Hapkido is a complete art of self-defense. A Hapkidoist is able to handle virtually any situation and is able to apply the self-discipline and confidence derived from the study of Hapkido to enhance the quality of their life.

For effective self-defense, a good Hapkidoist has the ability to adapt his or her fighting style according to their opponent’s strength or weaknesses. Every person’s body is shaped differently, flexibility varies, and minds think differently. Hapkido encompasses a broad range of Martial Art facets, giving every individual the opportunity to improve to their maximum ability and achieve a high level of fitness and good health.

Today, it is practiced by students of all backgrounds, ages, genders, and physiques. Hapkido can be applied from any position: standing, sitting, or lying, and from any direction.

More importantly, Hapkido’s traditional values reinforce discipline, respect, and self fulfillment in a friendly training environment.

Northern Beaches Hapkido is affiliated with the Australian Hapkido Association founded and headed by Grandmaster Sung Su Kim. The AHA has been established in Sydney since 1981 and today has a strong following with Hapkido clubs located all around Australia.

The Meaning
of Hap Ki Do

In Korean, Hap means to co-ordinate or combine. Ki means technique and can be interpreted as inner strength or power. Do means the way.Therefore Hapkido can be loosely translated as the way (art) of co-ordinated power.

Characteristics of Hap Ki Do

Hapkido employs the philosophy of using minimal force to overcome a stronger opponent. Therefore, great strength is not needed to apply the techniques effectively. In addition, Hapkido uses pressure points to assist in controlling the opponent.

Hapkido has a powerful arsenal of spinning kicks, thrusts, and sweeps combined with hard and soft fist attacks and defenses. As well as the use of kicks and punches, Hapkido uses nerve and pressure point attacks, wrist and joint locks, and many twisting and throwing techniques. Approximately 270 categories of special movements incorporating 3400 techniques are included in the study of Hapkido.

The popularity of Hapkido is due to the fact that anyone, young or old, male or female can practice this complete art of self-defense regardless of physical weight or strength. Health is improved through systematic training and exercise. Development of muscles and muscle tone, correct posture, control of weight, a sense of self-confidence, self-control of both mind and body, and spiritual fulfillment are just some of the benefits of studying Hapkido.

In Hapkido, linear techniques form a solid base upon which the skill of circular techniques can be developed. Everything is taught in the correct order to produce a balanced martial artist able to handle any situation.

Philosophy & Principals of Hapkido

In Korean, Hapkido may be translated as “Way of Coordinated Power”. There are literally thousands of techniques within Hapkido, all based on 3 fundamental principles

  • Principle of Non-resistance or harmony
  • Water Principle
  • Circular Principle

By following these principles Hapkidoists are able to instantly adapt their technique to respond to any new unfamiliar self-defense situations. Hapkido students also develop a practical knowledge of anatomy so they can understand the body’s vulnerable points. Students also gain a basic understanding of Korean history and philosophy so a Hapkidoist can understand the context of their art.

Comparison to other Martial Arts

So many martial arts are available these days and it can be very confusing and difficult to compare what is being offered to decide which martial art is best for you. 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.

If you are considering starting a martial art we suggest you sample several different styles before you commit to one. The most important criteria to consider when choosing a martial art are:

Convenience – if it is hard to get to, you will find it harder to continue in your training.
Friendships – you may join because of a particular style or a particular instructor, but you will continue because of the friends you make in that club.
Quality and Expertise – you want to learn quality techniques that are effective in the real world.
Affordability – if the costs are too high then you will not be able to sustain your involvement, learning a martial art takes years, not months.

Think carefully, look around, then once you make a choice commit fully.


As in Aikido, the attacker is encouraged to over-commit their attack. The attack is received with minimal resistance, it is 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 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 give the Hapkidoist knowledge of how to counter and overcome such attacks.

Kung Fu

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 Bo, cane, and the fan are similar to those of Kung Fu.

Mixed Martial Arts

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

Hapkido does include sparring in most classes, however, 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 cooperative 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 are 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.


Many 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 human anatomy help to control any opponent regardless of size or strength. These techniques are fine for close quarter attacks, however, because Jujitsu practitioners do not practice their techniques against proficient kickers or punchers, they are vulnerable to such long-range attacks. Hapkidoists practice kicks and punches to a high degree of proficiency, thus the familiarity gained through practicing the techniques helps in defending against them.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)

Brazilian 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 learned and refined through countless hours of rolling on the mat with other students.

Hapkido does include groundwork learned 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 the 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.

Tae Kwon Do

Virtually all of the kicking techniques of Tae Kwon Do are identical 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-orientated style, other techniques like low spinning kicks, low-section kicks, and knee strikes are also used. The basic hand techniques of Hapkido are similar to those of Tae Kwon Do, which is mainly linear attacks with fist or knife-hand. However, 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, head butts, and joint attacks are essential for survival in such situations. All these techniques are practiced in Hapkido to produce a thorough knowledge of all ranges of attack and defense.


At advanced stages, students are taught Komdo (The Korean version of Japanese Kendo). 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 learned.


Throwing 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 or pressure points to maneuver the opponent with less use of strength.

History of Hapkido

This section gives a detailed look into the origins of Hapkido, our Korean roots, and how the Australian Hapkido Association was formed. Northern Beaches Hapkido has traditional ties to Korea which are still strong today and have a profound influence on the quality of our training.