When looking for a martial arts training program, you have a lot of options. Many schools have branched off, each emphasizing different aspects. Those interested in learning about taekwondo may wonder how it differs from hapkido. This is a resource you can use to understand the similarities and differences between these two martial art forms.
At their core, taekwondo and hapkido emphasize the same core principles. “Hap” means unity, that between spirit and body – this is the same unity taught by taekwondo. “Ki” is the energy flowing through and activating the body. “Do” means way of life. These principles are the same in both arts, and act as instructors not only during training sessions but as those practicing it approach life in general.
The two art forms are also the same in that they are motivated not by anger and aggression, but self defense and the promotion of peace and order. Neither aims to harm or humiliate the opponent, but only to restore unity in the world. Both will teach their students respect of self and others, and promote a centered way of life that requires patience, focus and lots of practice. To master either of these arts takes years of dedication and the desire to improve oneself for the benefit of self and others.
There are also differences between these arts. A key factor about taekwondo is its emphasis on kicks. The taekwondo student will be extremely skilled at performing quick, powerful kicks that will overpower the opponent. Hapkido has a larger emphasis on throws and joint locks, and is considered by some to be more violent and dangerous than taekwondo. Injuries in students are more common in true hapkido, but he or she who masters the art is highly capable to defend him or herself.
Ultimately, martial arts is fluid, and continues to evolve and grow. Today, the schools often blend and merge, and it is common to see teachings of both occur within the same training program. Because hapkido and taekwondo have the same core teachings of respect, unity and self defense, their styles are often overlapping. The student learning about taekwondo will often find teachings on hapkido, and is made wiser by understanding both.