Jeet Kune Do or Hapkido: Which is for me?

We’re often asked to explain the difference between Chon Tu Kwan Hapkido and Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do, the two martial arts taught at Green Hill Martial Arts.

There certainly are similarities, as they are both dynamic, non-sport, tested & proven self-defense arts. The philosophies and techniques do not contradict one another. You do not have to unlearn anything from one to train in the other. In fact, the two arts compliment each other. 

Jeet Kune Do (JKD) contains much of the trapping originating from its Wing Chun kung fu roots. Traps are meant to quickly tie up an opponent’s attacking/defending limbs in order to open up areas to strike. Many of those strikes and traps occur simultaneously – they’re fast! We intercept the attack while attacking, hence the JKD’s translation of “Way of the Intercepting Fist”. It could be said that many of the attack responses are linear in nature. Linear speed = power.

Testing in JKD involves showing a gradually increasing proficiency in “block and counters” (stopping an attack while attacking) and “trapping and entering” (immobilizing limbs and moving in for an attack). There are also elements of Muay Thai (kicks and elbows), Filipino Martial Arts (weapon defense), and kickboxing. There are 10 levels (certificates, no belts) to Black Sash, and no levels to test in beyond that. NOT that the training ends at Black Sash! 

Chon Tu Kwon Hapkido (Combat Hapkido) is a form (kwon) of the Korean art of Hapkido (Way of Joined Energy). While there are elements of JKD present (our dominant-side-forward fighting position, for example), we learn how to deal with all levels of aggression by employing a sliding scale of responses. These often involve moving an opponent’s joints in directions they are not meant to move (joint locking). This allows the practitioner to go a little easier on an attacker they may want to stop (or detain), but not injure - something that fits in with police forces. While JKD evolved from the Chinese art of Wing Chun, Hapkido has many elements of Japanese Aiki-Jutsu, from which many of the locks and throws originate. It could be said that the techniques are circular in nature. Circular movement uses an attacker’s energy against him. Hapkido kicks and strikes evolved from the ancient Korean kicking contests of Tae Kyon and are very similar to those in our JKD training.

Testing in Hapkido includes a demonstration of the myriad of ways we can lock up an attacker and take them down, or simply control them. There are 10 belts to 1st dan Blackbelt and 8 more levels of blackbelts to 9th dan (Grandmaster).

So which is better in a street fight? Either or both. JKD will give you an advantage over an attacker. Hapkido will give you an advantage over an attacker. There are many martial arts out there, enough for a person to find the one that fits their physical build, philosophy, and mindset. We suggest that a prospective student try both of what we offer to help them determine which one speaks to them. Some have continued to train in both.