Image used with the permission of Master JH Kim - www.hapkidoia.com
Hapkido is a complete self defense system, it incorporates the redirection of force found in Aikido and Jujitsu, the devastating joint locks and throws found in Chinese systems, and the kicking technique of Tae Kwon Do. Hapkido incorporates both "hard" and "soft" techniques.
Hapkido began in Korea through Buddhism. The techniques were initially handed down through the hierarchy of monks to ruling families and other royal officials as a means of self-protection and personal safety. Unlike many other martial arts styles, Hapkido was not generally known, or practiced. A monk grandmaster named Su-san, taught Hapkido to Korean monks. These techniques were used in the Im Jin Wae Ran invasion. This early predecessor to Hapkido flourished through many dynasties but eventually lost its popularity when Buddhism was replaced by Confucianism in Korea. Because Confucianism respects scholarly discipline over physical force, Hapkido disappeared almost entirely, passed down only through individual masters, monks, and, occasionally, royal families as a secret self-defense.
More recently, Hapkido was reintroduced by the father of Hapkido, Yong Sool Choi (1904-1986). His parents died when he was still very young. Young Sool Choi began his studies at the age of nine. He was practising under Japanese Daito Ryu Aiki jujutsu Grand Master Takeda, Sokaku for nearly 40 years. Ueshiba, Morihei, the founder of Aikido, was also a student of Takeda. Hapkido and Aikido both have significant similarities to Daito Ryu Aiki jujutsu, so it would seem that Hapkido's link to it is real, regardless of how and where Choi was trained. Choi returned to Korea after Takeda's death and began studying Korean arts. Ji, Han Jae, began studying under Choi and eventually started his own school, where he taught what he called Hapkido, after the grandmaster's school. Along the way, Hapkido adopted various techniques from Tang Soo Do, Tae Kyon, and other Korean kwans (schools).
Today, government organizations, military academies, and special military units all contain Hapkido practitioners, totaling over one million in Korea alone. In the United States of America, Germany, Canada, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, China, and France, there exists a solid foundation of Hapkido schools.
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