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According to Marc Tedeschi, in his mighty volume, Hapkido • Traditions • Philosophy • Technique, "The history of the martial arts is essentially an oral tradition. Very little was actually written down until recent times. When we examine a broad range of martial arts, it becomes quickly evident that much of their history is contradictory. It is not uncommon to find a particular martial art tracing its roots to the "dawn of time." Specific histories are often touted as fact when they may be little more than anecdotes, or a loose collection of unsubstantiated myths." This is especially true of Korean martial arts considering that the country is so closely flanked by China and Japan.

Tedeschi claims that the Korean peninsula was first inhabited by nomadic tribes from China, around 30,000 BC. He also says that the descendants of those nomadic people were almost certainly influenced by contact with the Chinese who established outposts in Korea from around 108 BC. Constant wars between the two countries later led to the founding of three Kingdoms in Korea: Koguryo, Silla, and Paekche, from 18 BC. The Three Kingdom Period lasted for nearly 700 years, before they were unified in AD 668. During the Three Kingdom Period it is said that there was much cross-cultural contact and exchange between Korea, China and Japan. It is highly likely, therefore, that the traditions, culture and martial arts practice in each country, also influenced one another to some extent.

Members may download a copy of our Korean Martial Arts syllabus in the downloads section of our website.

Ollie Batts in the Korean Martial Arts

CAMA Senior Instructor Ollie Batts first started training in the Korean martial arts in the early 1970's. He has trained in Taekwondo, Hapkido, Sulkido and Kuk Sool, and in November 1977 he was one of the first three people in Britain to be awarded black belt in Kuk Sool under the World Kuk Sool Association (WKSA). Ollie remained one of their top three WKSA UK-based instructors until he resigned from that organisation towards the end of 1989. Because of Ollie's long history of training in (and teaching of) the Korean martial arts, and also because the training has much to offer, Ollie and CAMA continue to offer Kuk Sool / Hapkido training as one of the core arts included in our Integrated Fighting Arts (IFA) syllabus.

Although our Kuk Sool / Hapkido syllabus may appear 'on paper' to be very similar to that found in other Traditional Korean Martial Art schools, the manner in which we teach is not as regimented as some. In addition, the way in which we apply individual techniques is also less stylised, and is more practical and functional for the modern world in which we live. Out of respect for his original Korean martial arts Master, M.Y. Kim, Ollie has named this core art system of Kuk Sool / Hapkido, 'Mok Yang Sool'.

The early years of Kuk Sool in GB

Senior Instructor, Ollie Batts, has written an article on the early years of Kuk Sool in this country. Ollie was one of the first people in the UK to gain a black belt in Kuk Sool following its introduction in 1973. His original instructor was Master Mok Yang KIM, who had arrived in Great Britain towards the end 1973, at the invitation of USAF military personnel, based in Suffolk. To read the full article, and see some historic photos, visit our Downloads section.