Information about hapkido in English.
Hapkido is a relatively new martial art. The development of this martial art started when Choi Yong-sul started teaching martial arts in 1948. Choi had lived in Japan and the techniques he taught resembled those of Japanse Daito Ryu Aiki-jujutsu. There is however no proof he ever studied this martial art, so the source of his knowledge isn’t quite clear. When Choi started teaching he called his system yawara. Later the name was changed to Hapki Yusul, Hapkido Yukwonsul and eventually to Hapkido.
Daito Ryu Aiki-jujutsu is also the forerunner of Aikido. The spelling of Hapkido and Aikido with Chinese characters (合氣道) is exactly the same. Yusul and Jujutsu are also written with the same Chinese characters. This makes a link with Daito Ryu Aiki-jujutsu plausible.
Hap means ‘join together’ or ‘coordinate’, Ki stand for internal energy, Do means ‘the way’. Hapkido often gets translated as ‘the way of coordinated energy’ or ‘the way of harmony’.
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Choi Yong-sul’s first student was a fellow named Seo Bok-seop. Seo was a Yudo practitioner (Yudo is Korean for Judo) who came from a well-to-do family. Seo started learning from Choi at the distillery Seo’s family owned in Daegu. Choi also worked as a bodyguard for Seo’s father who was a congressman. In 1951 Seo opened a real dojang (practice hall) which he named Daehan Hapki Yukwonsul Dojang.
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