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AsianInfo.org - Korea

A Hot, Hip Martial Art Form - HapKiDo

Many Americans are unfamiliar with hapkido (pronounced - "hop-key-doe"), but it is a fast-growing martial arts form throughout the U.S. and the world.  You've probably heard of karate or taekwondo and you might have even seen a Chinese kung fu movie, but hapkido is a lesser know form of martial arts. 

A powerful and specialized martial art form from Korea, hapkido can be broken down into three philosophical words "Hap - together or harmony," "Ki - power," "Do - the way."    Every Korean in the military learns taekwondo, but hapkido is reserved for those training in the special forces.  

The motions in hapkido are very fluid and smooth.  Although, some people say that hapkido is dangerous in the wrong hands, meaning it is an extremely effective and powerful tool.   For people who want to learn self defense, this is an excellent method.  All types of people, men and women, benefit from this form of martial arts.

AsianInfo.org has interviewed one of the main proponents of hapkido in the U.S., Master J.R. West, an 8th degree black belt.

AsianInfo.org: What is the meaning of hapkido?

Master West: HapKiDo can be translated as 1) The way of co-ordinated power, or 2) The way of strength and Harmony.

AsianInfo.org: What makes hapkido unique or different from other martial arts?

Master West: HapKiDo has no sport application, and it uses body motion and mechanics rather than physical power. HapKiDo primarily uses joint locking, pressure point attacks and throwing techniques.

AsianInfo.org: What types of people would benefit from hapkido?

Master West: Almost anyone will benefit from HapKiDo training, but especially women and those in their 30's and older.

AsianInfo.org: How did you first get involved with hapkido?

Master West: I was assigned to the Korean 25th infantry (Tiger) Division while serving in Vietnam during the 1960's and trained with the ROK troops the entire time I was in the RVN. I received my 1st Degree Black Belt in May of 1967.

AsianInfo.org: What do you see for the future of hapkido in the US?

Master West: As long as people are willing to train hard and seek out qualified and knowledgeable instructors, I think HapKiDo has a VERY bright future here.

Master West: If anyone has questions about HapKiDo, feel free to contact me at
601-856-8487 - J.R.West.

Also visit his website at www.hapkido.com

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