(also spelled hap ki do
; Hangul: 합기도) is a dynamic and eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, techniques of other martial arts, as well as common primitive attacks. There is also the use of traditional weapons, including a sword, rope, nunchaku, cane, short stick, and staff (gun, bō) which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.
Hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, utilizing dynamic kicking and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, joint locks, or throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.
The art evolved from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu (大東流合気柔術) or a closely related jujutsu system taught by Choi Yong-Sool (Hangul: 최용술) who returned to Korea after WWII, having lived in Japan for 30 years. This system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous and contemporary arts such as taekkyeon and tang soo do. Its history is obscured by the historical animosity between the Korean and Japanese peoples following the Second World War.
is rendered "합기도" in the native Korean writing system known as hangul
, the script used most widely in modern Korea. The art's name can also however be written "合氣道" utilizing the same traditional Chinese characters which would have been used to refer to the Japanese martial art of aikido
in the pre-1945 period. The current preference in Japan is for the use of a modern simplified second character; substituting 気 for the earlier, more complex character 氣.
The character hap
means "ridiculous", "coordinated", or "joining"; 氣 ki
describes internal energy, spirit, strength, or power; and 道 do
means "way" or "art", yielding a literal translation of "joining-energy-way". It is most often translated as "the way of coordinating energy", "the way of coordinated power" or "the way of harmony".