World History of Hapkido

Ancient History

Travelling Korean Buddist Monk teaches Yu Sul to Prince Sadsumi in Japan (date not specified)

Development of Aikijitsu by Prince Sadsumi (850-880AD)6th son of Japanese Emporor Seiwa known as Prince Teijun in Korea

First historic documentation of Aikijitsu with Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (1056-1127AD; 6th generation descendant of Emporer Seiwa)

Minamoto family establishes Kamakura Shogunate forming the Kamakura Period in Japan (1192-1333AD) when samurai aristcrats governed the country.

Minamoto no Yoshimitsa eldest son, Yoshikiyo, moved from central clan where Takeda was chosen as the new family name.

Daito Ryu Aikijitsu was developed by the Takeda family and secretly passed through generations to Sogaku Takeda (32nd descentant of the family) who first taught Daito Ryu Aikijitsu to the public.

Yong Sul Choi is taught Diato Ryu Aikijitsu from 1915 to 1943.

(Morihei Ueshiba was a student of  Takeda for 7 years and later became the founder of Aikido)

Yong Sul Choi returns to Korea in 1943.

Yong Sul Choi

Yong Sul Choi (1904-1986) was the founder of the modern form of Hapkido. He was originally taught Daito Ryu Aikijitsu by Takeda Sogaku at Shin Si Mountain in the Akeda area of Japan between 1915 to April 1943 when Takeda died.

Yong Sul Chio lived in the Korean village of Yong Dong in the Choong Chung province as a boy. It was during this time of Japanese occupation in Korea that a Japanese businessman, Mr Morimoto, took Yong Sul Choi with him back to Japan to be his house boy, Choi was 8 years old.

Choi did not like this man. When they arrived in Japan Mr Morimoto abandoned Choi in Moji after his constant crying and protesting. Choi wandered to Osaka where local Police found him. They took him to a local Buddist temple and was cared for by a monk named Kintaro Wadanabi.

At the age of 11 years Choi was asked by Wadanabi what he wanted to do with his life. Choi responded by pointing to the murals on the walls of the temple illustrating Martials Arts. Wadanabi then introduced Choi to Takeda Sogaku who kept him as a house boy and later his manservant. Yong Sul Choi once said, “Takeda adopted me. Upon my adoption he gave me the Japanese name of Asao Yoshida”; although there are no known documents that support this.

Choi stayed with Takeda for 28 years until Takeda’s death in 1943 when the Japanese surrendered to the Allies at the end of WW2. Choi said, “Japan had never before been defeated in War. Takeda felt that a great shame and loss of face had been perpetrated on his ancestors by Japan’s defeat at the hands of the Allies. Being a man of leadership, he felt a strong responsibility in this defeat. Because of his strong feeling, he decided that his only honourable path was to end his life. Shortly before he died, my teacher informed me that I was the only student alive that he had schooled in all his secrets and techniques. He ended his life by refusing to eat.” Choi had learnt all 3808 techniques of Takeda’s Daito Ryu Aikijitsu.

In 1943 Choi returned to Korea and settled in Taehu, Kyung Buk province. He said, “There I established my first Korean Dojang, and have made my home there ever since. After returning I changed my name back to Choi, Yong Sul and the name of my art to Hapkido.”

Modern History

Yong Sul Chio (1904-1986) was the founder of the modern form of Hapkido. He was originally taught Daito Ryu Aikijitsu by Takeda Sogaku at Shin Si Mountain in the Akeda area of Japan between 1915 to April 1943 when Takeda died.

On his return from Japan, Choi first began teaching basic Daito Ryu Aikijitsu. Through time other Korean Martial artists such as General Hong Hi Choi (Teakwondo), and Hwang Kee (Tang Soo Do) were rediscovering and expanding upon the offensive nature of Tae Kyon. This influenced Choi and his early students, who slowly incorporated the aggressive punching and kicking techniques.

The final criteria of the art came through a slow testing period. The Art was also known by many different names; Yu Kwon Sul, Yu Sool, Ho Shin Mu Do, and Bi Sool. In 1963 the name and system of Hapkido became formalised.

Mr Choi was a very private man who was not interested in promoting himself. Ji Han Jae was a student of Choi. Ji began teaching Hapkido to the public in Seoul. He also trained the Korean Royal Guards. At this time, Taekwondo was considered the Korean national Martial Art and was quite cheap and easy to learn. Hapkido however was more difficult and expensive to learn, quite often the public could not enrol in Hapkido; the Hapkido teacher would only select people to teach.

Ji Han Jae was later convicted of fraud and was jailed for two years. After he was released he travelled to Germany to avoid political persecutions form the Korean opinionists. However the German life was not appropriate for him and he went to San Francisco in USA and slowly reclaimed his respect.

In 1973, he assisted to formulate the Korea Hapkido Association. At the time Choi, Dae Hoon was the President and Kim, Moo Hon was Secretary. By 1981 Ji Han Jae was President and Kim, Moo Hon was still Secretary (both students of Yong Sul Choi).

In 1985, a unification of Hapkido occurred in Korea and was called The Republic of Korea Hapkido Federation. English translation is “Korea Hapkido Federation”. This is the only Hapkido recognised by the Korean Government today. The Federation does not recognise Ji Han Jae; he has awarded high dan certification in his own name to people through out the world without any real time graduation. The Korea Hapkido Federation will only recognised formally trained students who adhere to the fundamental grading times criteria.