Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A History of Hapkido

Hapkido history is difficult as it is mostly oral, but this website tries to make some sense of it. Below is an excerpt. The full post may be read here.

Hapkido is a martial art of Korean origin. Its name means literally "The way of coordination and internal power." Hapkido is a complete martial art in that it consists of: dynamic striking and kicking techniques, very similar to Tae Kwon Do, both hard and soft style deflection techniques, throws, takedowns, ground-fighting, and extensive joint locking techniques. Hapkido is the combination of two Korean Martial Arts - Yool Sool which comes from the Japanese art known as Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jutsu and Tae Kyon which is an ancient Korean Kicking Skill that was widespread during the time of the Three Kingdoms.

Daito-Ryu Aiki-Jutsu

Daito-Ryu can be traced all the way back to Senwa Tenno who is considered by many to be the very first in the Daito Ryu line. The techniques were basically the combat methods of the Minamoto clan that had been refined and perfected by General Yoshimitsu. The General is known to have studied the cadavers of criminals to understand human anatomy. The techniques of General Yoshimitsu were passed down and then combined with the Aizu techniques to become what is now known as Daito Ryu.

The origin of Daito-Ryu starts with Soemon Takeda (1758-1853). Soemon Takeda taught a system called aiki-in-ho-yo, "the aiki system of yin and yang," which he passed on to Tanomo Saigo. Saigo also had training in Misoguchi-Ryu swordsmanship and Koshu-ryu military science.

Tanomo participated in the Boshin war. Certain that Tanomo had been killed in a battle with the Imperial forces and determined to preserve the honor of the family name, his mother, wife, 5 daughters, and other members of his family committed ritual suicide. However, Tanomo's life had been spared. Tanomo then changed his name to Hoshina and served as a Shinto priest in various districts and later adopted Shiro Shida as his disciple-son. Shiro was extremely talented and mastered the Ryu's many techniques, later applying them with great success during the foundation of Jigoro Kano's Kodokan school of Judo. However, Shiro abandoned the practice of both systems, moved to Nagasakai and devoted himself to classical archery the rest of his life.

Tanomo had another heir to the Daito-Ryu, Sokaku Takeda (1860-1943), Soemon's grandson. Sokaku was no novice to the martial arts. At an early age he had obtained teaching licenses in Ono-ha Itto-Ryu swordsmanship and Hozion spear-fighting. Sokaku had also studied with the swordsman-saint Kenkichi Sakakibara of the Jikishin-kage-ryu.

Sokaku traveled widely, attracting a large number of students; he was reputed to have around thirty thousand students and nearly every budoka of note in that era was his student in one way or the other. One of these was his manservant Tatujutu Yoshida (Choi Yong Sool).
As mentioned above Choi Yong Sool studied Daito-Ryu Aiki Jutsu with Sokaku Takeda. Exactly how much training Choi received and in what manner is a mystery to this date. There are those that would have you believe that Choi became the adopted son of Takeda. However anyone understanding the Japanese of the time would know better. The Japanese considered themselves to be a divine race. The Koreans were beneath them. While it is possible that Choi became endeared to Takeda it is highly unlikely that he was adopted. Choi started life with Sokaku Takeda as his houseboy and later became his manservant. It is because of this position he was always on hand at training sessions. It is known that Sokaku Takeda sent Choi to defeat challengers. This was a very shrewd move on Takeda's part. If the challenger was defeated he was defeated by the manservant of Takeda and on top of that a Korean. Takeda usually overcame objections by his higher ranking students by saying the following "Who has been with me longer than my manservant Yoshida (Choi)?" After Sokaku Takeda died Choi left the service of the Takeda Clan and returned to Korea.

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