An introduction to Hapkido

An introduction to Hapkido

What is Hapkido?

Founded in Korea in the post-Japanese colonial period, Hapkido is a form of martial art that embodies a number of broad-ranging techniques, such as joint locks, throwing, grappling and striking attacks such as punches and kicks. Unlike many other martial arts, Hapkido also teaches its students how to use weapons such as ropes, knives and more traditional weapons including staffs and canes.


Instead of teaching its students how to use brute strength, Hapkido focuses mainly on how to control one’s opponent by redirecting force using circular movements. Hapkido students are taught to position their body and use footwork to create leverage against their opponent, making the practice a more technical form of self-defence.

Hapkido moves are inspired by the ground fighting and throwing techniques of Japanese Judo and the striking and kicking techniques from indigenous arts such as Tang Soo Do and Taekkyon.


Different Hapkido schools focus on varying techniques, but they all follow the same three principles of the art:


This is known as the harmony or blending principle. This is a technique in which the student, when confronted with their opponent’s force, does not push back against it, but instead moves with the force to use its momentum to throw their opponent in that direction.


This is the circle principle. This technique involves redirecting an opponent’s attack to move in a circular motion instead of taking a hit straight on; this allows the student to use the opponent’s own strength against them.


Yu is the water principle. In Hapkido, a student will move with the flow of their opponent rather than fighting against them, similar to the way a river can wear away the rock underneath, even though the rock is stronger. In Hapkido, being an adaptable moving target is an advantage.

If you’re considering giving Hapkido or any other martial arts in Australia a go, browse our directory for Hapkido Dojo’s

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