August 15, 2020

Hapkido vs Aikido: Which one’s Superior?

Do you love martial arts and self-defense? If yes, then you must be out of your mind trying to find the one art that will be the best for you to learn. 

Actually, it is best to try out a few styles before you can choose the one to proceed professionally. Out of the several martial arts styles, there are two very popular ones that we are discussing here. Let’s look into the two styles and the differences while finding out which is more effective out of the two. 

What is Hapkido?

‘Hap’ means to co-ordinate, ‘ki’ means power/technique while ‘do’ means the way. Hapkido, in Korean, means to find a way to coordinate power.

Hapkido is a hybrid type of Korean martial art. It is one of the forms of self-defense that employs long as well as short-range fighting with pro-active techniques. Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu adapted this type of art form. 

This employs throwing techniques, kicks, jumps, punches, strikes, joint locks, grappling, etc. Apart from the close-range, it employs weapons training as well that includes ropes, swords, canes, sticks and so on.

What is Aikido?

Aikido is a modern Japanese style martial art form. Morihei Ueshiba developed this, in order to study martial arts, religious and philosophical beliefs. Its translation means ‘the way of unifying life energy’.

It has a set curriculum that focuses on joint locks and throws primarily. The goal of practising Aikido is ‘to overcome one’s true-self rather than initiating in-depth violence’. It also includes some weapons systems with physical aspects.

two fighters in kimonos practicing hapkido

What is the difference between Hapkido and Aikido?

While both the martial arts technique has been derived from Daito-ryu Aiki Jujutsu, they are different. Let’s look at some of these points of differences.

Foundation of Martial Styles

The main difference between the two is their foundations. While Hapkido is a Korean established art form, Aikido is the Japanese founded martial art form.

Prioritizing Techniques

Based out of military usage, Aikido is the art form mostly for the defensive style. It is a bit milder type of martial art form. At the same time, keeping in mind both defensive as well as offensive techniques in mind, the initiation of Hapkido took place. This was one of the more aggressive styles of fighting. Hapkido is also more inclined towards weapon usage.

Timeline of Origin 

Aikido is a more traditional form to originate in Japan even before Hapikido originated in Korea. Hapkido is a Korean adaptation of Aikido with some fighting additions in style.

Varietal Technique and Safety

Hapkido has a great variety of fighting techniques involved in it but it is still considered dangerous. Its manoeuvres and leg postures can lead to some dangerous falls. On the other hand, Aikido has a much safer style of implementation and its manoeuvres are safe.

Technique Formula

Hopkido is a combination of Aikido and some varietal leg manoeuvres. Hapkido includes kicks, leg strikes, leg trapping mostly which is not found in Aikido.

Hence, the formula is Hapkido = Aikido + Leg Maneuvers.

Fighting Circular Motions

Aikido in style uses long and big circular motions and patterns. This style ensures that through this motion the situation can be better controlled and we can avoid damage. Its special technique focusses on personal balance and throwing off the balance of opponents. Hapkido, on the other hand, has small circular patterns of motion and can easily cause damage to either. Every strike with rotation is precision-based and often deadly. 

Religious Undertones

Aikido is full of religious overtones. Aikido involved a lot of spiritual talks and lessons to understand the depth of its undertaking. Hapkido, on the other hand, is purely fighting and rigorous combating. No sense of belief and entirely left-out part of self-spirituality. 

It is quite clear how much the two styles differ from one another. You must be thinking about where would each have its effectiveness. Which style to prefer over which and what is the right place to use which one.

Which is more effective, Hapkido or Aikido?

Both the styles are equally effective when it comes to learning and mastering the martial arts. It is necessary to note that every style has its own effectiveness and special places for utilization. So, how to decide where to use which and when to use it. Let’s have a look.

Hapkido is more damaging in terms of full fighting stances, motions, and attacks. Being highly offensive it’s sure to cause extensive harm to opponents once struck unfettered. It involves a wide range of tactics like standing locks, throwing, striking, pinning and so on. It even involves ground grappling that leads not to holding out but to finishing downed opponents. It also involves tactics for a series of footwork that is capable of incapacitation. 

All this leads to an inference that Hapkido is definitely a brutal art form. It is very effective in harsh professional sports and fights where rules are negligible. Basically, this is best for pro wrestling, MMA and street-fighting. 

Aikido involves proper mental and physical aspects of training. In the physical training, it covered physical fitness, conditioning and many other specific techniques.  This art form consists of a lot of throws and the physical strength needed for it. At the same time, it is crucial to understand how to safely get out of the throw by rolling. All this has made it safer to implement and can be effectively utilized in any tournament and professional fight. 

When you think about the most effective out of the two, we can find that Hapkido is a more naturally adapted style. This is because of its practicality in training as fights are deadly and cannot be peaceful. This is the reason Aikido has been looked down on and criticized. Not everyone can understand the underlying principle behind the training and hence makes Hapkido highly preferable.

So, choose a style wisely and be safe!

Eugene Hardy

Eugene is a professional Muay Thai fighter, with several years of experience. Also, a black belt holder. He actively participates in tournaments and provides training to his students. Eugene started this blog to share his experiences with Martial Arts.

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