Hapkido is the complete mixed martial art self defence system!

All Hapkido techniques cover offensive and defensive situations, against single and multiple attackers from standing, ground and airborne positions. Stances are transitional from defensive, relaxed and attacking stances. There are hundreds of techniques covered throughout the original Hapkido curriculum, which when intuitively combined can create thousands of variations. Even an experienced martial artist of any style is sure to learn a wealth of knowledge at MACI.

Technical principles

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

  • Redirection of force
  • Flow of movement
  • Circular movement
  • Ki Power
  • Leverage
  • Live hand

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.

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.

Circular movement

Many Hapkido techniques are made up of circular movements. 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.

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).

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.

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 weapon techniques.

Hapkido techniques fall into three basic categories




Empty hands against empty hands

Defence against punches and hand strikes
Defence against kicks
Defence against clothing grabs
Defence against body holds
(eg. wrist, hair, bear hug etc.)
Attacking Techniques
Defence against joint locks
Defence against throws
Ground Defence

Empty hands against weapons

Short Weapons...Knife / Short Stick
Medium Weapons...Cane
Long staff

Collectively the above categories are broken down again by the following seven technique areas:


Hapkido contains strikes from all ranges and from all our available weapons, including:

  • Hand strikes
  • Elbow strikes
  • Standing kicks
  • Knee strikes
  • Ground kicks
  • Jumping kicks


Blocking is done using a variety of body parts and techniques to stop or avoid an attack:

  • Avoiding & parrying
  • Hand & arm blocks
  • Shielding blocks
  • Kick blocks
  • Kicks used to block
  • Blocking weapons


Hapkido utilises a variety of locking and grappling techniques in order to submit and control an opponent.

  • Wrist locks
  • Elbow locks
  • Shoulder locks
  • Finger locks
  • Leg locks
  • Chokes
  • Pressure points


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  • Breakfalls
  • Hand throws
  • Hip throws
  • Leg throws
  • Shoulder throws
  • Sacrifice throws
  • Kick counter throws

Internal breathing & meditation

Various forms of breathing and meditation are used to focus the mind, increase concentration, enhance physical performance, and improve health. Many breathing stances throughout our curriculum are performed from traditional stances such as eagle, falcon and nae ga shin jang.


Basic first aid and revival techniques are attained at Instructor level whereas more sophisticated healing techniques are acquired at Master level through the study of a specific healing art of choice such as massage, chiropractic or acupuncture.