What Is Hapkido?

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that focuses on self-defense. The word Hapkido translates as “The Way of Coordinated Power.” Like all martial arts at Iowa State, students of Hapkido follow the five tenents of martial arts. However, there is little emphasis on forms or competition.*

Hapkido has three main guiding principles:

Circular Motion
The Water Principle

Techniques taught in class emphasize joint locking, throwing, choking, and holds. Defense is practiced against all types of attacks: grabbing, pushing, punching, kicking, pinning against a wall, ground attacks, as well as others. After ample study, the Hapkido practitioner is well prepared both physically and mentally to defend themselves. The essence of this style is to gain advantage through technique to avoid using strength against strength. This makes Hapkido especially useful for smaller people, as they are not required to meet the full force of an attacker head on.


*In 2011, Hapkido competition became a part of the Iowa Games for the first time, and was reprised in 2013.  Hapkido competition is comprised of jumping/falling contests, and head-to-head technique demonstrations.  There is no sparring component.

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