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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. If you're interested in its origin story, Wikipedia is your best bet.

Hapkido has techniques that can be found in several other arts including Judo, Taekwondo, and Jujitsu, but unlike those styles Hapkido has never been translated into a sport. This makes sense when you consider that it's premised on receiving and redirecting the force of your opponenta concept that's simply incompatible with squaring off with someone in a ring. That's not to say we don't practice intensely, but there is nonetheless sparring and no tournaments in Hapkido.

Hapkido is for everyone regardless of size, age, or physical limitations from either previous injury or life in general. This is the way it's designed to be. Good technique is about leverage and positioning, not strength. Traditionally this is communicated through three principles called hwa, won, and yu. It gets a little philosophical, but the gist is that in Hapkido you never meet your opponent head on. Instead if you flow and adapt, you'll find that he does most of the work for you.


Hapkido Vancouver has always been a club more than a business. All 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. 

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, no training in antiquated weapons, and no sparring. Everything we teach you is meant to help you keep you safe, not score you points.

We teach only adults, no kids. 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.

To the extent that our club is informal 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 some of our blackbelts are certified by Sin Moo Hapkido as well.

Our Style

There are a lot of styles of Hapkido out there. That's the way it's supposed to be. Spend enough time learning and eventually you'll have you're own interpretation. This is true of Hapkido Vancouver as well. We have a particular interpretation of Hapkido, one that's based on practical application.

We believe in thinking critically about the situations for which traditional techniques were developed, and either adjusting them to suit our time and place, or removing them. Similarly, we confront the reality that in the cultural mosaic that is Canada, short might face tall, small might face refrigerator. Adjustments have to be made if our Hapkido is going to be for everyone regardless of size or age.

We also know that while Hapkido is called a complete system, it doesn't have the answer to every situation, or even the best answer for that matter. Judo has perfected throwing, boxing has perfected punching. We acknowledge this by allowing our practice to be influenced by other arts. It's the kind of thing that happens organically actually. Our blackbelts branch out, pursue other interests like boxing or jujitsu, and then fold what they learn back into Hapkido, ultimately adding new twists to old techniques.

Finally, everyone in Canada is from somewhere else, and that's true of our club as well. Many of our blackbelts trained in Hapkido before arriving to Hapkido Vancouver. What we've found is that we all know the same techniques but we all do them slightly different. Multiple perspectives has proven to be an asset in that it and keeps us open to new ideas and from doing things a certain way just because that's the way we always have.  

Our Instructors

There are no mistakes in Hapkido, there are only other moves.
— Master Miles Tulloch