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What is Hapkido?

Hapkido is the most comprehensive combative martial art in history. As such, many forms of martial arts adopted Hapkido concept & system to create a better form of defensive combat art.

Hapkido is generally not meant to use in tournaments as it was generally created to use it realistically. Hapkido is not just a form of knowledge to fight, but it is also knowledge to increase health and better character.

Hapkido will avoid direct confrontation with their attackers and uses the deflection of force theory instead. Hapkido also teaches one to identify the types of threat and the appropriate use of force to subdue the attacker.

Hapkido means “The way of the co-ordinate power” in English. It has three main principles and they are:

Hapkido also has two main theories and they are:

[ Written by Master Anthony Low ]

History of Hapkido

Hapkido is the most treasured martial art and not sport created during ancient Korea over 2000 years ago during the DunKun period. However, the exact history of Hapkido has been written in various versions by many independent organizations and schools. The actual history records have been collected and published by Korea Hapkido Federation , but were never released in public.

Hapkido was created as a form of military fighting art in ancient Korea during the Era of the three kingdoms (Sam Kuk Si Dae), but it was not named during that time. There were three dynasties during that time, and they were Kokuryo , PaeChae and Silla dynasty. After the unification of the three dynasties, the Koryo was found thereafter. After the unification, Kokuryo migrated to China and the Silla and PaeChae migrated to Japan .

The Hapkido was created and found by the PaeChae dynasty and it was generally taught to the Imperial guards, Royal officials and Noble families. The warriors or knights of the PaeChae dynasty were known as the SamRang and the Silla were known as the HwaRang .

After migration to Japan during the Kamajula period of ancient Japan , a warrior of the SamRang known as Won IL Kwan settled down in Japan and changed their name to the Takeda clan. He was later approached by a man called Miyamoto Mushashi to teach him the art of Hapkido. Soon he became the top warrior in Japan and re-taught what he has learnt back to the Takeda clan descendant and he was known as Takeda Sogoku (also known as Won Jung Wui ).

Takeda Sogoku soon went around the entire of Japan to fight with the best fighters and masters. He soon was announced as the top martial artist in the entire of Japan and named the art as Daito-Ryu Aikijujitsu . He started his own school and taught many students, but one of his top students was a Korean orphan whom he adopt at the age of nine (9); he is known as Choi Yong Sool (who later changed his name to Yoshida ).

During those days, many people came to train under his guidance. One of his students was known as Moreihei Uyeshiba who later found his own art known today as Aikido . Moreihei learnt the principle of the Won (the circular motion and techniques) of Hapkido and left to pursue his own research along with his spiritual religion.

Choi Yong Sool soon became his master's assistant instructor to teach and demonstrate the art. Takeda Sogoku & Choi Yong Sool both were soon summoned to teach the Japanese Imperial Military for the war. When Japan knew that they are losing their war, Takeda Sogoku ends his life through hunger. Before he died, he advised his student Choi Yong Sool to return to Korea fearing he would be assassinated by his enemies after his death. Choi Yong Sool left Japan and returned to Korea and settled down in Taegu .

In 1943, Choi Yong Sool started teaching the art he learnt and named his art as Yawara before changing it to Yu Sul (meaning soft style). From Yu Sul, he changed it to Hap Ki Yu Sul and finally Hap Ki Yu Kwon Sul . During his days of teaching, he taught many students and one of his top students was Ji Han Jae . Ji Han Jae was his top student and soon started his own school known as Ahn Moo Kwan . Shortly, he changed his school name to Song Moo Kwan after moving to Seoul .

In 1956, he advised his master to adopt a better name rather than the longer name. After having his master's blessing, he named the art as Hapkido which is known till date. He later found his first association and it was known as Dae Han Hapkido Hae (Korea Hapkido Association). He was later summoned by the President of Korea Park Chung Hee to teach all the bodyguards and KCIA the art of Hapkido. Sometime in 1964, he was called upon to conduct Hapkido training to the Korean Military Forces and US Special Forces in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Along with him teaching were top masters like Kim Duk In , Kim Jin Pal , Myong Kwan Sik and etc. Sometime in the mid 1960's, the Korean government selected the first governing and certification body of Korean Hapkido, and it was known as Dae Han Hapkido Hyup Hwe (Korea Hapkido Federation).

The Korea Hapkido Federatio n was chaired by President Oh Se Lim who was the personal and close bodyguard of the Korea President Park Chung Hee . The Korea Hapkido Federation was rather strict on their standard and quality towards all Hapkido practitioners. The syllabus of Hapkido was then published (but never released in public) sometime in 1972 (or earlier), and all Hapkido students are to be taught the actual authentic way of Hapkido past down traditionally.

In Korea , not many people are able to accomplished the art because to the stressful and strenuous training of Hapkido. This goes without saying for people outside of Korea where many could not bear the strenuous training program of Korea Hapkido Federation . The Korea Hapkido Federation great masters like Oh Se Lim , Kim Duk In , Kim Beom , Gimm June , Kim Nam Je and etc, weren't keen and concern about money. It is the quality and the superior standard of original Hapkido they are concerned. As such, not many people from overseas were able to pass the grades of Korea Hapkido Federation . Therefore, many joined the independent organizations and schools to get themselves certified instead.

Till date, the Korea Hapkido Federation remains as the only main governing and certification body of Hapkido in Korea . Their rules and regulations were so strict that, irregardless of what ranking one may be applying must go through the entire training program and access accordingly.

[ Written by Master Anthony Low ]

Links to Other Hapkido History Pages

1) Hapkido-Info
2) Jin Pal Hapkido Martial Arts Federation
3) Duk Moo Academy
4) Intercepting Hapkido

P.S. Do share with us any other good Hapkido History sites that you know so that we can post it here.

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