Once you reach 1st Dan in American Jidokwan, you are eligible to begin studying our Hapkido system. Hapkido is a form of Korean Jujutsu that emphasizes soft, circular joint manipulation and throwing techniques instead of the "hard" linear striking of Taekwondo & Tang Soo Do. Below is a brief history of Hapkido.
Choi Yong Sul
There is a lot of debate about the origins of Hapkido. Korean practitioners of Hapkido claim that the founder, Choi Yong Sul, was an adopted son of Takeda Sokaku and studied Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu directly under him for many years before bringing the art back to his homeland of Korea. There, he began teaching what he called “Yu Sul,” the Korean transliteration of Jujutsu. Throughout the years, Choi’s art was also called Dae Dong Hapki Yusul (transliteration of Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu), Hapki Yu Kwon Sul and Hapki Yusul until he settled on the name Hapkido.
It is the official position of the American Jidokwan Association, however, that Choi was instead most likely a house servant of the Takeda family. Takeda Sokaku was known for keeping meticulous records not just of who he taught but what specific techniques he taught to each student. Choi’s name or any of his known aliases do not appear anywhere in his records, even though other Korean students of Takeda do. Regardless, Choi returned to Korea a formidable martial artist and quickly gained notoriety.
Myung Jae-nam began studying Hapkido under Ji Han Jae in 1958, eventually also studying under Bong Soo Han and Choi Yong Sul. By 1964, he was teaching at this own school in Incheon, Korea called Jeong do Kwan. In 1972, Myung Jae-nam was recognized as one of the original members of the Korea Hapkido Association, which was formed in 1965 at the request of Korean President Park Chung Hee. In 1965, Myung Jae-nam began exchanging techniques with Hibata sensei of Aikido for a period of four years. In January 1972, Myung broke away from the Korea Hapkido Association his own association to Han Guk Hapkido Hwe and in 1973 changed the name to the Dae Han Min Kuk Hapkido Hyop Hwe (Republic of South Korea Hapkido Association).
In 1974, he founded the International Hapkido Federation. Myung Jae-nam considered himself a member of the Aikikai rather than any other Hapkido federations (Hapkido being the literal Korean translation of Aikido) and even used Ueshiba Morihei’s name on the certificates he issued to his students. In 1980, Myung Jae-nam began working on the development of his own system. He felt that both Aikido and Hapkido were essentially Japanese martial arts, and he wanted to give the people of Korea an art that was truly theirs and simple to learn. He combined the names Dae Han (Korea) with Hapkido to form Hankido, the “Korean way of energy.”
American Combat Hanki was founded by William Sirbaugh after returning to the United States from Korea where he was stationed with the US Marine Corps and studied Hankido under Myung Jae-nam. American Combat Hanki differs from mainline Hankido by incorporating Marine Corps combatives (which had their origin in Judo and Boxing) and ground fighting, with an emphasis of practical application rather than development of hapki. In addition to his training under Myung Jae-nam, Sirbaugh received certification in Hapkido under Bong Soo Han. It was inherited by Steven Hatfield in 1992. American Combat Hanki remains a family-based system, meaning that instruction in it is reserved for direct family members and those most dedicated to the art of American Jidokwan.
However, Hatfield wanted to offer a Hapkido program to all students. It was then that he began development of our Hapkido system based primarily on American Combat Hanki, however also brought in influences from American Yoshinkan Aiki Jujutsu, a Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu offshoot which he inherited from founder Yutashi Hasaka (a training partner of William Sirbaugh). Students begin learning Hapkido and earn separate ranking once they reach 1st Dan, however many basic techniques are taught during the colored belt ranks. Unlike many modern Hapkido systems, American Jidokwan Hapkido remains focused on the principles of Hwa (non-resistance), Won (circular movement) and Yu (water). True to the primary goal of self defense prevalent throughout the entire American Jidokwan system, our Hapkido doesn’t feature many of the flashy, athletic tricks showcased by other Hapkido schools. As such, it is our official position that this is closer to the original intention of Hapkido as designated by the founder, Choi Yong Sul.