Hapkido - The Military Arts of Korea

The traditional Korean military arts are the birthright and the inherited legacy of the Korean people and its nation.

Hapkido, is the traditional Korean military art "mother art" of the traditional Korean military arts.

There are other military arts that specialize in specific techniques, such as the striking techniques of Tae Kwon Do. [This is referring to the military art of Tae Kwon Do, not the martial art / sport version of Tae kwon do, which is the national sport of Korea and contains only elements of the military art.]

In the traditional world, there were systems for developing a warrior through lifelong education, training, and dedication.

These were holistic systems designed to develop the person as a whole with the total martial arts spirit. The type of person was needed for leadership roles. These formed the model for the present day Korean Hapkido and its educations and levels of Hapkido worldwide.

All of the Korean military arts today were formed following the Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula from 1905-1945. One of the goals of the Japanese occupation was to destroy Korean culture, history, customs, and traditions. They very nearly succeeded. Even the current written Korean language, Hangul, dates from 1945 since the Japanese forbade its use during the occupation.

What the Japanese imposed upon the Korean people was the study and practice of Japanese martial arts. It should be noted that the true Japanese military arts were lost in the mid-19th century, when the Emperor banned the Samurai, their practices, education, and training. Some study of martial arts continued, but even these were banned following the total defeat and unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire under their Emperor in 1945 to US Military Forces. The martial sports emerged thereafter.

A few of the ancient Korean arts survive today, arising from the ashes of the occupation. These are treated with a great deal of respect and are generally regulated today as folk arts, rather than as military arts.

It is common sense, therefore, that the current Korean military arts arose from what existed in 1945. But the Korean arts did not remain what they were in 1945. In fact, it was far from it.

Today, there are a few generations of Hapkido. The first was the establishment of Hapkido training by Dojunim Young Sool Choi, the founder of Hapkido.

The second was the organization known as the Korea Hapkido Association (KHA). Its President was Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae, a student from of Dojunim Choi's who founded SongMuKwan Hapkido. The style of Hapkido practiced by the KHA was different from the Japanese martial art of Daito-ryu AkiJuJitsu, as brought to Korea by Young Sool Choi.

Over the following years, Hapkido changed from being a Korean branch of a Japanese art into a uniquely Korean military art, surpassing its predecessor in philosophy, content, and practice.

Hapkido emerged as a true traditional military art system, the only such system of warrior education and training, outside the rare Buddhist monasteries continuing their own centuries of such tradition.

Korean Hapkido is the present and the future of the traditional Korean military art of Hapkido: An art headquartered in the Republic of Korea. This art may belong to the Korean people, but is being willingly shared with any person of honor and integrity, provided they will maintain the same standard of the current and traditional practitioners.


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