why is hapkido not used in mma

why is hapkido not used in mma

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that focuses on self-defense techniques, joint locks, and throws. While it has gained popularity in various parts of the world, it is not commonly used in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions. This article aims to explore the reasons why Hapkido is not widely utilized in MMA, considering various aspects such as training methods, rules and regulations, effectiveness, and stylistic differences.

Training Methods

One reason why Hapkido is not commonly used in MMA is its training methods. Hapkido places a strong emphasis on joint locks and throws, which may not be as effective in the fast-paced and dynamic environment of MMA. MMA fighters often focus on striking and grappling techniques that allow for quick transitions and submissions, which may not align with Hapkido’s training approach.

why is hapkido not used in mma

Furthermore, Hapkido training often involves practicing techniques in a controlled environment, with an emphasis on cooperation rather than competition. This may not adequately prepare practitioners for the intense and unpredictable nature of MMA fights.

Rules and Regulations

MMA competitions have specific rules and regulations that govern the techniques and strategies allowed during fights. These rules often favor techniques from disciplines such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and wrestling, which have proven to be effective in the MMA arena. Hapkido’s emphasis on joint locks and throws may not be as compatible with these rules, limiting its application in MMA fights.

For example, many MMA organizations prohibit certain joint locks, such as small joint manipulation or twisting leg locks, which are commonly practiced in Hapkido. These restrictions can significantly limit the effectiveness of Hapkido techniques in an MMA setting.


Another factor contributing to Hapkido’s limited use in MMA is the perception of its effectiveness compared to other martial arts. MMA fighters often prioritize techniques that have been proven to work in the competitive arena, such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for ground fighting or Muay Thai for striking.

While Hapkido techniques can be effective in self-defense situations, their applicability in the highly specialized and competitive context of MMA may be questioned. MMA fighters tend to focus on mastering a few disciplines rather than spreading their training across multiple martial arts, which may further limit the adoption of Hapkido in MMA.

Stylistic Differences

Hapkido’s stylistic differences from other martial arts commonly used in MMA can also contribute to its limited usage. Unlike disciplines like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Muay Thai, Hapkido does not have a well-established presence in the MMA community.

Furthermore, Hapkido’s techniques often involve circular movements, redirection of an opponent’s force, and minimal use of brute strength. These stylistic differences may not align with the more direct and aggressive approach commonly seen in MMA fights, making it less appealing for MMA fighters to incorporate Hapkido into their training.

Lack of Exposure and Promotion

Finally, the limited exposure and promotion of Hapkido within the MMA community can also contribute to its underutilization. MMA fighters often gravitate towards martial arts that are well-known and respected within the MMA community, as they provide a solid foundation and proven techniques for success in the sport.

Without significant exposure and promotion, Hapkido may struggle to attract MMA fighters who are looking for effective and proven techniques to enhance their skills and chances of success in the competitive MMA arena.


In conclusion, there are several reasons why Hapkido is not commonly used in MMA. These include the differences in training methods, rules and regulations, perceived effectiveness, stylistic differences, and the lack of exposure and promotion within the MMA community. While Hapkido may have its strengths in self-defense situations, its compatibility with the dynamic and competitive nature of MMA remains limited.

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