Hapkido is a Korean martial art that focuses on self-defense. The word Hapkido translates as “The Way of Coordinated Power.” Hapkido is a martial art that is fun and challenging and can be studied by all ages. Hapkido will teach
how to defend yourself and will improve your strength, fitness, flexibility and your mind. Hapkido is a Korean martial art that combines kicking,
punching, joint locks, throws and weapons. Hapkido covers a wide range of realistic situations and attacks. You will learn how to prevent your
attacker from hurting you, you will learn to take advantage of you attackers weak points and you will learn how to take control of the situation.
Hapkido has three main guiding principles:
The Water Principle
Techniques taught in class emphasize joint locking, throwing, choking, and holds. Defense is practiced against all types of attacks: grabbing, pushing, punching, kicking, pinning against a wall, ground attacks, as well as others. After ample study, the Hapkido practitioner is well prepared both physically and mentally to defend themselves. The essence of this style is to gain advantage through technique to avoid using strength against strength. This makes Hapkido especially useful for smaller people, as they are not required to meet the full force of an attacker head on.
Physical Training in Hapkido:
The students that are learning hapkido in this video are going to be in great shape. The technique required and core muscles they develop to withstand full impact throws like this must take place to prevent injury. Additionally, joint flexibility is a must, as you can see. You start at the beginning and progress to these levels.
That is one side of the art. The other side of the art is executing the techniques and pins. That side does not require a whole lot of strength, but does require flexibility in movement, sensitivity to even a light touch or grab, and great technical knowledge of body mechanics, along with an understanding of dynamic and constantly converging and diverging forces.
You train both sides.
Most of Hapkido practitioners use dobok suit. Dobok is the uniform worn by practitioners of Korean martial arts. Do means "way" and bok means "clothing." The dobok is related to the Japanese keikogi/dōgi, used in Japanese and Okinawan martial arts, such as judo which was developed by Kanō Jigorō.
The dobok comes in many colours, though white or black are the most common. The dobok may have the reverse in a different colour than the rest of the dobok. They are made in a variety of materials, ranging from traditional cotton to cotton-polyester blends.
The pants and sleevers of the dobok are wider and longer than the traditional Japanese keikogi. Due to this, practitioners often wear a dobok modeled after the Korean hanbok. The dobok of World Taekwondo Federation-style taekwondo practitioners usually have v-neck jackets, tailored after the design of the hanbok. Traditional taekwondo practitioners may wear dobok that are identical or very similar to keikogi, with a cross-over jacket front, while International Taekwon-Do Federation-style taekwondo practitioners typically wear a newer design with a vertically closing jacket front.
Around the dobok a tti (belt) is worn. The colour of the belt denotes the rank or grade of the wearer. Coloured belts are for geup-holders, while black belts are usually worn by dahn-holders. The order of belt colours may differ from school to school. Most commonly the first belt is a white belt. Other colours are typically yellow, orange, green, blue, red, brown, and then black. Some schools use other colours, such as brown in place of red and red in place of black. Some also have a stripe running down the length of the centre of the tti.
Practitioners of Korean sword arts like kumdo usually wear wider pants, called chima baji (치마바지; literally, "skirt-pants") that are similar looking to the Kendo/Iaijutsu hakama of Japan.
Light Contact Head Gear, affordable and suitable for 99% of Hapkido Sparring.
Medium Contact Headgear, If you like greater contact fighting but don't like getting your nose broken etc, then you should consider better headgear.
Weapons Headgear, we don't spar with weapons, therefore you shouldn't need this.
Top and Bottom Mouth Guard with Breathers for greater airflow.
Chest and Torso Guards come in scores of varieties. They are generally unnecessary for no contact and light contact sparring. Medium contact and weapons work are a different story. In the protection game you match your protection to the expected circtumstances. If you don't have this or that you adjust the level of contact to suit.
Hand Wraps are popular in boxing. They are generally not necessary for Hapkido sparring and can impede grappling. Shown are the cloth kind but some folks use tape. Hand Wraps keep the bones in the right place in your hands when you are punching so as not to damage the hands. They are very useful for bag training:
MMA gloves are very light duty and don't offer much protection. They are generally unsuitable for Hapkido sparring.
Boxing gloves are far too bulky and offer no ability to grab things. Completely unsuitable for Hapkido.
Ranking System in Hapkido:
In most Hapkido systems, level of skill (rank) is designated by a colored belt worn around the waist. Color-belt ranks below black belt are called grades (kup in Korean). The ten black-belt ranks are referred to as degrees or dans. Fourth-degree black belt or higher usually refers to a master-level practitioner. White Belt is the rank a novice receives when they begin training (no test). Be aware that color-coding systems in use for kup ranks vary widely, as do the number of grades. Originally, many Hapkido schools only used white and brown belts to designate ranks below black belt. Over time, the number of kup ranks increased, although the number of skills has remained much the same. Today, some schools have adopted as many as 12 grades. In our opinion, the precise number of kup ranks is not particularly important, since they are primarily used to subdivide the skills required for 1st Degree Black Belt, which is the first rank of consequence. In this respect, kup ranks exist mostly for educational and motivational purposes. In our experience, subdividing 1st Degree Black Belt skills into more than five kup ranks, tends to hinder one's perception of the art as a whole, and overly emphasizes "training for testing," rather than training for comprehension and self development. Excessive testing also encourages students to covet rank and status, contend with one another, and define their self-worth based on the subjective standards of others—all of which is counter to the way of the martial arts.
Five-Kup Rank System
Ultimately, the number of kup ranks a school adopts is a matter of choice. Whatever the system, it should motivate students, facilitate learning, encourage positive values, and lead to a deeper understanding of Hapkido as a whole. In a five-kup system, Hapkido’s belt ranks, from lowest to highest, would be as follows (this is the system Hapkido West has adopted):
Kup Ranks Belt Color Minimum Training*
5th Kup White none
4th Kup Yellow 4 mo / 240 hr
3rd Kup Green 8 mo / 480 hr
2nd Kup Blue 12 mo / 720 hr
1st Kup Red 18 mo / 1080 hr
1st Dan Black 2 yr / 1440 hr
2nd Dan Black 3 yr / 2160 hr
3rd Dan Black 5 yr / 3600 hr
4th Dan Black 8 yr / 5760 hr
5th Dan Black 12 yr / 8640 hr
6th Dan Black 17 yr / 12,240 hr
7th Dan Black 23 yr / 16,560 hr
8th Dan Black 30 yr / 21,600 hr
9th Dan Black 38 yr / 27,360 hr
10th Dan Black Founder / Inheritor
Ten-Kup Rank System
For those schools already using a ten-kup system for ranks below black belt, the material in our rank manuals 1 is easily adapted. This is accomplished by simply splitting each color-belt rank (shown on page 7 of any manual 2 ) into two grades. Thus, there would be two grades of yellow, two grades of green, and so forth (note that the 1st Kup material arises by splitting the "Black" column on page 7). This would lead to the following kup-rank system:
Kup Ranks Belt Color Minimum Training*
10th Kup White none
9th Kup Yellow 2 mo / 120 hr
8th Kup Yellow 4 mo / 240 hr
7th Kup Green 6 mo / 360 hr
6th Kup Green 8 mo / 480 hr
5th Kup Blue 10 mo / 600 hr
4th Kup Blue 12 mo / 720 hr
3rd Kup Red 14 mo / 840 hr
2nd Kup Red 18 mo / 1080 hr
1st Kup Red or Brown 20 mo / 1320 hr
(*) In the previous charts, "Minimum Training" is the minimum total training-time required, before promotion to the next higher rank. All time values given are based on historical models and assume 60 hours of training time per month. Thus, training for an hour per week for 2 years, is not the same as 15 hours per week for 2 years. In the United States, the average training time to attain 1st Degree Black Belt is about 4 years.
Ranks in Hapkido are awarded based on skills and the amount of time spent in training at one’s current rank. Promotion from one rank to another usually occurs through formal testing or other procedures that assess a candidate’s skills according to specific rank requirements. Whether rank promotion occurs through formal testing or informal recognition of obvious expertise is largely a matter of choice. The method is less important than the reality it represents. Whatever the method, it should ensure that candidates embody the skills associated with their rank. Note that all rank requirements below 1st Degree Black Belt include all techniques learned at previous kup ranks. For example, Blue Belt requirements include techniques learned at Blue Belt level, as well as all Yellow Belt and Green Belt techniques. This ensures that skills are progressively refined (and not forgotten), and helps students comprehend the inherent relationship between various techniques.
Combat Hapkido (known in Korean as Chon-Tu Kwan Hapkido 전투관 합기도) is an eclectic modern Hapkido system founded by John Pellegrini in 1990. Taking the next step in 1992 Pellegrini formed the International Combat Hapkido Federation (ICHF) as the official governing body of Combat Hapkido. Later, in 1999, the ICHF was recognized by the Korea Kido Association and the World Kido Federation, collectively known as the Kido Hae, as the Hapkido style Chon Tu Kwan Hapkido. The World Kido Federation is recognized by the Government of South Korea as an organization that serves as a link between the official Martial Arts governing body of Korea and the rest of the world Martial Arts community. The founder of Combat Hapkido was very clear in his statement that he did not invent a new martial art. He stated "I have merely structured a new Self-Defense system based upon sound scientific principles and modern concepts. For this reason Combat Hapkido is also referred to as the "Science of Self-Defense." Combat Hapkido is a new interpretation and application of a selected body of Hapkido techniques. The word "Combat" was added to Combat Hapkido to distinguish this system from Traditional Hapkido styles and to identify its focus as Self-Defense.
The style employs joint locks, pressure points, throws, hand strikes, and low-lying kicks, and trains practitioners to either counter or preemptively strike an imminent attack to defend one's self. In common with many Hapkido styles, it also emphasizes small circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of an opponent through force redirection and varied movement and practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork, distractive striking and body positioning to employ leverage.
Combat Hapkido does not incorporate certain traditional Hapkido techniques which it deemed impractical for modern self-defense scenarios. For example, acrobatic break falls, jump/spinning kicks, forms, and meditation have been omitted, along with the removal of weapons such as swords and other weapons which would be impractical and not typically carried in modern society. Combat Hapkido's strategy differs from traditional Hapkido because it includes adopting features from styles like Jeet Kune Do, Jujutsu, Western Boxing, and Kuntao Silat to enhance its core curriculum. For instance, criticism has been raised asserting that traditional styles of Hapkido do not provide extensive ground self-defense curriculum; Combat Hapkido attempts to address this by researching and incorporating grappling techniques from varying styles. Another instance is the incorporation of derived-versions of Jeet Kune Do trapping and entering techniques to enhance transitions into Combat Hapkido's core joint locking and throwing techniques. Combat Hapkido's core techniques rely heavily on the traditional Hapkido techniques that the ICHF determined to have the most practical applications for their goal of modern self-defense. The core curriculum has been organized into 10 basic levels or ranks and extensive reference materials, including a complete video reference library, are provided to schools and individual students through the ICHF Headquarters in Fernandina Beach, Florida. All training in Combat Hapkido is reinforced with extensive training seminars, with most months containing multiple seminars located throughout the United States and Internationally. In addition to the core curriculum, the ICHF researches and develops "modules" that are compatible with the core curriculum and encourages students to explore them. Some examples of these such "modules" are "Stick and Knife Combatives", "Ground Survival", "Combat Throws", "Anatomical Target Striking/Pressure Points", "Trapping", "Cane", "Dan Bong", and "Weapons Disarming". New modules are supported by DVDs, seminars, and local instruction conducted by certified instructors of each course. ICHF students are required to know the core curriculum for promotion and are encouraged to study various optional modules as well. Instructors may require their students to learn some of these additional modules to advance levels.
Combat Hapkido's "Ground Survival" program previously referred to as the "Ground Grappling" program was developed to create a ground self-defense program where the purpose is to survive encounters on the ground by escaping and evading along with takedown prevention methods. The program's focus on ground self-defense utilizes transitions from ground positions to standing positions avoiding long extended confrontations on the ground, which the curriculum addresses but does not encourage. The Ground Survival program blends with Combat Hapkido's core curriculum and adopted aspects of Combat Hapkido's Anatomical Targeting Strategies (Pressure Point) program utilizing small and large joint locking and pressure point techniques. To develop this program, Combat Hapkido Master Instructors experienced in the grappling arts researched different styles such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Vale tudo and Combat Sambo, with additional technical assistance from grappling experts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu such as Carlson Gracie Jr.
Anatomical Striking/Pressure Points/Pain Compliance
The “Tactical Pressure Points”(TPP) program was developed to enhance the effectiveness of Combat Hapkido self-defense system's core curriculum of manipulations of an attacker's body by targeting vulnerable areas, weak points, pressure points, or vital points of the body to produce significant pain or other effects. This form of target striking is called pain compliance and generally, but not always, leads to an immediate response by the attacker. This response can then be taken to transition into another technique from the Combat Hapkido curriculum. This material has also been specifically designed and modified for the Law-enforcement community, called “Anatomical Compliance Tactics” (ACT) and is taught as part of the ICHF's "International Police Defensive Tactics Institute"(IPDTI) course.
The Combat Hapkido Trapping program is designed to be the blocking method of the Combat Hapkido System since Combat Hapkido does not use the "Traditional" hard blocks of the Traditional martial arts. The Trapping Program is designed to become reactionary and reflexive and not to impede or stop incoming attacks. The techniques and drills in this program are based to develop specific technical attribute from Jeet Kune Do that blend drills and techniques with Combat Hapkido. This Trapping program is a way to gain advantage over an opponent by manipulating them to accomplish a finishing technique, such as strikes, joint-locks, and throws or to simply buy time to escape.
The cane is generally referred to as the weapon of choice for most Hapkido Systems because of its flexible and easily adaptive techniques. Combat Hapkido along with other systems incorporate self-defense techniques using the cane into their training curricula for this exact reason. However, the reason the ICHF chooses the cane as one of their preferred self-defense weapons is due to its modern real world self-defense applications. A typical walking cane, defined as one not concealing a firearm, blade, or unnatural weight, within most state and national jurisdictions is generally recognized as one of the few blunt objects allowed to be carried in public by law. Due to the cane's legal status, ready availability to acquire, general lightweight carry and being a cheap weapon to use, Combat Hapkido developed a "Cane" curriculum in partnership with Cane Masters, an organization dedicated to the development, and training of self-defense cane techniques. Cane curriculum includes: offensive strikes, joint locks, sweeps, and traps, along with defenses against kicks, punches, bear hugs, and grabs. The cane's flexible techniques allow for easy application from almost any situation, defend against, and submit almost any attacker. The reason for this is the cane's ease of transition from a simple walking stick to a weapon since it is generally about three feet in length.
short stick similar to those used in Combat Hapkido
The Dan Bong (Short Stick) is a Self-Defense tool measuring 8 to 12 inches in length and approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. It carries none of the visual shock value that a baseball bat would, and it is not wielded with any kind of "flashy" movements. The Dan Bong's use is in the application and reinforcement of joint lock, pressure point, choking, and striking techniques. Combat Hapkido master instructors specializing in the Dan Bong have developed their version of the use of the Dan Bong for what they feel is need for modern self-defense needs. The Dan Bong's small size allows for easy carrying and concealment from a potential attacker and an effective means of stealth armament. The Dan Bong can be used in short range attacks and is as is stated above primarily for inflicting more severe pain to an already painful joint lock or pressure point.
In today's social climate with the prevalence of handguns and other weapons on the rise, one of the most important components of Combat Hapkido is its 'Weapon Disarming' techniques. These involve close quarters combat where footwork and bridging the gap are used to achieve superior positioning and leverage to gain control of the weapon or the weapon's carrying arm, and then to disarm the attacker. Because of the effectiveness of these techniques, the ICHF has been invited by many foreign and domestic police organization along with invitations from the United States Military to train both U.S. and Coalition troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.