European Hapkido Alliance
European Hapkido Alliance
Hapkido, Korean martial art of coordinated power
















All Wrapped Up in Hapkido!

by Sam Plumb

Mention martial arts weapons and immediately one thinks of swords and staffs and, of course, these are traditionally associated with martial arts training. However, some of the most effective martial arts weapons are common, everyday items. One of the finest tools for effective self defence in both traditional and modern martial arts is the rope.

Although a modern martial art, the roots of Hapkido can be traced to the very beginning of martial arts in Korea. The self defence skills used in Hapkido include Po Bak Sul or rope tying techniques. These techniques are used for submission and opponent control and are so effective that they are used by law enforcement officers in Korea.

The rope can easily be substituted by a belt, dog lead or a scarf. The techniques of the rope include wrapping and binding the limbs and neck. Opponent control techniques are used to escort an attacker using the length of the rope. Add joint locks and pressure point techniques and the rope becomes an extremely effective self defence weapon.

Po Bak Sul were used in ancient Korea by the Korean royal palace guards. No one, not even the guards, were allowed to carry a bladed weapon within the royal court. However, the guards very often carried an innocent-looking length of rope and any trespasser on the royal premises would soon find himself wrapped up and subdued.

Po Bak skills proved to be so popular amongst professional peace keepers that they have survived hundreds of years and have been adopted by modern-day police officers and law enforcement agencies. However, the rope is still considered a traditional weapon in Hapkido.

A favourite target for Po Bak Sul is the opponent’s wrist. An oncoming punch can be blocked with the rope and a swift twist of the rope or belt wraps the attacker’s wrist and pulls him off balance and allows him to be further subdued with tying techniques.

Pressure point stimulation is essential to all Po Bak Sul. Pressure points are sensitive areas that respond with instant pain when precise pressure is applied to them. One pressure point, which is often used in rope tying techniques, is located behind the attacker’s knee. Once the opponent’s arm or neck has been ensnared by the rope, a sharp kick to this pressure point will bring him down.

Po Bak Sul that utilize the rope to trap the opponent’s neck are only practiced by advanced students of Hapkido as these can be extremely dangerous. Strict care is taken when practicing this type of technique so as not to injure your partner.

Rope tying skills will break an opponent’s balance; they also enable the defender to swiftly throw or take the attacker down to the ground. As previously stated, joint locks and pressure point attacks are important to Po Bak Sul but these are no good without the correct angle of attack. With the correct angle comes instantaneous pain. For example, after the opponent’s attacking wrist has been tied up with the rope, his arm can be taken across his body at an angle that locks the shoulder and elbow joints and causes enough pain to allow the defender to easily throw him. Once on the ground, the opponent can be further tied up to completely immobilize him.

For law enforcement, Po Bak Sul can be quickly and easily applied to bring an aggressor under control, consequently these skills are as popular in Korea today as they were in ancient times in the Korean royal court.

The European Hapkido Alliance is recognised by
Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee and the International Hapkido Moo Hak Kwan as the governing body in the U.K. and Europe for Moo Hak Kwan and other traditional forms of Hapkido.