What Is Hapkido?
Hapkido is a Korean art of self-defense, an offshoot of Japanese Jujitsu and cousin to Aikido. It emphasizes circular movement, redirection, and joint-locks, but it's a complete system that also contains kicks, strikes, throws, and grappling. For its origin story, Wikipedia is your best bet.
At Hapkido Vancouver we focus on practical self-defense. 'Practical' means that we aim to apply traditional Korean techniques in a modern Canadian context. There are no katas, kids, or competitions. Everything we teach you is meant to help you keep you safe, not score you points.
Can ANyOne DO It?
We teach primarily adults, no students under 14. What we do involves understanding your opponent, seeing opportunities when they present, and applying devastating techniques safely. These subtle concepts are the art in Hapkido. Water them down for kids and what you'd have is merely a collection of techniques that look nice, but have no real utility.
That aside, our style doesn't favor youth, gender, or a particular body type. This is possible because Hapkido chooses leverage and positioning over speed and power. So be comfortable with who you are and how you're built, because it's all you need to practice what we teach. Even if you have a pre-existing injury, Hapkido can work for you. Primarily for the reasons already laid out, but also because of the breadth of techniques it encompasses. There is always something to work on.
Can I Try A Class?
Yes. Regardless of previous experience, you're free to drop in on any class—just purchase a drop-in. This minimal fee is only to make sure that you've duly considered our club and our style before coming in, because in some cases will be spending as much as 90 minutes one-on-one with you.
Class is less formal than other clubs. We line up by rank to bow in, and then warm up with rolling and break falls. As a class we clinic one or two concepts, and then with the time remaining, we split into groups according to belt color. Class starts on time, every time, but we often stay late depending on how much energy we have.
Wear your normal athletic gear. No jewelry. Bring water.
What's our Story?
Hapkido Vancouver has always been a club more than a business. All of our instructors have day jobs but show up in the evenings to practice and teach. We do it to better ourselves, develop the art, and pass it on to others. As a natural consequence we all tend to be peers regardless of rank.
To the extent that our club is relatively casual and we focus 100% on practical application, you could call us non-traditional. But our club has been around since 1978. Hapkido Vancouver was founded by Master Song Jae Han, a student of Choi Yong-sool. When Master Song was ready to move on, now 6th dan Master Miles Tulloch took over. Over the next 30 years Miles developed the curriculum posted on our wall, and produced our resident blackbelts. His curriculum, by the way, is endorsed by Master Ji Han Jae and as such most of our blackbelts are certified by Sin Moo Hapkido as well.