Meaning ‘the way of co-ordinated power’, Hapkido is a Korean style of martial arts. Hapkido, which is more often than not considered to be the complete art of self defense, has over 300 techniques. With thousands of variations, these techniques are organized into three main groups: hand vs hand combat, hand vs weapon combat and weapon vs weapon combat. Although mostly defensive, Hapkido can be broken down to both offensive and defensive techniques. In hand to hand combat, the practitioners are taught how to effectively immobilize their opponent through kicking, locking, punching, and throwing. Hapkido as a martial art stands out in that the practitioners learn techniques that emphasize effective maneuvering from unusual positions and places such as prone, seated or slightly disadvantaged positions.
As far as martial arts weapons go, Hapkido techniques incorporate a variety of weapons. These weapons include, the knife, sword, club, cane, and rope or belt. The other thing that makes it unique is that the practitioners learn to use their environment as weapons. Although mainly defensive, Hapkido is a lethal offensive technique that is aimed at using your opponents strength against them. In fact, one of the three Hapkido guiding principles is ‘Hwa’, which stands for exactly that, using your opponents strength against him or her. The other two principles are ‘Won’ which means circular motions and ‘Yu’ which means flowing like liquid or water. It is the combination of these three principles that make Hapkido such an effective style.
The teachings bare great emphasis on uniting one’s body as one harmonious whole. This means being in line with ones ‘ki’. One is to focus on their body’s natural energy, to harness that and use it in the performance of the various techniques taught in this discipline. The methods involved are taught in great detail and takes some considerable amount of time to fully master. This makes Hapkido one of the world’s most scientifically developed styles of martial arts.
Martial arts weapons that prominently feature in Hapkido include the short stick or what is known as ‘dan bong’, the sword, a staff known as “Jang Bong”, the practitioners belt or a rope and cane. Being a predominantly defensive style, Hapkido is unique in that the practitioners are taught how to use their belt or any rope as a weapon to subdue the opponent. This means that you can use your belt to immobilize the opponent’s arms, legs and neck by tying them up. This means you have to get close enough to the opponent. Use your belt to choke, strangle or immobilize them into submission.
The average person may ask, but how relevant is learning to fight with a sword, or I won’t be carrying a long pole down the street with me. Weapons training often involves using the weapon as an extension of one’s arm. The practitioner learns to generate power and extend that power beyond the hand to the tip of the weapon. With regular training, this helps the practitioner develop greater power of their hand techniques and improves their timing and co-ordination when sparring without weapons.
The use of martial arts weapons in Hapkido is very dangerous. Much like every other martial art, Hapkido techniques can instantly be turned into powerful offensive tools. Not only does the practitioner learn how to fight using sticks, ropes, cane and a staff, they also learn how to defend themselves against these weapons. Successful defense moves in Hapkido involve defending yourself against knives, swords, and sticks. These are all very dangerous techniques and should be practiced with great care.
Hapkido is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. With over 1.2 million black belts in Korea alone, Hapkido is widely spread across the globe finding willing and dedicated practitioners almost everywhere including the Northern beaches in Sydney. Many people strive to master this art, if not for self defense, then simply for the harmonious benefits the teachings have on the practitioner’s body and soul. Join a class today and learn how to be one with yourself.
To learn more about Hapkido classes, contact Master Matt Geister today. You can get in touch with him at