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
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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