Hapkido was first used by a group of Korean nationals in the period after the Japanese colonial era of Korea. Choi Yong Sul and his students; Suh Bok Sub, who was the first student of the art, Ji Han Jae promoter of the art, Kim Moo Hong, Myung Jae Nam who forged a the connection between the art of hapkido and Japanese aikido and then founded Hankido, were responsible and given the credit for developing Hapkido. The art was originated solely as a self defense martial art and today can be learned by anyone who is reasonably fit and the training helps students learn an effective self defense method whilst gaining all the other benefits that martial arts training offers such as self confidence, improved health, along with increased fitness and stamina.
As a self defense method, Hapkido employs joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and other strikes and is an authentic Asian martial art of total self-defense. Hapkido training teaches students how to deal not only with countering the techniques of other martial arts, but also of common “unskilled" attacks. Practitioners of hapkido try to get the advantage over their opponents through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength. Getting in close is the ideal although long rang fighting techniques are taught.
As a martial art Hapkido is somewhere between the “soft” techniques of Aikido and the “hard” techniques of taekwondo, although, even with the “hard” techniques more emphasis is places on circular movements rather than linear. Some different schools teach slightly different techniques but the core techniques are found in all schools and should follow the basic principles of Hapkido, which are: Nonresistance or Hwa, Circular Motion or Won and The Water Principle or Ryu.
Hwa, means to stay relaxed and not directly oppose an opponent's strength rather use his own strength against him to unbalance him. Won, is the circular principle, shows you how to gain momentum and execute a technique in a smooth style. An example shows that the bigger the person is, the more energy a person has, the better it is for the Hapkido student and Ryu, is the water principle, thinking of soft, adaptable strength of water. In Hapkido you do not rely on physical force alone. A Hapkido student must learn to deflect an opponent's strike, in a smooth method just like water being divided in a creek by a rock then rejoining itself once round. The core techniques are made up of either gentle or forceful throws and joint control techniques which were derived from aikijujutsu. Most techniques in Hapkido work with a combination of unbalancing the attacker and applying pressure to specific places on the body. Hapkido uses over 700 pressure points in the body for total effectiveness.
Hapkido training is suitable for all ages, adults down to young children. For the children under 12, a modified form is taught. No weapons can be used and all joint locking techniques have been removed for these younger children’s class and simple throws are aimed at self defense and anti bullying.
Yoshi E Kundagawa is a freelance journalist. He covers the mixed martial arts industry. For a free report on Hapkido Training visit his blog.
Yoshi Kundagawa is a freelance journalist covering the martial arts world. Too much time at his computer eating donuts reduced him to couch potato status. He's on a quest to recapture his youth and fitness. You can read his blog at http://www.martialarts3000.com