What is Hapkido?
Hapkido is different than the sports listed here as it combines linear and circular movements: punching, kicking, throwing, twisting and utilizing pressure point techniques. These various actions allow the Hapkido practitioner to deal with an opponent using the appropriate level of force. Hapkido is taught as a true Royal Martial Art. The techniques can be applied to subdue, disable or even kill an attacker if necessary. Because the Hapkido practitioner has many options in dealing with an adversary, it can be used successfully by individuals of any size or build.
Hapkido is a "soft" martial art, in comparison to other "hard" forms such as Karate and Taekwondo. It is distinctive in that it employs a totally defensive philosophy and posture, rather than attacking, aggressive tactics typical of other martial arts. The Hapkido practitioner, employing this defensive posture, can defend himself successfully against aggressive attacks using only his hands. This is to say the enemy can be controlled by purely defensive means. How you ask? Through using the attacker's own energy and force against himself. The opponent's power can be deflected to control the situation. By using pressure points an opponent can be subdued while inflicting as little or as much physical damage as is needed.
History of Hapkido
According to legends that are thousands of years old Hapkido can trace its beginnings to the ancient Buddhist civilization. The Buddhists performed extensive research into the workings of the human body (i.e. pressure points) and this compilation of medical knowledge helped from the basis of Hapkido.
This reliance on medical research helps differentiate Hapkido from other martial arts. Hapkido makes use of over 650 pressure points found within the human body allowing practitioners to successfully defend themselves against attackers of any size without reliance on brute force.
From ancient beginnings, the art of Hapkido spread with the expansion of the Buddhist religion. The highest level of the art was practiced by residents of the Sho-Lim temple under the reign of the great monk, Dar Ma. Historians who study martial arts generally agree that Hapkido knowledge was transmitted from ancient China, spread south to Korea, and finally across the sea to Japan.
The Japanese form of Hapkido is called Aikido. The Aikido is restricted to the use of hands to perform twisting and throwing techniques to subdue an opponent. Traditional Hapkido includes hand strikes and kicks as well as twisting and throwing techniques.
The Hapkido Master is also trained in the proficient use of several weapons, including the sword, the cane, the staff and the short stick. In Korea, the art of Hapkido has been practiced for 2,500 years, since the time of the Shil-La dynasty. For most of this time, however, the knowledge was limited to members of the Korean Royal families and their nobles. The practice of Hapkido was restricted from the general public until the last hundred years. The relatively recent emergence of Hapkido is the main reason that there are very few legitimate Hapkido Masters today.