What is Hap Ki Do?
Hap means "together" and means the harmony of body and spirit.
Ki defines the life and body energy.
Do means "way of life, way of learning".
Hapkido includes a vast variety of arm an leg joint locks, weapon techniques, throw, kick, hit, and nerve pressure techniques. Hapkido is no martial sport but a martial art, which is outstandingly suitable for personal self-defense. It can be learned both by men and by women, regardless of their age.
Hapkido prides itself on effective self-defense and as such employs joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and other body strikes. Hapkido is an authentic Korean martial art of total self-defense. The martial art deals with countering the techniques of other martial arts as well as common "unskilled" attacks. Although hapkido contains both long range fighting and infighting techniques, the end of most situations is to get near for a close strike, lock, or throw. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Hapkido practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.
On the "hard-soft" scale of martial arts, hapkido stands somewhere in the middle, utilizing "soft" techniques similar to aikido and "hard" techniques of taekwondo or tangsoodo. Even the "hard" techniques, though, emphasize circular rather than linear movements. Hapkido is an eclectic martial art, and different hapkido schools emphasize different techniques. However, some core techniques are found in each school (kwan), and all techniques should follow the principles of hapkido:
Hwa, or non-resistance, is simply the act of remaining relaxed and not directly opposing an opponent's strength. For example, 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.
One of hapkido's key principles, Won consists in redirecting the opponent's power in a circular motion, as shown.Won, the circular 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 practitioner would redirect the opponent's force by leading the attack in a circular pattern, thereby adding the attacker's power to his own. Once he has redirected the power, the hapkido student can execute any of a variety of techniques to incapacitate his attacker. The hapkido practitioner learns to view an attacker as an "energy entity" rather than as a physical entity. The bigger the person is, the more energy a person has, the better it is for the hapkido student.
Ryu, the water principle, can be thought of as the soft, adaptable strength of water. Hapkido is "soft" in that it does not rely on physical force alone, much like water is soft to touch. It is adaptable in that a hapkido master will attempt to deflect an opponent's strike, in a way that is similar to free-flowing water being divided around a stone only to return and envelop it. "As the flowing stream penetrates and surrounds its obstructions and as dripping water eventually penetrates the stone, so does the hapkido strength flow in and through its opponents." These consist of gentle or forceful throws and joint control techniques derived largely from aikijujutsu. They are taught similarly to aikido techniques, but in general the circles are smaller and the techniques, particularly those of sin moo hapkido are applied in a more linear fashion. Most techniques work by a combination of unbalancing the attacker and applying pressure to specific places on the body, known as hyul. Hapkido makes use of over 750 pressure points.
The wide variety of kicks in hapkido make it distinctly Korean. Many of which are similar to taekwondo kicks, though again circular motion is emphasized. Hapkido's method of delivery tends toward greater weight commitment to the strikes and less concern for quick retraction of the kicking leg. As in other arts, such as Muay Thai, hapkido's emphasis is more towards power and commitment than to speed and the preference is toward hip rather than knee generated power. Traditionally, Grandmaster Choi Yong Sul's Yu Kwon Sul kicking techniques were only to the lower body, but most derived varieties of hapkido also includes high kicks and jumping kicks.
Hapkido employs a great number of punches and hand strikes, as well as elbow strikes. The hand strikes are often used to weaken the opponent before joint locking and throwing, and also as finishing techniques. A distinctive example of hapkido hand techniques is "live hand" strike that focuses energy to the baek hwa hyul in the hand, producing energy strikes and internal strikes. Hand striking in hapkido (unless in competition) is not restricted to punches and open hand striking. Some significance is given to striking with fingernails at the throat and eyes; pulling at the opponent's genitals is also covered in conventional training. In order to recall hand strikes more easily in an emotionally charged situation, beginning students are taught conventional, effective patterns of blocks and counterattacks called Makko Chigi, which progress to more complex techniques as the student becomes familiar with them.