One of the most respected Korean Martial arts is Hapkido which is an art of self defense. While there's some controversy regarding the fighting systemís origin and founder, many of the world's high-ranking Hapkido masters originated from Korea and later these masters settled throughout the United States.
Two of the most influential masters from the early-mid 1900's that contributed to make Hapkido what it is today are: Grandmaster Choi, Yong Sul and Grandmaster Ji, Han Jae. Choi developed techniques that include 'snapping' punches and defensive techniques against sword-attacks with the Dan Bong (short stick). Sword attacks are considered quite common in Korean martial arts, as Kendo is prevalent in Korea.
In 1965, Grandmaster Ji founded the KHA (Korea Hapkido Association), which was renamed in 1980 to the Korea Hapkido Federation. Ji's Hapkido techniques were very influential. He starred in many Korean flims and even coached Bruce Lee.
On can understand the true meaning of Hapkido once the term has been translated into English. Hap means "together," referring to body and spirit, Ki defines life and energy and Do means "way of life." The art includes a wide array of weapon techniques, kicks, hits, pressure techniques, arm and leg joint locks, as well as throws and self defense stances.
A number of other Korean fighting systems have inspired Hapkido and these include jujusu and aikido which are soft martial arts as well as taekwondo which is a hard martial art. With all these combined, Hapkido has developed into a hard-soft art of self defense.
Hapkido is a very much alive martial art which teaches self defense techniques. This art is present in all parts of the world. Teachings and practices may vary slightly, but the unison of body, mind, and spirit are essential to unlocking the power of defense.