Over the past few years, the world has experienced a rising interest in martial arts. As such, this has resulted in a high regard for disciplines such as Kung Fu and Hapkido, which have their origins in East Asia.

The selection of the discipline that is best aligned with one’s unique needs is dependent on an examination of the different aspects of both Kung Fu and Hapkido.

Hapkido is a form of martial art that features techniques oriented towards the accommodation of a variety of situations, including offense and defense against single or multiple assailants.

More specifically, this discipline is comprised of throwing, twisting, and joint locking techniques, whose execution only involves the exertion of low levels of strength.

In this case, the techniques, principles, and philosophies involved in this discipline are essential in the promotion of confidence and strength regardless of muscle mass, sex, or age.

In contrast, Kung Fu is a term that collectively refers to various Chinese fighting techniques and styles.

Generally, most of the fighting styles in Kung Fu feature movements that are fluid and circular, with forms that are similar to the modes of attack used by animals.

This discipline integrates aspects of self-discipline and concentration into the effective execution of kicks, strikes, and jabs.

Five major foot positions, including the snake, horse riding, frog, and dragon stance, as well as the upright posture, form a strong foundation for the performance of techniques in Kung Fu.

Differences between Hapkido vs Kung Fu

  • Techniques utilized in Hapkido have a high level of similarity to the throws and joint locks utilized in Aikido, Karate jumping kicks, and Judo striking techniques.
  • In contrast, Kung Fu mainly features a set of styles and techniques that revolve around movements that are fluid and circular, in a way that mimics the modes of attack used by animals.
  • In terms of historical origin, Hapkido utilizes Korean indigenous techniques such as Taekkyon and Tang Soo Do as the sources of a majority of its striking and kicking techniques. These techniques are focused on the employment of effective footwork and body positioning for the achievement of an overall advantage over an opponent.
  • In comparison, Kung Fu describes a set of techniques that collectively originated solely from Chinese martial arts.
  • While Hapkido is a specific term for a set of defensive and offensive techniques that are categorized within one discipline despite being derived from different Korean disciplines, Kung Fu is a blanket term that refers to a family or group of different forms of martial arts that have a rich, long history in China.


The advancement of learners in Hapkido from basic hand techniques usually leads to the creation of a higher level of emphasis on fast parrying in close quarters, and circular techniques that hold a degree of resemblance to those utilized in Kung Fu.

Additionally, Hapkido also features advanced techniques in weaponry such as the fan, Bo, and long pole, which are similar to Kung Fu weaponry techniques.

The repeated performance of pivots, kicks, and punches in Hapkido and Kung Fu provides physical and mental flexibility and strength.

In addition to improved mental and physical health, the performance of these two disciplines enhances personal confidence, expression, and discipline.

What to choose and why?

The conduction of an effective comparison between Hapkido and Kung Fu calls for the consideration of a wide variety of factors that are essential to overall personal suitability and convenience.

After gaining knowledge of both disciplines, the choice of one or the other is highly dependent on the availability and accessibility of training facilities.

In this case, the consideration of training facility accessibility is far more significant than personal taste and opinion.

While Kung Fu facilities are generally easily accessible globally, only a few are specialized in Hapkido.

Consequently, apart from preference, the choice between Kung Fu and Hapkido should depend on access to training facilities.

Take away

Hapkido and Kung Fu are forms of martial arts which have high levels of global popularity. Both disciplines have varying degrees of applicability in different scenarios.

The development of a personal choice of one or the other is dependent on an examination of how the various aspects involved in each martial art form align with unique personal needs and preferences.

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