Hapkido vs. Taekwondo: Unraveling the Martial Arts Tapestry

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo are two relatively new martial arts that originated in Korea, yet they also have significant variances as well as shared characteristics. Martial arts have always been an interesting and varied field, providing practitioners with a range of styles to suit various tastes and goals. Two well-known martial arts styles, Hapkido vs. Taekwondo, are well-known throughout the world for their distinctive methods of self-defense and self-improvement. This article will examine the subtle differences between Taekwondo and Hapkido, as well as their histories, ideologies, and methods of practice.

What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo, which means “the way of kicking and punching” in colloquial Korean, is a classic martial art. Although hands and feet can be utilized in taekwondo to defeat an opponent, the mix of kick movements is what makes the sport unique. 60% of taekwondo is kicks; 40% is blocking and striking. At age four, kids can start taekwondo training.

Origins of TaeKwonDo

Here is a brief overview of Taekwondo’s history for those who may need a refresher. About the same time as Hapkido, the art of Taekwondo emerged in Korea following the end of Japanese colonialism. But the methods are not brand-new.

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo
Hapkido vs. Taekwondo

Numerous Taekwondo techniques are derived from traditional Chinese and Korean martial arts. Many of the kicks used in Taekwondo today have their roots in the old art of Taekkyeon.
However, many of the traditional Korean arts were lost to oblivion as a result of foreign occupations of Korea, such as that of Japan. Korea was allowed to become free and establish its own identity following the end of Japanese colonization.

Beginning in 1945, a large number of kwans, or martial arts schools, opened their doors, teaching traditional Korean martial arts skills that were forbidden under the Japanese occupation. Proponents of organization within Taekwondo, such as General Choi Hong-hi, are credited with founding the sport.
In less than half a century, Taekwondo became the official martial art of Korea, adopted by the Korean military, with dedicated organizations established to oversee its development and practice.

Eventually, it was added to the Olympic Games.

What is Hapkido?

A rough translation of hapkido is “harmony of the mind and body’s energy.” While hapkido improves stamina and tones the body, its primary focus is on strengthening and using the upper body. Arm-locks, pressure points, and submission techniques are taught in this close-quarters martial art as means of self-defense. Pupils are trained to halt an attack by moving in a circle and harnessing the power (energy) of the other person. People of all ages can practice this kind of martial art.

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo
Hapkido vs. Taekwondo

Origins of Hapkido

Hapkido is a relatively new martial technique that originated in Korea, much like TaeKwondo. Even though this martial art is less than a century old, it has a fascinating history that includes many individuals who contributed to its development.

Following the end of Japanese colonialism in Korea, a group of Korean martial artists developed the technique of hapkido. A brief biography of the pioneers and their role in founding and developing Hapkido is provided below.

Master Choi Yonh-Sool

Master Choi was sent to live in Japan as a young lad. There, he started training with Takeda Sokaku, the creator of the Japanese martial art Daitō-ryū (precursor to Aikido), for 30 years.

Some martial artists disagree over the details of his time spent practicing there, but one thing is for sure: In other words, he trained a lot of people who either helped develop hapkido or went on to develop their own forms of martial arts.

Seo Bok-Seob:

The first pupil and heir of Master Choi Before training with Choi, Seo had already graduated from Korea University and achieved a black belt in judo in his early 20s.

After witnessing Choi defend himself against a bunch of men at his father’s brewery, Seo enrolled as his student. He would later open the first hapkido dojang, introduce judo throws, and design the first hapkido emblem.

Han-Jae Ji

Another of Choi’s early pupils had a significant impact on the growth of Hapkido. Ji taught punching and kicking skills that he had mastered before training with Master Choi. These techniques would eventually find their way into the Hapkido curriculum.
He even created the term “Hapkido” through his work with the personal bodyguards of the South Korean president, and he founded the Korea Hapkido Federation.

Chang Chin II:

Hin was the first Hapkido master to be granted the title of 9th dan and the second grandmaster of Hapkido to be directly bestowed with the title of “doju” (grandmaster) by Master Choi himself. (Admitted by Master Choi as well.) As the designated heir and future Hapkido grand master, Master Chin studied under Master Choi for years, receiving special instruction from Choi.

Master Chin continued to teach Hapkido throughout his life, both at his own school in New York City and in classes at the United Nations, where he taught until his death in 2018.

Philosophy of Hapkido

Hapkido comes in several forms, each favoring a distinct shape, but they all have one thing in common. That is, the methods they impart must adhere to the three Hapkido tenets.


This denotes peace. According to the rule, you should always maintain your composure and never directly resist an opponent’s might. In other words, you should accept it when your opponent utilizes force against you and prepare a counterattack.


This term denotes the principle of the circle. Every technique used in hapkido is executed in a natural, fluid manner. Their whole skill set revolves around deflecting an opponent’s energy and using it against them.


Yu refers to the principle of water. This is comparable to the idea of “becoming like water” that Bruce Lee discussed in his views on martial arts. Water can flow and shape itself around its surroundings, which is how the Hapkido method ought to be.

These ideas could be applied to daily living in that they emphasize living in harmony with the energy around you and leading a peaceful life.

Philosophy of Taekwondo

Beyond merely teaching physical methods, Taekwondo also teaches philosophical concepts. Gaining a black belt and beyond teaches you how to improve yourself as a person.
James S. Benko, Grand Master of Taekwondo, explains the Taekwondo concept as follows: “Developing a person’s positive personality traits is the aim of Taekwondo art.
Kindness, decency, goodness, reliability, loyalty, humility, bravery, patience, integrity, perseverance, self-control, an unbreakable spirit, and an awareness of one’s duty to assist and respect everyone

You become a more aware person when you get to the black belt. You should make an effort to have a peaceful life and to act morally at all times.

Hapkido Styles

In creating Hapkido, martial artists integrated ideas and methods from various other combat systems to form a hybrid martial art.

Hapkido is a hybrid martial art; hence, there are a lot of variations.
Combat Hapkido, Jin Jung Quan Hapkido, Shinsei Hapkido, and Sin Moo Hapkido are a few instances. Even though their curricula differ, they all adhere to the same fundamental ideas upon which Hapkido was built.

Taekwondo styles

Every style of Taekwondo uses essentially the same methods. Because each Taekwondo federation has different contests, the style varies depending on the federation the person belongs to.

For instance, World Taekwondo’s affiliated schools are mostly focused on the Olympic style of Taekwondo.

Techniques of Hapkido vs. Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a martial art that is mainly practiced standing, and its techniques depend on speed and accuracy. Taekwondo practitioners train a wide variety of punches and kicks that come from all directions.

In order to improve force and speed, jumping and spinning are added to the methods, and all strikes start at the groin and upward.

Hapkido techniques are more akin to countermoves.
Your opponent’s movements determine the effectiveness of your assaults in the majority of Hapkido forms.

In addition, it is an eclectic martial art that uses both striking and grappling methods.

A practitioner of Hapkido will attempt to counter an opponent’s movement with a takedown, strike, or a combination of the two.

In most cases, the opponent is rendered immobile by being on the ground in a joint lock.

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo weapons

As previously mentioned, there is no curriculum for using weapons in classical Taekwondo. If the instructor studied a different weaponry, some Taekwondo schools might include a class for weapons.

To go to the next belt in hapkido, you have to demonstrate your ability to protect yourself from attacks with different kinds of weapons. This is to get you ready for every kind of situation that life may throw at you. Protections against weapons, batons, ropes, and knives are still in place at the school.

Hapkido vs. Taekwondo Competition Similarities

These two martial arts Hapkido vs. Taekwondo competitions are actually conducted identically to one another.
Both events take place on a mat measuring approximately 8 by 8, and referees, along with several judges, are responsible for awarding points.

The distinction is that throws and joint locks earn you points in a Hapkido tournament. Thus, a Hapkido tournament is somewhat like a Judo tournament, but with specific blows allowed in designated zones.

Hapkido and Taekwondo Federations and Associations:

One of these federations or associations is in charge of Taekwondo. The American Taekwondo Association (ATA), the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), and World Taekwondo (Kukkiwon)

The World Kido Federation, the Global Hapkido Association, and the Korean Hapkido Federation are the leading federations and associations for hapkido, respectively. Every organization aims to respect Hapkido’s integrity.


Within the broad category of martial arts, Hapkido vs. Taekwondo are two separate disciplines that provide different avenues for self-improvement and self-protection. Whether one is more inclined to Taekwondo’s powerful kicks or Hapkido’s fluidity and agility, both offer insightful lessons in self-control, perseverance, and the art of combat. In the end, the decision between Hapkido and Taekwondo comes down to personal tastes, objectives, and the martial arts elements that each practitioner finds most meaningful. Undoubtedly, Hapkido vs. Taekwondo emerge as colorful threads in the complex tapestry of martial arts, adding to the diversity of human physical and philosophical expression as we continue to discover and enjoy them.

One thought on “Hapkido vs. Taekwondo: Unraveling the Martial Arts Tapestry

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