One should understand that martial art techniques are not invented or created
by a certain individual. It has been developed rather as a part of the history of a nation.
Just as wrestling, boxing and fencing are the unique sports of competition in
the western world. Taekwondo, Yudo, Kumdo, along with Hapkido, have been developed through a long history of oriental countries.
Hapkido was introduced to Korea along with Buddhism. Hapkido techniques were
originally known and handed downthrough the hierarchy of monks, ruling families and royal officials as a means of self-protection
and personal safety.
Therefore it wasn't known among the common classes. Often the origin of Hapkido
is misunderstood and thought to be a foam of Chinese or Japanese martial art.
The more completely recorded history of Hapkido dates back as early as SAM KUΚ SIDAE (The era of
Three Kingdoms 3 A.D.) Buddhism arrived in China from India at the HU HAN MAL(Late Han period 67 B.C.) and was introduced
to Korea in 372 A.D.
Buddhism and Hapkido together became popular throughout the country among the
upper class and royal court. The evidence of this fact can be found in various wall paintings, e.g. Sam Si Chong Mu In
picture and Kong Song picture in the Kak Ju Chong, a picture of the fighting form of two Hapkidoists, during KOKURYO.
One of the three kingdoms, SEL LA, foamed a special youth group called Hwa Rang
Do. The purpose of Ηwa Rang Do was to train the future national
leaders by means of stringent training, combining mental discipline, martial art, and traditional scholarship.
Fοr their physical
fitness and mental discipline, Hapkido techniques were taught. Historical evidence of this can be found on stone
wall sculpture, Kum Kang Ryksa Sang in Suk Kul Am cave and carvings of the Su Moon Jang image on the Pagoda of Whang Yong
Sa temple. These are located in the old KyungJu city, the old capital of Sel La Dynasty.
BACKJE, the last of the three kingdoms also trained all the people with Hapkido fog physical fitness.
The three kingdoms united and became the KORYO Dynasty. During this period throughout the ruling generations of many kings
including King Eyi Jong, and King Choong Hei, the Hapkido experts were bought into the palace and performed demonstrations
of the martial arts.
This was the beginning of Hapkido as a royal martial art. In the subsequent LEE Dynasty, the King, JungJo,
Lee, to write a book of martial art techniques. This book(MOOYEADOBOTONGJI) contained detailed descriptions of empty handed techniques and use of
weapons(dagger, sword, club, pole, spear, rop e, stone, etc.) for attack and defense purposes.
In the history of Hapkido, a monk grandmaster Su-San taught Hapkido to the monks and fought
against the Japanese IM JIN WAE RAN invasion. This was a prime example of Hapkido applied on a grand scale. Hapkido flourished
through several dynasties from the period of three kingdom(SAM KUK SIDAE) up to the LEE dynasty. At that time it lost its
popularity. The major reason for that is attributed to the collapse of Buddhism and its subsequent replacement by
Confucianism, which respects scholarly discipline and looks down upon physical force or martial
art, influenced even the national policies. Because of this change in philosophies, Hapkido disappeared among the general
population and barely maintained its continuance among the individual master's, monks and royal families, and here only as
a secret self-defense.
Today Hapkido has been brought to light by father of Hapkido, YONG SOOL CHOI (1904 -1986). Yong
Sool Choi had studied in a deep mountain since the age of nine. By the time he came back to the world. Korea had been liberated
from Japanese colonialrule. Choi has taught all the techniques to a few outstanding disciples. In turn, these disciples were
in the process of popularizing Hapkido techniques during the Korean conflict in 1950. After this, Hapkido started spreading.
Within a few years, Hapkido had been popularized internationally with a tempo unseen in its history. This was accomplished
by means of demonstations by top masters in various countries throughout the world.
Today, one cannot find a single city in Κοrea without Hapkido schools. All the government organizations, all military academies
and special military units, have Hapkido practitioners, totaling one million already.
Among foreign countries such as the U.S.A, The Netherlands, West Germany, Canada, Spain, Argentina,
Mexico, Brazil, China and France, there is a solid foundation of Hapkido schools, This rapid spread and popularization is
attributed to the unceasing efforts of the master instructors and the superior and unique nature of Hapkido itself.