Hapkido (합기도) draw heavily from traditional Asian philosophies, such as the belief in ki. Ki always flows in a circle, and hapkido involves harnessing the circular flow of ki. The universe revolves and pivots; these movements are reflected in hapkido’s circular motions based on pivotal points. These motions are neither violent nor linear. Instead, they are gentle and circular. Thus, when you make yourself the center and produce a flow like a whirlpool emanating from the eye of a storm. The highest perfection is attained and you will feel an indescribable peace. Also, when you bring your opponent into your circle or adapt yourself to your opponent’s circle, you can control him or her.

In hapkido many joint-locking or bending techniques are used to control the opponent as well as a wide variety of kicking and striking techniques. Many schools teach weapon techniques to their students: short and long sticks, nunchakus, knives, belts or ropes, canes, and swords.

Hapkido is primarily intended to be a defensive martial style and should be used for purely defensive purposes. When an attacker confronts a hapkido practitioner, he or she should endeavor to use the least amount of force in order to control the situation. One of the goals of hapkido is the development of a non-violent attitude, which can be achieved through self-control, patience, and forgiveness. Because of this, a strict ethical and moral worldview is therefore inherent to hapkido. This is manifested in the four basic elements of courtesy, respect, right attitude and the understanding of one’s own center.