Comparison to other Martial Arts

So many martial arts are available these days and it can be very confusing for a novice to compare what is being offered to decide which martial art is best for them. The following comparison will help you understand what is different about Hapkido when compared to other martial arts. This comparison is not saying that Hapkido is better than other martial arts.


Hapkido2As in Aikido, an attack can received with minimal resistance, it is then guided past the target and then the defender’s own force is added to it. The result is to unbalance and throw the opponent.

However, opponents do not always attack with large over-committed movements. Often short jabs and kicks are delivered with such rapidity that it is very difficult to lead the opponent’s force. In these situations, the close quarter blocking and striking techniques of Hapkido will give you knowledge and skills to counter and overcome more realistic attacks.


Hapkido3Many of the joint-locks and throws of Hapkido are very similar to those of Jujitsu.

Painful twisting of the joints and tendons along with the application of painful pressure to vital points, combined with a thorough knowledge of the human anatomy help to control an opponent regardless of size or strength. These techniques are fine for close quarter attacks, however because Jujitsu players do not practice their techniques against proficient kickers and punchers, they may be vulnerable to such longer range attacks.

With Hapkido you will practice kicks and punches to a high degree of proficiency, thus the familiarity gained through practicing the techniques will help you in defending against them.

Mixed Martial Arts

Hapkido4MMA has enjoyed a huge boom in recent years with the popularity of UFC (cage fighting) events on television. It is mostly popular with younger students who want to experience full contact and enjoy the competitive aspects of this sport.

Hapkido sparring does not normally involve full contact without protective equipment and even though we do have tournaments, they do not normally involve full contact. Hapkido sparring focuses more on correct timing and distance and encourages a more co-operative approach where you and your sparring partner can both improve your skills in a live situation without fear of being seriously injured.

Care and respect for your training partner is of utmost importance in Hapkido and safety is an important part of all classes to ensure you can continue to study and train in Hapkido for a long time with a minimum of injuries and pain.

Brazilian Ju Jitsu (BJJ)

Hapkido5Brazilian Ju Jitsu is a form of grappling started by the Gracie and Machado families in Brazil and focuses on grappling on the ground against a single opponent. Their techniques are learnt and refined through countless hours of “rolling” on the mat with other students.

Hapkido does include groundwork learnt through the practice of groundwork drills to strengthen your body and practice specific groundwork skills. Free sparring is allowed to continue if it goes to the ground. However groundwork is not a major part of our classes.

Due to the practical disadvantages of being on the ground when facing multiple attackers, Hapkido students focus on learning how to escape from a grappling situation as quickly as possible using any technique (including eye attacks, hair pulling, finger locks, etc) to try and return to a standup situation where other strategies like running away are possible.


Hapkido6Many of the kicking techniques from Taekwondo are similar to those of Hapkido. Spinning kicks, thrusts, circular kicks and sweeps are all used in sparring.

Due to the fact that Hapkido is not a tournament-focussed style, other techniques like low spinning kicks, low-section kicks, leg kicks and knee strikes are also used. The basic hand techniques of Hapkido are similar to those of Taekwondo, that is, mainly linear attacks with the fist or knifehand.

In a confined space such as a crowded public bar or a narrow hallway, kicks are limited in their practicality. Self-defense tools such as elbows, knees, palms, head butts and attacks to vital points are essential for survival in such situations.

Hapkido7All of these techniques are practiced in Hapkido to produce a thorough knowledge of all ranges of attack and defense.

Hapkido also allows legs to be grabbed and allows punches to the head – so the range of options in sparring is greater than in the sport version of Taekwondo.

Kung Fu

Hapkido8Kung Fu is a generic name for a wide variety of Chinese martial arts, so a comparison is difficult as there so many different varieties of Chinese martial arts. In Hapkido, as the student advances past the basic hand techniques, more emphasis is placed on small circular techniques and fast close-quarter parrying which resemble the techniques of Kung Fu.

Advanced weaponry techniques using the long pole and the fan are similar to those of Kung Fu.


Hapkido9Throwing plays an important role in Hapkido. The basic principles of Judo are used in Hapkido, that is, moving your opponent’s centre of balance to a vulnerable position and using your leg or body to topple the opponent. As well, Hapkido uses strikes and pressure points that would not be legal in Judo.

Kendo (Komdo)

Kendo is a Japanese sword sport where practitioners wear armour and use bamboo swords to strike each other. It is a competitive sport practiced around the world. In Korea, it is called Komdo.

At advanced stages, students are taught basic Komdo. Basic strikes and blocks are similar to Kendo, however circular and low-section attacks typical of traditional Korean swordsmanship are taught once the basics have been learnt.


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