Is Hapkido Good for Street Fighting?

Hapkido is a type of self-defense and combative martial art. It is designed to defeat opponents in street fights or for a realistic correction situation.   

Hapkido combines various close combat and ranged combat techniques of the martial arts and teaches the use of traditional weapons. It is an eclectic martial art made up of different styles. Although modern hapkido is purely for self-defense, it can be very painful for the attacker. The focus is on redirecting force and controlling the attacker. 

For whom this martial art is suitable, how it was created, what distinguishes it, and much more. We will tell talk about these in this detailed guide. As it should be, we also go into the grades, the training, and the different styles.  

What is Hapkido? 

It is a martial art from South Korean. It was created as a response to Aikido fighters from Japan so that fighters from Korean can easily defeat them. The martial art was created in Korea in the early 20th century. 

The roots of Hapkido can be traced back to Buddhism. This martial art uses different locking, joint, and power. 

Hapkido is a more brutal martial art style if taught correctly. It uses techniques that are supposed to incapacitate the opponent.  

Techniques and particularities involved 

  • Weapons  

Weapons used in Hapkido include short sticks, medium-length sticks, long sticks, walking sticks, swords, fan, knife & bondage techniques with belt and rope. 

  • Particularities 

After taekwondo, Hapkido is the most popular Korean martial art and is trained worldwide. The name for a Hapkido practitioner is Hapkido-in. 

Learning Hapkido 

Hapkido is an extremely rare martial art in the US. And there are generally more bad schools than good schools.  

Be careful if you wish to learn hapkido, as many “masters” do not teach it as it should be taught (as a fighting style). In a good hapkido school, they should offer comfortable training, throwing each other past the green belt, landing properly, etc.   

You fight how you train in hapkido. So if a school refuses to practice combat or apply the trainings in real life, that school will not teach you something effective in a real fight.  

Hapkido is also a martial art that teaches someone how to control or dominate your opponent. So, it’s great for smaller or shorter people and women. It doesn’t matter if your opponents are physically stronger or bigger than you. You can still beat them.  

Hapkido is designed to work in a street fight against opponents who have no idea how to fight properly and against opponents who have martial arts training.  

Also, hapkido is illegal in most competitions, and when it isn’t, it’s still very limited by the rules, which it is not cut out for.  

If you intend to learn Hapkido for street fighting (which you shouldn’t put to use in an impulse), there are a few things to consider.  

Many martial artists train to deal and receive punches and kicks. They are experienced in ground fighting. There is no such thing in this martial art.   

Therefore, Hapkido does not help against seasoned fighters. This martial art can be a formidable art or one that breaks bones. 

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Most modern styles focus on self-defense techniques. The techniques cause pain and weaken the opponent if used flawlessly. An untrained person who attacks a Hapkido martial artist is easily left with a broken wrist or arm. This martial art is effective in defending yourself on the street. 

Simple & efficient self-defense techniques 

Characteristic are the flowing and circular movements, which are combined with energy use and diversion techniques. This is how physically weaker people effectively defend themselves. 

The martial arts mostly rely on two to three techniques. Hapkido tries to incorporate seven techniques. These are hitting, evading, blocking and levering, throwing, and use of weapons. Then there is meditation, breathing, internal energy, and healing. 

You learn the first parts during technical training. Healing is at the master level and focuses on training in acupuncture, massage, and medicine. The Hapkido techniques were largely developed for self-defense. Also, the student should be armed with spiritual and physical values. 

Physical techniques consist of constant hitting. Hapkido takes leverage of blocks and makes them end up in throwing techniques. You mix yourself with the opposing force with the use of flowing circular movements. Tactics alternate between aggressive and defensive forms with the use of the whole body. 

This martial art uses around 1,100 core techniques that are modified or combined. This creates thousands of variations. Hapkido is usually identified by its impressive kicks. 

This martial art includes the philosophy of martial arts with the integration of mind, body, and spirit. It embodies the perfection of human character with social responsibility. The practitioner makes the production of internal energy. It leads to increased health and greater efficiency in self-defense. 

Good to know: Hapkido started in Korea and grew into an international style worldwide. Several former champions are now based in the United States and teach there.  

How does training work? 

Hapkido training takes place in a dojang, the training room. The training methods vary. A typical training session includes technique exercises such as punching techniques, defensive throws, and ring techniques.  

There are also breaks, sparring, meditation, and exercises for the inner development of energy. 

In this martial arts, the focus is mainly on soft techniques, which means that the opponent is not taken lightly or the training is soft. However, it is intense and demanding.  

The practitioner benefits in training when he is lean and muscular. Strength is not a requirement. Strength and fitness for the techniques develop during training. 

The Korea Hapkido Association has created the following examples for the technical requirements from first to fifth dan (rank): 

1st Dan Hapkido  

  • Single kicks with one foot 
  • Defense wrist grips 
  • Put on your clothes for defense 
  • Defense against blows 
  • Step combinations with both feet 
  • Cracked steps 
  • Knife defense 
  • Attack techniques 
  • Defense kick 

The 2nd dan Hapkido

  • Advanced wrist grips for defense 
  • Advanced cloth handling for defense 
  • Advanced strike defense 
  • Advanced kick defense 
  • Choking in defense 
  • Advanced attack techniques 
  • Special kicks 
  • Defense in a sitting or lying position 

3rd Dan Hapkido

  • Joint locking techniques 
  • Short stick techniques 
  • Personal techniques 
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4th Dan Hapkido

  • Stick techniques 
  • Sword techniques 
  • Defense against multiple attackers 

The 5th Dan Hapkido 

  • Using the opposing force 
  • Rope techniques 
  • Knife throwing 
  • Revival 

What styles are there? 

Modern Hapkido styles include: 

  • Jin Jung Kwan 
  • Sin Moo Hapkido 
  • Fight Hapkido 
  • Samrangdo Hapkido 
  • Kwan Nyom Hapkido 

What clothes are worn? 

The Hapkido suit is called Dobok and includes white trousers and a white jacket with black diamonds. From the 1st dan, instead of white trousers, you wear a black and a black jacket. 

Most Dan uniforms are more durable than Taekwondo uniforms because they are resistant and won’t tear during the techniques. The techniques similar to wrestling wear out the clothes. 


1. What does Hapkido mean? 

The term consists of three characters. The first is “Hap.” It symbolizes harmony and balance. That is, Hapkido is a martial art that shapes and influences people. The development of the spirit and one’s assessment and that of the environment are just as important as the sporting and combative aspects. 

“Ki” is power and life energy. It is developed for mental and physical strength during training. 

“Do” is the way, method, and the lesson. That means the long time and patience from the white belt to the black. It is the athlete’s way of life and the influence of martial arts. 

If you look at all the words together, the term can be translated as follows: the way to the harmony of body and mind. 

2. How long does it take to learn Hapkido? 

The training of Hapkido is a path that lasts a lifetime. 30 years wouldn’t even be enough. From one dan to the next it is 2-6 months, and from the next to the other dan, it takes years. 

3. Can you learn Hapkido from home or even online? 

Hapkido is known for its simple techniques that can be used by anyone. But that doesn’t mean that you can teach yourself this martial art. Books, DVDs, and online videos are not enough. You have to go to school. 

4. Is Hapkido suitable for self-defense? 

The Korean martial art focuses on the defensive form of self-defense. The techniques will provide protection and defense in the event of an attack. The character of Hapkido is not for competitive sport. 

Final Words 

This martial art can be learned and trained for people of all ages. The sport offers a comprehensive system. There is something for everyone.  

It includes self-defense that is easy to implement, handling weapons, adventurous, jumping kicks as well as soft and hard techniques. 

It is suitable for security personnel, for anyone who wants to work out or use it in a street fight. Because of the variety of techniques, Hapkido is also very suitable for physically handicapped people. Overall, it can be said that the focus is on self-defense. However, if you are more interested in competitions, it’s not the best for this. 


Hi - I'm Jonathan, and I've been passionate about fighting ever since I was a little kid. I did some Karate, Judo, and Kickboxing, and always wanted to try Aikido. I started this site to indulge my passion for Martial arts, answering all the geeky questions I had. Now I want to share all the information I've learned with you guys.

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