Hapkido Sydney

The complete Mixed Martial Arts Self Defence System

Whilst most martial arts look at incorporating two or three technique areas, eg. Karate and Taekwondo (Striking, Blocking, Weapons) or Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Grappling and Throwing), Hapkido is unique as it integrates all seven technique areas (Striking, Blocking, Grappling, Throwing, Weapons, Internal and Healing).

The first six areas are highlighted equally during formal training. The seventh area, healing techniques is part of Instructor and Master level training where you will learn to manage injury with revival, chiropractic, pressure point and massage techniques.

When technically comparing to other martial arts, one could recognise Hapkido as the complete martial art system as it incorporates:
  • Joint locks and submissions found in Japanese Jujitsu and Aikido.
  • Kicking techniques and footwork like Taekwondo and Kickboxing.
  • Punches and hand strikes as in Karate and Boxing.
  • Chokes, pins, throws and sweeps found in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
  • Acrobatic attacking techniques like Wu Shu and Capoeira.
  • Breathing, stretching and meditation similar to Tai Chi and Yoga.
  • Integrated "hard" and "soft" methods found in many Kung Fu systems.
  • Weapon defence systems like Ninjutsu ranging from Knife, Short Stick (baton), Towel, Cane, Sword, Nunchaku, Long Staff and Hand Gun Defence.

Learn about the Hapkido belt system

"Progressive by nature, Traditional by choice"

To understand why Hapkido has achieved such a complete method of training, one must look into martial arts history. Hapkido today is quite different to the Hapkido taught by its founder Choi, Yong Sul. The enrichment of many innovators up until the last decade have influenced the art to constantly adapt to modern day technique.

The Hapkido diverse range of techniques are developed for self defence and provide a framework for the excellence in character by integrating mental, physical and spiritual values. Physical techniques are distinguished by a constant flow of blocking, striking, joint locking, throwing and submission techniques. Constant movement and fluid circular motion are designed to redirect an opponent's force. Tactics are often more soft than hard and more internal than external with power and leverage generating through the entire body.

Hapkido 1st Degree curriculum employs about 300 core techniques, which intuitively combined can create thousands of variations. The art's extremely practical and effective nature has led to its wide use by law enforcement and military professionals, as well as by the general public in over 100 countries around the world.

Self Defence Skills

Grappling Skills

Throwing Skills

Striking Skills

Hapkido Philosophy

All martial arts are created of a philosophy linked to particular techniques. These are 5 categories that will help you define philosophy in martial arts:

1. The Arts Purpose

Hapkido's purpose Is essentially expressed in its name "the way of co-ordinated power".

Hap - meaning "co-ordination of harmony", Ki - meaning "energy" or "power", Do - meaning "the way".

2. Belief System

An essential belief of Hapkido is the idea that martial arts training are a means to physical health, fitness, confidence, mental well-being, spiritual growth and an excellence in character. Strict physical training and written theory prepares the mind and body for the difficulties and challenges in life. Confidence in the ability to avoid violence leads to a passive and calm nature.

3. Moral Values

The moral values taught in Hapkido and here at GIANT are similar to the values stressed in society as a whole:

Tenets of Hapkido

Hapkido aims to achieve, Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance and Self Control:

  • Modesty: Not to be vain or boastful in what you do.
  • Courtesy: To be polite and respectful to others.
  • Integrity: To have high moral standards and to be honest.
  • Perseverance: To keep on going even if you are tired.
  • Self Control: To have control over your emotions, not to show anger, frustration or fear.


Daily Ingredients for Success in Martial Arts
  1. Focus on proper thought.
  2. Have contact with diverse physical conditions.
  3. Practice and revise your techniques, mannerism and theory.
  4. Eat and absorb suitable nourishment.
  5. Getting the proper amount of rest.

4. Philosophical Pinciples

All martial arts are defined by specific philosophical ideas that determine the way in which the art is practiced. Hapkido is defined by three essential concepts:

Harmony Theory

Harmonising of body and mind. Every action becomes focused, perfectly linked to the moment of its existence. Empty mind and total awareness is developed. Thought and action are merged into a single purposeful act.

Water Theory

Relates ones actions to the flowing of water. Water always finds a way and can penetrate the strongest surface. Constant pressure, flow of movement, persistence, adaptableness, penetration and softness are the key qualities that characterise a Hapkidoist combative nature.

Circle Theory

The circle is rich in meaning. It symbolises wholeness, unity and eternity. The circle also represents recurrence, vitality, endless movement and the many cycles that characterise the universe. Hapkido techniques are made up of many circular movements.

5. Technical Principles

All Hapkido's techniques are based on the following 7 principles:

  1. Redirection of Force
  2. Flow of Movement
  3. Circular Movement
  4. Yelling 
  5. Attacking Vital Points
  6. Live Hand
  7. Leverage

1. Redirection of Force

In Hapkido, an attack is not met straight on. Power against power, preferred in "hard styles" is discouraged as it increases the risk of injury. In Hapkido an attacker's power is used against them, by manipulating the attackers balance or redirecting their energy (external and internal) you increase the efficiency of your own technique.

2. Flow of Movement

Hapkido techniques are distinguished by a constant flow of strikes, blocks, locks, chokes and throws. Movement is constant and may incorporate circular and spinning actions. By constantly varying body movement you become more difficult to target and are much more likely to disorient and frustrate your opponent.

3. Circular Movement

Many Hapkido techniques are made up of circular movements. Large or small circles can be seen in the motions of strikes, blocks, joint locks, chokes, takedowns and throws. Circles can also be seen in footwork, grappling and general body movements.

4. Yelling

Having a habit of Yelling when defending yourself will help to scare your attacker and if not, will draw attention to the situation allowing a likelihood of someone coming to help.

Yelling also produces internal energy (Ki). In essence Ki is adrenaline used to assist in the application of a technique. When fighting an overpowering opponent, the addition of Ki may be the difference between a technique that will work and one that fails. When adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands (located just above the kidneys), it produces cardiac stimulation, constriction of blood and bronchial relaxation ultimately elevating your performance. In Hapkido this is done through a visualisation of energy from the core (two inches below the navel) upward through the body and projected outward with a Ki-Yap (shout/yell).

5. Attacks to Vital Points

Throughout the grades of Hapkido you will develop a fundamental understanding of vital points for combat. According to the study of acupuncture, there are thousands of vital points in the body, however a small percentage of these can be used in self defence. By feeling around you can find some of these points as they are sensitive to pressure.

We should not rely solely on vital point striking to get the better of an opponent, rather look to strike a vital point to distract "Spark" and follow through with a submission on your opponent which can give you the time you need to get away safe. Even though Vital Points can be used to hurt, remember they are also used to heal which certain massage techniques assist in releasing stress from the body.

6. Live Hand

The term "Live Hand" refers to the specific hand formations which are used to engage the muscles in the arms. This will increase arm strength and power when required, such as during an arm escape or application of a joint lock. Live Hands assist in many strikes, blocks, locks and throws, they are also used in breathing exercises. A typical live hand formation is an open hand spreading the fingers wide and slightly bending the finger tips inwards. The hand on the Korea Hapkido Federation logo is also another formation of a live hand when executing joint locks, throws and short stick techniques.

7. Leverage

One can use the mass of the body (or part of it) as strength to perform an action by pressure, pull or twist. However, the ideal would be to make use of leverage to reduce the effort. A point of support must be found, which allows strength to be multiplied during the execution of a submission, sweep, throw or takedown. The body can also be used as a lever in stand-up fighting. The rotation of the torso in Boxing allows a greater efficiency and potency of the punches.

Principles of Leverage:
"Leverage is the act of using a small amount of effort to move a large load".

A lever has three components:

Fulcrum: The point at which the lever pivots;
Load: The force applied by the lever system;
Effort: The force applied by the user of the lever system

See examples of a first class lever:

Hapkido Technical Overview

Our Beginner to Master Curriculum at GIANT covers the following technical areas via a step by step professional training guide! The 1st Degree curriculum is made up of approximately 350-400 hours of training time (Approx. 4 to 5 years as an adult).

All Hapkido techniques cover offensive and defensive situations, against single and multiple attackers from standing, ground & airborne positions. Stances are transitional from defensive, attacking and relaxed stance. Hapkido techniques fall into these groups:

  • Defence against Holds/Grabs from Front and Rear (Wrist, Arms, Clothing, Hair, Bear Hugs, Half/Full Nelsons etc.)
  • Defence against Punches (Jab, Cross, Hook, Uppercuts, Lunging Punches, Punching Combinations, Lunges with both Hands etc.)
  • Defence against Kicks (Knee Kicks, Front Kicks, Side Kicks, Round Kicks, Back Kicks, Spinning Kicks etc.)
  • Defence against Chokes (Front Chokes, Rear Chokes, Collar Chokes, Headlocks etc.)
  • Defence against Joint Locks (Reversing Knife Hand Locks, Wing Locks, V Locks, Armbars, Wrist & Shoulder Locks etc.)
  • Defence against Throws (Counter Hip Throws, Leg Throws, Tackles/Shoots etc.)
  • Ground Defences (Defence from ground positions such as Mount, Side Control, Guard, Turtle, North & South, Knee Ride, Scarfhold, Back Control etc.)
  • Defence Using One or No Arms
  • Attacking and Arresting Techniques (Strikes, Joint Locks and Throws with and without Weapons)
  • Defence against Multiple Attackers
  • Defence against Weapons (Knives, Bats, Guns etc.)
  • Defence using Weapons (Baton, Belt, Nunchaku, Long Staff, Cane, Sword and Household Items such as Towels, Rope, Keys, Broom etc.)

Collectively the above categories are broken down by the following seven technique areas:

1. Striking
  • Open Hand Strikes
  • Punches
  • Elbow Strikes
  • Standing Kicks
  • Knee Strikes
  • Ground Kicks
  • Jumping Kicks
2. Blocking
  • Avoiding & Parrying
  • Hand & Arm Blocks
  • Shielding Blocks
  • Kick Blocks
  • Kicks used to Block
  • Blocking Weapons
3. Grappling
  • Standing Movement & Escapes
  • Ground Rolling, Sweeps, Pins & Escapes
  • Wrist Locks
  • Elbow Locks
  • Shoulder Locks
  • Finger Locks
  • Leg Locks
  • Chokes
  • Pressure Points
4. Throwing
  • Breakfalls
  • Hip Throws
  • Leg Throws (Hooks, Reaps and Sweeps)
  • Sacrifice Throws
  • Kick-Counter Throws
  • Hand Throws
  • Shoulder Throws
5. Weapons
  • Knife
  • Short Stick (Police Baton)
  • Towel / Rope / Belt / Nunchaku
  • Medium Stick & Twin Stick
  • Long Staff
  • Cane
  • Sword
  • Handgun
6. Internal Breathing & Meditation

Various forms of breathing and meditation are used to focus the mind, increase concentration, enhance physical performance and improve health. Many breathing stances throughout our curriculum are performed from traditional stances such as Eagle, Falcon and Naega Shin Jang.

7. Healing

Basic first aid and revival techniques are attained at Instructor level whereas more sophisticated healing techniques are acquired at Master level through the study of a specific healing art of choice such as massage, chiropractic or acupuncture.

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