Hapkido is a Korean martial art that is written with the same three Chinese characters as aikido. Hapkido’s techniques, however, bear little resemblance to aikido’s. Although Choi Yong-sul is credited with founding hapkido, it’s probably more accurate to say that hapkido arose from a collaborative effort among a small group of Korean nationals (Ji Han-jae, Kim Moo-hong, Suh Bok-sub and Myung Jae-nam) following the period of Japanese colonialism in Korea.


Hapkido originally focused on pressure-point strikes, joint locks and throws, but now, thanks to the influence of hapkido expert Ji Han-jae, it also includes highly refined kicks and hand strikes. Various weapons are taught, including the cane (perhaps influenced by French savate), staff and belt. Development of the practitioner’s ki (life force) is also stressed. Hapkido, which doesn’t have any forms, is usually considered a self-defense style rather than a martial sport.

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