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Japanese judo and kendo go to Korea




The connection between hapkido and aikido

Japanese Influence on
Korean Martial Arts

Back to Korean "Karate" 

We saw how the two best-known styles of Korean martial arts, taekwondo and tang soo do (called soo bahk do in Korea) were both derived from Japanese Shotokan karate-do. Due to the suppression of native Korean arts during the Japanese occupation from 1909 to 1945, many other Korean martial arts were either substantially influenced by, or directly derived from, Japanese martial arts.

The Korean arts of yudo and kumdo are perhaps the clearest examples of this.  Yudo is the Korean version of the Japanese sport and Olympic event of judo.  The name, yudo, is simply the Korean pronunciation of judo.  Similarly, Kumdo is the Korean version of the Japanese fencing sport of kendo. The Korean Yudo Association was formed in 1945, and the Korean Kumdo Association was founded in June, 1948. The Korean Yudo Association was formed for the purpose of promoting Kodokan Judo -- the system founded by Kano Jigoro that has been an Olympic event since 1964 -- in Korea. The Korean Kumdo Association was likewise formed to oversee competition in the Japanese art of kendo within the nation of Korea.

And hapkido began as a variation of Japanese aikido.  The Korean art of hapkido was founded by Choi Yong Shul, who was a contemporary of Ueshiba Morihei, the creator of aikido. According to his published biography, Choi studied Daito-Ryu Aiki-jujutsu during the Japanese occupation of Korea under Takeda Sokaku from 1919 until the end of World War II. Sometime after the war, he founded the art of hapkido -- the Korean pronunciation of aikido, which Ueshiba had founded a few years earlier. Hapkido later combined many of the strikes and kicks with the techniques of aiki-jujutsu, so that 21st century Hapkido no longer bears significant resemblance to its Japanese counterpart.

As is the case with Korean "Karate", the Japanese origins and influences on the Korean martial arts does not make them any less legitimate or effective.  Instead, it should serve to underscore the need to break down meaningless stylistic and nationalistic barriers in order to stimulate the exchange of ideas and techniques for the improvement of all martial arts.


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2003   Leonard J. Pellman

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