Yong Shul Choi
Yong Shul Choi was born in Taegue, Korea in 1904. In 1909, when Korea came under Japanese occupation, Japanese troops took young Choi to Japan to work. During this time, it was common for the Japanese occupying forces to take young male Korean children to Japan for various types of labor. For work, Choi was assigned to Sokaku Takeda (1860-1943), the 32nd patriarch of the "saito-ryu aikijitsu" style of martial arts. The fighting techniques that make up daito-ryu aikijitsu are: joint locks, throws, body trapping, chokes, grappling holds, and to a lesser degree, kneeing, punching, and kicking techniques. Takeda was forty-four years old at the time and Choi was a seven-year old boy. As a houseboy and later a manservant to Takeda, Choi learned daito-ryu aikijitsu.
Choi remained in the employ of Takeda for thirty years, until April 25, 1943, when Takeda died. At that point, Choi returned to Taegue, Korea. After Korea's liberation, Choi set about founding his own martial art.
Initially, Choi taught his students a very pure form of daito-ryu aikijitsu, but, as time progressed, he was influenced by other Korean martial art pioneers, such as General Hong Hi Choi and Hwang Kee, who were expanding upon the offensive nature of taekkyon. Their discoveries influenced Choi, who slowly began to incorporate their punching and kicking techniques into daito-ryu aikijitsu. Like the other martial arts, his new style developed slowly and went through numerous name changes. It was not until 1963 that the name and the system of "hapkido" (the way of joining power) were finally formalized. Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of aikido, studied daito-ryu aikijitsu with Takeda during the period Choi was in Takeda's service. For this reason, some draw a comparison between hapkido and aikido. Although they are similar, they each have distinct martial art philosophies.