Aikido vs. Hapkido: What Are The Differences (And which to choose?)

Martial arts are the oldest and most traditional forms of art that have been in existence. If you get into their history, you will be lost somewhere that you won’t be able to get out of. So, Aikido vs. Hapkido: what are the differences?

Aikido is Japanese martial art, whereas Hapkido is Korean. Generally, Hapkido is more aggressive and focuses more on punching and kicking. In addition, Hapkido students use canes as weapons, and Aikido is designed to avoid or minimize harming the opponents. 

You might still wonder what are the differences between Aikido and Hapkido. The truth is that both forms are very popular forms of martial art that you can use in your life.

Read on to find out the major differences between the two disciplines, and which one is better for you.

See also: Aikido And Jiu-Jitsu: Which One Should You Choose?

Aikido vs. Hapkido
Aikido vs. Hapkido: What Are The Differences (And which to choose?) –

What Is Aikido?

Aikido is a Japanese Martial Art developed during the 1920s by Morihei Ueshiba (Japanese Aikikai Foundation). Aikido blends with an attacker’s energy to redirect the force rather than defeat it.

Aikido is a non-violent self-defense technique that involves remaining calm, focused, and centered, harmonizing with the energy of an attack. It focuses on a peaceful resolution of conflict situations and harmony.

By staying calm, focused, and present, Aikido becomes a form of moving meditation.
The term “Aikido” (pronounced” eye” – “key” – “doe”) means:

  • ai“: harmony,
  • ki“: spirit, mind, or universal energy, and
  • do“: the Way.

Therefore Aikido means “the Way of Harmony with Universal Energy.”

There are no Aikido tournaments or competitions because Aikido is not about defeating an opponent but rather conquering our fears, limitations, and weaknesses. 

Aikido’s training focuses on two fundamental concepts: 

  • A commitment to resolving conflicts peacefully whenever possible. 
  • And a commitment to self-improvement and self-development via Aikido training.

To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.

Morihei Ueshiba

What Is Hapkido?

Hapkido originates from Korea, particularly from the early 1900s. Founded by Grandmaster Choi Yong-Sool, hapkido is influenced by Japanese martial arts, including Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu.

Furthermore, Hapkido is a Korean form of unarmed self-defense based on the circular foot sweeps and kicks of traditional Korean Tae Kyon but including punches and circular throws similar to aikido’s principle

The word “hapkido” means “art of coordinated power.” 

  • Hap” means to coordinate, combine or blend.
  • Ki” means energy, power, or life force.
  • And “do” means the path, way, or method depending on the context.

Hapkido helps develop strength, willpower, flexibility, self-discipline, and confidence that will significantly enhance the overall quality of life.

Aikido vs. Hapkido: What Are The Differences

Looking at the fight, both may look similar, but Aikido and Hapkido are different.

Both are popular forms of Martials arts, but there are differences between Aikido and Hapkido.

Below is a list of differences between Aikido and Hapkido.

1- Aikido and Hapkido Differ In Their Countries Of Origin

Many people think that all martial arts techniques were created in Japan. However, all the Asian countries have contributed to the popularity and types of martial arts that you can find worldwide. 

  • Morihei Ueshiba founded Aikido around the 1920s in Japan.
  • On the other hand, Hapkido was founded by Choi Yong-Sool in the early 1900s in Korea.

Both may have similar origins in Aiki Jujutsu martial art, but the cultural differences of these countries have affected the recent techniques that you get to see in each form.

2- Aikido and Hapkido Differ In Their Movements 

Be it any martial art, every method has its way of playing and using body movements. Hapkido focuses more on kicking moves and aggressive play. It is a self-defense technique that is somehow similar to Taekwondo. 

On the other hand, Aikido focuses more on avoiding conflicts by throwing simple but classic attacks. It is different from throwing punches or kicks and has more lateral movements. In addition, it focuses heavily on softness and grappling. 

3- Aikido and Hapkido Differ In Their Philosophies 

Every martial art exists for a purpose that can be used and help you improve your life. So, likewise, you learn these skills and techniques for a purpose that helps you later in life. 

Hapkido techniques and styles of fighting are mainly for self-defense purposes. So if you are looking to work on your self-defense skills rather than depending on someone else to defend you, Hapkido is one of the best options to choose from

On the other hand, Aikido is mainly for self-growth and gaining control over your body and mind. After gaining control over your mind, it helps you choose harmony than violence. However, if the opponent chooses violence, you can use simple mind tricks to bring them down with the help of slight lateral movements

4- Aikido and Hapkido Differ In Their Training

For every martial art, you have to get special training. And for special training, it would be best if you visit the country of origin of that art. That would be helpful as it would be easier for you to learn the history and connect with it in a better way. 

For Hapkido, the training is very aggressive is mainly focuses on violence and how to bring your opponent down by using the force of your body. You have to pass Hapkido to become an expert, and it requires you to stay consistent and dedicated. 

On the other hand, Aikido training is more peaceful and simple. The purpose of training is to use your mind power to bring the opponent down rather than using your body. After you gain control over your mind, you wouldn’t need to use body power. 

5- Aikido and Hapkido Differ In Their Beliefs

Morihei Ueshiba (Aikido’s founder) supported one of Japan’s so-called “new religions,” Omotokyo. (Omoto Kyo was (and still is) part of neo-Shintoism and part of socio-political idealism. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Aikido Club))

One primary goal of Omoto Kyo has been to unify all humanity in a single “heavenly kingdom on earth.”

Therefore, Aikido has religious influences and includes a lot of spiritual talks and lessons to understand the depth of its undertaking.

On the other hand, Hapkido is mainly about fighting and rigorous combating. It doesn’t have any sense of belief.

Aikido vs. Hapkido: What Are The Differences (And which to choose?)
Aikido vs. Hapkido: What Are The Differences (And which to choose?) –

Pros and Cons of Aikido

Every skill does have its pros, but there are cons as well. Therefore, it is essential to understand them better. So keep reading if you are also fascinated by Aikido and want to know in detail. 


This will be an interesting section if you want to know more about Aikido. 

  • A form of art can last a lifetime once you excel in it
  • Spiritual benefits are countless
  • Peace of mind.
  • Self-defense oriented that doesn’t require any attacking
  • Due to belonging to Japanese culture, you can easily find top schools to receive training from
  • Improves body and mind flexibility
  • Improves breathing and heart rate
  • It prevents serious health issues


Every good thing has some bad traits that follow all the way long. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the cons to know what you will be getting yourself into. 

  • Training is very time-consuming and requires an immense level of dedication from your side.
  • Finding a proficient trainer is the real task
  • Lacks resistance
  • Requires all your focus
  • Aikido does not teach you self-defense techniques

These were the pros and cons to make it easier for you to understand Aikido better. Make sure to read every point if you look at Aikido training thoroughly. 

Pros and Cons of Hapkido

Hapkido is an aggressive form of martial arts for which you can get trained. Therefore, you need to know everything before considering pursuing it. Below are the top pros and cons that will surely help you. 


  • Helps relieve stress
  • It helps teach respect and discipline
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • One of the best methods for self-defense
  • Improves cardiovascular health and flexibility
  • Improves mobility
  • Keeps your determined


  • Very aggressive
  • Focuses a lot on kicking
  • Limiting
  • Not an optimum option to choose if you are short heightened as you are only allowed to kick on the head rather than throwing punches on the head of your opponent
  • It would be best if you had a lot of leg power
  • Kickboxing is a better option than Hapkido
  • High training and other costs

Aikido Vs. Hapkido: Which is Better?

Aikido is better if you want a holistic martial art about physical, mental, and spiritual development. Even though both will teach you self-defense techniques, Hapkido focuses more on developing your ability to defend yourself.

Both the methods of martial arts are great to learn and advance in. However, Aikido and Hapkido have their purpose for which you are looking to pursue.

  • If you have a calm personality and don’t want to ever engage in violence, Aikido would be the best option. The peace of mind it offers and the control you gain are great feelings. 
  • However, if you want to turn your aggression into a skill, Hapkido is a better option to choose. It helps you manage your aggression and relieve stress. 

In an ideal and peaceful world, Aikido will be better; however, sometimes you might be in a situation where you don’t have any choice but to defend yourself or your loved ones. In life-threatening situations, Hapkido will be a better option as it focuses on offensive techniques (and not just defensive as in Aikido).

With Hapkido, you are proactive (more in control) than passively waiting to respond to the aggressor’s moves.

Be it, anyone, you choose but make sure to get training from the best top schools. Choose a credible trainer as they are going to be your mentor. You wouldn’t have any trainer with whom you can’t create a bond? 

Aikido vs. Hapkido: Which One Should You Choose?

Both Aikido and Hapkido are excellent choices for self-defense martial arts. However, Hapkido is a better choice if you are looking to defend yourself, as it offers a broader range of techniques that may be useful to protect yourself in real life when danger arises.

Aikido will be better suited for those looking for self-control, self-improvement, and discipline, particularly students and teenagers. Aikido focuses on using the strength and power of your enemy to your advantage without the need to be strong yourself.

The primary purpose of Aikido is to teach practitioners to focus on love, harmony, peace, and friendship.

See also: Karate And Aikido: Which One Should You Choose?

Final Thoughts

This was your complete guide about Hapkido vs. Aikido. Many people confuse between these methods due to similar pronunciations. But now, the differences should be crystal clear. We have discussed the methods mentioned above in detail, and it is going to be the only guide you need. 


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