Can you compare Hapkido to ...

Subject: Request For Information
From: Justin Taylor

Experience: Beginner
Interests: Hapkido
Rating: Great
Comments: I am trying to decide which would be the more beneficial martial art to study, between Hapkido and jiu-jutsu. I have trained for several years in both judo and kickboxing. I am currently serving in the Australian Army and I am looking for a martial art specifically for unarmed combat purposes. I like the fact that jiu-jutsu has very effective take downs, joint manipulation etc, however I am concerned that it does not have a wide variety of strikes and kicks, which I believe are essential. I am not very familiar with Hapkido, I know that it has several techniques similar to Karate and Tae Kwon Do, what I am interested in is how the throws and takedowns and joint locks compare to that of jiu-jutsu. Could you also inform me how Hapkido striking and kicking techniques differ to those of jiu jutsu?

I would also like to know if Hapkido involves any ground work ie:- if you are down on the ground wrestling with your opponent does Hapkido have similar techniques to jiu-jutsu!

Thank you for your time.

Subject: Re: Request For Information
From: Melvin Fountain

There are several things to consider about Hapkido. After training in both Kempo Karate and Judo, I trained extensively in Hapkido. I have also had some training in Jujitsu, Brazilian Jujitsu and Jeet Kune Do. I would like to make comparisons of all that I have studied.

First, I have found that there is a reason that Hapkido is considered a combat martial art. Primarily because it deals with all four ranges of combat (or only 3 as some folk now argue). This is a requirement for unarmed combat since actual combat involves a high degree of uncertainty and one can find himself in any of the ranges for a variety of reasons. There are many effective kicks for kicking range, good hand skills for punching range, locks and breaks for grappling range and finally many throws and techniques for the ground. Next, the Hapkido use of pressure points and vulnerable points is an advanced combat strategy that can expedite having a conflicts outcome go in ones favor. Also, some of the techniques are lethal as well as disabling, but this is after all a combat martial art and one should measure his response according to the size of the threat.

Second, Hapkido shares a common ancestry with Aikido, Jujitsu, and Judo. The root art of all of these is Aiki-Jujitsu from which each of the founders derived their basis (of course Judo is sport version of Jujitsu). The fact that each of these arts branched out in different directions was probably an issue of the philosophy and intention of each of the founders. Aikido for example is considered a peaceful art that seeks harmony, while Jujitsu and Hapkido are unashamedly combat martial arts.

Third, any useful martial art will grow and change with time and circumstance if it is to remain effective. Hapkido as practiced by most masters is fundamentally the same but you will notice differences. And, it does grow. For example in my classes I teach many ground fighting techniques beyond what is normally taught with traditional Hapkido and other Hapkido schools are now also doing the same. However, ground fighting is a natural extension of Hapkido since many of the Hapkido grappling techniques work as well on the ground as standing up and there are a great many throws and takedowns in Hapkido (realize however that some throws are inherently a disabling technique on their own).

Fourth, Hapkido does serve as a good bases for the study of martial arts in general. The many varied techniques include kicking, punches, throws, breaks, grappling and pressure points. There is very little in any other martial art that will be unfamiliar to an advanced Hapkido practitioner. This makes it easy to assimilate new or different techniques that are found in other martial arts. This is as it should be. To obtain a high degree of proficiency in close quarter unarmed combat one should have a good basis and then look seriously at what all the martial arts have to offer. Hapkido does serve this function very well.

- Mel