Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Hapkido research trends: a review

Background. The plethora of martial arts research allows for numerous cross-disciplinary studies. One such martial art is Hapkido, a Korean martial art that focuses on self-defense techniques.
Problem and Aim. Few academic studies on Hapkido have been conducted in English. This meta-review examined Hapkido academic literature to identify the various subdisciplines and trends in their respective literatures. The findings will guide future studies and inform Hapkido organizations and instructors of the research most pertinent to their understanding and practice of Hapkido.
Methods. The keyword “Hapkido” was entered in both English and Korean text into four online databases: the Korean Studies Information Service System (KISS), the Korea Education and Research Information Service (RISS), Google Scholar, and World-Cat. Only articles published in academic journals were used in this review. The articles were then divided into subdisciplines and research trends were identified and analyzed.
Results. A total of 1,288 articles were found in the databases: KISS (n = 79), RISS (n = 157), Google Scholar (n = 933), and World-Cat (n = 119). The search found articles published in English, Korean, Spanish, and Portuguese. Hapkido articles in the humanities outnumber those in the natural sciences. The most common subdiscipline of Hapkido research was biomechanics (n = 19, 17.59%), where the majority of papers were comparative studies between Hapkido and Taekwondo.
Conclusions. While the breadth of Hapkido research is indeed wide, the amount and depth of research on it is low. More research in the humanities is being produced than in the natural sciences. Hapkido studies contain a wealth of information that could expand the general understanding of Korean martial arts, Korean culture, and by extension all other martial traditions worldwide.