Curriculum

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In this age of Computer Science and “desk-top publishing”, producing a book about Martial Arts can often be reduced to little more than “cut-and-paste” from a number of sources. Sometimes we forget that in days gone by materials and information was gathered slowly and painfully by hand, through experience and education. What you find in this area of the website is a range of  Martial practices as seen through the eyes of my late teacher, MYUNG Kwang Sik.  And in a time when this sort of information is just a few keyboard clicks away, we forget that Myung KJN wrote the first book on Hapkido in 1976 when most work was done with notecards, a camera and a typewriter. In like fashion, we must not forget that while today we have information neatly catalogued, and presented by a number of teachers and organizations, my teacher’s undertaking was to sort through practices and methods trailing in many directions and far back into Korean History.

Founded in traditional oriental culture, Military Science was often little more than a collection of practices and survival "tricks" that were taught tribe and clan members for the defense of the group. The first real organization came with the establishment of Military Institutions of each of the countries of the Korean peninsula during the “Three Kingdoms Period (33 BCE to 660 AD). Forming people into kingdoms forced them to think of something greater than just their own tribe or clan. With each generation skills and information because more standardized and refined. Such skills as Horsemanship, weapons use and hand-to-hand combat became more focused and made sure that individuals attained recognized levels of ability.

Centuries later, Confucianism introduced the use of examinations and a hierarchy of grades. This advancement brought standardization between placement in Civilian and Military positions in government. One could expect to master a roughly standard curriculum, though with variances from teacher to teacher and school to school and then be assessed against a government standard for consideration.

In hand with “how” practices were taught, is also the matter of “what” was taught. Korea has had a history of conflict both among its own people as well as by invasion by its neighbors. Each of these events has been an occasion during which Korean practices were tested as well as new practices introduced by foreign forces. You have probably heard that Hapkido is an "eclectic" art. This is not true, but given Korea’s history it is easy to understand how this reputation originated.  

As you examine this material you can appreciate that practices from a number of sources have been brought together. That those many practices include not just unarmed techniques, but weapons, philosophy and theory as well. All of this information has also been organized into levels of related information and shared goals. In this way, Myung KJN goal of producing a single cohesive Martial system for Korean practices was accomplished. However, often forgotten is Myung KJN’s comment that what he taught “…is only the skeleton. The student must add the muscle and skin.” In this way a person who follows the path laid-out by Myung KJN is required not just to learn his material, but to build on it to the best of their abilities.