Hapkido is the system of self-defense based on fundamental offensive and defensive techniques. These techniques can be classified as follows:

1. Empty hands against empty hands.
2. Empty hands against a weapon.
3. Weapon against weapon.

Each of these categories includes: joint locking, pressure point striking, punching, kicking and throwing techniques. Hapkido is based on the theory of circular defense as opposed to direct defense. Direct defense may cause injury and may be unsuccessful against greater power whereas Hapkido’s circular defense requires very little power but vast knowledge and skill. These delicate techniques will overcome brute force in almost all situations.

The word Hapkido means “the way to combine mind and body power”.

HAP – to combine, harmony
KI – power of the mind, body and spirit, inner strength
DO – the way of, method of study


Taekwondo is an ancient form of Korean unarmed combat dating from about the 2nd century B.C. and uses the hand, arms and feet to kick, block and punch, in either attack or defense. Taekwondo is based on the theory of straight-line defense or direct defense.

During the 1988 Seoul, Korea and 1992 Barcelona, Spain Olympics Taekwondo was a demonstrative sport (demonstrations put on by the KOREAN

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TIGERS). The 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia featured Taekwondo as an Olympic medal sport.

The meaning of the word Taekwondo is “the way of the hand and foot”.

TAE – to punch using hands
KWON – to kick using feet
DO – the way of, method of study


The origins of the Martial Art of Hapkido reach into history over 3000 years ago. The spread of the art is closely tied to the spread of Buddhism. Its techniques were handed down through traveling monks and royalty as a means of self-protection and defense. Both Buddhism and Hapkido became popular among the Korean upper classes and royalty.

When the three Kingdoms of Korea united and became the KORYO dynasty, many Hapkido Masters were called to the palace and Hapkido became a royal art.

After many years, as Buddhism began to be replaced by Confucianism, Hapkido seemed to disappear among the general population. It was, however, kept alive by monks and royal officials and practiced in secret.

The practice of the Art was again revived during the Korean conflict in the 1950’s. Since that time, this ancient Martial Art has spread throughout the world.


The origins of Taekwondo enjoy 1300 years of history and tradition. Originally referred to as Taekyon, the art was said to have started with a Buddhist monk named Won Kwang, who laid down the principles, which form the basis of Taekwondo.

During the period of Three Kingdoms, there were many conflicts with neighboring countries. Thus, an elite group of young men were trained in Taekwondo and various mental disciplines to defend the homeland. These warriors were so successful that the Korean peninsula became united.

When the Three Kingdoms united and became the KORYO dynasty, Taekwondo became so popular that it became compulsory for all young men, from six upwards, to practice the art.

During the era of Enlightenment, anything related to military training was scorned. Many trained Buddhist monks moved to the mountains and abroad to keep the art alive.

The practice of Taekwondo was revived during the liberation of 1945. Many Koreans returned to the homeland to return the art to the country. Today, Taekwondo enjoys immense popularity in and out of Korea. It has once again been included in school age curriculum and is now become an Olympic medal sport.

Background & History