Hapkido evolved during the mid-20th century by selectively fusing a wide range of existing martial arts with new ideas and techniques. Tracing the evolution of Hapkido reveals the art’s relationship with other martial arts such as Aikido, Judo, Jujutsu, Taekwondo and other diverse styles such as Kuk Sool Won and Hwa Rang Do.
The birth of modern Hapkido can be traced to the efforts of a group of Korean nationals in the post Japanese colonial period of Korea. Choi Yong Sul (b. 1904, d. 1986) and his most prominant students; Suh Bok Sub, the first student of the art, Ji Han Jae (b. 1936) undoubtedly the greatest promoter of the art, Kim Moo Hong, a major innovator in the art, Myung Jae Nam who forged a greater connection between the art and Japanese aikido and then founded Hankido, and others, all of whom were direct students of Choi or of his immediate students.
Hapkido is still widely taught in Korea, together with the other traditional Korean martial arts and is widely used by the Korean Special Forces, the Police Force and Presidential Guards.