What Is Hapkido Self Defense?
A smart self-defense strategy begins with avoidance, awareness, and prevention. If you avoid dangerous people and places, you'll never be attacked. If you're aware of your surroundings, you'll see an attack coming. And if you know how to prevent attacks through distance, position, and de-escalation, it will be extremely difficult for you to become a victim. These are the most important aspects of a self-defense strategy.
Legal self-defense can only be established if you are free from fault or provocation, have no means of escape or retreat, and either you or another person are in immediate danger of physical harm. If you could have escaped but fought anyway, it is not self-defense. If you engaged in name-calling before a physical altercation, it is not self-defense. You will be legally liable, may go to jail, and maybe successfully sued. Additionally, self-defense law only allows you to use reasonable force to end a threat or attack. Anything you do that is beyond what is reasonably necessary to end an attack is not legal self-defense. These are murky waters, and attorneys will try to distort reality even if you did legally defend yourself. This is why we teach a system of self-defense that uses the least amount of force necessary to escape or end an attack.
Hapkido is a comprehensive Korean self-defense system that teaches using the least amount of force necessary to escape an attack. Hapkido techniques, such as joint locks, pressure points, throws, etc., are designed to help you escape an attack without using excessive force on the person who attacked you. Hapkido techniques cause severe pain to an attacker but DO NOT INJURE the attacker. When you let go of an attacker, his pain goes away immediately with no lasting injuries.
What does Hapkido teach?
Hapkido is a very complete and comprehensive martial art and here is why.
Joint Locks and Holds
Joint locks and holds are used primarily for controlling of an aggressor. They are often defensive in nature, however, at more advanced levels are very effective offensively. These skills are great for law enforcement and security personnel as well as everyday people.
Throws, Redirection, and Blocks
Throws and re-direction of Hapkido use an aggressor's momentum to continue the flow of energy and turn it against them. These techniques have some commonality with Judo and Aikido but use specialized Hapkido principles. The blocks used in Hapkido are mainly re-directions to off-balance an attacker and gain the advantage, some blocks are attacks to nerve points on the body used to weaken the opponent's limbs.
Kicks and Punches
Hapkido uses a wide variety of powerful striking and kicking methods designed to stop an attacker quickly. Hapkido has many powerful kicks that are very useful in "street style" defensive situations as well as some dynamic kicks that the Korean arts are known for.
Vital Points, Pressure Points, and Energy
The human body has many vital points and pressure points that are used in Hapkido to help control or disable an attacker. Interrupting the body’s energy flow will sap strength from an attacker and create an advantage for the defender.
Hapkido weapon training consist of the use of a short stick (dan bong), long stick (jang bong), the sword (kum), cane, handkerchief, long-belt/scarf, throwing weapons like, (knives, rocks, etc...) and adapting everyday objects to use as weapons are just some of the skills we offer in Hapkido.
Practical Self-Defense Concepts
Easy to Learn, Simple to Execute, Self-Defense that Really Works!
This class is available to students ages 13 years and older for both men and women. Well known as one of the most practical forms of self-defense, Hapkido is the perfect martial art for the student who wants to learn the fine art of self-protection. Hapkido techniques can be done equally by men and women as they don’t rely on strength but rather technique and leverage. Hapkido incorporates the use of kicking, striking, joint locking, pressure point applications, as well as secure and maintain techniques, weapons defense. and balance disruption to give the student a full rounded curriculum of study and practice.
Hapkido classes do include heavy physical contact. If you will need any special accommodations, please talk to me immediately. If you are uncomfortable at any time, please do not hesitate to discuss this with me or with one of the Black Belt Instructors.
Prior to participating in this class, each student must review and complete the “Assumption of Risk and Liability Waiver” form. Each student must complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PARQ) to ensure he or she is capable to participate in the physical activity in a safe and healthy manner.
This class involves heavy physical contact, strict adherence to these safety rules is necessary.
No rings, watches, earrings, or other hard objects allowed.
No shoes except martial arts shoes are allowed on the mat. If you are going to use socks, please don't wear socks for everyday use.).
Hygiene is important so launder your uniform and your body frequently.
The 3 universal theories of Hapkido are:
The Water Principle, which teaches the student to penetrate the defenses of the attacker by "flowing" in, around, and under.
The Circular Motion Principle, which teaches the student how to gain and impart momentum by moving in a circular manner. By redirecting the attack in a circular direction the student controls the balance and kinetic energy of the attacker.
The Nonresistance (or Harmony) Principle, which teaches the student to remain relaxed (not tense) and not to meet force with force
These three theories are explained and demonstrated at length during training. The student must truly understand these theories, as they are the foundations on which not only the structure and essence of Hapkido rest, but also all it's other concepts and technical attributes.
Hapkido classes focus on both physical conditioning and learning new techniques. As class begins an instructor will lead a warmup that involves stretching, core conditioning, and technique drills. Typically after the warm-up students break off into pairs to work on techniques for their next belt test, but the instructor may choose to spend extra class time on specific kicks, techniques, rolls/falling, and conditioning.
Why Train In Hapkido?
It builds confidence
One of the biggest advantages of taking Hapkido self defense classes is the way it makes you feel afterward. A lot of people are unconfident with their abilities to protect themselves before they join a practice, or take classes. This can be due to personal experiences, as well as driven by the news. We hear a lot about the negativity in our society, and this can leave people feeling unprotected. Self defense classes will build confidence in yourself. If you are getting bullied, it is also a great way to protect yourself and grow confidence in yourself, ultimately molding you into a better person.
It works on your balance
Let’s face it, some of us can’t walk and chew gum at the same time – myself included. These types of classes require a lot out of your body, including the ability to do two things at once without falling over. Improving your balance also means improving focus. Karate and self defense classes teach you how to focus on your target while you control your body. Without balance it is almost impossible to fight. Through gaining your body control and balance, you will be better prepared to protect yourself.
It helps develop self-discipline
“The only discipline that lasts, is self-discipline.” -Bum Phillips, former NFL Football coach. In order to learn and grow with your self defense abilities, you have to develop self-discipline. You have to be motivated and dedicated to the practice. In order to be better protected-you have to keep practicing. Actually going to class and showing up on a regular basis develops discipline. Taking Hapkido self-defense classes will get you focused on your personal protection and on your surroundings. Like with anything else, you can’t get better if you don’t practice.
It helps improve your physical conditioning
The whole point of self defense classes is to prepare you for any situation that may bring harm to you. Physical conditioning is extremely important when it comes to self defense. Training and practicing prepares you for the adrenaline dump when a situation arises that may require you to fight. When someone comes after you, you will experience what is called an adrenaline dump. It’s your body’s way of responding to the fight or flight situation. It only last a few seconds, so you need to be physically conditioned to appropriately deal with a dangerous situation. If you aren’t, your body will not work as well as you need it to after the adrenaline dump . Physical conditioning will work on your reflexes and your awareness of an attack. When you are fighting it is important to be focused both mentally and physically. If you are prepared, you will be more successful in a dangerous situation and the dump won’t take all your energy from you.
It helps improve your cardiovascular health
Research has found that the only real way to improve the status of the cardiovascular system is by participating in activities that stress the heart, such as martial arts.
It helps with weight loss
A one hour session of moderate intensity martial arts can burn up to 500 calories.
It improves your street awareness
Self defense classes will make you more aware of your surroundings. You’re never planning to be attacked, but your attacker is the one with the plan. Self defense classes will help you to be aware at all times and ready, should this type of situation arise. You might be shocked for a second, but you will have the necessary reactions to protect yourself. Master Olson was telling me about how his classes teach you to think about where you can be attacked and where your attacker could be hiding. Always be aware of your surroundings.
It teaches you self-respect
The practice of karate, and many other practices like it, are centered around trust and respect. It teaches respect of each other, and respect for yourself. This is beneficial in life. If you don’t respect yourself, then how can you respect others? When you are practicing your self defense moves you will be practicing with a partner. There needs to be mutual trust between the two of you to not hurt each other, but still practice well. If you do not respect yourself it is unlikely that others will respect you and have that mutual trust
It helps to be physically and mentally prepared
We all watch the news and see how terrible it can be. Taking self defense classes will help you develop a sort of warrior spirit. We all know that if we are attacked, the last thing we want to do is get in that van of our assailant. Self defense classes can prepare you for battle and, most importantly, survival. If you are attacked, you don’t want to go to a secondary location, and having self defense on your side will help prevent that from happening. You will have a sense of “I am going to survive here, not down the road.”
It helps improve your reflexes
In a fight, movement is power. You can’t stand around and wait for your attacker’s next strike, you have to move! Self defense classes will help develop your reflexes and you will gain a fighter’s reflex. A fighter’s reflex is different from your normal reflexes. In normal situations you respond to something that happens. When you are being attacked it is better to know how to respond. Fighter’s reflex will allow you to move quickly and smartly in the situation. You will know where to step and where to throw your punch. You will be prepared.
It will help you with goal setting
Self defense classes help you to set goals. Whether you want to nail a specific move, or work hard to feel like you can protect yourself, you are setting a goal. It gets you back in class each week, and will help you in your everyday life. It helps you develop a drive that you may not have had before. If you take your goal setting seriously within your self defense classes, it can roll over into your everyday life, helping you get through any tough situation that comes your way.
It has a positive influence on your life
Unlike a lot of things in life, taking self defense classes will always have a positive impact on your life. Each and every one of the reasons above are proof of this. Taking self defense classes can boost your spirits and make you a more confident and better version of yourself. It’s important to have things in life that we can rely on to make us happy- taking these kinds of classes does just that.
Improved cardiovascular health
Research has found that the only real way to improve the status of the cardiovascular system is by participating in activities that stress the heart, such as martial arts.
It improves your awareness
Awareness of and avoiding potentially dangerous situations is one useful technique of self-defense. Attackers will typically select victims they feel they have an advantage against, such as greater physical size, numerical superiority or sobriety versus intoxication.
The best weapon you have is your intuition. Your survival intuition is that “gut feeling” of fear you get when you sense danger to yourself. Your intuition is usually right even when you don’t know why you suddenly have that gut feeling of fear. Your brain sees and processes things you are not consciously aware of at the time.
It is fun to train
Many people have trouble finding the motivation to work out in a gym to keep in good shape. Hapkido is a great alternative, as it will help you to improve your fitness and agility, while having fun at the same time. As well as learning new skills and seeing yourself progress rapidly, you will make some good, new friends along the way. Most people begin Hapkido to learn self-defense and continue training because they really enjoy the classes and working with new friends they have made in class.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do you measure a student's progress in Hapkido?
As a student progresses in rank, his belt color changes to reflect his progress. Within a rank, we use stripes on the belt to measure the student’s progress until the student has earned enough stripes to test for a new rank and belt color. These are the small goals we set for students to achieve their Big Goal of Black Belt.
Q. What is the key to success in Hapkido?
The key elements in a student’s progress in Martial Arts are his or her attitude, goals for advancement and consistency of training. Setting and achieving goals for advancement, such as stripe and belt promotions, and training on a regular weekly schedule is essential to success in Martial Arts.
Q. I am a non-violent person who hates violence. Why should I train in Hapkido?
That's a good question. The short answer is, tis better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war. In other words, you can't truly call yourself "peaceful" unless you are capable of great violence. If you are not capable of violence then you are not "peaceful", you're "harmless". That's an important distinction. Violence, when there is no alternative, is survival.
Q: Is there a risk for injury with martial arts?
Any sport or form of exercise comes with a risk of injury. However, there are a few things that make our program very safe. It's because of these few things that we barely see any injuries with our program.
Stretching: At the beginning of every class we go through a series of stretches. These stretches get your muscles and joints ready and warmed up for exercise.
Supervision: Every class is supervised by trained, experienced professionals. We watch carefully to make sure no student is doing anything in a dangerous or unsafe way.
In short, we place a tremendous amount of focus on fun and safety. It's because of this that we feel confident telling you that while there is a risk for injury with our program - it's a very small risk.
While we want to avoid injury, as a student of Hapkido you will feel pain. The purpose of Hapkido is to inflict pain on those who would attack you. To be able to accomplish this you must inflict some pain on your partner to know your technique works. Your partner must inflict some pain on you so he will know the technique works and so you know how it feels when you use the technique on others. Knowing what the pain feels like that you can inflict on others should make one attempt to diffuse a situation before it becomes violent.
Why is Hapkido So Useful for Self-Defence?
It is the variety of the techniques involved which makes Hapkido so effective. As you progress through the belts, you will learn skills in punching, kicking, joint locking, throwing, ground-fighting and the use of weapons, giving you a comprehensive knowledge base of self-defense. As you become more skilled in the art, you will notice your confidence heightening, which will further boost your competence.
Since hapkido is a form that focuses on the redirection of an attacher's energy and strength, it is not very difficult for a smaller practitioner to effectively control a larger opponent. It takes a good deal of physical and mental control, as well as understanding the physics of the forces at work: redirection, leverage, etc.
When Are Hapkido Classes and what age person attends?
We have Hapkido classes 2 days per week. On Tuesday and Thursday, our classes are from 7:20 PM to 8:20 PM. We have a variety of ages in the class from 13 years old to the late ’40s or early ’50s.
Are there belts in Hapkido?
Yes, and the belt colors can vary from school to school. From lowest to highest, our belts are white, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue, brown, red, senior red, black with a white stripe and black belt. To be promoted to the next belt level a student must demonstrate proficiency in the concepts and techniques of their present belt level and previous levels.
How long does it take to earn a black belt in Hapkido?
Usually around three years of training at least two times per week, but the actual amount of time it takes can vary and is dependent on the skill and dedication of the individual student. Be mindful that, while a black belt is certainly a big milestone, it is not an end result!
Are there forms in Hapkido?
What happens in a given Hapkido class?
Class typically begins with Ki (“energy”) development exercises and deep breathing, warmup and stretching, and meditation. Then students practice kicks and strikes before pairing off to study self-defense techniques.
“I've heard martial arts is violent. Is this true?”
The guiding principles of Hapkido help you diffuse situations before violence becomes a part of them. However, if a hostile situation does ever come about, you'll have the tools you need to keep you and your loved ones safe.We teach students how to defend themselves against people who physically attack them like.muggers, rapist, bullies, etc. We are 100% for peaceful resolution of conflict but that is not always possible. It may appear strange that we teach fighting but talk about peaceful resolution of conflict. However, it is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war. Learn to fight because muggers, rapists, and bullies usually don't bother to.
How does a student measure his/her progress in Hapkido?
We have a goal oriented curriculum represented by our belt promotion system. We have 10 belt levels before Black Belt. Each belt level is divided into thirds. Each time you complete a third of your belt curriculum you receive a stripe for your belt. When you attain 3 stripes you are eligible for a belt promotion test. During regular training you could earn a stripe each month and be eligible to test for the next belt level in 3 months. At the beginning some belts have a shorter period of time and later some have a longer period of time. Training on a regular weekly basis is essential for success in Hapkido. With regular training you could expect to complete all belts in approximately 30 months and then prepare for your Black Belt test in the next 3 to 6 months.
"Violence when there is an alternative is immoral;
Violence when there is no alternative is survival".