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Hapkido combines joint locks, pressure points, throws, kicks, and strikes for practicals self-defense. The word "Hapkido" loosely translated means "way of coordinated power". Hap is coordination, Ki is the essence of power, and Do is the art of method. It is a Korean martial art that is characterized by joint locking techniques and full extension kicks without retraction.

It uses three main methodologies in its execution. The first is nonresistance to force. Second, it uses circular motion in countering and attacking, and third, it makes use of the water prinicple (penetration of an enemy's defenses with a complete offensive system). Hapkido is a highly mobile, fluid art that is a challenge to master, but has extraordinary effectiveness in self defense situations.

Hapkido was introduced to ancient Korea during the same time that Buddhism was becoming an influence in the country, approximately 372 A.D. Hapkido became popular throughout the country among the upper class and royal court. Evidence of this can be found in many ancient wall and cave paintings and sculptures.

Hapkido techniques were reserved excluseively for the heirarchy of monks, ruling families and royal officials as well as the warriors of ancient Silla, being taught to them as a means of self-protection. It was not known among the common classes, so its origin is often misunderstood and incorrectly thought to be a form of Chinese or Japanese martial art. After the three ancient kingdoms of Koreas were united, during the Koryo dynasty, the royalty for many generations brought Hapkido masters in the palace for demonstration, affirming Hapkido as a royal martial art.

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