts
• A wide spectrum of hand techniques which include trapping and hitting techniques with fist, palm, hand, fingers and elbow
• Various grappling, throwing and locking techniques
• Weapons training, in particular, the chukdo (wooden sword) and danbong (short stick)
Literal meaning of Hapkido
• Hap: harmony, coming together or coordinating
• Ki: universal life force or energy
• Do: the way, method or path
The way of harmonious power or the method of harmonizing energy. Also interpreted as:
• becoming one with the universe, or
• harmonizing mind, body and spirit with nature
Origins of Hapkido
• Daito Ryu Aki-Jujutsu as inherited and developed by Sokaku Takeda (1859-1943) in Japan
• Korean Yong-‐Sul Choi is said to have learned Daito Ryu from Takeda between 1913 and 1943
• Shortly after Takeda‘s death, Choi returned to Korea and established his first Korean Dojang teaching what was first known as Yu Sul
• Choi and his top students, such as Ji Han-Jae (famously known for his part in the Bruce Lee movie Game of death) further developed the art by combining it with native Korean arts, particularly those which featured a wide spectrum of kicking techniques, internal techniques for developing Ki power as well as meditation and healing techniques
• Native Korean martial arts influencing the development of hapkido as we know it today include Subak (old kick-punch martial art), Taekyon (which also developed into a traditional kick-sweep contest) and Ssirum (Korean wrestling)
• Hapkido as a name emerged in 1958
• Yu: water – the ability to adapt to a given situation, knowing how to change at the right time through fluidity and relaxation.
• Won: circle – the ability to absorb, redirect and utilise the opponent’s force through circular and flexible movement.
• Hwa: harmony – the ability to anticipate and feel the opponent’s actions in line with a non-resistance strategy.
These concepts are based on the use of the opponent’s force through a good application of energy and breath power as well as the proper adaptation of the practitioner to all types of situations.