History of Hapkido
During the Three Kingdom Era (SAM-KUK-SHI-DAE) (from 57 B.C. to 688 A.D) Three Kingdoms competed on the Korean peninsula: KO-GU-RYO (37 B.C.) in the north, PAEK-JAB (18 B.C.) in the southwest, and SHILLA (57 B.C.) in the southeast. Martial Arts techniques much like those of modern day Hapkido were introduced to ancient Korea with the introduction of Buddhism in KO-GU-RYO approximately 372 AD.
.Hapkido is the combination of two Korean Martial Arts - Yool Sool which comes from the Japanese art known as Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jutsu and Tae Kyon which is an ancient Korean Kicking Skill that was widespread during the time of the Three Kingdoms.
Daito-Ryu can be traced all the way back to Senwa Tenno who is considered by many to be the very first in the Daito Ryu line. The techniques were basically the combat methods of the Minamoto clan that had been refined and perfected by General Yoshimitsu. The General is known to have studied the cadavers of criminals to understand human anatomy. The techniques of General Yoshimitsu were passed down and then combined with the Aizu techniques to become what is now known as Daito Ryu.
The origin of Daito-Ryu starts with Soemon Takeda (1758-1853). Soemon Takeda taught a system called aiki-in-ho-yo, "the aiki system of yin and yang," which he passed on to Tanomo Saigo. Saigo also had training in Misoguchi-Ryu swordsmanship and Koshu-ryu military science.
Tanomo participated in the Boshin war. Certain that Tanomo had been killed in a battle with the Imperial forces and determined to preserve the honor of the family name, his mother, wife, 5 daughters, and other members of his family committed ritual suicide. However, Tanomo's life had been spaired. Tanomo then changed his name to Hoshina and served as a Shinto priest in various districts and later adopted Shiro Shida as his disciple-son. Shiro was extremely talented and mastered the Ryu's many techniques, later applying them with great success during the foundation of Jigoro Kano's Kodokan school of Judo. However, Shiro abandoned the practice of both systems, moved to Nagasakai and devoted himself to classical archery the rest of his life.
Tanomo had another heir to the Daito-Ryu, Sokaku Takeda(1860-1943), Soemon's grandson. Sokaku was no novice to the martial arts. At an early age he had obtained teaching licenses in Ono-ha Itto-Ryu swordsmanship and Hozion spear-fighting. Sokaku had also studied with the swordsman-saint Kenkichi Sakakibara of the Jikishin-kage-ryu. Sokaku traveled widely, attracting a large number of students; he was reputed to have around thirty thousand students and nearly every budoka of note in that era was his student in one way or the other.
Sokaku Takeda meets Yong Sool Choi
The Japanese Army invaded and ruled Korea from 1910 through the end of World War II. During that period, it was not uncommon for Korean families and treasures to be relocated to Japan. During the Japanese occupation a young boy, Yong Sool Choi, was sent to Japan. By age 9, Yong Sool Choi was alone and living with a group of monks in a Buddhist temple. Shortly thereafter, it became apparent to the monks that Yong Sul Choi was not suited for monastic life.
There are many questions surrounding the early life of Master Choi. Following is the account Choi himself gave throughout his later years: Master Choi was born Chung Buk province of Korea in 1904 and was orphaned at the age of eight or nine. He was then brought to Japan by a candy maker who later abandoned him. Left to wander begging for food he was found and helped by the monks.
At this time, many great warriors, in accordance with ancient traditions, undertook annual pilgrimages throughout Japan to improve their martial arts skills. During their travels they visited local temples to offer prayers and donations. One such warrior, Master Sokaku Takeda, paid regular visits to the monastery where Yong Sul Choi resided. During one of Master Takeda's visits, the resident monks, seeing an opportunity, beseeched Master Takeda to take the young Choi as a disciple who gave him the name Tatujutu Yoshida.
Choi started life with Sokaku Takeda in Japan as his houseboy and later became his manservant. It is because of this position he was always on hand at training sessions. It is known that Sokaku Takeda sent Choi to defeat challengers. This was a very shrewd move on Takeda's part. If the challenger was defeated he was defeated by the manservant of Takeda. Takeda usually overcame objections by his higher ranking students by saying the following "Who has been with me longer than my manservant Yoshida (Choi)?" After Sokaku Takeda died Choi left the service of the Takeda Clan and returned to Korea.
|Yong Sool Hoi|
In 1945 after Korea regained control of their country, the martial arts once again gained popularity in this defense hungry nation. Hapkido was re-introduced there by Master Choi
On the way home Chung-Buk province, however, Choi had lost his suitcase containing all of his money and his certificates from Takeda Sensei, leaving him stranded in Tae Gu province.
Again Choi was forced to earn a living on the streets, but now he had a family to support. After a year of selling rice cakes, he earned enough money to buy some hogs, which he fed with free leftover grain he acquired each morning from the Suh Brewery Company. On February 21st, 1948, during one of Choi's early-morning visits to the brewery, a group of men tried to steal his place in line for grain after he had volunteered to help draw water from the brewery's underground spring. A fight ensued, and Choi dispatched his attackers with the techniques he had learned in Japan.
Suh, Bok Sup (circa 1924-), the manager of his family-owned brewery witnessed the battle and sent his servant to summon Choi to his office. Suh, a black belt in Judo taught by Choi, Yong Ho (193? -), hoped to learn about the strange martial arts style he had witnessed. Fearing he would lose his allotment of grain, Choi refused, until Suh, Bok assured Choi that he would get it. Suh asked Choi to take him on as his student and invited him into his dojang in the brewery offices.
In return for private lessons, Suh provided Choi with grain, money, and the use of his private dojang to teach other students. Choi called his art Yoo Sool (Korean pronunciation for jujitsu), and began modify Takeda Sensei's style with some kicking and weapons techniques. Suh continued to train with Choi for many years. In 1951 Suh and Choi opened a school outside the brewery called Yu Kwon Sool Hap Ki Dojang. (4-See notes) In 1954, Suh's father, Suh, Dong Jin, ran successfully for the Korean National Assembly. Suh, Bok Sup prevailed in a physical confrontation with Chun, Se Daek, a brother-in-law of one of his father's political opponents.
It was during this time that Assemblyman Suh engaged Choi as his personal bodyguard. Grandmaster Choi and Suh, Bok Sup continued train together and give demonstrations and Hapkido gained in popularity and respect.
Before his death in 1987 Supreme Grandmaster CHOI taught all the Hapkido techniques to a few outstanding students, who in turn took on the task of popularizing Hapkido in modern Korea. Today, one cannot find a single city in Korea without Hapkido schools. All the government organizations, all the military academies and special military units have Hapkido instructors and practitioners totaling over one million already.
Some Hapkidoists regard Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae (1936-) as the true founder of Hapkido. Certainly Hapkido would not be what is today without him; however, Master Ji, Han Jae himself gives much of the credit to Grandmaster Choi, Young Sool (1904-1986) for the creation of Hapkido.
Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae
Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae was born in Andong, Korea in 1936. When he was three, his family fled Japanese-occupied Korea for China. After the war, Ji, Han Jae's family returned to Korea In 1949, thirteen-year-old Ji began training full time Yu Kwon Sool with Grandmaster Choi, and remained with him until 1956. Training under a master known as "Taoist Lee," Master Ji learned Tae Kyon kicking, jang-bong (Korean for six-foot staff), the dan-bong (Korean for short stick), and meditation. Master Ji also studied spiritual power for five years under a woman monk known as "Grandma."
In 1958, Ji left Daegue city and returned to Andong where he opened his first two Yu Kwon Sool dojang which he named Sung Moo Kwan. (The second of these was located in a neck tie factory!) He kept the schools for nine months before relocating to Joong Boo Shi Jang, Seoul, in 1958, and remained there until April of 1960.
There began the martial arts careers of two of Ji's first and greatest students. In 1958 Bong Soo Han, who later founded the International Hapkido Association, began training under Master Ji, until he left for the United States eleven years later. Myung Kwan Sik, who began under Master Ji, would also move to the United States, where he founded the World Hapkido Association.
The following account identifies Ji as the first person to use the term Hapkido:
...Ji began to piece together the Yoo Sool (Yoo Kwon Sool) teachings of Grandmaster Choi, with the methods of meditation, the Tae Kyon kicking techniques, and the weapons techniques learned from Taoist Lee, along with the spiritual training he received from "grandma," to formulate his own style of martial art, for which he chose the name "Hapkido." He had originally thought of calling it "Hapki-Yoo-Kwon-Sool," but decided against that, feeling it was too long of a name. He thought of other martial arts he had heard of, such as Tae Kwon Do, Kong Soo Do, Soo Bakh Do, etc., where the word "do" was being used instead of "sool". He liked this idea because the word "do" means a path to follow, or a way of life, rather than simply meaning "technique", as "sool" implies. The name Hapkido was chosen in 1959, and has been used ever since. The word itself can be translated as the "way of coordinated power." Where "Hap" means to unify or coordinate, "Ki" means mental and/or physical energy, and "do" means a way of life, or the "path" or "way" of coordinating your mental and physical energy into one entity.
During a conversation I had with Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae...it was related to me that after he chose the name Hapkido to represent his art, he gave this name to his teacher, Yong-Sool Choi to use -- out of respect. Choi taught under the name Hapkido until his death in 1986, even though he did not teach the complete curriculum -- leaving out the majority of the kicking techniques, and a lot of the weapons techniques. (Sin Koo Hapkido Home page, 1997).
In May of 1961, the Korean government was overthrown by General Park, Chung-Hee (1917-1979), who would later become the president. In 1962, Ji opened another dojang, in the Hwa Shin department store. Soon he would be hired as an instructor to Military Supreme Council and the presidential security forces. He held the latter position until President Park's death in 1979.
From 1962 to 1979, Master Ji was a bodyguard to Korean President Park in the Blue House. In 1969, Master Ji was brought to the United States to teach Hapkido to FBI and Secret Service agents, and other officials. In 1984, Grandmaster Ji moved to the United States and founded Sin Moo Hapkido. He later promoted his early students to the rank of ninth degree black belt -- Bong Soo Han in 1984 and Myung Kwan Sik in 1986.
Grandmaster Bong Soo Han is credited with popularizing Hapkido in the West and bringing it the big screen.
Grand Master Han first introduced Hapkido into the United States in 1967, although mass exposure did not come until the motion picture "Billy Jack" filled the nation's theaters in 1971. Master Han doubled for star Tom Laughlin and choreographed the film's fight scenes.
It is interesting to note, that Hapkido is not organized under the KTA, ITF or WTF, perhaps the only Korean art with this unique status. Hapkido in Korea is overseen by three organizations: The Korea Kido Association, The Korea Hapkido Association, and The International Hapki Federation.