1HapkidoHapkido is a Korean martial art with a strong emphasis on self-defense.

Utilizing a combination of joint locks, quick circular strikes, pressure points, throws, and well-placed kicks, it can be a very effective combat technique. It also incorporates many defensive moves including blocks, evasive moves, rolling, and falling techniques.


Advanced forms of Hapkido also work on the development and mastery of ‘Ki’, and the use of traditional weapons. These weapons include sword fighting or Gumdo, rope, nunchaku, cane, short stick, and bo staff – all which vary depending upon the practitioner’s program. Yong-in Tae Kwon Do instructors emphasize here that basic techniques and the physical aspects of Hapkido must be developed first in order to move onto advanced study.

The meaning of the word “Hap” “Ki” “Do”, although composed of three parts as shown in the English spelling, is only one word in Korean language.

Hap means “together” or, in other words, “the harmony of body and spirit”; Ki is a Korean word that is defined as ‘life and body energy’; and Do means the “way” or “discipline.” If we put these three parts together, we can better understand the concepts behind “Hap Ki Do”.

The word “Hapkido” literally translates to “the art, or way, of coordinated power”, and its history shows it to be a very practical martial art.

Hapkido is believed by many to share a common history with Aikido, a Japanese martial art that allows a person to redirect the force of an attacker when being attacked. However, Hapkido’s philosophy differs in its range of responses and manner of executing techniques.

Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resistive movements, and control of the opponent, often using with minimal effort.Thus, this martial art can truly be learned by both men and and women, regardless of their age.

(Yes, kids can learn too. Please click here to get additional information about children’s Hapkido classes here at Yong-in Tae Kwon Do.)

Although, Hapkido contains powerful kicking, as well as both outfighting and infighting techniques, the goal in most situations is to get inside for a close-in strike, lock, or throw. Submission or finishing techniques are used to control the attacker once they reached the ground.

The Three Principles of Hapkido

The techniques of Hapkido are themselves based on three underlying principles, according to the European Hapkido Alliance.

The Principle of Water: When deflecting the attacker’s punch, the defender is like water that has been penetrated with a stone. No sooner has the stone divided the water than it flows together again to surround and envelop the stone. Similarly, we “go with the flow” in the execution of our techniques.

The Principle of the Circle: Instead of meeting the attacker’s punch with a direct block, in other words meeting force with force, the defender utilizes the circular principle to deflect and re-direct the  punch and its force. The circle is always present in Hapkido techniques; it may be a large circle which is performed when executing a throwing technique or a small circle such as that used in a wrist lock.

The Principle of Harmony: Even though the force of the punch is directed straight at the defender, he/she does not oppose that force, but instead goes with it. In this way we harmonize with the force becoming one with it.

What is a normal class like?

Although our Hapkido curriculum is slightly incorporated into our Tae Kwon Do program, as of January 2013, we now offer a formal martial arts program.

A normal class runs around 50 minutes depending on the level of practioners and the size of the class. All classes begin and end formally with respect being paid to the flag, the instructor and one’s fellow students.

There are typically five stages to every class:

  • The start of class begins with instuctor-led stretching and warm-up exercises.
  • The second stage of class involves executing a review of circle steps, basic joint locks and kicks to thoroughly develop technique and effectiveness in self- defense strategy.
  • At the third stage of class, will introduced to various take-down maneuvers and body grab defenses (i.e – Front of Body, Back of Body, Ground Defense, and Various Throws.) Stages of difficulty progress as student graduates in rank.
  • The fourth stage of class begins with instuctor-led meditation and Dan Gun breathing exercises.
  • The final stage is when students line up according to their rank and the instructor concludes the class with final instructions or comments.

What style of Hapkido is taught?

World Hapkido Headquaters (WHH)style Hapkido is taught here at Yong-in Tae Kwon Do. This style of Hapkido is currently the only Tae Kwon Do sport sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). We use the WTF Tae Kwon Do belt system of recognition and promotion which give an incentive for all students to work hard, as well as help to develop their sense of self-esteem and confidence by providing a visual evidence of progress.


Who can learn?

Everyone from age 4 and up can learn TKD. It is a discipline that is specific for the individual—so whatever age, whatever weight, whatever handicap you may have, Tae Kwon Do can help you learn to improve yourself and your lifestyle. Tae Kwon-Do offers a vigorous and challenging workout. Through conditioning exercises involving the entire body, Tae Kwon-Do promotes quickness, strength, flexibility and endurance. Its emphasis on technique and body-control also provide invaluable training for those active in other sports from soccer and hockey to tennis and golf.