Hapkido | Fighting Styles


Hapkido refers to a Korean martial art that combines tactics from judo, karate and aikido. It is also influenced by other martial arts native to Korea. Hapkido is characterized by throws and wrist locks that look fairly spectacular. Its uniforms are colored black and white and have diamond patterns on them.

Hapkido was founded by Grandmaster Choi and was developed during the 1940s. Grandmaster Choi initially learned martial arts in a Japanese school of Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jujutsu, the ancient form of Jujutsu, which samurai mostly practiced.

When Choi came back to Korea, he decided to add a lot of defensive tactics for certain kinds of attacks, which were heavily taken from various other styles out there. The name “Hapkido” as we know it today has changed numerous times and Choi’s most famous students, like Ji Han Jae, kept developing this art as hapkido made its way into the West. Here, it was taught to US government agencies, such as the FBI.

Hapkido’s goal is to become an effective self-defense form. It makes use of kicks, joint locks, throws, pressure points, and various other strikes. Practitioners of hapkido train to counter tactics of various other martial arts and common attacks. A wide array of cold weapons are also put to use, such as short sticks, ropes, canes, staffs and swords that differ in emphasis, all depending on the certain traditions that are examined. Hapkido holds a lot of throwing tactics similar to judo.

Even though hapkido makes use of both close and long range tactics of fighting, its main purpose in the majority of its engagements would be to come closer for close throws, strikes, or locks. Hapkido emphasizes on opponent control, circular motion, and non-resisting movements. Its practitioners hope to gain full advantage through body positioning and footwork to make use of leverage and avoid using strength versus strength.

Overall, hapkido would be considered as a soft martial art when compared to harder styles which practice making use of force versus force, resulting in an outcome that matters solely on strength and size. Hapkido practitioners suppress or divert the energy flow of an attacker through peace, allowing him to put such a diversion to use by placing the power of the attacker against himself, ultimately defeating the attacker. By using pressure on particular pressure points and skeletal joints, very little strength would be needed to win over opponents.

Hapkido doesn’t just redirect attacks, though; it completely turns them back to attackers, following through with offensive tactics that might control violence or render opponents incapable of more antagonistic actions. Hapkido practitioners are in total control of any confrontation, defusing aggressions without needing uncontrolled damage like a lot of harder styles do.

Hapkido offers total physical conditioning that can improve posture, balance, flexibility, quickness, timing, joint strength, muscle tone and overall confidence through both mental and physical disciplines. Hapkido also happens to be a highly effective form of defense against uncommon and common assaults. The most mysterious kind of martial art in the world today, it combines the break-falling and locking aikido aspects with the throwing judo aspects, as well as the kicking and striking taekwondo aspects. An amazing art, it has the complete power to unlock secret powers of confidence and strength in even smaller people, no matter how old or of what gender.

Hapkido comes with three essential principles:

1. The circle principle, where every movement is round. Hapkido fighters move as if they were in a ball and forces get rerouted from outside to neutralize at the ball’s surface.
2. The river principle. Rivers adapt very flexibly to landscapes, yet develop great strength during their buildup. Similarly, hapkidokas also react sensitively to their opponents to let their stored ki flow into them through the use of tactics at the most crucial moments.
3. The influence principle. Through lightning movements that are hardly noticeable, aggressors are arranged to use reflex counter movements that are put to use in subsequent tactics.

Two important people have turned hapkido into what it is in today’s day and age: Grandmaster Cho and Grandmaster Ji. Due to the partly contradicting predicates, it cannot be precisely determined which of them should be regarded as hapkido’s founder. However, both were instrumental when it came to bringing its development about and should both be referred to as hapkido’s founders because of it.

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