A brief history.
From ancient roots to modernity Hapkido is one of the few true forms of self-defence practical and relevant for today.
Hapkido – the true history of Hapkido can never really be established. This history has been re-written by people so many times over the years for political and commercial gain that the truth has been blurred, if not lost, to us. While it is natural to try and understand the roots of one’s martial arts training, what is important is commitment to and perseverance in training, to develop good self-defence technique and good personal values.
Despite different claims in books and on the Internet one should understand that the art of Hapkido was not created or invented by a single individual. It is impossible for one person to invent an art so vast and complex. Suffice to say that Hapkido techniques have evolved as part of the history of the Korean nation over many centuries. The evolution of the techniques can be traced back as far as 3 A.D. when Korea was divided into three kingdoms called: Koguryu, Paekche and Silla. Martial arts technique was developed and practised during this time, primarily for the protection of the royal family and other nobility.
Hapkido techniques have gradually been adapted and perfected in response to the culture of the time. After the end of the Japanese colonisation of the Korean peninsula (1910-1945) slowly Korean martial arts begun to be rediscovered. The name “Hapkido” was first used by Choi Yong Sool in 1958 (pictured above), as a title for the collection of techniques that he had organised into a system. He combined elements from the extensive range of old Korean self-defence techniques and the philosophies of the Korean people to form the system we know today as Hapkido.
Since then Hapkido has become very popular. In some cases it has divided into off-shoots with different names, some of these are Tukong Moosul, Hwarangdo, Hanmudo, Kuksulwon and Hwarang Moosul just to name a few. Another great contributor to Hapkido was Grand Master Myung Jae-nam (pictured left) adding more pieces to Hapkido especially the dynamic circular motion of ‘hankido’. [Melbourne Hapkido Academy practices many of Kuksanim Myung’s techniques]. Today Hapkido is being rejuvenated by several great Hapkido organisations such as: Korea Moo Moo Kwan Hapkido Association (see below); The Korea Hapkido Federation; and International Hapkido Association plus a few others around the world.
So what is Hapkido?
Hapkido is a unique Korean Martial Art. It is not a sport like some forms of Taekwondo, Judo and Karate have become. Traditional Hapkido focuses on self-defence through physical, mental and spiritual improvement, as well as self-defence techniques. The techniques were developed and jealously guarded by the privileged few charged with the protection of the King and the Royal Family, and its secret techniques were not widely taught. Since then the art has been renamed Hapkido and enjoys huge popularity throughout Korea and many countries in the western world.
The literal translation of Hapkido is “The art (or way) of co-ordinated power.” Alternatively it is translates as “the art (or way [do]) of harmonising [hap] with universal energy [ki].” Ki (Universal energy) is the power of nature. The aims of the Hapkido practitioner are two-fold: to obtain healthy mind and body through spiritual and physical development from positive thought and physical training.
There are three elements to Hapkido technique:
- Yu – water principle: flow like water.
- Won – circle principle: move in circular motion.
- Hwa – harmony principles.
While learning Hapkido the student acquires numerous skills such as hand, foot and weapons techniques, together with personal improvements such as positive thinking and self-control.
Hapkido is not limited to punching and kicking like many martial arts. It is a complete means of self-defence with minimum violence and optimal control of the opponent. The techniques include joint locks, pressure points, take downs and restraints, as well as the punching and kicking. From the point of view of the ordinary person Hapkido may appear to be only self-defence. However, the art consists of procedures for both attack and defence.
Hapkido is a suitable means of fitness and self-defence for men and women of all ages, from the young child to a retiree. If the student of Hapkido chooses to use the attack skills he/she will quickly overwhelm their opponent.
What is Hapkido? Hapkido is a complete and effective martial art that originated in Korea. It has ancient roots but continues to be developed by present day masters to be relevant and responsive to the modern world.
Hapkido has developed as a unique Korean martial art with various influences according to the history and geography of the Korean Peninsula. Compared to other martial arts it occupies the middle ground between soft styles such as Aikido, Judo, Jiu Jutsu and hard styles such as Karate, Taekwondo, and some styles of Kung fu.
Including defensive and offensive techniques, Hapkido training develops skills and confidence to deal with any situation. Additionally at senior levels students have the opportunity to study traditional weapons such as the cane, fan, staff and sword.
Korea Moo Moo Kwan Hapkido Association
Korea and World Moomookwan Hapkido Association (KMMKHA), founded in 1963, is the oldest modern continuous Hapkido school, and has become one of the world’s leading Hapkido schools and federations. As a world leading Hapkido federation KMMKHA is striving to evolve into a global Hapkido federation. KMMKHA has grown in the last 10 years, hosting the world championship, various seminars and events globally for all Hapkido practitioners. Melbourne Hapkido Academy welcomes any other organisation, school or student to contact us to join Moo Moo Kwan. But be prepared the entry requirements are strict, requiring a lot of training and development. In 2019 there are three (3) Hapkido schools in Australia affiliated with the Korea Moo Moo Kwan Hapkido Association.
Melbourne Hapkido Academy
Melbourne Hapkido Academy unofficial journey started in 1975 years ago when Grand Master Craig Cairney started his martial arts training at a young age in Wollongong NSW staring with Judo. Starting Taekwondo in 1979 he achieved 2nd Dan in Taekwondo as well establishing a branch in the area in the early 1980’s.
Grand Master Cairney started his Hapkido journey when he moved to Melbourne in 1993. Melbourne Hapkido Academy was established by Grand Master Cairney in 2001 at the Holy Trinity in Kew (Vic.). In 2005 Melbourne Hapkido Academy moved to a full-time permanent training centre.
Then in 2013 Grand Master Cairney built Melbourne Hapkido Academy’s current permanent training centre. Grand Master Cairney has a dedicated team of skilled and qualified assistant instructors at Melbourne Hapkido Academy and Launceston Hapkido. Grand Master Cairney would like to invite you to train with him and everyone at Melbourne Hapkido Academy in learning the ultimate martial art – Hapkido.
Melbourne Hapkido Academy is affiliated with the Korea Moo Moo Kwan Hapkido Association.