Kwon Moo Hapkido
Grandmaster Chae Un Kim
About Hapkido's Roots
Kwon Moo Hapkido is a practice of very effective fighting techniques using whole-body power, precision, and speed. A student applies clever and precise technique to subdue opponents of any body type or fighting style. And because Hapkido does not rely on the fighter's brute strength, it is an effective fighting tool for people of all body types and age ranges.
"Hapkido," meaning "the way of coordinated power," is the practice of using whole-body leverage and clever mechanics to subdue an opponent. "Kwon Moo", referring to to Grandmaster Kim's own style, means "martial hand".
"Kwon Moo Hapkido" can be taken to mean "the martial hand way of coordinated power", an arrangement of the most effective Hapkido techniques, updated specifically for American fighting styles and improved effectiveness on larger, stronger attackers, with clever use of the hand. The trained hand is a powerful tool that can block, deflect, grab, hit, jab, twist and break an opponent's limbs when used effectively.
Traditional "Jujitsu" (also pronounced "Jujutsu") is a formidable martial art, dating back to 700 AD, by influence of the native "Hwarang" military combat system. Jujitsu's principles emphasize the early neutralization of an attack, and using that attacker's movements against them, combining self-defense with counter-attack. Updated around 1900 AD, "Yawara Aiki-Jujitsu" is a modernized hybrid of both hard and soft Jujitsu styles, with the term "Yawara" referring to the use of throwing, grabbing and twisting techniques, manipulation of joints, and immobilization of limbs (as opposed to punching or kicking or weapons -focused fighting styles).
Around 1910, Yong-Sul Choi (known as the father of Hapkido) had the fortune to study Yawara Aiki-Jujitsu under Sokaku Dakeda (said to be the father of Yawara Aiki-Jujitsu). Yong-Sul returned home to Korea with his training in 1945 and began teaching "Yawara", which became immediately popular for its effectiveness and practicality. Then in the coming years, use of the Japanese term "Yawara" in Korean martial arts schools was phased out, in lieu of the preferred Korean term "Hapkido", meaning "the way of coordinated power".
Newer martial arts also emerged from Yawara Aiki-Jujitsu roots (cousins to Hapkido if you like), such as modern Aikido (around 1940). Also from traditional Jujitsu roots, Judo emerged (formalizing around 1910) and influenced more evolutions yet, such as Krav Maga, Brazilian Jujitsu, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), and Submission Wresting.
Similarly, other popular Korean martial arts have emerged via other influences, such as the Hwa Rang Do, a preservation of the native Hwarang military art, organized in 1960. Taekkyeon, a Korean "dance" fighting art, surfaced around 1910 when practicing combat technique in public Korea was outlawed. Taekwondo, a unification of many Karate Do-influenced, harder wartime combat styles, formalized around 1959. Hwa Rang Do, Taekkyeon, and Taekwondo are each distant relatives of Hapkido, with vastly different influences and techniques. Each and every martial art embodies a very specific and unique ancestral background and course of study.
Above: A very high-level breakdown of the evolution and cultural origins of Hapkido and other traditional Korean martial arts. Data sources include: Tadeshi, M 2000, Hapkido: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique, Shambala Publications Inc, Boulder, CO. Numerous respective Wikipedia sites (linked in context), and private martial arts organizations (not cited for privacy). All history cited is corroborated by multiple sources. This document is not intended for official historical reference.