Hapkido is a traditional martial art that teaches striking techniques along with joint locks, throws, and ground grappling. Along with these approaches, Hapkido students also study Ki Kong (breathing exercises) to quiet the mind and improve long term health. Unlike other martial art styles, HKD generally has not adopted a sport-oriented approach. Instead, it concerns itself only with the well-being of the practitioner and, by extension, the well-being of that practitioner's environment.
Through exercise and practice, Hapkido trains the body to be strong and capable of defending itself. Through Ki Kong, sparring practice, and a positive school environment, it helps to cultivate a state of awareness that is more sensitive, yet calm. Two english translations of the name Hapkido are "the way of coordinated power" or "the way of harmonizing with life".
The history of Hapkido starts in two places. It starts in the Three Kingdom period in Korea as well as with a man named Choi Yong-Sool. In some respects, it shares many of the same roots as Taekwondo. In the Three Kingdom period, variations on the martial arts Subak and Taekkyon were studied by the militaries of the different Kingdoms. These different styles and approaches influenced one another as well as exchanged with the martial arts of other countries.
After the Three Kingdoms period, most martial arts practice began to subside as Korean culture turned to literature and other scholastic studies. Through very small pockets of people, these art forms survived through the Joseon period of cultural change as well as the Japanese occupation of Korea. During that occupation, Choi Yong-Sool was a Korean living in Japan. During his time there, he studied Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu (a forerunnner of modern Aikido). Upon returning to Korea, he began teaching this form of Japanese martial art mixed with native Korean martial arts. This is how modern Hapkido was created.