Hapkido Syllabus Page
Any syllabus is something of a work in progress, and will undergo modification over time as better ways of teaching are found. When I first started teaching, on the whole I followed the same approach my teachers had used. That was an attack based curriculum. IE, learn to handle a particular kind or kinds of attack at a particular belt level, for instance wrist grabs at white belt. The problem with that approach is that in today's world, few people are able to stick around long enough and train diligently enough to see the underlying repetition of principles. I mean by this that the same technique works with very slight adjustments from a wrist grab, from a shoulder grab, from a punch, from ANYWHERE. Eventually you could get to that understanding, but for most people the attack-based approach is an overwhelming collection of disparate techniques without really understanding the concepts underlying the techniques. Also, it seemed silly to have the possibility of someone having trained for YEARS getting pulverized by some attack they hadn't gotten to yet in the curriculum. (Waaa, I got kicked in the face because I'm only a blue belt and we don't deal with kicks until red belt!)
About 2000, I met Grandmaster Geoff Booth and saw his concept based curriculum, and that was the catalyst for me to change my approach. We don't use all the same concepts; I don't teach his exact syllabus; and I structure things somewhat differently; but many of the concepts overlap. I owe a big debt of gratitude to GM Booth.
My curriculum is based on you facing ALL KINDS of attacks at EVERY belt level. That includes grabs, punches, kicks, on the ground, from behind, etc. How you deal with a particular attack at white belt level may obviously be different than at black belt, but you have the tools for successful self-defense very quickly. Then beyond that, are you interested in the martial art of Hapkido? There is an overwhelming number of possible techniques in Hapkido. In order to avoid the jack of all trades - master of none tendency, simplification is essential. If the basics are excellent, it's easy to add on variations of techniques. You can think of an analogy of a doctor: a HKD black belt 1st Dan as a general MD degree, with specialization happening after that. This curriculum focuses on teaching the underlying concepts through the colored ranks that then can each be developed in greater detail later. The idea is to have black belts who are able to handle any kind of attack and have understanding of and excellent skills in the core aspects of Hapkido: joint locks, throws, striking, kicking, and pressure points. Things like alternating double kicks, one-handed cartwheels, air falls, and weaponry are nice to have skill with, but are not essential to self-defense or to mastery of Hapkido. They are optional areas of study and are at black belt levels in my curriculum.
This approach has exactly 5 concepts at each level. It is easy to understand and teach. It makes the first few belt levels easy to master and helps the newcomer to Hapkido stay with it long enough to get hooked like I was long ago.
10th Gup white belt: Footwork, Strike reactions 1:evasion, Grab reactions 1:circular motion escapes, Falls/Rolls 1:standing falls, Strikes 1:fist
9th Gup orange belt: Strike reactions 2:shield blocks, Grab reactions 2:pull escapes, Falls/Rolls 2:rolling falls, Kicks 1:knee extensions, Joint Locks 1:arm bars (over)
8th Gup yellow belt: Strike reactions 3:parries/redirecting blocks, Grab reactions 3:counters to the hand/wrist, Falls/Rolls 3:jump rolls, Strikes 2:edge hand strikes, Joint Locks 2:upper arm locks
7th Gup yellow belt with a stripe: Grab reactions 4:counters to the body, Strikes 3:elbow strikes, Kicks 2:forward thrusts, Joint locks 3:V-locks, Strike reactions 4:simultaneous counters
6th Gup green belt: Attacking concepts 1:footwork aided attacks, Strikes 4: palm strikes, Kicks 3: side/back thrusts, Joint locks 4: outward wrist twist, Throws 1:sweeps/reaps
5th Gup green belt with a stripe: Attacking concepts 2: spinning attacks, Joint locks 5: S-locks, Joint locks 6: inward wrist twist, Kicks 4:knee flexors, Throws 2: knee folds
4th Gup blue belt: Attacking concepts 3: continuous combo attacks, Joint locks 7: leg bars, Joint locks 8: arm bar (under), Kicks 5: hip flexors, Throws 3: hip throws
3rd Gup blue belt with a stripe: Attacking concepts 4:ground attacks, Joint locks 9: hand controls (finger/thumb), Kicks 6: hip extensors, Pressure points 1:body, Throws 4: shoulder throws
2nd Gup red belt: Attacking concepts 5: jumping attacks, Joint locks 10: head controls, Kicks 7:double kicks, Throws 5:push/pull throws, Pressure points 2:head/neck
1st Gup red belt with a stripe: Attacking concepts 6:arresting attacks, Joint locks 11:wrist folds, Strikes 5: fingertip/knuckle strikes, Throws 5: sacrifice throws, Pressure points 3: chokes