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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, ordered DukMoo 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.

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.

Information: 0031(0)617768455

Hapkido in Vught, Waalwijk.