Hapkido is a form of the Korean Martial Art familiar to most people knowledgeable in the martial arts field. However, not many people actually know of its origins and more importantly, what makes it unique.
Hapkido was derived from ancient Aikijitsu, an early form of the now known Japanese martial art Aikido, combined with a blend of Korean Karate. Aikijitsu was brought over from Japan to Korea in 1946 after World War II by the founder of original Hapkido, Young Sool Choi, who reportedly studied with the same Grand Master of Aikijitsu as did Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido. To understand the unique nature of Hapkido, it is perhaps best to become more acquainted with its fathers.
Aikijitsu, applied by combining bending, twisting and pressure points various parts of the body, was developed in to present day Aikido whose immobilization techniques and energy throws became its trademarks while retraining the methods and precision of its precursor. The major difference between Aikijitsu and Aikido is found in the style of fluidity, which is very important when examining present-day Hapkido. Korean Karate as a counterpart to Aikijitsu, differs mainly from Aikijitsu in its skillful implementation of dynamic kicks and powerful hand strikes. It was this difference in mind that original Hapkido was created, producing a dynamic balance of both methods.
Hapkido as known today differs from its original form. Contemporary Hapkido is actually the result of the extreme hard work and training of three men who have given it that uniqueness so respected. In Korea, during the mid-1960s, Jae Nam Myong and Myung Sung Kang, both accomplished old-style Hapkido masters, met with an equally accomplished Aikido master, Hirata, with the desire to incorporate Aikido into Hapkido and vice versa.
Their task was to add the more fluid, circular movements of Aikido in to Hapkido while retaining the very direct techniques of original Hapkido. After more then 25 years of research and arduous training, this form of Hapkido was perfected into a precise art with more advanced methods than most of the original Hapkido, flourishing into a unique blend of the kicks, strikes, joint locks and energy throws which no other form of martial art can boast.
Kuk Sa Nim (Grand Master) Jae Nam Myong (1938 - 1999) is the founder of the International Hapkido Federation and represents the International Aikido Federation in Korea. Master Myung Sung Kang, 8th Dan Master, is now the President of the United States International Hapkido Federation. Master Kang's son, Jino, is the 5th Dan Master Instructor of the USA Headquarters of the International Hapkido Federation at the San Francisco Karate Club.