Our Heritage http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage Mon, 30 May 2016 19:24:32 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb brucew.sims@yahoo.com (My portal) Bruce W. Sims http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/5-bruce-w-sims http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/5-bruce-w-sims Sims







                Bruce W. Sims







Bruce W. Sims  was born in Massachusetts in 1950 and moved to Naperville, Illinois soon afterwards. Life in the Chicago suburb was unremarkable, and Sims graduated High School to enlist in the U. S Army a week later. Sims returned to the United States from two and a half years service in Vietnam and ending his four year enlistment, and moving downstate to attend Eastern Illinois University in 1972. In a relatively short time, it became apparent that his military service had left Sims in a very different place than most of the other students who had come to the University directly from High School and their communities. In response, Sims enrolled in a local Karate school which specialized in Shudokan, or orthodox Okinawan Karate and which was part of a chain of Schools directed by David Brownridge of Champaign-Urbana. Sims continued to train until 1976 when he took a hiatus from Karate and traveled to Boston to experience Uechi-Ryu. During that visit he had an opportunity to train in Cambridge with the noted Aikido teacher, Kanai Sensei. While the art of Aikido was challenging, the overall tenor of the art did not seem to have the practical combat-worthiness Sims was seeking. However, the view of augmenting his Karate with grappling material planted a desire that forever changed his approach to training.

Returning to Illinois in 1977, Sims continued his Education by completing his Master's in Psychology, and seeking out an art that would provide the balance of striking and grappling, tradition and innovation that he was seeking. In 1979 he relocated to the Chicago area, where he trained briefly in Kyokushin Karate. Though combat worthy, the art lacked the well-rounded balance between striking and grappling and the next few years saw Sims visiting a variety of locations in the Chicago area seeking this balance.

In 1985, acting on a suggestion from a martial art acquaintance, Sims attended classes at a Hapkido school located on Western in Chicago which was owned and operated by Hyun Kwang Sik. The school was represented as being affiliated with the KIDOHAE and taught a rudimentary curriculum. However, Sims immediately recognized that the balance among striking, kicking and grappling was exactly what he had been seeking. He continued training in this tradition until 1990 when it had become apparent that the tradition that he was following represented only a small portion of what the Hapkido arts had to offer. The pivotal point was a passing comment by a fellow student about a book on Hapkido written by MYUNG Kwang Sik. Sims first located the book, then purchased it, then made contact with Myung Kwanjangmin, himself. For the next two years Sims committed himself to adjusting his material to the manner in which Myung taught, keeping many notebooks of meticulous notes and availing himself of every visit Myung made to the Midwest.

On January 5, 1992 Sims achieved his Cho-Dan and committed himself to the World Hapkido Federation.  It was also at this time that Sims was invited to become a member of the YON MU KWAN, the original kwan established by Myung in 1969, and which is dedicated to researching and preserving Korean martial traditions.

In 1996 Sims achieved his 2nd Degree and had begun to organize his years of notes and experiences as a way of meeting his research obligations as a kwan member. Drawing on his training as a professional Educator, Sims converted World Hapkido Federation Hapkido from its Neo-Confucian pedagogy to that of the Academic approach used in Western Education. The resulting Hapkido manuals were dubbed the "Dochang Journal Project" owing to the notebook format of the books, and the manuals were published through the Internet. In hand with this was the development of a website---"Midwest Hapkido"--- to serve as a Hapkido resource. Further use of the Internet included frequent use of the many martial art forums where Sims' passionate advocacy for traditional practice and research often brought him to heated exchanges.

Following his 3rd Dan in 1998, Sims came to view his private teaching practice to be inadequate for his goals of promoting Hapkido as a traditional Korean martial art. Though he had accrued a modest following by this time, regular inquiries into the art and his teaching by people from the community had become intrusive. Responding to an invitation from a group of college students Sims began to lead a club at the local community college and was quickly accepted to a position at the college to teach a survey course in the Hapkido arts in 1999. Though a rewarding project, antagonisms rapidly developed between students at the college and those Sims' students of standing. The result was that the private school was closed in favor of the greater service to the community through the college. The college classes continued, and were highly regarded. In May, 2011, the Hapkido program ended.

It was also in 1999 that Sims began his study of Korean sword through the highly respected sword master KOO Hyi Kwanjangnim at the HwaRang Kumdo school in Chicago. As Sims first discovered in his martial arts career, the idea of commerce and sport were of no interest to him. However, it became increasingly evident that he was drawn to the long and respected history of swordsmanship in Korean traditions. Sims left the sport aspect of the school to focus completely on the formwork and cutting practice and achieved his Cho-dan in April, 2000, his 2nd degree in November 2000, and his 3rd degree in December 2001. In January, 2006 Sims was granted license to mentor a kwan, which he named "Yon Mu Kwan" in honor of MYUNG Kwang Sik's original school.

In 2004, Sims achieved his 4th dan and continued to reflect on the nature of his Hapkido material. Though the Dochang Journal Project had been modestly successful, the focus of the material seemed to be missing its mark. Technically the material reflected Sims' Hapkido heritage, but it was rapidly becoming apparent that the soul of the art was being lost in many areas of the Hapkido community. Commercial concerns, fads and in-fighting had resulted in much focus on image and marketing, and the arts themselves were suffering. In some cases even non-Korean material was adopted by teachers and represented as obscure "Korean" traditions. The Dochang Journal Project which had started as a service to the Hapkido community was in danger of becoming a likely contribution to the degrading of the art. Sims stopped his writing and began a revision process to reintroduce aspects of Korean language and tradition to his books, a revision that continues today. 

Currently, at 60 years of age, Sims continues to teach, train, and conduct research into Korean martial traditions. The focus of the continuing research involves the material of the Mu Ye Tobo Tong Ji. This "comprehensive manual", as the title suggests, published in 1795, reflects the deep historical and cultural nature of Korean martial practices over a 400 year period.

Published works

Sims, Bruce W. Dochang Journal; Vol. 1-4. Midwest Hapkido, Inc. 1996

brucew.sims@yahoo.com (Staff) Generations Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:25:59 +0000
MYUNG, Kwang Sik http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/4-myung-kwang-sik http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/4-myung-kwang-sik Myung







               MYUNG , Kwang Sik










MYUNG Kwang-Sik was born in what is now North Korea but lived in Seoul for most of his early life.  It was there, in 1948 at the age of 7, he began training under his uncle who was a 3rd dan in Kumdo, the Korean form of Japanese Kendo. Myung Kwanjangnim (KJN) studied the sword throughout elementary school and added the study of Judo as a Junior High School student. However, because of his small stature, he felt handicapped in Judo and began training in Kongsoodo. So it was that, in addition to his school work, he studied Kumdo on the weekends, Judo 3 times a week, and Kongsoodo, an amalgam of various Korean influences with Shudokan Karate of  YUN Byoung-Im's background, every afternoon after school.

He earned his Kongsoodo black belt at the age of 12 but did not officially receive the belt until age 15 because of age regulations of the dojang. As a high school student, Myung KJN  organized martial arts classes for fellow classmates. During that period in his life, he also learned acupuncture, Oriental calligraphy, and Oriental India Ink drawing. Myung KJN  was also exposed to Charyuk, a little known training venue which sought to build internal strength through various esoteric practices and was not altogether unlike the "Taoist Breathing" material often cited in Hapkido traditions. Unfortunately, the advocates for this sort of training fell on hard times when their claims became increasingly grandiose. While the underlying premises are well-founded in Taoist and Chi-Qong (K. "Gi-Cheon") training, the claims to supernatural powers and abilities soon undercut the popularity of the practices. Myung KJN 's experiences in Charyuk may be one foundation for the nature and execution of the Hapkido "Dan Jeon Ho Hup" today. Given the Korean proclivity for Animism and Shamanism in their culture its common to find such activities as recurrent themes in the culture. As Myung KJN  is reported to have said:

"I've studied many martial arts", he said. "Kumdo (the Korean equivalent of Kendo), Yudo and Tang Soo Do in junior high and high school; Tai Chi, even Yoga. Yoga is not a martial art, but it's good for martial artists."

He also briefly tried out Western boxing.

Myung KJN  Kwanjangnim began his study of Hapkido with JI Han Jae in Seoul at the Ma Jang Dong location in 1957 at the age of 16. Joining Myung KJN  at that time were also early Hapkido practitioners Hwang Duk-Kyu (latter day president of the Korea Hapkido Association), Lee Tae-Joon, Kang Jong-Soo, Kim Yong-Jin (founder of the Ulji kwan) and Kim Yong-Whan. Myung KJN  Kwang-Sik later received lessons from Hapkido founder CHOI Yong Sul. Today he considers Choi his teacher. During his high school days, he was truly a pioneer in organizing classes for fellow students. And, as a student of Sung Kyon Kwon University he had majored in Commerce and continued as a Hapkido instructor at Ji’s Sung Moo Kwan school. As a college graduate, Myung KJN  chose Hapkido instruction as his profession.

At this time the first Hapkido federation, founded by Ji in 1963 and called the Kido Hwe, evolved into the Dae Han Hapkido Hyup Hwe (founded 1965). The original Kido Hwe had started with 10 Hapkido gyms. The central gym was run by Ji. The north gym was overseen by Kwang Sik Myung KJN . Bong Soo Han oversaw the southern gym at the Osan Air Force Base. In the west was Kim Duk In’s gym. Those directors who did not follow Ji into his new organization remained with the Kido Hwe to establish what would later become the Korean Hapkido Federation. In 1967 the Sung Mu Kwan of the Korean Hapkido Association sent 15 members of demonstration teams, including Myung KJN , to Vietnam to demonstrate their art and to teach Korean, US, and Vietnamese troops as well as Special Forces.

By 1968, as a senior instructor, Myung KJN  had about 11 years of training in Hapkido.  Myung KJN  soon published a 254-page, Korean-language book, “Hapkido,” at the age of 27. This was later followed by the first major Hapkido book in English, "Hapkido - Art of Masters" (October, 1976). In recognition, Myung KJN  was made the director of the Seoul Northern Branch Dojang, Korea Hapkido Association, under JI Han Jae. Perhaps the single highest honor at this time occurred at the historic National Unified Korean Martial Arts Exposition that was held on May 27, 1968 at the Jang Chung Sports Arena. In these pictures Choi used Myung KJN  on many occasions to show techniques.

Myung KJN  expanded his efforts, opening a school in the Sansunkyo district and calling it the Korea Hapkido Yon Mu Kwan Association, dedicated to the furtherance of Hapkido as a highly visible martial art. The institute provided specialized training to the director of each dojang, instructors and advanced degree black belt holders (masters) universally. The effort was recognized by the Korea Hapkido Association and Ji, Han Jae, but growing differences between the student and his teacher had become apparent.

Myung KJN  immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States in 1973. He later moved to Detroit where he opened up his first Hapkido school and formed the World Hapkido Association on December 20, 1973. The following year, at the first general meeting of the World Hapkido Association on June 23rd. in Detroit, Michigan, Myung KJN  was elected president of the organization. And in 1976, at the 2nd Bi-Annual World Hapkido Association meeting, Myung KJN  published the 300-page “Hapkido – Art of Masters” copyrighted in October, 1976.

Leaving his Detroit facility in the hands of his brother, Myung KJN  Hong Sik, Myung KJN  Kwang Sik moved his headquarters to Los Angeles and then to Tustin, California. Bi-Annual meetings of the World Hapkido Association were also held in 1978 and the 4th in 1981, in Chicago. The 6th Bi-Annual meeting of the WHA was held September 29, 1985. Two months later, on November 16, 1985 at a rally in San Diego, California the name of the organization was officially changed to the World Hapkido federation. This signaled a turning point for the organization in several ways.

Up to this time the World Hapkido Association had been a non-profit organization. With the change of the name, there was also a change to “for-profit” status. Additionally, Myung KJN  sought to interface Hapkido material with a parallel Taekwondo program. Myung KJN  represented that he was ninth Dan founder of Taekwondo YonMuKwan. Further, Myung KJN  introduced hyung, or forms, that Myung KJN  had constructed, for use in the Hapkido curriculum. All of these changes resulted in great loss of talented members including Ji Han Jae, Chang Gedo, and Lee Jung Bai who felt that the original principles of the Hapkido arts had been lost. However, Myung KJN ’s greater contributions to the Hapkido community could not be denied and in 1986 Myung KJN  Kwang Sik received his 9th dan from Ji Han Jae in 1986 (Certificate # 85-001) and, later, his 10th Dan through the KIDOHAE by HWANG Duk Kyu.

Myung KJN  continued to teach and give seminars until a severe automobile accident left him confined to a wheelchair. To the surprise of his doctors Myung KJN  was able to rehabilitate himself and was able to return to teaching and seminars in 2006. However diabetic concerns, as well as age, continued to take a great toll on his health. Increasingly  Myung KJN  came to rely on his brother and his son administering the World Hapkido Federation organization. 

Myung KJN  KJN died in California on July 29, 2009. 


Published works

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Korean Hapkido; Ancient Art of Masters. World Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1976.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Weapons – Vol. Two – The Cane. World Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1988.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Weapons – Vol. Three – The Forms. World Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1988.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido: Special Self Protection Techniques. Seolim Publishing Co. Seoul, 1993

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Textbook - Vols. 1-6. Seolim Publishing Co. Seoul, 1998.



Kimm, He-Young. Hapkido (alternately The Hapkido Bible). Andrew Jackson Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1991

Kimm, He-Young. Hapkido II. Andrew Jackson Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1994.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Korean Hapkido; Ancient Art of Masters. World Hapkido Federation, Los Angeles, California 1976

brucew.sims@yahoo.com (Staff) Generations Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:22:51 +0000
JI Han Jae http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/3-ji-han-jae http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/3-ji-han-jae Ji                JI, Han Jae


JI Han Jae was born in 1936 in Andong, Korea. His family moved to Sun Yang, China when he was one year old. He attended school there until he was 9 years old (1945) when his family returned to Andong. Ji reports that he began his martial arts training in Yawara a few years later with CHOI Yong Sul. The techniques he learned at this time were primarily joint locks, throws, a limited number of low kicks, perhaps 6-8 and a limited number of weapons. Ji identified SUH Bok Sub as his senior since Suh began his training before Ji in 1948 though Ji consistently stated that he (Ji) was taught by GM Choi. However, Ji also reported that when he went to Seoul to open his school he had a 3rd Dan in Yu Kwon Sool from SUH Bok Sub so there is some level of controversy there. Also, during this time the name of the art being practiced underwent a number of changes including, yawara,  yu sool, yu kwon sool, and hapkiyukwonsool.   


What seems to be agreed on is that Ji was apparently affiliated with Choi from at least 1953, when Choi began teaching out of his house, until 1956. During this time Ji was a student at Taegu City Technical High School . In 1956 Ji, perhaps about age 20, moved back to his home city of Andong where Ji opened his first school, An Mu Kwan.  Ji began to train with the son of a man Ji has often referred to as “Taoist Lee”. Lee trained JI Han Jae primarily in mediation, the use of the Jang-Bong (6' staff), the Dan-Bong (short stick), and in Korean Taek-Kyun or Tek Gi yun, kicking. Many of the drills that Ji was doing at this time are similar to plyometrics used in sports today. The kicking techniques and high jumping techniques were a good complement to the grappling techniques taught by Grandmaster Choi. In addition to the martial aspects of training, Lee also began Ji on his mental and spiritual training. Ji trained with Lee in numerous meditation and breathing exercises, after which he continued his training with Lee’s instructor, “Grandma.” who Ji considers to be his spiritual teacher.


As an additional resource, Ji was joined briefly by fellow Yukwonsool practioner KIM Moo-woong who had also trained, and was ranked, under Choi and Suh. Ji and KIM Moo-Woong had trained together beginning in 1953. Ji left and started his own school in 1956,claiming that he had a 3rd dan in Yu Kwon Sul. Kim had stayed with Choi another 5 years and opened his own school in 1961.  During that five years, Ji had moved from Andong after an 8-month stint, deciding to relocate to Seoul in September of 1957. He stayed in a boarding house in Wang Shim Ri. The son of the owner of the boarding house, Hwang, Duk Kyu, was his first student at this dojang, called Sung Moo Kwan where he taught Dae Han Hapki Yu Kwon Sool.


In 1958, Ji had moved his school to Joong Boo Shi Jang where he continued teaching until April of 1960. It was during this period that Ji reports that he began to piece together the Yoo Sool (Yoo kwon Sool) teachings of Grandmaster Choi, with the methods of meditation, the Taek -Kyun kicking techniques, and the weapons techniques learned from Lee, along with the spiritual training he received from Grandma. The product was “Hapkido.” He had originally though of calling it "Hapki-Yoo -Kwan-Sool," but decided against that, feeling it was to long. Kim found Ji at Ji’s school ---- Sung Moo Kwan and, for an eight month period, Kim collaborated with Ji through the Summer of 1961. Though the effort was fruitful for the art of Hapkido, differences ultimately caused the two martial artists to part ways. However, the kicking material for the art of Hapkido had been established.


General PARK Chung Hee (1917-1979) became the Korean President after he overthrew the government in May of 1961. Ji was teaching at the Korean military academy at the time, and in 1962, Ji moved to Kwan Chul Dong, to the Hwa Shin Department Store. By this time, his reputation had grown substantially and had built his Sung Moo Kwan School to about 400 or 500 students. After a demonstration and with assistance from Major Lee, Dong Nam , Ji was given permission to instruct the military Supreme Council in Hapkido techniques. Ji then received a government position teaching Hapkido to the President Security forces called the Blue House (a position he would hold until Park's death in 1979). During this time, he moved his school to Suh Dae Mon (West Gate section).


In the early 1960's Park, Chung Hee lifted import restrictions banning Japanese goods from Korea . Ji found a book on Japanese Aikido and saw that the Chinese characters for Aikido were the same as for Hapkido. Discouraged that a Japanese art had the "same name" as Hapkido, he decided to drop the "Hap" from its name, calling his art simply, "Kido."


The Korea KIDO Association (Dae Han KIDOHAE) was officially recognized by the Korean Government on September 2, 1963. A public Non-profit foundation registered with the Korean Government the KIDOHAE is recognized and given official mandate by the ministry of Education and Culture to disseminate Hapkido/Martial Arts with the establishment of this association and its first administrative elections Grandmaster CHOI, Yong Sul elected to position of Chairman and LEE, KYU JIN, elected as President. The reason behind the formation of KIDOHAE was that after the Japanese Occupation of Korea ended in 1945, there was an explosion of Martial Arts in Korea by all the Martial Artists who had been living in an oppressed society for decades. With such rapid proliferation of Martial Arts styles, the top masters of Korean Martial Arts community felt that there needed to be a governing body to set guidelines and bring unity to the group. With Grandmaster CHOI Yong Sul as the Honorary Chairman, KIDOHAE was formed and registered with the Ministry of Culture 


  The first Hapkido federation, founded by Ji in 1963 called the Kido Hwe and evolved into the Dae Han Hapkido Hyup Hwe founded in 1965. The original Kido Hwe started with 10 Hapkido gyms. 


The central gym was run by Ji. 


The north gym was Kwang Sik Myung. 


Bong Soo Han was in the south at the Osan Air Force Base. 


  One of JI Han Jae’s juniors, Kim, Jung yoon was named Secretary General. Because of this and that his Sung Moo Kwan students did not want to change the name to Kido, in 1965, JI Han Jae left the Korea Kido Association and established the Korea Hapkido Association. His students continued to call their martial art Hapkido, and continued to teach it the way they learned it. JI Han Jae also had become a powerful person in the government due to his instructor position. With this power, he was able to successfully operate his own organization without help from others who were being less then ethical in their lives as martial artists.


Three dominate Hapkido organizations began to immerge during the next five years. These included the Korea Hapkido Association (founded in 1965 by Han-Jae Ji), the Korea Hapkido Association (founded in 1969 by Jae-Nam Myung), and the Korean Hapkido Association (founded in 1971 by Kim, Moo Woong). Eventually, in 1973, the leaders of these organizations met and agreed to unify their association one. The new association was named Dae Han Min Kuk Hapkido Hyub Hwe ( republic of Korea Hapkido Association ).


Today here are still several dominant Hapkido organizations in Korea . These include, the Korea Kido Association (In-Sun Seo, Pres.), the Korea Hapkido Association (Oh, Se-Lim, Pres.), and the International Hapkido Federation (Myung, Jae Nam, Pres.). The Korea Hapkido Association is still the most prominent Hapkido organization in Korea , and  graduates of the Sung Moo Kwan make up the majority of its instructors.


In 1967, Ji traveled to Vietnam with some of his students to teach Hapkido to the soldiers fighting there. They conducted training and demonstrations from 1967 to 1969.

In 1969, Ji first came to the United States as part of an exchange with President Richard Nixon’s security forces. He taught Hapkido to the US Secret Service, Special Forces, OSI, FBI, and CIA. While he was visiting and staying at Andrews Air Force Base, his good friend, Taekwondo Grandmaster Jhoon Rhee, introduced Ji to Bruce Lee. Lee was impressed with Ji’s techniques and asked him to teach him.


Ji taught Lee and also traveled to Hong Kong over the next few years to help choreograph martial arts movies and also star in a few of them. At this time, Ji taught movie stars such as Jin Pal Kim, Angela Mao, Samo Hong among many others. He appeared in three movies, Hapkido (Lady Kung Fu), Fist of the Unicorn Palm, and Bruce Lee’s Game of Death. Extra footage of Game of Death was recently released as a movie called A Warrior’s Journey, which features 18 minutes of fight scenes featuring Ji. 


In 1979, President Park , Chung Hee was assassinated. Ji resigned his position and became a member of the Min Jung Dang Party. Ji, and the leader of the party, Kwon, Jung dal, were from the same home town and decided that it would be a good idea if Ji organized the civilian security guards to be personal escorts of the president during travel. Before this training was made public, the head of the rival political party, Huh, Sam soo, found out about the idea and saw it as an opportunity to eliminate his rival. He informed the president that they were training these security forces in order to overthrow him. Many of the individuals involved were arrested and some were executed. Ji was sentenced to a one-year prison term. He spent one year in prison because of his political affiliation.


He spent 2 years in Korea after his release and then traveled to Germany to teach for three months. In 1984, Master Merrill Jung brought him to the United States . It was at this time that Grandmaster JI Han Jae began teaching Sin Moo Hapkido (pronounced “shin moo”) and formed the Korea Sin Moo Hapkido Association. “Sin” means higher mind (the old character could be translated to mean “godlike,” but the meaning Ji refers to is simply “higher mind” or “mental.”) “Moo” means martial art. Simply put, Sin Moo means, “Higher mind martial art.”


Much of the techniques are the same as what he taught while in Korea , but the emphasis has changed. The Sin Moo focuses more on the mental and spiritual aspects of Hapkido as well as controlling Ki or Chi and being able to use it effectively. He has also expanded the weapon repertoire (some he added while in Korea ) to include the cane, handkerchief or rope, throwing techniques, and recently, the long scarf.


When Grandmaster Ji first arrived, he taught some classes out of Master Jung’s school, and then opened a school in Daly City . He has also had schools in San Bruno , CA and Willow Groove, PA. In addition to Korea Sin Moo Hapkido, he also created the World Sin Moo Hapkido Association and the World Sin Moo Hapkido Federation. He currently lives in Trenton , NJ and travels throughout the world teaching classes and seminars.

His students and those who know him now call Grandmaster JI Han Jae, “Dojunim”. It means, “honorable founder of the way.”



JI Han Jae. Personal interview by Sean Bradley in Cherry Hill , NJ in July 2006.

JI Han Jae. Personal interview by Sean Bradley, Yi-Pei Lin, and Frank Croaro in Seattle , WA in May 2006.

JI Han Jae. Personal interview by Scott Yates and Sean Bradley in Kenmore , WA on March 28, 2004.

JI Han Jae. Personal interview by Scott Yates and Sean Bradley in Seoul , South Korea on August 21, 2002.

JI Han Jae. Personal interview by Farshad Azad, Frank Croaro, and Sean Bradley in Chico , CA in May 2004.

Sin Moo Hapkido. http://www.sinmoohapkido.com

Kimm, He Young. Hapkido. 

brucew.sims@yahoo.com (Staff) Generations Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:21:41 +0000
CHOI Yong Sul http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/2-choi-yong-sul http://midwesthapkido.com/our-heritage/2-choi-yong-sul Choi                CHOI, Yong Sul 



CHOI-Yong-Sool was born in July 21,18991 (according to the Lunar calendar ) and was registered by his family in 1904 as having been born in Hwang-gan, Choong-bok province, South Korea, the son of a poor farmer.  CHOI resided in a village named Yong Dong in Choong Chung Province2. Life, at that time, was heavily influenced by the  expansionist and nationalist elements of the Japanese administration which were working to exert ever greater influence over Korea and its government. Part of this expansionist effort  included working to push out of Korea the other two major governments, Romanoff Russia and Qing China which were attempting to work their own designs on the Manchurian and Korean areas. The results of these tensions were the Sino-Japanese War of 1894 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Both wars were Japanese victories and left the Japanese unchallenged in the region.  


According to CHOI, about the age of 83 he became aware of a person he knew as a Japanese Businessman and candy store owner named Mr. Morimoto who reportedly had no son and was intersted in taking CHOI back to Japan with him. While this may seem like an odd dynamic, there are two factors to consider in this report. Agents of the Japanese intelligence community were administered by the Black Ocean Society (“Genyosha”), an ultra-nationalist organization, through its subsidiary the Amur River or “Black Dragon” Society ( “Kokuryukai”)4. The lowest level of espionage for these agents was that of itinerant breathmint (“jintan”) salesmen who could move quietly among the population gathering intelligence. These "candy salesmen" may well have been the sort of individual about whom CHOI was referring. A second matter to consider is that, under the best of circumstances, life in a rural Korean family of any size could only be characterized as competitive and more often desperate. It is not altogether unlikely that CHOI’s parents may have accepted the invitation of the Japanese couple that CHOI mentions in his interview to take CHOI to  Japan in the hopes of CHOI having a better life there. Regardless, when "Mr. Morimoto" returned to Japan, he took CHOI Yong Sul with him. CHOI reports that he resisted the “adoption” and characterized it as a “kidnapping”.5   


          In the period that followed, CHOI made himself so difficult to deal with that the salesman abandoned CHOI  in the village of  Moji, Japan6.  In this way, reportedly at the age of 8 years old, CHOI found himself making his way, alone, to  Osaka, and earning his living by begging. This would make sense since both Osaka and Hiroshima had large Korean ex-pat populations. After being picked up by the police, they arranged for CHOI to be cared for at a Buddhist temple in Kyoto where he lived for about two years under the care of the monk Kintaro Watanabi.7 Using simply addition, were one to use a birth-year of 1899, CHOI’s age at this point would be 10 years and the year would be 1909. If one were to use the year of registration, CHOI would be 10 years old, but the year would be 1914. 


          Kintaro Watanabi, as the abbot of the temple, was a friend of TAKEDA  Sokaku (1859-1943), a well-known martial art personality, and arranged an introduction for CHOI to him. CHOI reports that “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”.10 Curiously, an alternate name,  “Yoshida, Tatujutu” is also reported by Suh, Bok Sub as having been used by CHOI at this time. 11 


        The home and school to which CHOI was taken was located on Shin Su Mountain in the area of Akeda and CHOI reports that  “I  lived in his home and learned under his (Takeda) personal direction for over 30 years. I was his constant student, and for twenty years of my training, I was secluded in his mountain home."12   Though CHOI Yong Sul was adamant about the 30 years he reports having lived in the TAKEDA Sokaku’s household, there are different variations of which social status CHOI had during this period. In an interview,  CHOI, declared that he had been adopted by TAKEDA Sokaku. According to other sources, he began as a “house boy” and later became TAKEDA Sokaku’s personal servant. Last but not least, some say that he just attended some seminars at TAKEDA Sokaku. Whatever the status, there is general agreement that any relationship with TAKEDA Sokaku would have entailed considerable travel as Takeda employed a teaching model that required constantly moving from location to location and teaching at a variety of sites. This experience is said to have included at least one trip to Hawaii when CHOI was about 28 years old --—“… along with TAKEDA  Sokaku, myself (Asao, Yoshida), Jintaro, Abida and two other individuals.” Using the 1899 date, this trip would have then occurred in 1927. However, using the 1904 registration date, this trip would have occurred in 1932. 


World War II brought changes. CHOI reports that, “My teacher and I worked for the government by capturing military deserters that would hide in the mountains near our home. We would return these men, unharmed, to the authorities.” CHOI goes on to report that “The most significant changes happened toward the end of the war.  Japan was losing the war and in a last desperation effort the government instituted a special military draft that called up most of the prominent martial artists of the time. These highly trained people were conscripted into special guerrilla-type units that were dispersed throughout the war zone. All of the inner circle of Daito Ryu Aiki-Jutsu were drafted except Master Takeda and CHOI. CHOI goes on to report that "most were killed in the final fighting of the war. I was going to be drafted but TAKEDA  Sokaku intervened. Through his status and influence, he had me hospitalized for minor surgery. This stopped the process of my conscription and prevented me from being drafted. He prevented me from being put into the war because he felt that if I was killed Daito Ryu Aiki-Jutsu would be lost in its completed form upon his death.” 


Though such a history might, at first telling, sound plausible there are a number of problems with these reports.  


Since there is no documentation to support the idea of CHOI and his teacher capturing deserters, we must rely on the matter that Takeda was absent from his family and household for many months at a time, making the matter of policing his own estate consistently unlikely. Further, since Takeda Sokaku is documented as having died in April, 1943, it is unlikely that he could know that  Japan was, in fact, losing the war or that in knowing this he would have intervened on CHOI’s behalf. Lastly, there is no record of the foremost of Takedas’ students including Horikawa, Hisa, Sato, Sagawa, Ueshiba, and Yoshida being pressed into military service, much less killed during the war.  


Regarding the actual nature of what he learned, CHOI reported that he learned 3,808 techniques from Takeda and that he was informed by Takeda that only he, CHOI, had been schooled in all of Takeda’s secrets. CHOI reported in his interview that Takeda told him that CHOI was the only one to have learned all 3808 Daito-Ryu Aikijujutsu techniques. Once again, while plausible at first telling, this report does not stand-up to closer scrutiny. 


As of this writing, there is nothing to document that Takeda taught a cohesive and well-defined curriculum. Rather, his manner of teaching as reported by his students suggests a rather random and varied group of techniques. To date, despite the best efforts of TAKEDA Tokimune and KONDO Katsuyuki, a structured curriculum of Daito-ryu Aiki-ju-jutsu techniques does not exceed 1,000 techniques.  


A second consideration is that despite many efforts to identify a lineal inheritance of a cohesive art over several generations, there is little to support much beyond the report that Takeda taught a nameless art until 1917, choosing to conduct seminars for individuals of standing in the Law Enforcement and Judicial branches of local government as he toured through  Japan. In 1917, with the encouragement of Kotaro, Yoshida, TAKEDA  Sokaku named the compilation of material he had gathered “Daito-ryu Aiki-Ju-Jutsu”  reflecting the pan-Japanese national fervor of the times and specific to the Aizu clan of with the Takeda family is a branch.. 


 CHOI reports that TAKEDA Sokaku committed suicide by starving himself to death and that before Takeda died he ordered CHOI to return to  Korea. Whatever the circumstances, TAKEDA is documented as having died of illness as he sought to return home in the Spring of 1943. CHOI apparently remained in Japan until his repatriation to Korea in 1946. This much is affirmed by the testimony of CHOI's daughter regarding his life in Japan. 


          On his return to  Korea , CHOI reports that his luggage was stolen at the Station of Yongson, including all his money and the certificates he had obtained from TAKEDA Sokaku. CHOI settled in Korea in the village of  Taegu , situated in Kyung Buk province, and changed his name back to CHOI Yong Sul. Here, he and his family survived by selling rice cookies. When CHOI had saved a small amount of money he bought some pigs. To fatten them he needed grain, which he earned in a Korean brewery producing Korean wine (Mak ju). In this brewery the employees were paid with grain for helping to pump water from a subterranean source. On February 21st  1948, some people tried to take up CHOI’s position in the queue in front of the grain counter. CHOI not only defended himself successfully against the attackers, but he did it with the greatest of ease.  


          Suh, Bok Sup, manager and 24 year old son of the brewery’s owner watched the fight from his office. He was impressed by the techniques with which   CHOI could defend himself. At the time SUH Bok-Sup was a First Dan in Judo and recognized that CHOI was a master in a very effective material art. He called CHOI in his office and asked him to teach him this art. CHOI agreed and Suh made an area for them to train in and paid for his training lessons with money and grain.21 The fact, that  CHOI’s first student held a first Dan in Judo had an effect on the development of Hapkido. All Defense techniques against holds at the wrist, sleeve, collar and against Judo throws go back to these roots. Of course, in the beginning SUH Bok-Sup was mainly interested in how to defend himself against judo attacks.  


          To Suh, CHOI identified the material he knew as “Yawara”, and over the years the name would change a number of times depending on the various influences of students and circumstances. Among others the art was called, Yu Sool (Soft Art), Yu Kwon Sul (Soft Hand Art), and Hapki Yu Kwon Sul (In Unity with Ki Soft Hand Art). In time, CHOI became a bodyguard and head of the security department of Suh's congressman father. On February, 12th 1951, CHOI and SUH Bok-Sup together opened up a Dojang named Korean Yu Kwan Sool Hap Ki Dojang. In 1958, CHOI, Suh and Bok-Sup decided to change the name of the material art taught by them into HapKiDo as reported by SUH Bok Sub in a later interview.  


          There are different statements on who used the name HapKiDo first. Another variation is that JI Han-Jae created the name and then passed it to CHOI, in order to honor him. Sometime after 1958, CHOI opened up his own Dojang, and from this point in time that are a variety of divisions and re-combinations among various students of CHOI.  In SUH Bok-Sup's Dojang Kim, Moo-Hyun, who, according to SUH Bok-Sup, created the HapKiDo kicks having learned them various Korean temples. Kim, Moo-Hyun had a very close contact to   JI, Han-Jae and stayed some time in   Ji, Han-Jae‘s Dojang in Seoul. It is very likely, that during this time a number of HapKiDo kicks were developed. Sometimes SUH Bok-Sup went to  Seoul and taught there at the university.  


          In 1963 CHOI became chairman of the newly founded Korean Kido Association, an umbrella organization of all Korean material arts, acknowledged by the Korean government. For the next 20 years CHOI would continue to shift from organization to organization as politics and demographics influenced his role in the Hapkido community. Though he was protective of his material it rapidly became clear that he was not able to keep his art from being exploited by various factions. In 1982, CHOI traveled to the  USA , trying to combine HapKiDo. He had appointed Chang, Chin-Il his representative for those Hapkido arts practiced outside of  Korea and apparently hoped that Chang would be able to unite the Hapkido masters living in the USA . Unfortunately this was not to be and CHOI’s wish was not fulfilled. CHOI later designated his son as his successor to the CHOI tradition. In 1984 he closed his teaching career and for the last two years was content to be a kind of figurehead for the art.  


          CHOI died in 1986 at the age of 82 and was buried in  Taegu. 




1.      http://www.angelfire.com/ks/wmal/page60.html; World Independent Hap-Ki Do Federation (W.I.H.K.D.F.); Klaus Schuhmacher 

2.      “Historical Interview”; Conducted June, 1982; Copyright © 1982/1998 Joseph K. Sheya

3.      Ibid. 

4.      “Kempei Tai- A History of the Japanese Secret Service”; Richard Deacon; Beaufort Books, 1983. pp 42. 

5.      “Historical Interview”; Conducted June, 1982; Copyright © 1982/1998 Joseph K. Sheya 

6.      “Hapkido History”;  www.hapkido-info.net/html/history.html; Publ 2004 

7.      “Historical Interview”; Conducted June, 1982; Copyright © 1982/1998 Joseph K. Sheya 

8.       “Historical Interview”; Conducted June, 1982; Copyright © 1982/1998 Joseph K. Sheya 

9.      The True Origin of Hapkido: An Interview with Master Suh, Bok Sub; Michael Wollmerhauser; August 1994. 

10.  “Historical Interview”; Conducted June, 1982; Copyright © 1982/1998 Joseph K. Sheya 

brucew.sims@yahoo.com (Staff) Generations Mon, 25 Aug 2014 21:20:28 +0000