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Miguksaram
8/15/2003 12:44pm,
(Writer's note: The information presented in this report is based on the study of several researches done on the history of Hapkido and its founder Choi, Yong-sool. Since there is so much controversy surrounding the art of Hapkido and the people who helped in its development, the author suggests that you research for yourself and draw your own conclusions.)


In the beginning


In the small city of Taegu, Korea, in the year 1904, was born a boy who would become the founder of one of the most popular and devastating martial arts. His name was Choi, Yong-sool; the martial art was to become known as Hapkido (The Way of Coordinating Power). In 1911, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, at the age of seven, Choi, Yong-sool was taken to Japan. "When I was a child I lived in the village of Yong dong in Choong Chung Province, Korea. I became acquainted with Mr. Morimoto, who was a Japanese businessman and candy storeowner. When the time came to return to Japan he abducted me and took me with him to Japan, intending that I would become his son. because of my constant protest and crying he abandoned me in the town of Moji. When the authorities found out that I had no family in Japan, they arranged for me to be cared for at a Buddhist temple. I lived there for about two years under the care of the monk Kintaro, Wadanabi." (Chang). It was the monk Kintaro, Wadanabi who introduced Choi to Takeda Sensei. Most would agree that Choi remained as a personal servant to Takeda Sensei for the remaining years that he spent in Japan.


Sokaku Takeda Sensei and the art of Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu

To better understand Hapkido, we should first take a look at the roots of the martial art as well as the man who taught Grandmaster Choi. Takeda Sensei was born on October 10, 1859 in Oike in Aizu, present-day Fukushima prefecture. As a boy he was trained in the arts of sumo and Daito-ryu from his father, and studied Ono-ha Itto-ryu at the Yokikan dojo under Shibuya Toba. At the age of 14 he traveled with his father to his father's friend's dojo. There he stayed as a live-in student and studied Jikishinkage-ryu swordsmanship. He met and trained with many great swordsmen of the time. He eventually mastered many different skills and weapons including sword, staff, half-bow, short-staff, and throwing darts. (Hilland) The Meiji period brought forth the end of sword and the swordsman. If Takeda Sensei were to move on, he would have to do it through jujitsu. It was at this time that Sokaku Sensei identified himself as a practitioner of both Daito-ryu jujitsu and Ono-ha Itto-ryu.


The art of Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu stems back thousands of years and is believed to be developed by Prince Sadsumi, (850-880 AD). It is said that he received instruction from a traveling Korean Buddhist monk who taught him the art of Yu Sul. (Hilland) It is also possible that he was taught a little known Korean art called Han Pul. Historical documentation will note that the existence of Aikijujitsu and its development is attributed to Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (1056-1127 AD). The eldest son of Yoshimitsu moved away from the central clan to an area known as Kai. There he founded a new branch of the Minamoto clan, known as the Kaigengitakeda. This was the birth of the Takeda family, which developed and furthered the art of Aikijujitsu. Sokaku Takeda became the 32nd patriarch of Aikijujitsu. After traveling and refining his skills he opened up a dojo in Hokkaido, Japan. He was the first to teach outsiders the art of Aikijujitsu.


The coming together of Takeda and Choi


As mentioned earlier Choi ended up in the services of Takeda Sensei as a houseboy. There he remained a servant for 30 years, until April 25, 1943. (Hilland) One of the many discussions of the history of Choi is that Takeda Sensei adopted him. "Takeda, Sokaku liked me and feeling great sympathy for my situation, decided to adopt me. Upon my adoption he gave me the Japanese name Asao, Yoshida. I was about 11 years old at this time."(Chang) However if you look at the viewpoint that Japanese thought of themselves as a "divine race", Takeda may have grown found of Choi, but he could never make Choi his son. In an interview with the Grandmaster Suh, Bok Sup, Grandmaster Choi's first student, Master Mike Wollmershauser states that Grandmaster Choi showed a picture of Takeda Sensei and said "This is my surrogate father." (Wollmershauser) This may lead to the idea that the Takeda family adopted him.


Returning home


After the death of Takeda Sensei, Grandmaster Choi left the family and returned to his hometown of Taegu. It was at a local brewery that Grandmaster Choi met his first student, Master Suh, Bok-sup. Master Suh went to break up a fight that Choi was involved in. He noticed that Choi had extraordinary posture and noticed that he seemed to have something other than just pose, it seemed like some kind of martial art.


It was then that Master Suh invited Grandmaster Choi to the office. After talking for sometime, Master Suh offered grain for food and a good sum of money in exchange for lessons. On Sunday February 22nd, 1948, Choi began teaching the art of Yawara. (Wollmershauser)


How Hapkido received its official name is another controversy. Grandmaster Jae, Ji-han claims that he renamed it to Hapki-Yoo-Kwan-Sool, but then shortened it to Hapkido. Due to respect for his teacher, Grandmaster Choi, he gave the name to him and has since been used. The other side is that Master Suh, Bok-sup and Grandmaster Choi agreed together that the name should be changed to Hapkido and Grandmaster Jae had no input. The only thing that they do agree upon is that the name was put in use in 1958.


"...and now you know the rest of the story"


There has never been any written proof that Grandmaster Choi was ever certified as a student or teacher of Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu. It is said that he lost his baggage, upon returning home, which contained all of his certificates. However, there were in depth records on Daito-ryu Aikijitsu kept by Takeda's staff in Japan and no where in the records is it stated that Choi, Yong-sool or Asao (Yoshida) Tatujutu (Choi's Japanese name) was a student. However it is very obvious that Choi was under the direct influence of the art and had mastered its techniques. The truth of the relationship between Takeda Sensei and Grandmaster Choi, and what Grandmaster Choi was taught, died with Grandmaster Choi in 1986.




Jeremy M. Talbott

Owner of Kungfools, Scourge of Kungfools' joke-based logic, and the Preeminent Force in putting dumbasses like him to bed
http://www.koreanma.homestead.com/index.html
http://www.martialscience.homestead.com/home.html

Edited by - miguksaram on August 15 2003 12:48:25

Fighty McGee
8/15/2003 1:42pm,
Good snippet of the Choi story. I study a koryu Aikijujutsu now as well as having previously studied Hapkido. All the Aikijujutsu guys I speak to will admit similarities in the arts, but seriously question the validity of Choi's claim at personally studying under Takeda. I know there are enough similarities as to make it certain that Choi learned some variety of Aikijujutsu or Aiki derived Jujutsu, but we also have to bear in mind the amount of fine tuning by several influential GMs and hundreds of Masters of the art, many of whom studied Judo and Aikido or even Daito Ryu themselves.

I really like the tone of this article you've put here... that of "draw your own conclusions" and "this is what has been said", rather than "Hapkido is 2000 years old and transmitted by Bodhiharma directly to Choi in a secret mountain retreat of taoist immortals."

Miguksaram
8/15/2003 1:59pm,
Yes..Choi's HKD aka Yawara, was very much just Daito-ryu Aikijitsu. How he learned it is a mystery. All I can say is that he learned something from someone. I also agree that there are have been many GM's who have put their own flavor in the mix to set HKD apart from its roots, Dojunim Ji, Han-jae being the leading person in that.

As for the 2000 year old version, well I do post that but only in Korean since most of the refuse to believe the truth. ha.ha.ha.haha...

Jeremy M. Talbott

Owner of Kungfools, Scourge of Kungfools' joke-based logic, and the Preeminent Force in putting dumbasses like him to bed
http://www.koreanma.homestead.com/index.html
http://www.martialscience.homestead.com/home.html

Freddy
8/15/2003 2:33pm,
Isnt "Yawara" an old name for Japanese jujitsu?





"Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law"
Anton LaVey made me say it!

Miguksaram
8/15/2003 2:49pm,
Yes it is Freddy. That was what Choi originally learned from Takeda; Daito-ryu Aikijitsu.

Jeremy M. Talbott

Owner of Kungfools, Scourge of Kungfools' joke-based logic, and the Preeminent Force in putting dumbasses like him to bed
http://www.koreanma.homestead.com/index.html
http://www.martialscience.homestead.com/home.html

Fighty McGee
8/15/2003 3:48pm,
or maybe not... heh heh.

The most interesting theory I heard bandied about is that Choi learned Daito Ryu from Takeda's wife, possibly to help protect the household while Takeda would be away on trips. Since it wasn't cool to learn from a woman, Choi said Takeda taught him directly as a "son". Everyone that knew Takeda knew him to be fiercely cantankerous and downright xenophobic, so the idea of a Korean boy learning from Takeda, of a proud Samurai family, is a little far-fetched.

But Choi DID learn some kind of Aikijujutsu or other Jujutsu, possibly Daito Ryu or another Aizu discipline. There were many Jujutsu arts that shared technical similarities, of which Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu is one of the more famous.

Freddy, Yawara is a general term for Jujutsu, which has many many variations, including Daito Ryu.

Miguk, I am a bit of a fence sitter, but I will say Choi PROBABLY learned Daito Ryu. <img src=icon_smile_wink.gif border=0 align=middle>

Miguksaram
8/16/2003 4:41pm,
I agree. Choi was servant to Takeda so it is highly unlikely that he was able to go out and study somewhere else. He did learn Daito-ryu, however, from who is the big mystery that ended when both men passed away.

Vapour
8/18/2003 7:32am,
"The art of Daito-ryu Aikijujitsu stems back thousands of years and is believed to be developed by Prince Sadsumi, (850-880 AD). It is said that he received instruction from a traveling Korean Buddhist monk who taught him the art of Yu Sul. (Hilland) It is also possible that he was taught a little known Korean art called Han Pul. Historical documentation will note that the existence of Aikijujitsu and its development is attributed to Minamoto no Yoshimitsu (1056-1127 AD)."

Written History of Japan only go back to about 1500 years. So how one could say jujitu has thousands year of history is beyond me. Alternatively, if you trace origin of jujitu to sumo, then it is a different story as sumo (or some form of pancration type wrestling) are mentioned in Japanese mthology (which can go back to abou 2000).

Daitoryu attribute the origin of arts to Yoshimitsu. Korean, as usual, attribute the origin of jujitu (or anything else, for that matter) to themselves. You mix two and get this kind of narrative.

As far as I know, there aren't any documentations from japanese side (or for that matter Korean side I suspect) which trace jujitu origin to Korean Budhist monk. Plus, given that this wondering Buddhist/Taoist monk is such typical oriental martial arts myth that it is likely to be invented by later period (like after 1950).

Here is something to put orgin story into perspective. Daitoryu used to family arts of Takeda clan and they do trace their lineage to Yoshimitu which can be backed up by numerous documentation. Takeda is very famous warlord in Japanese history, recently appearing as one of major faction in Shogun Total War.

It is very prausible (almost to the point of certainitity) that Yoshimitu or other Takeda clansmen (or any other samurai of that period for that matter) practiced some form of jujitu arts. This is to do with the fact that Japanese battle tactics bearly change for centuries. If you look at medieval European's fighting manual, for example, one would be amazed as to how similar the techniques are to jujitu. Majority of it is about lock, throw and take-down.

Now, you have to remember that that all Altaic tribes like Japanese, Korean, Manchurian, Mongolian and Turks has strong tradition of wrestling. It is more prausible to assume that martial arts of these countries has origin in this tradition.

So, to add my understanding, if you define jujitu as wrestling with fair bit of locks and throw, the idea that some wondering Buddhist monk taught something which is very likely to have been practiced for centuries already by both Korean and japanese worriors just don't cut it.

Vapour
8/18/2003 7:43am,
Firstly, I should point out that Takeda taught Daitoryu to Koreans who are included in his lineage lists. So this Korean weren't allowed to learn Daitoryu doesn't cut it.

As of this draw your own conclusion spin, I'm rather sceptical on this. Hisotrical narrative of Korean martial arts got so dodgey recently that it start to be presented as one of *perspective*, sort of post-moderninst history.

In history, it is the documentation that count, not speculation. Because it is often near impossible to *disprove* non existence of the fact, one don't assert historical fact without any documentation to back it up. Otherwise, history will degenerate into literature. Just because one could speculate doesn't make any perspective a valid historical narrative.



Edited by - Vapour on August 18 2003 07:50:57

Miguksaram
8/18/2003 9:04am,
"In history, it is the documentation that count, not speculation. Because it is often near impossible to *disprove* non existence of the fact, one don't assert historical fact without any documentation to back it up. Otherwise, history will degenerate into literature. Just because one could speculate doesn't make any perspective a valid historical narrative."

Ok...fair enough. However, Choi claims to have lost his documents on hist trip back from Japan. Not just documents but pretty much the lugage which the documents were stored.

Why do I say draw your own conclusions? Because for every argument to one side there is an argument on the other side. They had the theory that Takeda taught Choi on the side and not in a former class. There is the theory that he was in class but since he lived in the house he was never recorded since he wasn't like the other students that came in off the street.

It is obvious that GM Choi did learn something. How can we dispute that? We have no documentation on how man began to walk, yet it is obviously that some time in history it happened. :)

Fighty McGee
8/18/2003 10:35am,
An interesting point to make is that despite the extreme historical enmity between Koreans and Japanese, Choi claimed to learn a Japanese system (Daito Ryu) from a Japanese master (Takeda), and he taught it as a Japanese system from early on, during a time when Korea was trying desperately to purge itself of anything Japanese. Why would he make this claim? Daito Ryu was not well known then as it is now, so it wouldn't have been beneficial to make this claim for self-promotion or getting students. And to claim to practice and teach a Japanese art in the 1950's in Korea was definitely not self-beneficial. These facts lead me to believe that Choi was being at least partially truthful about the origins of his art, although he may not have learned directly from Takeda.

And Vapour, the locks, controls, and throws in Hapkido are much more like Daito Ryu than Aikido, the "circular" motions are smaller and sharper, and they are taught to damage bones, joints, tendons, often putting the fulcrum point of a throw or lock directly on a joint rather than right above or below it as Aikido often does to minimize damage.

Miguksaram
8/18/2003 10:46am,
"...so it wouldn't have been beneficial to make this claim for self-promotion or getting students."

Good poing. Keep in mind, he never sought out students. I don't believe it was his goal at all. It was GM Sup who approached him and asked him to teach after viewing his altercation with the other gentleman at the brewery. So he never stepped off the boat saying I know Daito-ryu. It only mentioned it after he was asked to teach.

"...the locks, controls, and throws in Hapkido are much more like Daito Ryu than Aikido.."

The main reason for this was due to the paths that the founders of the systems took. Ueshiba O'sensei, decided to use his art for peaceful purposes, where as GM Choi basically taught as he learned.

Vapour
8/18/2003 8:09pm,
Hey, I used to think Morihei created aikido. But that is before I found daitoryu. Everyone do this bullshit history. Just that, in case of Korea martial arts, the issue of nationalis pop in because most arts are japanese origin.

This entire evidence was lost in luggage story is just too much. If I lost my judo dan certificate, I would be able to prove my grade from multiple documented sources not to mention the existence of people who trained or graded with me. Let me repeat that no daitoryu practioners ever backed up choi's claim that he ever learned daitoryu. To silence entire bunch of people is just not possible. There is no two side to this story when someone is unable to procure evidence of acitivities which have to be conducted in quite public setting.

I strongly suspect Choi learned Aikido. If he didn't learn daitoryu, only place he could learn jujitu techniques are from aikido as Aikido was the most widely taught style of jujitu at that time. Pre-war student of Morihei learned aikibudo, style very similar to Daitoryu. Choi's generation would have learned aikibudo rather than aikido.

Furthermore, contrary to the perception that anything Japanese are unpopular in Korea, anything Japanese are, in fact, qute popular in Korean. There is nothing deterimental in Korean teaching japanese arts to Korean as long as you maintain the claim that Korean originated it and taught to Japanese few centuries before anyway.

Let just admit it. The guy probably lied. Him coming up with computer-ate-my-file excuse is good indication of this. I've seen enough to know that GM even reputed one like general choi or Morihei Ueshiba aren't saints. If you can't admit this, you are in wrong forum.

Miguksaram
8/18/2003 9:18pm,
"I strongly suspect Choi learned Aikido. If he didn't learn daitoryu, only place he could learn jujitu techniques are from aikido as Aikido was the most widely taught style of jujitu at that time. Pre-war student of Morihei learned aikibudo, style very similar to Daitoryu. Choi's generation would have learned aikibudo rather than aikido. "

Let's say for sake of argument you are right. Where is the proof in that statement? Where is the documentation for that? Ueshiba O'sensei kept the same type of records as Takeda O'sensei. There should be proof about that. Plus, Choi left the Japan after Takeda's death. It was established and proven that he was indeed the servant to Takeda. Not many Japanese Masters would have their servants running off to learn martial arts.

"Furthermore, contrary to the perception that anything Japanese are unpopular in Korea, anything Japanese are, in fact, qute popular in Korean. There is nothing deterimental in Korean teaching japanese arts to Korean as long as you maintain the claim that Korean originated it and taught to Japanese few centuries before anyway."

I'm sorry, but that is just utter crap to say Koreans lie about every Japanese art they teach. Many of the GMs that I know speak the truth of their arts. Many Koreans taught Japanese arts and gave tribute to their rightful owner, the Japanese. Koreans brag some of the best Yudo and Daehan Kumdo teams around. Where in the world di you get that crap?

"Let just admit it. The guy probably lied. Him coming up with computer-ate-my-file excuse is good indication of this. I've seen enough to know that GM even reputed one like general choi or Morihei Ueshiba aren't saints. If you can't admit this, you are in wrong forum"

First of people sought him out to teach. He did not go out looking for teaching jobs, so why should he lie? I mean, he was seen whopping some as at the brewery and the GM Sup decided to test him out. Choi never said anything about his background. If you are going to use this "need documentation" excuse, then it flows both ways. Where is your documentation to dispute it?


~ Posted a quote twice so I deleted one of them



Edited by - miguksaram on August 18 2003 21:23:46

Vapour
8/19/2003 9:47am,
Aikido conncection is just a guess. I'm happy to admit it. Any assertion should be backed up and the rest should be clearly stated as a guess which I think I did. I'm happy to know that you come to my way of thinking. ;)

My bottom line is this. It is EXTREMELY unlikely for Choi mastering Daitoryu aijijutu. If I attended particular junior high school judo club somewhere, it would be difficult even to deny it. Aside from documentations, there are literary hundreds of people who I would have come across during that time not just in dojo but also in my daily life.

And all those lame excuses.
*Not many Japanese Masters would have their servants running off to learn martial arts. - Whhhhy?
* Luggage being lost - Computer ate my file
* Because he was Korean - Takeda taught Korean and they are included in lineage
* He learned it from wife, Soseki taught him secretly - So far, pure fictions invented to make up for the lack of evidences. Believable only if someone want to believe.

As of Koreans lie about every Japanese art they teach, I never said *all* Korean do. However, large majority do at least try to spin it and quite few do blatantly lies. Let not forget TKD being 2000 years old. Jujitu and Kendo originated from Korea is pretty much standard line in Korea. Everyone do this in different degree. Adding few fiction history to gain bit more credibility is common practice anywhere. Just that this is such widespread practice/problem in Korean martial arts that it is difficult sometimes to read any history of Korean martial arts withoug some critical eyes.



Edited by - Vapour on August 19 2003 09:58:00

Fighty McGee
8/19/2003 10:11am,
Man, my butt is getting sore from sitting on this damn fence!