Han Bong-Soo(August 25, 1933 – January 8, 2007), also known asBong Soo Han,was a martial arts instructor, author, the founder of the International Hapkido Federation, and one of the foremost practitioners of hapkido through his participation in books, magazine articles, and popular films featuring this Korean martial art.He is often referred to as the "Father of Hapkido" in America.
Han studied and refined this Korean martial art for more than 50 years. He held the rank of 9thdanblack belt in hapkido. He was the founder of the International Hapkido Federation, and was its president until his death.
Yoon's teachings later led to the development of one of the Korean schools of kong soo do and greatly influencedtwo of the early schools who helped to form modern taekwondo, the chang moo kwan and the jido kwan . At the outbreak of the Korean War , all martial arts schools in Korea were closed.
Han began his training in Hapkido after going to see a demonstration put on by the founder, Yong Sul Choi. From then on, he committed himself to hapkido training under Choi.
Both had prior training in striking based martial arts, Choi in the Jidokwan taekwondo and Han in kwon bup and tae kyon. They became bodyguards to Korean Labour Party presidential candidate Jun Jin-Han. When Jun withdrew his candidacy they both decided to continue their training in hapkido.
In 1959, Han opened his own hapkido school in the Samgangji section of Seoul. Han became one of the teachers in the influential Korea Hapkido Association and taught people in both the Korean military and the Korean presidential guard.Eventually, he secured a position teaching martial arts to U.S. security personnel at the Osan American air force base where he taught for 6 years.
Han gained critical acclaim for staging and performing some of the most realistic martial arts fight sequences in a film. BeforeBilly Jack,movies contained at most brief references to martial arts, with fights portrayed by actors who had little training. WithBilly Jack,Han introduced authentic hapkido techniques to Western audiences.In its sequel,The Trial of Billy Jack ,he received a co-starring part where he spoke about and demonstrated the art, mentioning the art by name for the first time.
and in 1980, he appeared as the Karate Master to a group of boys in the action-comedy film,The Little Dragons .In a serious demonstration of pressure-point techniques, Han also arranged the fight scene in which Sean Connery uses one thumb to defeat a burly assailant in the 1988 movie, The Presidio .
Magazine Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Martial Arts History Museum Hall of Fame in 1999. He was also featured in the A&E documentary,The Martial Artsand the Wesley Snipes -producedMaster of the Martial Arts.
, that was published by Ohara Publications in 1974, which is now in its 23rd printing. He completed a series of ten instructional Hapkido DVDs which are in worldwide distribution.
Black Belt Magazinepresented the International Hapkido Federation with its 2006 Industry Award for Best Traditional School for its commitment to preserving the legacy of Hapkido. Han's legacy is kept alive by the continued efforts of several of his students: most notably Master Eric Friske, Robert Levitt and Rick Scott of Mushin Hapkido, Phillip R. Turner of Morning Calm Hapkido, Julia Khan of Do Shim Martial Arts , Jon Michael Davis of Zen Hapkido and Grand Master Steven Ruiz Bettencourt of Bettencourt's Taekwon-Do America .Also the continued contributions of Master Danny Cruz and Stephen Cord.
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