May 23, 2024



Ten Martial Arts Similarities in Hapkido and Kickboxing by Nathan Lambright

Ten Martial Arts Similarities in Hapkido and Kickboxing by Nathan Lambright

If we address martial arts, there are key things that are similar across the board. Especially when looking at martial arts from a self defense perspective. In this article we are addressing Hapkido and Kickboxing. Hapkido incorporates joint locks, joint manipulations, and some kicks and strikes while kickboxing is only striking. Since the individual techniques are different with these two arts what are the things that are the same and need to be used in both types? Let’s first address these similarities and then hopefully we can understand how to better use these arts in defending ourselves from an attack.


Breathing is important in both arts. Every time a person throws a punch and it lands being able to breathe and absorb the punch will save you from being hurt as much. The same is important in Hapkido. Freezing up and resisting the flow will only cause a person to lose in the end and could result in broken bones or torn muscles. Breathing will allow you to keep moving continually without becoming tired as quickly. Also, when throwing a punch, kick or controlling an arm or joint the aggressor needs to keep breathing in every technique. Oxygen to the muscles and brain will reduce tiredness and in case your opponent is hitting back at the same time you are striking, will allow you to automatically be more prepared to absorb it. Hence why they teach the yell in styles like taekwondo.


In every martial art balance is key. In hapkido when your balance is disrupted you will go to the ground. In Kickboxing when your balance is taken you will also most likely end up on the ground. This is the purpose of teaching stances and movements to help keep balance regardless of the art you are doing. Obviously, some movements are different in both of these arts. But remember the body is a cylinder so whether you are striking that cylinder or manipulating the cylinder you need to keep your balance.


This is very important. But can never be done without first learning to breathe. If a person does not have any flexibility, they are unable to move in the cylinders range of motion. In everything a person does they need to move their legs, arms and body. This is even outside of martial arts. Maybe doing housework, construction, daily exercises, a person can practice flexibility. Simple things that require flexibility in hapkido and kickboxing is leg and arm extensions in different directions. The more flexible you are the more range of motion you have.


In fighting conditioning and stamina is very important. Especially if a person wants to compete. Fighting for minutes at a time at full speed is very common. The better you’re conditioned the longer a person will be able to fight. Fighters may have the same skill level, but the conditioned fighter will win in the end. If your energy is depleted, you will be unable to attack or defend. Kickboxing teaches a lot of conditioning. This will also help with speed and agility in Hapkido or in a street fight.


Everyone needs a certain element of strength. To be able to perform any technique a person needs strength to do them. It should not matter if some have more than others. Doing squats and weightlifting can help with this. It is something a person needs in every style of martial art.


In Hapkido and Kickboxing speed is of the essence. If someone beats you to the punch then you get hit before you can hit back. If you get put in an arm bar it is most likely because you were so slow that you did not do something to avoid it. That is if you recognize what is happening. Speed will be what will either win your fight or cause you to lose the fight. Obviously, there is more involved. In hapkido the person who gets the technique first has the chance of executing the move before the other. In kickboxing the more punches, you throw the more likelihood you will have of winning since more of them probably landed than the one who threw less. Speed is also important when evading, whether slipping a wrist grab or punch speed is important.


Power is important in kickboxing and Hapkido. A powerful kick will mean more than a tap. Having speed will equal power. For example, speed times mass equal’s power. A baseball flying at ninety miles an hour will hurt more than a softball which is much bigger but is only going thirty miles an hour. A bullet kills people but only because it travels three thousand feet per second. Imagine your first traveling at that speed what damage it would cause. Now let’s imagine the person who can deadlift a tremendous amount. We would say that person has a lot of power. However, if his punch is slow and fails to hit it is worthless. However, if there is speed with the power it will be devastating and will come in handy when using hapkido and kickboxing. Power and speed generate destruction. Power is needed for sweeps and throws. It is also needed in full contact kickboxing. Some people have more power than others while some have more speed than others. Both are very useful in these situations.


When using control, it might not always refer to not hitting to hard or going soft on a wrist lock. It could mean being in control of yourself and the person you have encountered. It also means being in control of the outcome. This also means understanding what you are doing and what can be used in different divisions. Being in control means understanding what is happening and learning to use offensive and defensive tactics when needed. This is very important in hapkido and in kickboxing. At time a person needs to go with the flow of the energy and at times it is important to drive through the energy. Getting ring time does not necessarily refer to training in a ring but doing sessions that are like what will happen when you are in an actual tournament.


In hapkido a person learns manipulation, nerve points, and places to grab that cause pain. In kickboxing punching specific nerves can also cause extreme pain or total loss of maneuverability. It is also important to understand that when striking and using manipulation techniques we need to know when to use them, so they are effective. These things are taught when teaching the flow of energy. Sidestepping a punch and countering can use the aggressors’ actions to hurt them. This could also mean using the speed and power of your opponent against them. Doing this we need to understand when to use what technique. WE learn some strikes in hapkido, some kicks and punches. We learn how to go with the flow of a punch or kick to do a takedown, arm bar, leg sweep, or throw. Kickboxing has nothing but punches and kicks. At times it is better to pass a power kick rather than take the hit, which is taught in hapkido when passing the energy to one side or the other. Slipping punches are the same principle, which is avoiding the energy that is directed at you and countering a strike. In hapkido a person will need to be able to move quickly when taking a person to the ground, the same is true in kickboxing when you need to change directions quickly and move the energy in another direction. We understand the 45-degree rule which is used in kickboxing and hapkido. Putting wrist locks at 45 degree angles will enhance the technique. Fighting and striking an opponent at 45-degree angles in kickboxing will heighten the pain of the punch.


Foundation is more than staying rooted to the ground. Foundation also understands the principles of the movements that are being used in whatever circumstance a person might find themselves. The art themselves is the foundation and should become part of you. The foundation of any martial art is all the above that we can recognize what is needed to do this type of training. Martial arts can be extremely demanding to the mind and body. Training sessions will often push individuals to their mental or physical limits. A strong, fit, flexible body really helps. Some techniques are difficult to execute especially in the beginning. Working on all these things is what will create your foundation. It will maximize your martial arts experience. If a person loses their breath, they can no longer execute techniques. Balance without breathing is worthless but breathing without balance is also worthless. Strength will help with speed and power. Without speed there is no power. But there is no speed or power without strength. Working on building the body is the core of martial arts and this should become the foundation.

About the Author:

I am Nathan Lambright, and I am a first-degree black belt in Hapkido and a first-degree black belt in WTF Taekwondo. I currently train at the National Self Defense Agency. I also compete on the United States Kickboxing at Waco USA. Life is a pleasure with many new things to look forward to.