Understanding Hapkido Better

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Some styles also incorporate tactics for ground fighting although these tactics generally tend to be focused upon escaping and regaining footing or controlling, striking, and finishing a downed opponent, rather than lengthy wrestling or submission grappling engagements. Proper Hapkido tactics include using footwork and a series of kicks and hand strikes to bridge the distance with an opponent, then to immediately control the balance of the opponent typically by manipulating the head and neck , for a take down or to isolate a wrist or arm and apply a joint twisting throw, depending upon the situation.

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Hapkido emphasizes self defence over sport fighting and as such employs the use of weapons, including environmental weapons of opportunity, in addition to empty hand techniques. The wide variety of kicks in Hapkido make it distinctly Korean. Taekwondo kicks appear to be similar to many of the kicks found in Hapkido, though again circular motion is emphasized.

Also in contrast to most modern taekwondo styles Hapkido utilises a wide variety of low below the waist , hooking or sweeping kicks, with one of the most distinctive being the low spinning sweeping heel kick. Two of the earliest innovators in this regard were Ji Han-Jae and Kim Moo-Hong , both of whom were exposed to what were thought to be indigenous Korean kicking arts. They combined these forms together with the yu sool concepts for striking taught to them by Choi and during a period of 8 months training together in finalized the kicking curriculum which would be used by the Korea Hapkido Association Daehan Hapkido Hyub Hwe for many years to come.

Other influences also were exerted on the kicking techniques of important hapkido teachers. Kim Sang-Cook states that while many of the original yu kwon sool students were exposed to many different contemporary Korean arts the Chung Do Kwan was of particular importance in the transition from the original jujutsu based form to what we know today as modern hapkido.

Most forms of hapkido include a series of double kicks used to promote balance, coordination and muscular control. After these kicks are mastered using one foot kick the student moves on to jumping versions using alternate kicking legs. Others feel that these kicks are more representative of kong soo do and tang soo do styles which emerged from an adaptation of Japanese karate forms.

Like most martial arts, Hapkido employs a great number of punches and hand strikes, as well as elbow strikes.

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The hand strikes are often used to weaken the opponent before joint locking and throwing, and also as finishing techniques. Hapkido is well known for its use of a wide variety of wristlocks. These techniques are believed to have been derived from Daito-ryu Aiki-jujutsu although their manner of performance is not always identical to that of the parent art. Still many of the tactics found in Hapkido are quite similar to those of Daito-ryu and of aikido which was derived from that art.

Understanding Hap-ki - Bear hug escapes - Hapkido techniques

Although well known for its wristlocking techniques, hapkido has an equally wide array of tactics which center upon the manipulation of the elbow joint see armlock. The first self-defense technique typically taught in many hapkido schools is the knife-hand elbow press.

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Judo techniques were introduced in the early years of the 20th century in Korea during the Japanese colonial period. It is believed that these techniques were absorbed into the Hapkido curriculum from judo as there were a great many judo practitioners in Korea at that time and its tactics were commonly employed in the fighting of the period.

Indeed, there also exists a portion of the Hapkido curriculum which consists of techniques specifically designed to thwart judo style attacks.

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For example many of the judo style throwing techniques employed in Hapkido do not rely upon the use of traditional judo grips on the uniform, which can play a large role in the Japanese sport. Instead in many cases they rely upon gripping the limbs, head or neck in order to be successful.


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As a Hapkido student advances through the various belt levels essentially the same as other Korean arts, e. Some schools even teach students to defend against firearms.

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