Hapkido is a hybrid Martial Art that is characterised by its diverse set of techniques and circular movements.  The Martial Art focuses on both long-range and close-range fighting techniques and its syllabus consists of a variety of weapons.  Hapkido, like Aikido, was adapted from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu.  Principles such as redirection of force, which is also integral to Aikido, are an important part of this Martial Art.


Way of Coordinated Power
Choi Yong-Sool
Country of Origin
Primary Focus
Striking, Joint-locks, Takedowns, Throwing, Weapons


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Brief History

Hapkido was adapted from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu by Choi Yong-Sool who lived and trained in Japan for 30 years.  This combat system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous Korean Martial Arts such as Taekkyon and Tang Soo Do.  Throwing and ground-fighting techniques were also incorporated from Judo.

Hapkido thus became Hybrid in nature, incorporating elements of striking, grappling and weapons-based combat into its system.




  • Makko Chigi – combination of blocks and attacks trained in such a manner that they can be recalled in a high-pressure situation.
  • Ki Meditation Training – combination of breathing exercises, stretching and meditation to cultivate and maximise inner energy.
  • Break Falls – an integral part of all grappling and throwing techniques in which practitioners learn to minimise the impact of being thrown to the ground.

hapkido throws


The Martial Art in Practice

This fighting system addresses both long-range and close-range combat.  Kicks, punches, and other forms of striking are used in long-range combat whereas joint-locks, throws and pressure-point techniques are used close-combat scenarios. 

Like Aikido, Hapkido’s movements are circular in nature and utilises footwork and strategic body positioning to redirect the opponent’s energy.  This allows practitioners to effectively utilise leverage to overcome larger and stronger opponents.

Hapkido consists a wide variety of techniques such as:

  • Kicks and sweeps – large variety of kicks as seen in Taekkyon and Taekwondo
  • Knees
  • Punches
  • Elbows
  • Open hand strikes
  • Joint-locks, including elbow and wrist locks
  • Throws, like those encountered in Judo




  • Hwa – blending as opposed to clashing with an opponent, this refers to blending with the attacker’s movements and energy to gain control and subdue the opponent
  • Won – circle principle, is a method of movement to gain momentum to execute techniques in a natural and flowing way. The circular movement pattern enables the Hapkido practitioner to deflect and redirect an opponent’s attack away from the vital areas of the practitioner’s body. The practitioner gains a degree of control of the opponent’s force and is then able to use that force against the opponent.
  • Yew – flowing water principle. Best understood as stream that is consistently flowing. Such water can erode even a hard rock even though the rock is perceived as a stronger substance than water.  This refers to remaining fluid in nature and adapting to the opponent so that brute force can be neutralised, and the opponent can be controlled with their own energy.
  • Energy View – the Hapkido practitioner views an attacker as energy instead of a physical being. The idea is that the larger the attacker, the more energy the attacker has. The more energy the attacker has, the more energy is available for the Hapkido practitioner to use against the attacker.
  • Dan Jun Breathing – focused breath from the centre of the body to harmonise movements and increase the effectiveness of technique. All movements must originate from the Dun Jung area which is the centre of the body.

hapkido joint locks




  • Kal – Knife
  • Jung Bong – Baton sized stick
  • Danbong – Short Stick (approximately 35cm in length)
  • Ji-pang-ee – Cane
  • Rope
  • Gum – Sword
  • Jangbong – Long staff
  • Ssangjeolgon – Nunchaku


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