(also spelled "hap ki do" or "hapki-do") is a dynamic and also eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, techniques of other martial arts, as well as kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. There is also the use of traditional weapons, including a sword, rope, nunchaku, cane, short stick, and staff ("gun," or "bo") which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.
Hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, utilizing jumping kicks and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, joint locks, or throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to incorporate the use of leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.
Proper hapkido tactics include using footwork and a series of kicks and hand strikes to bridge the distance with an opponent. Then to immediately control the balance of the opponent (typically by manipulating the head and neck), for a take down or to isolate a wrist or arm and apply a joint twisting throw, depending upon the situation. Hapkido is a comprehensive system and once the opponent's balance has been taken, there are a myriad of techniques to disable and subdue the opponent.
As a hapkido student advances through the various belt levels (essentially the same as other Korean arts, e.g. taekwondo), he or she learns how to employ and defend against various weapons. The first weapon encountered is most often a knife. Another initial weapon used to teach both control and the basic precepts of utilizing a weapon with Hapkido techniques is the "Jung Bong" (a police-baton sized stick). Many hapkido organisations may also include other weapons training such as a sword ("gum"), long staff ("jahng bohng"), middle length staff, nunchaku ("ssahng jol gohn"), war-fan or other types of bladed weapons such as twin short swords.