In the present era, where learning aurora martial arts is more of a necessity, deciding which type to choose seems to be nothing less than a cumbersome task. Presently, Hapkido is getting more and more attention with every passing day. But confusion remains: is Hapkido better than karate or not?
If you are looking for the answer to the same confusion, stay with us till the end. Here you will get all your questions answered blow by blow that in turn will help you decide the better one to choose.
So, without wasting a bit more seconds, let’s dive into the comprehended details of them!
What is Hapkido?
Hapkido is a form of anti-martial art of Korean origin. The word itself means a way of coordinating internal energy where:
HAP means joining or coordinated
KI means internal energy or spirit
DO stands for the way or art of execution of styles
Although Korean Hapkido is more or less a combo of aikido and jiu-jitsu techniques, it involves some additional punches and joint locks. Its focuses on:
- Circular movements
- Controlling the opponent
- Learning the resisting tricks
- Long-range and close-range punches and fighting techniques
It differs from Taekwondo in terms of not involving any sort of patterns during the training session.
What is Karate?
Karate, undoubtedly one of the most famous martial arts globally, is of Japanese origin. It focuses on kicking, striking, and using all other self-defense tricks using the body itself. There is no involvement of weapons at all. Saying that karate is a sport won’t be wrong. The word itself means empty hand. Gichin Funakoshi introduced it to the Ministry of Education in Tokyo.
Is Hapkido better than Karate-A detailed comparison!
Now that you are well up with a brief history of both the forms of martial arts and their origin, let’s get into the detailed comparison of the two types, and decide which state of martial art is better than the other in terms of fighting styles and techniques.
The difference between Karate and Hapkido are:
- Attacking style and sort of movements
- Use of weapons
- The principles and their applications
Attacking Style and Sort of Movements
When comparing the two forms, the first point you must consider to choose the better form is its attacking style.
- In Hapkido, all the styles and techniques involved cover both defensive and offensive situations. It trains you how to react and protect yourself from a single person or a group of attackers. A hundred of thousands of techniques are covered in the Hapkido martial arts. It focuses on standing attacking style as well as groundwork. Once you have learned Hapkido, you can easily fight in situations like:
- Weapon against weapon
- Empty Hands against weapon
- Bare hands against empty hands
The primary principles behind the various attacking forms that Hapkido utilizes are:
- Ki power
- Live hand
- Flow of Movement
- Redirection of force
- Circular movement
- On the other hand, Karate is further divided into various types depending on the style of fighting and attacking. However, all the forms focus on speed, form, balance, breathing, etc., to make the practitioner’s mind attentive. The four most common types are:
In Shotokan, we use both upper and lower body punches and kicks to create a linear and powerful impact. When delivered with full force, these strikes can quickly stop the opponent’s attack.
Remember the ninja cartoons in which we used to see the iconic crane kick? That is exactly what Goju-Ryu is. It focuses on using skills and soul to develop a vital harmony between your mind and body.
Wado-Ryu involves the techniques of Jiu-jitsu and makes you familiar with the ways to protect yourself during sparring and how to detract the opponent’s blow.
The most effective type of attack is Shorin-Ryu. In it, different katas of the long-range and short-range are used to learn a combat style of attack. It increases the agility and endurance of the practitioners.
The philosophy behind the two Martial Arts
After discussing the attacking styles and techniques, the next factor to discuss is the philosophy behind the two arts.
- Hapkido focuses on mind, body, and soul simultaneously. It believes that the development of a sound character and soul is as important as developing a sound body. Therefore, it involves the usage of mental, spiritual, and physical values accordingly to improve your health and fighting styles. For example, it teaches you to remain calm and talk to the opponent if he is drunk. But if a person attacks in all senses, you can easily give a powerful strike back.
- Similarly, the second form of your attention, Karate, also focuses on the coordination of mind and soul. It teaches you through theory and training how you can develop serenity and inner peace. As a result, it will help you in getting a better understanding of this world and your relation to it. It is not an aggressive form of martial art in which you always have to ground the attacker. Instead, it trains you to become a calmer and gentler person.
Belts in Karate and Hapkido
There are some grades or levels of training in any martial art, and with them, the system of belts comes into play.
- In Hapkido, there are six different types of belts used, showing the level of training, with the white belt used for a newly admitted person and the red belt for the most advanced level. Lastly comes the dans or the hapkido black belt, which is for experts only.
- In contrast to Hapkido, in Karate, there is Kyu. This form of martial arts has a ranking system involving eight different colored belts that are: white, yellow, orange, blue, green, purple, red, and then finally comes brown- the top level.
Soft Form and Hard Form of Attack
The form of attack of the two types makes it quite clear to you why is Hapkido better than karate.
Yes, while Hapkido involves a mild form of attacks, in karate, mostly the full combat style involving hard form is used. So, a practitioner of Hapkido has full hands on the ways to redirect the opponent’s energy and use it against themselves. In karate, we use only a full-force vs. force style.
When a karate practitioner comes against a Hapkido practitioner, there are high chances of Hapkido learner to win as not only his moves and tricks are more effective, but he also knows how to use the energy and momentum of his opponent in his favor. As a consequence of which, he can easily absorb the attack of a karate practitioner and then use it to attack him back using principles of dynamics and momentum.
Number of Kicks
A significant drawback that we see of karate as compared to Hapkido is the usage of styles and types of kicks. Although different kicking techniques and styles are taught in Karate, they are much less than those in counter Korean martial arts.
There are only four kicks in karate:
- Basic kicks
- Non-traditional kicks
- Advanced kicks
- High advanced leg kicks
But, in comparison to it, there are more than twenty-five forms of kicks in Hapkido.
The three principles of Attack in Martial Arts
In both Hapkido and karate, there are three basic principles of attack; however, they are quite different from each other.
In Hapkido, the three principles involved are:
- The harmony principle teaches you to remain calm and serene and not attack the opponent using any throw. Instead, they utilize the momentum. For example, if a person attacks the chest of a Hapkido practitioner, he will not attack or resist in response. Instead, he will move towards the attacker to absorb the momentum and counteract all the energy used.
- The circle principle focuses on redirecting the energy of the opponent against himself using natural and free form power. For instance, if you throw a linear punch to a hapkido practitioner, he will simply give a circular attack to your throw. As a result, you will end up hurting yourself. And in the meantime, he can also use a combo of any other strikes to attack you more strongly.
- Last but not least comes the water principle, which is further divided into four sections, each training you on how to develop a flow in your attack.
In karate, the three principles that we frequently use are:
- The first principle is Kihon or Basic fundamentals. It helps in operating various katas using them separately or in various unique combinations.
- The second element is katas, in which you are trained to learn and remember the fundamental techniques along with their specific usage in different situations. It teaches you how to use a style of attack with perfect rhythm, timing, balance, and breathing concentration.
- Kumite is the last principle in Karate. It immobilizes the opponent in a very controlled way, no matter how powerful he is.
Comparing the principles of Hapkido and karate no longer leaves us with the question “If Hapkido is better than Karate”. Yes, it definitely is. Its principles are far more logical than those of karate.
Karate vs. Hapkido– the Use of Weapons
How about going in front of a lion with no weapons? Ridiculous, right! So is the case when a karate practitioner enters a fight with a Hapkido learner. But why?
The answer lies in the usage of weapons. In Hapkido, you are trained to carry and use several weapons in different attacking styles to harm your opponent in the worst scenario. The weapons used frequently are:
- War fan
- Wooden sword
- Long and medium staff
But in comparison to it, not even a single weapon usage is allowed in Karate. This ends the question of whether Hapkido is better than karate combat or not!
Is Hapkido better than karate for Self Defense?
There is no second thought that both martial arts are used actively for self-defense, but here are multiple reasons that make Hapkido better than karate:
- In Hapkido fighting style, grappling and much more techniques and throws of joint lock are involved compared to karate.
- In karate, only hard fighting styles are taught, but in Hapkido, the practitioners learn both hard and soft forms of fighting.
Is Hapkido better than Karate – which one to choose?
Until now, we have discussed all the techniques, throws, styles, the philosophy, in short, each and everything about karate and Hapkido, and we have come to the conclusion that yes, Hapkido is better than karate. Whether discussing its principles or keeping the throws in mind-Hapkido definitely outcasts Karate in all terms. Therefore, you should learn Hapkido to become a better version of yourself, both spiritually and physically.
Traditional Hapkido vs. Combat Hapkido – The Better One
Although both forms are similar in terms of rules, not teaching acrobatic techniques, and having no competitions, here are the reasons that make traditional Hapkido a better version than the Combat Hapkido:
- In combat Hapkido, the training involves only a limited number of breakfalls and throws, but in Traditional Hapkido, you are taught a number of throws and how to coordinate them simultaneously. For example, in traditional Hapkido, you are absorbing the attack, locking up, and making them fall on the ground all at once in a sequence.
- Traditional Hapkido teaches hard blocks, while combat Hapkido doesn’t.
Benefits of Hapkido:
Hapkido is a soft form of martial arts with numerous benefits for humans both mentally and physically. A few benefits of learning hapkido are:
- Increase in confidence
- Mentally benefits you by decreasing stress level
- Increase the physical strength of core muscles
- Better awareness of body and self-control
Conclusion- The Final Verdict
Claiming one form of martial arts better than the other is wrong as both are THE BEST in their respective category. But when it comes to comparing both in terms of long-term uses and techniques, the question of “Is Hapkido better than karate” definitely falls in favor of Hapkido.
So, why not try it out? Yes, check out a center near your spot, and start learning from Hapkido classes!
Chris Bent is a professional MMA Trainer who has expertise in both Martial Arts and Karate and he loves to teach Men, Women and Kids.