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Hapkido

What is Hapkido?

Hapkido is one of the Korean martial arts. Hapkido employs joint manipulations, locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and strikes primarily for self-defense.

In the Korean language Hapkido translates literally as "joining-energy-way", but it is most often rendered as "the way of coordinating energy" or "the art of coordinated power."

The Hapkido practitioner learns to view an attacker as an "energy entity" rather than as a physical one. The bigger the person is, or the more energy a person has, the better it is for the Hapkido student.

Hapkido Techniques

Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resistive movements, and control of the opponent. Hapkido practitioners learn to use and control their own Ki and the Ki of their attacker.

Hapkido contains both outfighting and infighting techniques. The focus of most situations is to get near for a close strike, lock, or throw. Hapkido practitioners seek to gain advantage through techniques, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

Different hapkido schools emphasize different techniques. However, some core techniques are found in each school, and all techniques should follow the three principles of Hapkido:

  • Nonresistance ("Hwa")
    • Nonresistance, is the act of remaining relaxed and not directly opposing an opponent's strength.
    • If an opponent were to push against a Hapkido student's chest, rather than resist and push back, the Hapkido student would avoid a direct confrontation by moving in the same direction as the push and utilizing the opponent's forward momentum to throw him.
  • Circular Motion ("Won")
    • Circular motion principle is a way to gain momentum for executing the techniques in a natural and free-flowing manner.
    • If an opponent attacks in Linear motion, as in a punch or knife thrust, the Hapkido student would redirect the opponent's force by simply leading the attack in a circular pattern, thereby adding the attacker's power to his own.
    • Circular techniques: inside/outside crescent kick, spinning heel kick, roundhouse kick, hammer strike, and spinning side chap. Throwing techniques are always circular.
  • The Water Principle ("Yu")
    • The water principle, is described as total penetration of an opponent's defenses through continual attack.

Martial Arts Scale

On the "hard-soft" scale of martial arts, Hapkido stands somewhere in the middle, employing "soft" techniques similar to Aikido and "hard" techniques reminiscent of Taekwondo. The "hard" techniques, emphasize circular rather than linear movements.

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