Choi, Yong Sul

Choi, Yong Sul is regarded as the Father of Hapkido. Korean born Choi, Yong Sul lived in Japan from age of 7. This was during the occupation of Korea by Japan. During his time in Japan Choi,Yong Sul became skilled in Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu which he learned from Sokaku Takeda (1860-1943), the 32nd patriarch of Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu.  After 30 years he returned to Korea and began teaching Dae Dong Ryu Yu Sool, also called Yawara, (The Korean translations of Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu and Aikijujutsu, respectively). Initially, Choi, Yong Sul taught his students a very pure form of Daito Ryu Aikijitsu. Many of Choi, Yong Sul’s students went on to become renowned Korean Martial Artists. Suh, Bok-Sub,  Myung, Kwang-Sik, and Ji, Han Jae as well as many others, were the early pioneers who went on to shape what we know today as Hapkido. Ji, Han Jae (Dojunim, or Honorable Founder of Sin Moo Hapkido), began to incorporate elements of ancient traditional Korean Martial Arts such as Tae Kyon and it’s aggressive punching and kicking techniques, into his style of Hapkido.

Dojunim  Ji, Han Jae


JI, Han Jae went on to teach many of todays renowned Grandmasters. Eventually he changed the name of his style to Sin Moo Hapkido. Today, there is no one system of Hapkido, as is the case with all Martial Arts regardless of origin. It is easy to spot however those Dojangs and Instructors, who trace their lineage to Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae whether directly or indirectly. These Dojangs have curriculums containing devastating strikes, punches, kicks, and weapon techniques, in addition to joint locks and throws as well as the extensive study of mental and physical coordination.  Hapkido has a fascinating and sometimes controversial history. Some call it a Modern Martial Art, while others call it an ancient Martial Art. Actually both are correct. Regardless, it is an undisputed fact that it is one of the fastest growing, most versatile Martial Arts in the world.

Hapkido, literally translated, means “the way of coordinated power”. It has been described as the most effective method of empty hand self defense ever created. Hapkido is a system of empty hand and weapons techniques to defend against both armed and unarmed opponents. Hapkido contains both long and close range techniques that utilize kicks, punches, pressure point strikes, joint manipulation, (locks and breaks), grappling and throws, as well as the use of traditional weapons. Weapons training consists of knife training, short stick, walking cane, rope, long staff and sword. Hapkido students are trained to use and defend against these weapons and to also defend against common weapons such as firearms, broken bottles, baseball bats, etc….

Hapkido could just as easily be described as “the science of self-defense”. Today, many of the techniques and psychological aspects of Hapkido are taught to Law Enforcement and Military Personnel worldwide. Hapkido has long been popular with various special operations military and police organizations throughout the world because it provides both lethal and non-lethal controlling techniques so that an individual can employ only the amount of force needed for the situation. In Korea, the Presidential bodyguards and the Seoul Police SWAT Teams all train in Hapkido. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, breathing techniques and non-resisting movements to gain control of the opponent. Hapkido practitioners seek to use footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.