Hapkido techniques introduced to Korea in 372 A.D. and it was (accordingly some resources) the “hidden diamond” of the Korean people since only kings, officials and nobles practiced with it.Hapkido means literally:
Hap: to join all good elements, union, harmony.
Ki: vital energy, “spirit”.
Do: to live properly, to be cultured, the right way of life.
Today Hapkido came to the world by GrandMaster (GM) Yong Sul Choi (1904 – 1986) that combined Ancient Korean Martial Arts & Japanese Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu. GM Choi born in 1904 in Korea and he became orphan when he was very young. After that a Japanese man (Mr. Morimoto) took him to Japan.
Accordingly GM Choi’s statements, after his arrival in Japan he lived at a temple for approximately two years under the care of Kintaro Wadanabi (monk of the temple). This monk introduced GM Choi to his friend GM Sokaku Takeda (1859 – 1943), the head master of Aikijujutsu.
Accordingly GM Choi’s statements, too, GM Takeda decided to adopt and taught “Yoshida” (GM Choi’s Japanese name) the Aikijujutsu system for 30 years, he was GM Takeda’s assistant, they made together demonstrations in Japan & abroad and he was the only man that learnt all 3808 techniques of Aikijujutsu. GM Choi’s training in this Japanese martial art took place on Shin Su Mountain in the area of Akeda, at GM Takeda’s Aikijujutsu school and home.
Regarding the above statements, there are some people that they have different opinion about GM Takeda & GM Choi teaching relationship. These people say that GM Choi did not have so close relationship with GM Takeda and he did not learn all techniques & secrets of Aikijujutsu etc.
GM Choi came back to Korea, after Takeda’s death, in 1945 and he changed again his name back to Yong Sul Choi. From this time Modern Hapkido started its today history. GM Choi taught first Bok Sub Suh (Manager of Suh Brewery Company). This happened because Bok Sub Suh impressed very much when he saw, in his Company, GM Choi to defend with no or little effort & strength against several attackers. He asked GM Choi if he could teach him and GM Choi answered to him positive.
The art took some different names than today, such as: Yoo Sool, Hapki Yoo Kwon Sool, Yoo Kwon Sool etc. and finally in the 50′s (1958) was given the name of «Hapkido».
Concerning the name of Hapkido and last formation of it, there are some people who say that the name of «Hapkido» was not given by GM Choi but by GM Ji Han Jae in order to honor him because GM Ji Han Jae practiced with GM Choi for approximately seven years (he started when he was 13 years old in 1949 until 1956).
Today practitioners in Hapkido realize that they do not only can be benefited physically and mentally, but also they learn a very effective and applicable self defenses system.
Self defense in Hapkido includes thousands of technique that some of them involve linear movements while others involve diagonal and circular ones but most of them based on biological kinetics of the man.Generally many Hapkido Styles include three elements: Circle, Water & Harmony.
The advanced practitioners are practiced with long staff, short stick, two short stick, sword etc and learn how to use everyday objects for self defense purposes (i.e. cane).
Hapkido is regarded as one of the most multi-faced martial art in the world level since it employs all kind of techniques (such as: hand and kick techniques, pressure points, self defense, ground fighting).
The learning stages of Hapkido are carefully studied in order to introduce the practitioner gradually to this beautiful art. Here are some of them:
Theory, history & philosophy of Hapkido.
Physical training (i.e. stretching).
Learn how to pace and have an upright posture.
Body balance and proper shifting of the center of gravity.
Safe way of falling down (falls).
Hapkido basic techniques.
Simple forms of self defense.
Advanced self defense techniques.
Weapons (Staff, Sword, Cane etc).
Psychological support: how to face an attack.
The aforementioned Hapkido training is structured in such a way that the practitioner feels it as a self defense thus avoiding any false impressions.
Obviously this training program requires patience, devotion and care for what we are doing but this is also why this martial art is so special and unique.
Hapkido schools all around the world spread this martial art worldwide. Many cinema stars use Hapkido techniques in their films since they are impressive and effective, especially with many opponents.
The main feature of Hapkido is that one can start training without any former physical exercise, “Hapkido is addressed to everyone”.
Many grandmasters were occupied with the art of Hapkido and tried to give their own mark in this ancient art. Moreover, this is why it is called “the ancient art of masters”.