April 22, 2024

Three Types of Hapkido Self-Defense by KJN Jae Jeannotte

Three Types of Hapkido Self-Defense by KJN Jae Jeannotte

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that combines striking, kicking, joint locks, throws, and grappling. It is known for its emphasis on self-defense, and its techniques are designed to be effective against a variety of opponents, regardless of their size or strength. In my many years of Hapkido practice I have found that these three mayor types of self-defenses from Hapkido can protect you and keep you safe from danger.

There are three major types of self-defenses in Hapkido that you should focus on:

  • Avoidance: The goal of avoidance is to simply avoid being attacked in the first place. This can be done by being aware of your surroundings, avoiding dangerous situations, and using good judgment.
  • De-escalation: If you are attacked, the goal of de-escalation is to calm the situation down and avoid violence. This can be done by talking to the attacker, using verbal commands, or using non-violent techniques such as blocking or evading.
  • Counterattack: If de-escalation fails, the goal of counter-attack is to defend yourself and neutralize the attacker. This can be done using a variety of techniques, including striking, kicking, joint locks, and throws.


The first and most important type of self-defense is avoidance. This means taking steps to avoid being attacked in the first place. There are several things you can do to avoid being attacked, such as:

  • Being aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is around you and what they are doing. If you see something that makes you feel unsafe, move away.
  • Avoiding dangerous situations. Don’t walk alone in dark or deserted areas. If you must walk alone, take out your phone and pretend to be talking to someone.
  • Using good judgment. Don’t put yourself in situations where you could be attacked. For example, don’t get into fights or argue with people who are bigger or stronger than you.


If you are attacked, the next step is to try to de-escalate the situation. This means calming the attacker down and avoiding violence. There are a few things you can do to de-escalate a situation, such as:

  • Talking to the attacker. Try to reason with them and explain why you don’t want to fight.
  • Using verbal commands. Tell the attacker to stop and leave you alone.
  • Using non-violent techniques. Block or evade the attacker’s attacks.


If de-escalation fails, the final option is to counter-attack. This means defending yourself and neutralizing the attacker. There are a variety of techniques you can use to counterattack, such as:

  • Striking. Use your hands, feet, or elbows to strike the attacker.
  • Kicking. Use your legs to kick the attacker.
  • Joint locks. Use your hands to apply joint locks to the attacker’s joints.
  • Throws. Use your body weight to throw the attacker to the ground.

It is important to note that the best type of self-defense is the one that you are most comfortable with and that you have practiced the most. If you are not comfortable with striking or kicking, then you should focus on avoidance and de-escalation. However, if you are comfortable with using force, then you should also learn how to counter-attack.

The most important thing is to be prepared. By learning about the different types of self-defenses and practicing them regularly, you can increase your chances of defending yourself if you are ever attacked.

In addition to the 3 major types of self-defenses, Hapkido also teaches a number of other techniques, such as:

  • Breakfalls. Breakfalls are used to protect yourself from injury when you are thrown or fall to the ground.
  • Escapes. Escapes are used to get out of holds or grapples.
  • Weapons disarming. Weapons disarming techniques are used to take away an attacker’s weapon.

Hapkido is a comprehensive martial art that can teach you a variety of self-defense techniques. If you are interested in learning more about Hapkido, I encourage you to find a qualified instructor from the International Independent Hapkido Alliance and start training today.

About the author: KJN Jae Jeannotte is a lifelong martial artist who has served as an officer in some capacity in several of the top Hapkido organizations in the world. He is the Founder of JaeMuKwan Hapkido which is recognized by several of the leading Korean organizations. KJN Jeannotte is also the Vice President of the USA Hapkido Union.

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