Once you reach 1st Dan in American Jidokwan, you are eligible to begin studying our Hapkido system, Mi Guk Yusinkwan Hanki Yusul. Below is a brief history of Hapkido and how our system came to be.
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.
For many years, Choi’s training in the art of Daito Ryu has been the subject of dispute as no record had been available. In 2019, Kondo Katsuyuki (headmaster of Daito Ryu mainline tradition) released a page from Takeda Sokaku’s records showing that Choi Yong Sul did in fact study with Takeda sensei. According to the entry, Choi attended a 10-day course (August 6-15) in Hokkaido in Showa 17 (1942). To date, this is the only verifiable connection that Choi Yong Sul has to Takeda Sokaku and Daito Ryu Aiki Jujutsu. Regardless, Choi returned to Korea following WWII as a formidable martial artist and quickly gained national attention. His teachings are currently preserved in the numerous branches of Hapkido but most accurately in the Yong Sul Kwan Hapkiyusul organization which bears his name, founded by Kim Yun Sang, awarded 9th Dan by Choi directly and given the title of Hapkido Doju by Choi’s family.
Myung Jae Nam
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 his 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 Hirata sensei of Aikido for a period of four years. In January 1972, Myung broke away from the Korea Hapkido Association to form his own association called the 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 1983, 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.” He formally introduced his art in 1986 at the 1st International Hapkido Games in Seoul, South Korea.
Sirbaugh and Hatfield
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 what would become Hankido under Myung Jae-nam. Combat Hanki differs from mainline Hankido by incorporating Marine Corps combatives (called LINE, which had its 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 trained with Hasaka Yutashi in what would later be called American Yoshinkan Aiki Jujutsu (click here for more information). Combat Hanki was inherited by Steven Hatfield upon Sirbaugh's death in 2009 (although he was designated as the successor in 1992).
When Bret Gordon was appointed as President of the American Jidokwan Association in 2017, KJN Hatfield made the decision to integrate Combat Hanki into the system as a sister art required for all black belts to learn. Later, the art was renamed to Mi Guk Yusinkwan Hanki Yusul to bring it closer to it's American Yoshinkan connection (Mi Guk Yusinkwan is the Korean transliteration of American Yoshinkan). After training in the differences between Hanki Yusul and Aiki Jujutsu, Gordon was brought into the system at 4th Dan.
In 2020, both Steven Hatfield and Bret Gordon joined the World Hapkido Union, a branch of the Federation of Korea Hapkido run by Oh Young Seok. The World Hapkido Union is overseen by Doju Chris Garland, Jin Jung Kwan 8th Dan under Lee Chang Soo and inheritor of Samrang Do from Ji Han Jae. Students of Mi Guk Yusinkwan have the opportunity to join the World Hapkido Union and register their Dan rank with them.
For more information on the Federation of Korea Hapkido, please click here.