Hapkido is a highly eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, grappling, and throwing techniques similar to those of other martial arts, as well as kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. It also teaches the use of traditional weapons, including knife, sword, rope, ssang juhl bong (nunchaku), cane (ji pang ee), short stick (dan bong), and middle-length staff (joong bong), gun (analogous to the Japanese jō), and bō (Japanese), which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.
Hapkido employs both long-range and close-range fighting techniques, utilizing jumping kicks and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges, and pressure point strikes, joint locks, and throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, redirection of force, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain an advantage over their opponents through footwork and body positioning to incorporate the use of leverage, avoiding the use of brute strength against brute strength.
The art was adapted from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu as it was taught by Choi Yong-Sool (최용술) when he returned to Korea after World War II after having lived in Japan for 30 years. This system was later combined by Choi´s disciples with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous and contemporary arts such as Taekkyon, and Tang Soo Do; as well as various throwing techniques and ground fighting from Japanese Judo.