Hapkido history is rather confused, but Korean sources attribute it to two Koreans, Choi Yong Sul and Ji Han Jae. According to them, Choi was sent to Japan at a young age and worked as a houseboy for the Daito-ryu Aikijutsu master Takeda Sokaku (Morihei Ueshiba, a famous student of Takeda, went on to found Aikido). However, TakedaSokaku's son Tokimune never knew such a Korean disciple.
On his return to Korea, Choi began to teach martial arts. One of his students, Ji Han Jae, claims that he incorporated traditional Korean kicking and punching techniques (from taekyon and hwarangdo) and gave the resulting synthesis the name Hapkido in 1959. Hapkido is the Korean pronunciation of Aikido and Choi Yong Sul opposed the name under which Ueshiba's martial art existed in Japan.
Korean sources often claim that Hapkido was influenced by supposed Korean indigenous martial arts and some even deny the Aikijujutsu connection. Korean people tried to wipe out Japanese influence in Korea. Korean tendency to deny Japanese origins comes from History of Korea.
On the "hard-soft" scale of martial arts, Hapkido stands somewhere in the middle, employing "soft" techniques similar to Aikido and "hard" techniques reminiscent of Taekwondo. Even the "hard" techniques, though, emphasise circular rather than linear movements. Hapkido is an eclectic martial art, and different hapkido schools emphasise different techniques. However, some core techniques are found in each school (gwan ), and all techniques should follow the three principles of Hapkido:
* fluid motion
* circular motion
* harmony in motion.
These consist of throws and locks derived largely from Aikijutsu. They are similar to aikido techniques, but in general the circles are smaller. Most techniques work by a combination of unbalancing the attacker and applying pressure to specific places on the body, known as hyul.
Yudo (Judo in Japanese) techniques are throws applied at closer range than the core techniques. The techniques differ somewhat because of the smaller circles applied to combat, and because of the types of application that are practiced in Hapkido.
The wide variety of kicks in Hapkido differentiate it from Aikido and make it distinctly Korean. In general they are similar to Taekwondo kicks, though again circular motion is emphasised. Some varieties of Hapkido only use kicks to the lower body, but traditional Hapkido also includes high kicks and jumping kicks. The kicks in hapkido are more extensive than in most other Korean arts, including very specialized kicks for all occasions.
Like most martial arts, hapkido employs a large number of punches and other hand strikes. A distinctive example of Hapkido hand techniques is "live hand" strike,that focuses energy to the baek hwa hyul in the hand, producing energy strikes and internal strikes.