Brief history


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 – A precise history of Hapkido can never really be established.  While it is natural to seek to understand the roots of one’s martial art, what is important is commitment to and perseverance in training, to develop good self-defence technique and good personal values.

Despite various claims, 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 people 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 were developed and practised during this time, primarily for the protection of the royalty/nobles and were also practised by Buddhist monks.

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 derivatives  with different names, such as Tukong Moosul, Hwarangdo, Hanmudo,  Kuksulwon and Hwarang Moosul just to name a few. Highly respected Grand Master Myung Jae-nam (pictured left) refined a system of Hapkido with dynamic circular motion, called ‘Hankido’.

Hapkido continues to evolve according to the efforts of many masters and Hapkido organisations such as: Korea Moo Moo Kwan Hapkido Association (see below); The Korea Hapkido Federation; and International Hapkido Association.

So what is Hapkido?

Hapkido is a unique Korean Martial Art.  Rather than just sport, traditional Hapkido focuses on self defence training methods as a means for physical, mental and spiritual improvement (self development). 

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:

  1. Yu – water principle: flow like water.
  2. Won – circle principle: move in circular motion.
  3. 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.

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 thriving, hosting regular world championships, instructors  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.  

Melbourne Hapkido Academy roots began when Grand Master Craig Cairney started martial arts training at a young age in Wollongong NSW. He began Taekwondo training in 1979 and established a branch in the area by 1989.

Grand Master Cairney then started his Hapkido journey after relocating to Melbourne in 1993.  Melbourne Hapkido Academy was established by Grand Master Cairney in 2001.  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 invites 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.


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Melbourne Hapkido Academy

Happy New Year

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And in a flash he is down… technique practice.

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School holidays are about to start and Christmas is nearly with us. We all will need a break to spend time with our family and friends. Please find below our Christmas and January summer holiday’s timetable.

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