Hapkido, "the way of co-ordinated power" is a dynamic and modern art that integrates the mind, body and spirit. The arts extremely practical and effective which has led to its use by law enforcement and military professionals, as well as the general public. Hapkido Students use a wide range of skills including striking, blocking, kicking, joint locks, break falls, take downs, restraints and pressure points. As students progress and advance, weapons and weapon defence are also studied. It is a technical art that has its techniques based on 5 primary principles; Redirection of force, flow of movement, circular movement, Ki Power and Live Hand.

Hapkido is a suitable martial art for men, women and children of all ages seeking to improve their fitness, co-ordination and self confidence. It is a complete art of self-defence regardless of physical weight or strength.


Understanding Martial Arts

In today's society, there are several styles of martial arts, many of which have evolved from various systems that are centuries old.

There isn't a "best style" of martial art, rather the best style that suits you! "A person makes the art" It all depends on what you are looking for, how effective the teacher is at training you and how hard you work to perfect your skills.

Some martial arts focus on street self defence, some focus on competition and sport, some focus on internal energy and wellbeing whilst others focus on perfection of technique, self discipline and personal development.

Phoenix Martial Arts incorporate all of the above, however most importantly, a strong focus on health, discipline, leadership, personal development and overall wellbeing.

When coming to comprehend Hapkido or any martial art, one must begin to understand the whole picture. First we must look at the larger structure by which all martial arts are defined. All martial arts are created of a philosophy linked to particular techniques. These are 5 categories that will help you define philosophy in martial arts:

    The Arts Purpose
    Belief System
    Moral Values
    Philosophical Principles
    Technical Principles

The above philosophical categories are crucial to defining an art's range of physical techniques. All martial art techniques are organised into seven basic areas:

    Grappling (Standing and Ground)
    Internal Techniques (Breathing, Meditation, Energy/Ki Development)
    Healing Techniques

The differences between various martial arts are defined by the ways in which they apply and/or combine the above technical areas. All technical areas in martial arts are very similar if not the same, the differences are in the philosophies of an art, which lead to its range and application of techniques.

Whilst most martial arts look at incorporating two or three technique areas, eg. Karate and Taekwondo (Striking, Blocking, Weapons) or Judo and Brazilian Jujitsu (Grappling, and Throwing), Hapkido is unique as it integrates all seven technique areas (Striking, Blocking, Grappling, Throwing, Weapons, Internal and Healing).

The first six areas are highlighted equally during formal training. The seventh area, healing techniques is part of Instructor and Master level training where you will learn to manage injury with revival, chiropractic, pressure point and massage techniques.

When technically comparing to other martial arts, one could recognise Hapkido as the complete martial art system as it incorporates:

* Joint locks and submissions found in Japanese Jujitsu and Aikido.

* Kicking techniques and footwork like Taekwondo and Kickboxing.

* Punches and hand strikes as in Karate and Boxing.

* Chokes, pins, throws and sweeps found in Judo and Brazilian Jujitsu.

* Acrobatic  attacking techniques like Wu Shu and Capoeira.

* Breathing and meditation similar to Tai Chi and Yoga.

* Integrated "hard" and "soft" methods found in many Kung Fu systems.

* Weapon defence systems like Ninjutsu ranging from Knife, Short Stick (baton), Towel,

* Cane,  Sword, Long Staff and Hand Gun.

To understand why Hapkido has achieved such a complete method of training, one must look into martial arts history. Hapkido today is quite different to the Hapkido taught by its founder Choi, Yong Sul. The enrichment of many innovators up until the last decade have influenced the art to constantly adapt to modern day technique.

Hapkido's diverse range of techniques are developed for self defence and provide a framework for the excellence in character by integrating mental, physical and spiritual values. Physical techniques are distinguished by a constant flow of blocking, striking, joint locking throwing and submission techniques. Constant movement and fluid circular motion are designed to redirect an opponent's force. Tactics are often more soft than hard and more internal than external with power and leverage generating through the entire body.

Hapkido curriculum employs about 300 core techniques, which intuitively combined can create thousands of variations. The art's extremely practical and effective nature has led to its wide use by law enforcement and military professionals, as well as by the general public in over 100 countries around the world .

Hapkido Philosophy

All martial arts are created of a philosophy linked to particular techniques. These are 5 categories that will help you define philosophy in martial arts:


Hapkido's purpose is essentially expressed in its name "the way of co-ordinated power".

Hap - meaning "co-ordination of harmony", Ki - meaning "energy" or "power", Do - meaning "the way".


An essential belief of Hapkido is the idea that martial arts training are a means to physical health, fitness, confidence, mental well-being, spiritual growth and an excellence in character. Strict physical training and written theory prepares the mind and body for the difficulties and challenges in life. Confidence in the ability to avoid violence leads to a passive and calm nature.


The moral values taught in Hapkido and here at Phoenix are similar to the values stressed in society as a whole:
Tenets of Hapkido

Hapkido aims to achieve, Modesty, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control and Indomitable Spirit

Modesty: Not to be vain or boastful in what you do.
Integrity: To have high moral standards and to be honest.
Perseverance: To keep on going even if you are tired.
Self Control: To have control over your emotions, not to show anger, frustration or fear.
Indomitable Spirit: To have a "never give up" attitude under any circumstances.

In ancient times, martial art warriors considered respect and loyalty a vital ingredient of warrior honour that developed from a commitment to repay a great service.

We will never be able to repay enough respect and loyalty to our parents or guardians for giving us life, a home, education, love, warmth and nourishment.

Your masters and instructors are also deserving of such. They do not sell a service, they give you part of their lives. Qualified masters and instructors spend many years on training mats and in gyms perfecting themselves, some even have full time jobs.

The only way to repay such commitment and wisdom is through respect and loyalty.

Your fees enable Phoenix Martial Arts to continue to provide new and improved facilities for you and all fellow students. The Dojang belongs to all of us as a unity, pursuing our goals and growing together in a positive environment.

The five ingredients for Success at Phoenix Martial Arts:

    Focus on proper thought.
    Have contact with diverse physical conditions.
    Practice and revise your techniques, mannerism and theory.
    Eat and absorb suitable nourishment.
    Getting the proper amount of rest.

Sparring Philosophy

Sparring is an area where our spiritual strengths and weaknesses are revealed (anger, egotism, jealousy etc.). In this respect, sparring not only improves physical skills but purifies spiritual and emotional values as well. Sparring at Phoenix is always safe practice, aside from the odd bump or bruise, have no fear of major injury.


All martial arts are defined by specific philosophical ideas that determine the way in which the art is practiced. Hapkido is defined by three essential concepts:

Harmony Theory: Harmonising of body and mind. Every action becomes focused, perfectly linked to the moment of its existence. Empty mind and total awareness is developed. Thought and action are merged into a single purposeful act.

Water Theory: Relates ones actions to the flowing of water. Water always finds a way and can penetrate the strongest surface. Constant pressure, flow of movement, persistence, adaptableness, penetration and softness are the key qualities that characterise Hapkido's combative nature.

Circle Theory: The circle is rich in meaning. It symbolises wholeness, unity and eternity. The circle also represents recurrence, vitality, endless movement and the many cycles that characterise the universe. Hapkido techniques are made up of many circular movements (see picture below).


All Hapkido's techniques are based on the following 5 principles:

    Redirect of Force
    Flow of Movement
    Circular Movement
    Ki Power
    Live Hand

1. Redirection of Force

In Hapkido, an attack is not met straight on. Power against power, preferred in "hard styles" is discouraged as it increases the risk of injury. In Hapkido an attacker's power is used against them, by manipulating the attackers balance or redirecting their energy (external and internal) you increase the efficiency of your own technique.

2. Flow of Movement

Hapkido techniques are distinguished by a constant flow of strikes, blocks, locks and throws. Movement is constant and may incorporate circular and spinning actions. By constantly varying body movement you become more difficult to target and are much more likely to disorient and frustrate your opponent.

3. Circular Movement

Many Hapkido techniques are made up of circular movements (see picture above). Large or small circles can be seen in the motions of strikes, blocks, joint locks, chokes, takedowns and throws. Circles can also be seen in footwork and general body movements.

4. Ki Power

Ki-Power is referred to using internal energy (Ki). In essence Ki is adrenaline used to assist in the application of a technique. When fighting an overpowering opponent, the addition of Ki may be the difference between a technique that will work and one that fails. When adrenaline is released from the adrenal glands (located just above the kidneys), it produces cardiac stimulation, constriction of blood and bronchial relaxation ultimately elevating your performance. In Hapkido this is done through a visualisation of energy from the core (two inches below the navel) upward through the body and projected outward with a Ki-Yap (harmonising shout).

Attacks to Vital Points

Throughout the grades of Hapkido you will develop a basic understanding of anatomy and vital points. Advanced anatomy knowledge is taught at the master levels when learning healing techniques. There are roughly 2000 vital points in the body and around 200 of them are used in self defence.

By feeling around you can find some of these points as they are sensitive to pressure. It is commonly said that, "the points which hurt are the same points which heal", therefore in addition to the fitness benefits of practicing Hapkido, repeatedly feeling the pressure on our vital points from joint locks and strikes, your health and wellbeing is improving as you are releasing pressure and improving the flow of Ki in your body.

For example, there are many points in the hand alone that effect Ki flow to the lungs, stomach, large intestine, kidneys, heart and many more organs or muscles throughout the body. The entire body is interconnected through these vital points from which Ki flows; therefore knowledge in this area is very useful in self defence and overall health.

5. Live Hand

The term "Live Hand" refers to the specific hand formations which are used to increase the flow of Ki into the arms. This will increase arm strength and power when required, such as during a wrist escape or application of a joint lock. Live Hands assist in many strikes, blocks, locks and throws, they are also used in breathing exercises. A typical live hand formation is an open hand spreading the fingers wide and slightly bending the finger tips inwards. The hand on the Korea Hapkido Federation logo is also another formation of a live hand when executing joint locks, throws and short stick techniques.

Technical Overview

Our Beginner to Master Curriculum at Phoenix covers the following technical areas via a step by step professional training guide! The 1st Degree curriculum is made up of approximately 350 hours of training time.

All Hapkido techniques cover offensive and defensive situations, against single and multiple attackers from standing, ground & airbourne positions. Stances are transitional from defensive, attacking and relaxed.

Hapkido techniques fall into three basic categories:

Empty hands against empty hands
Empty hands against weapons
Weapons against weapons

These are broken down into the following groups:

- Defence against Punches

- Defence against Kicks

- Defence against Holds/Grabs

- Defence against Chokes

- Defence against Joint Locks

- Defence against Throws

- Ground Defences

- Defence Using One or No Arms

- Attacking and Arresting Techniques

- Defence against Multiple Attackers

- Defence against multiple weapons (knives, bats, guns etc)

- Defence using household items (towels, keys, broom handle etc)

Martial Arts for children?

There is a reason why Oprah, Dr Phil, Dr Laura Schlesinger, Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser), Tony Robbins, pediatricians, child physiologists, and educators the world over all have alluded to the fact that Martial Arts is one of the most valuable things you can involve yourself or your child in.

It goes way beyond self defense and can help you in nearly every aspect of your life. Improved health and fitness, athletic enhancement, increased confidence, better concentration, better behavior, more courteous and respectful; martial arts can help in all these areas.

Does this sound too good to be true? It’s not. As a matter of fact, many experts agree that in this day and age of escalating childhood obesity, increased playground violence and deteriorating family structure, if you do nothing else for your child, you should make sure that they learn how to swim and they learn martial arts. Let’s discuss why.

Self Defense – “Practice the fight so that you don’t have to” is a phrase that is often used to describe the self defense benefits of martial arts training. It refers to the fact that as a child becomes more confident in their ability to defend themselves thru martial arts training. The need to defend themselves automatically decreases because they unconsciously begin to carry themselves in a more confident manner and that confidence is projected to those around them, making them less vulnerable to predatory behavior. On top of that, martial arts’ training includes strategic self defense as well as actual self defense. Children are taught how to recognize a potentially dangerous situation and how to avoid confrontations.

Athletic Enhancement – There is a reason why virtually every professional sports team in virtually every major sport supplements their training with martial arts. Martial arts training offer several advantages. First off, it is amazingly effective in enhancing general coordination because it uses every part of the body in a balanced way. Upper body, lower body, right side, left side, forward movement, lateral movement, rotational movement, it’s all included in martial arts training.

Fitness - The three pieces of the fitness puzzle are strength, flexibility and endurance. Martial arts training demand a balance between the three. Therefore, a child who trains in martial arts will find their deficiencies greatly enhanced. Also, because of the balance in the three pieces of the fitness puzzle, they are less likely to injure themselves while participating in other athletic endeavors.

Health - Martial arts training is a proven link to better health for people of all ages, but especially children for several reasons. First off, it is great exercise. But because it is fun, kids don’t mind doing it. Discussing diet and lifestyle habits with students is a part of martial arts training, so children who grow up training develop healthy habits that will stick with them for life.

Concentration - Very few activities engage the mind, body and spirit more than martial arts. Because of this, a child’s ability to concentrate is greatly enhanced by their martial arts training and this concentration tends to be easily transferable to other activities.

Respect and Courtesy – Due to the fact that martial arts teaches techniques that could be harmful to others if applied, martial arts instructors are obliged to stress the importance of respect, courtesy, and restraint. It has been proven time and again that children who are skilled in martial arts tend to be extremely respectful, considerate and composed.

Confidence - Martial arts virtually always lends to increased confidence in children for a couple of specific reasons. First off, there are no bench sitters, every child participates and is judged not against others but more importantly, against their own potential. Secondly, the structure of martial arts is built on the concept of setting children up for success by giving them a series of realistic, short term goals that they can attain quickly while keeping them focused on an exciting, long term goal. Each time they experience success, their confidence improves until they tend to believe that with hard work and dedication, they can accomplish just about anything.