Although this style has a history that can be traced back over two thousand years, it nevertheless retains a practical and concentrated approach to the genuine martial arts of close combat despite its long and illustrious past. Hapkido is a traditional martial art that is both effective and practical. It is worldwide renowned as a traditional form that gives both technical superiorities as well as a thorough study of eastern philosophy that may improve one’s personal character. Nial Adams has the story.
What is Hapkido?
There is no simple response to this issue, but I will make an effort to provide you with a general sketch of my thoughts. It is generally considered to be a Korean martial art because its founder and first grandmaster, a man named Choi Yong Sul, was born in Korea but spent the majority of his early life in Japan. Hapkido (pronounced Hap Kee Doe) is a collective martial art that is generally considered to be a Korean martial art. As a tiny child, he was transported to Japan and adopted by a Japanese family, and it was there that he initially started his training in the martial arts and traditional Japanese traditions. His personal instruction in the Daito Ryu Akijutsu (the Long sword School of Combat) style came from Takeda Sogaku, one of Japan’s best martial arts practitioners, as well as one of the country’s most notorious and feared dullest practitioners. When Choi returned to his home country as an adult, he began researching ancient Korean methods and practises, and in 1948 he developed what is now known as Hapkido.
It is as a result of this lineage that Hapkido is unquestionably a unique kind of combat martial arts. Because our style is not as well-known as, for example, Karate, Kung-Fu, or Taekwondo, many people are ignorant of what it entails in its most fundamental form. First and foremost, it is a pure self-defense strategy that cannot be used in a sports situation. Second, despite the fact that it is a growing style, it still has significant ties to the traditions of the eastern martial arts. There are numerous concepts and notions concerning battle in hapkido, but there are three that are the most usually discussed: the Water Principle, the Principle of Circularity, and the Principle of Non-Resistance. The Water Principle is a concept that is incorporated into the art of hapkido. Most, if not all, methods, armed and unarmed, have elements of the long sword, such as stance, position, and movement, which are essential to the technique’s success.
Because many people label Hapkido as Korean Aikido (sometimes as a result of the fact that the script for both is originally the same), which is totally incorrect, many focus on the soft aspect of the style. Yes, Hapkido does utilize soft or pliant techniques but with great devastation. These are manifestations of the water principle. However, these are only one-half of the whole. Because Hapkido was traditionally based on Buddhist philosophy, it includes the notion of Yin and Yang (or Um and Yang, as the Koreans know it), and so it contains an equal mixture of hard and soft techniques interwoven to produce a dynamic system of combat. The hard elements would include striking and breaking techniques. Strikes of such power that an opponent could be dispatched immediately, and breaking techniques where joints and bone are destroyed.
Hapkido is much more than just the physical technique of self-protection; it has evolved over centuries and become a vehicle for personal, mental, and even spiritual development. We use Hapkido to train our bodies, improving flexibility, mobility, stamina, and strength. By the nature of the training and the lessons we learn, also helps us to be more responsive, receptive, aware, and self-confident. So what does it actually mean? Hap translates as harmony or coordination, Ki as power, energy, or force, and Do like the way. In essence, Hapkido is a purely responsive, style countering an opponent’s attack by using their energy against them. The techniques of our system include:
- Basic Body Position & Practical Stances
- Simple Evasion & Deflection Skills
- Dealing with Realistic Close Contact Situations
- Effective Countering including Striking & Kicking
- Control & Restraint Techniques, Joint & Arm Locks
- Special Pressure Point Manipulations
- Defending Against Armed & Multiple Attackers
- Defenses from Grabs, Holds, Chokes & Hold-Downs
- Blocking & Countering Realistic Punches & Strikes
- Weaponry skills, both traditional and modern
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A Brief History of International Hapkido –
In 1971 Fred Adams founded the Great Britain Hapkido Association, the first organization of its kind in the British Isles to promote the art of Hapkido. The Association was responsible for establishing the art and the first to bring several senior instructors from the Korean Hapkido Association Headquarters in Seoul. Gradually the popularity of Hapkido spread across the country and the efforts of Fred Adams reached Scotland and Wales. By 1981 several instructors had traveled abroad and began to teach and so International Hapkido was born. Fred Adams was also the first person to bring Hapkido to the shores of Ireland, teaching in the North and the South where it was well-received.
Today, International Hapkido continues its growth and receives interest from around the globe. We have instructors and representatives in America, Australia, Eastern Europe, including Russia and Ukraine, and throughout the UK. International Hapkido remains one of the very few organizations to promote genuine and authentic Hapkido. Unfortunately, there have been several pundits appearing on the international scene with watered-down systems they incorrectly claim to be Hapkido and degrade the art by adding non-authentic elements as well as sporting and competitive aspects. International Hapkido stands to protect the integrity of this noble martial art and ensure that it remains accessible to men and women across the world for future generations.
Written by Nial Adams, Senior National Coach, www.international-hapkido.com
t. 0845 226 6935 e. email@example.com
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