|Haidong Gumdo||Hapkido||Tae Kwon Do|
|Hwa Rang Do||Kuk Soll Won|
Korean Martial Arts have had a very rich tradition that is derived from its ancient past. Different types of martial arts were originated or modified in Korea. Nevertheless, all martial arts are different in nature. Korean swords and Korean knives are the popular choice of weapons in hand-to-hand combative sports.
The most common Korean Martial Arts are Taekwondo, and Hapkido. These two arts, which originated in Korea, are now widespread and practiced globally, despite the fact that they have gone through many changes.
Korean Martial Arts are highly influenced by Chinese and Japanese Martial Arts. Many critics suggest that the first practices of martial arts were introduced by the Japanese to Koreans. Whether this is true or not, it is safe to say that there are a lot of Japanese influences on the different Korean styles of martial arts.
Modern Korean Martial Arts started during the 20th century where several martial arts were systematically developed during this period of time. Kuk Sool Won is the most popular amongst these arts. In addition, other popular forms of Korean Martial Arts are Sin Moo Hapkido, Han Pul, Kong Soo Do, Yudo, Han Mu Do. Kung Sul, Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do, Hoshinsul, Kumdo, Haidong Gumdo, Tae Soo Do, Hwarang Do, Tae Kyon, Ship Pal Ki, Yu Sool etc.
It is important to note that Taekwondo (taekkyon) is the only martial art to receive the prestigious status of “Intangible Cultural Asset” from the Government of Korea. Some traditional martial arts like Subak and Yusul are now obsolete and do not occupy a place in modern Korean Martial Arts. Subak is similar to the Chinese Martial Art “Shoubo.” Yusul is considered to be the ancestor of the popular Japanese Martial Art “Jiujutsu”.
Students who wish to practice Korean art forms usually do so in a “Dojang” and these classes are instructed following a teacher’s command. All students are bare footed and wear the same uniforms. The rank of each practitioner is determined by using different colored belts. Tests are organized time to time to increase the rank of a practitioner and he is awarded a specific colored belt according to his level of achievement. But the color of the belt varies with training, school and the type of art being taught.
Some schools only offer black and white belts, whereas some have white, brown, black, rainbow, and so on. An instructor or “Dan” usually wears a black belt. However, a belt is not enough to judge the actual ability of a practitioner. The most important aspect is the depth of one’s study in the specific art. Once practitioners have proven that they can excel, there are no limits to the techniques that they can learn and possibly teach to others.
The martial arts of Korea are very popular and widespread. Many arts that have derived from Korea are taught all over the world, especially Taekwondo which is the most popular in Europe and the United States. Many people prefer these martial arts because they provide effective self-defense lessons along with strength training and training of the mind.