As in Aikido, the attacker is encouraged to over-commit their attack. The attack is received with minimal resistance and is guided past the target and then the defenders own force is added to it. The result is to overbalance and throw the opponent. However, opponents do not always attack with large movements, often short jabs and kicks are delivered with such rapidity that it is very difficult to lead the opponents force. In these situations, the close quarter blocking and striking techniques of Hapkido give the Hapkidoist knowledge of how to counter and overcome such attacks.
Many of the joint locks and throws of Hapkido are very similiar to those of Jujitsu. Painful twisting of the joints and tendons along with the application of painful pressure to vital points combined with a thorough knowledge of human anatomy help to control any opponent regardless of size or strength. These techniques work well for close-quarter attacks, however because Jujitsu practitioners do not practice their techniques against proficient kickers or punchers they are vulnerable to such long range attacks. Hapkidoists practice kicks and punches to a high degree of proficiency, thus the familiarity gained through practicing the techniques helps in defending against them..
Virtually all of the kicking techniques of Taekwondo are similar to those of Hapkido. spinning kicks, thrusts, circular kicks and sweeps are all utilised. Due to the fact that Hapkido is not a tournament orientated style, other techniques, such as low spinning kicks, low-section kicks and knee strikes, are also used. The basic hand techniques of Hapkido are similar to those of Taekwondo, that is, mainly linear attacks with fist or knife hand. However in a confined space such as a crowded public bar or a narrow hallway kicks are limited in their practicality. Self-defense tools such as elbows, knees, head butts and joint attacks are essential for survival in such situations. All of these techniques are practiced in Hapkido to produce a thorough knowledge of all ranges of attack and defence.
In Hapkido, as the student advances past the basic hand techniques, more emphasis is placed on small circular techniques and fast close-quarter parrying which resemble the techniques of Kung Fu. Advanced weaponry techniques using the 6″ Bo Staff and the fan are similar to those of Kung Fu.
Throwing plays an important role in Hapkido. The basic principle of Judo is used in Hapkido: moving your opponents centre of balance to a vulnerable position and using your leg or body to topple the opponent. Hapkido also uses strikes or pressure points to manoeuvre the opponent with less use of strength.
At advanced stages of Hapkido students are taught Gumdo. Basic strikes and blocks are similar to Kendo, however, circular and low section attacks typical of traditional Korean swordsmanship are taught once the basics have been learnt.