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What is Hapkido?

Principles of Hapkido

Circular Motion

Hapkido is based on the concept of circular motion.  By using circular motion the Hapkido practitioner can avoid attacks, position themself to counter, unbalance an attacker and use the momentum of the attacker to maximum advantage.

The circles described in Hapkido may be considered on the whole body or on individual parts such as the feet, legs, hips, arms, shoulders or head.

By using circular motion the Hapkido practitioner can handle attackers without needing to be bigger or stronger.

Water Principle

Water can be soft or water can be hard, it can flow gently or crash like a wave.  Water is able to conform to fit whatever situation in which it is placed.

Similarly the Hapkido practitioner can use these principles in self defence situations to avoid conflict, re-direct attacks, counter attacks and use the skills of their training to deal with any situation.

Training creates choices, the Hapkido practitioner may choose to be still and quiet like a lake, to flow irresitably like a river or crash like a wave.

Harmony Principle

By blending with an attacker's momentum and energy, the Hapkido practitioner is able to overcome without needing to resort to brute strength. Instead of meeting force with force, Hapkido teaches us to avoid and harmonise with the incoming force and redirect it to our advantage.


Ki energy is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of martial arts to explain and comprehend.  Ki is a Universal energy, described in many different cultures and given many different names.

Much like electricity, Ki energy simply exists, the practitioner decides on the application of the energy.  It can be used to heal, such as in Reiki, can be used to amplify a strike, for example the well known "kihap" of martial arts, and can be used to make control techniques more effective while simultaneously reducing the amount of damage inflicted and physical effort required to make such techniques effective.

Ki is central to many martial arts such as Tai Chi, Chi Kung, Aikido and Hapkido.

While difficult to explain and learn to apply, the effects of Ki energy are undeniable.

Tan Jon

The Tan Jon of Hapkido is the same "Centre" or "One Point" of Aikido.  Other martial arts also refer to the same concept.

By developing the Tan Jon the Hapkido Practitioner enhances their ability to extend Ki, blend with an attacker's force and prevent attacks from disrupting the Practitioner's balance.

Many of the esoteric looking exercises performed by martial artists, especially those using breathing techniques are designed to strengthen and enhance control of the Tan Jon.

Although Ki and Tan Jon are difficult for many people to understand and accept in an academic sense, the real world applications are easily observed and felt when taught properly.

Copyright 2015 Peninsula Hapkido