The following interview with Grandmaster Ji Han Jae was kindly provided David Middleton 4th Degree from Alstonville. It was conducted in 1996 and is a great read for any who wants to understand Hapkido’s roots from one of the originators of modern Hapkido.
Recently Grand master Ji Han Jae, 10th Dan and founder of Sin Moo hapkido was in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Hapkido Association. Grandmaster Ji conducted seminars in Sydney, the central coast, Byron Bay and Port Macquarie that were well attended by students of hapkido and tae kwon do.
Whilst on the Far North Coast we had the privilege to conduct an interview with Grandmaster Ji where we asked him about the early years of hapkido and the martial arts journey that resulted in his development of Sin Moo hapkido.
There are a number of different histories of hapkido from those early turbulent times with little documentation for historians the use. This is Grandmaster Ji’s story in his own words.
I began training under Yong Sul Choi in Taegu when I was a freshman of Taegu Technical High School. He called his art that he had learnt in Japan yawara (aikijujitsu). In 1956 I moved back to my home city of An Dong where I received training from old man Lee who was a Taoist dosanim (wise man). Among his teachings I received instruction in breathing and weapons. In 1957 I moved to the capital city Seoul and began teaching calling the style hapkido. At that time nobody knew what was hapkido, what was yawara, nobody knew.
I started teaching hapkido then everybody knew hapkido. In 1962, Korea had a coup detat. Before this time Korea and Japan had no import-export between them because they were enemies. Then the gates were opened and Japanese imports began to come into the country.
At that time I saw a Japanese aikido book and noticed that the chinese characters for hapkido and aikido were the same. so I took out the hap from hapkido and I formed the Kido association. Still until now they have the Kido association – Huh Il Wong (8th dan and professor at Myong Ji University) from Kuk Sool Won is associated with it. He is my student. When he was a brown belt he and Kim Byung Chun (8th dan and president of the Korean Hapkido Association) – they formed a school. Later proffessor Huh went to another school – that of In-hyuk Suh. At that time they had Kuk Sool Won hapkido , not Kuk Sool. Right now In-hyuk Suh is a grandmaster of Kuk Sool Won. He learnt yawara from Yong Sul Choi. He is one of my juniors – yawara side he is my junior. At the same time as learning yawara he learnt a style of chinese Kung fu..