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Myung Jae-nam

myung jae-nam kuksanim
Myung Jae-nam

Myung Jae-nam (1938 – 1999) is the founder of hankido and hankumdo. In 1986 he accepted the title of ‘kuksanim’, which means ‘national teacher’, given to him by his senior students.


Myung Jae-nam started his martial arts career as a teenager. His teachers are his grandfather, Myung Jung-min, who teaches him wrestling and stick fighting, and Bang Gi-hwa who teaches self defence. In 1957 Myung Jae-nam moves from Jeollanam-do to Seoul and joins the hapkido movement. After two years he moves back home and start his own gym at the local fire station.

Incheon and the start of the IHF

In 1962 Myung Jae-nam moves to Incheon, a city west of Seoul. In Incheon he opens a gym which he calls Chongdokwam, school of the righteous path. Because of his dedication in both teaching and practice his star grows in the Korean hapkido movement. In 1973 he is one of the co-founders of Korean Hapkido Association (KHA). The aim of this organisation was to unite the divided hapkido community.
kuksanim myung jae-namWhile still active as a board member of the KHA Myung Jae-nam unites all the schools under his control in the International Hapkido Federation.
1983 proves to be a turning point in the history of the IHF. Due to political turbulence in the country all martial arts schools have to close their doors. Myung Jae-nam decides not to cooperate with the dictatorial regime and goes into hiding. When the regime is overthrown Myung Jae-nam decided it is time to keep matters into his own hands and continues under the umbrella of the IHF. The headquarters of the IHF move to Seoul.
At the main school in Incheon several instructors are appointed to teach classes. Master Ko Baek-yong is one of those instructors.

Founder of hankido

kuksanim netherlandsIn the 1960’s, he is already an established hapkido instructor, Myung Jae-nam meets with a Japanese-American martial arts teacher, Hirata sensei. Myung Jae-nam doesn’t speak Japanese but with the help of master Ko Baek-yong they start to exchange ideas and techniques. This eventually leads to a point where Myung Jae-nam for some time is the official representative of the Japanese Aikikai in Korea.

After 1983 however Myung Jae-nam decides it is time to combine all the knowledge he has gathered over the years and form a new martial art. This new martial art is made public in 1986 under the name hankido.


In the years that follow Myung Jae-nam works hard to promote hankido and travels around the world. In 1993 he moves the headquarters of the IHF from Seoul to the Gyeonggi-do countryside. Here a large gym is build to accommodate both national and international seminars.
first HKD games 1990The IHF starts to organise an international under the name of Hapkido Games. In 1990 these games take place for the first time in Seoul. Followed by games in Incheon in 1994 and at the IHF headquarters in 1997.
Master Ko Baek-yong is appointed as technical leader of the IHF. It is he who started the monthly training sessions at the IHF headquarters. Masters and students from all over Korea come to these training sessions to learn hankido. It is a time of growth for the IHF.


In 1996 Myung Jae-nam separates the ‘hankumdobeop’-skills from hankido to form a new martial art; hankumdo. Unique about hankumdo is that it uses the Korean alphabet, hangul, to teach students the basic cutting and blocking techniques.

Passing and further development

Ko Baek-yong at the grave of Myung Jae-namIn 1999 Myung Jae-nam dies of stomach cancer. At this time master Ko Baek-yong was the technical director of the IHF. He resigns from this position in 2001 and starts the Sangmukwan International HKD Training Center.