Seo Bok-seob

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Seo Bok-Seob
Nationality South Korea
TrainerChoi Yong-Sool
OccupationMartial artist
Notable studentsJi Han-Jae,
Kim Moo-Hong,
Moon Jong-Won
Notable school(s)Co-founder of Daehan Hapki YuKwonSool Dojang with Choi Yong-Sool (1951)
Last updated on: 2010-02-24
Seo Bok-seob
Revised RomanizationSeo Bok-Seop
McCune–ReischauerSuh Bok-Sub

Seo Bok-seob (also spelled Suh Bok-sup; Korean서복섭) was the first student to study under hapkido founder Choi Yong-sool, with whom he founded the art's first school, the Daehan Hapki Yu Kwon Sool dojang in Daegu, Korea. Moving to Seoul he later became a professor of East Asian medicine and worked for a time at Kyung Hee University.[5][6][7]


Coming from a wealthy and politically active family, he was given an excellent education and was a graduate of the prestigious Korea University. Seo also studied judo and gained his black belt in the art while still quite young. He gained positions of some authority early in life and by his early twenties was the chairman of a rice wine distillery.[8]

Seo's father was a congressman and both the founder, Choi Yong-sool, and other hapkido practitioners, such as Won Kwang-Wha (Korean원광화) were employed to work as bodyguards for the politician.[8]

Seo later went on to pursue a career in traditional oriental medicine.[8]


Choi Yong-Sool's first student and the first person known to have opened up a dojang as a chief instructor under grandmaster Choi.[5][8]

After watching Choi Yong-Sool successfully defend himself against a group of men when an argument erupted in the yard of the Seo Brewery Company, Seo, who was the chairman of the company, invited Choi to begin teaching martial arts to Seo and some of the workers at the distillery where Seo had prepared a makeshift dojang.[5][8]

In 1951, Seo eventually opened up the first proper dojang, which was called the "Daehan Hapki YuKwonSool Dojang (Korean대한 합기 유권술 도장)".[5][9]

Seo designed the first symbol used to denote the art consisting of two inverted arrowheads[9] featured in both the original and modern incarnation of the Korea KiDo Association, the World Kido Association.

Choi Yong-Sool was also employed during this time as a bodyguard to Seo's father who was a congressman.[9]

Seo claims that he and Choi agreed to shorten the name of the art from 'hapki yu kwon sool' to 'hapkido' in 1959.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "합기도 ①" Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine at Doosan EnCyber & (두산 백과사전) (in Korean)
  2. ^ "합기도 ②" Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine at Doosan EnCyber & (두산 백과사전) (in Korean)
  3. ^ "합기도 ③" Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine at Doosan EnCyber & (두산 백과사전) (in Korean)
  4. ^ "합기도 ④" Archived 2015-03-23 at the Wayback Machine at Doosan EnCyber & (두산 백과사전) (in Korean)
  5. ^ a b c d (in Korean) [박정진의 무맥] (24) 일본에서 다시 돌아온 화랑무예 합기도
  6. ^ (in Korean) 허인욱의 무인이야기 장보고와 정년 그리고 송징]
  7. ^ (in Korean) 아츠포토 이준기, '트로피 너무 무거운데요
  8. ^ a b c d e Hapkido (alternatively The Hapkido Bible). Andrew Jackson Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1991.
  9. ^ a b c d Hentz, Eric (editor), Taekwondo Times Vol. 16, No. 8. Article by Mike Wollmershauser The Beginning of Hapkido; An Interview with Hapkido Master Seo, Bok-Seob. Tri-Mount Publications, Iowa 1996.

Further reading[edit]

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