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Hapkido is a dynamic and also eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, techniques of other martial arts, as well as kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. There is also the use of traditional weapons, including a sword, rope, nunchaku, cane, short stick, and staff (gun, bō) which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.

Hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, utilizing jumping kicks and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, joint locks, or throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

As well as self-defence, other beenfits include: fitness, flexibility, co-ordination, muscular endurance & strengthening, self-control, posture, confidence, timing, self-esteem & much much more.

The art copied from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu or a closely related jujutsu system taught by Choi Yong-Sool (Hangul: 최용술) who returned to Korea after World War II, having lived in Japan for 30 years. This system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous and contemporary arts such as taekkyeon and tang soo do. Its history is obscured by the historical animosity between the Korean and Japanese people following the Second World War.


hap means “coordinated” or “joining”; 기 ki describes internal energy, spirit, strength, or power; and 도 do means “way” or “art”, yielding a literal translation of “joining-energy-way”. It is most often translated as “the way of coordinating energy”, “the way of coordinated power” or “the way of harmony”.

Although aikido and hapkido are believed by many to share a common history, they remain separate and distinct from one another. They differ significantly in philosophy, range of responses and manner of executing techniques. The fact that they share the same original Chinese characters, despite 合 being pronounced “ai” in Japanese and “hap” in Korean, has proved problematic in promoting the art internationally as a discipline with its own set of unique characteristics differing from those of the Japanese art.

Historically Hapkido was an art confined for the Royal Court, to the nobility and upper class society.

Hapkido techniques were originally handed down through the hierarchy of monks, ruling families, royal officials and the elite‘hwarang’ warriors of Korea.

The purpose was for self-protection and also to train the future national leaders by means of stringent training, combining mental discipline, martial arts and traditional scholarship.