Grandmaster In Sun Seo has been involved in martial arts since the 1950’s and is currently one of the most respected martial artists in the world and a true pioneer representing the first generation of Korean martial arts. From an early age, Grandmaster Seo was drawn to martial arts and loved to train and put himself through rigorous practice.
In his late teens, Grandmaster Seo met Grandmaster Choi Yong Sool (widely recognized as the founder of Hapkido) and earned his 1st Dan from him in 1958. He went on to earn his 3rd Dan in Hapkido before focusing on the development and growth of Kuk Sool in the early 1960’s with his brother Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh.
In 1961, Grandmaster Seo opened his first school which was called the Korea Kuk Sool Won Hapkido Dojang. During that era, other prominent first generation Korean martial artists also opened schools around South Korea. They include Grandmaster Ji Han Jae who first opened Sung Moo Kwan Hapkido in Andong and Master Kim Moo Hong, an instructor under GM Ji, who opened a Sin Moo Kwan Hapkido Dojang. Shortly thereafter, Grandmaster Seo served time in the Korean Army until his tour of duty was complete in 1965. During his time in the Korean Army, he was chosen to go to Vietnam with the first Korean deployment.
Upon returning from Vietnam in 1965, Grandmaster Seo had many potential paths he considered following. He had passed the entrance exam for a commerce bank, received approval for governmental jobs, and was recommended for the Korean Intelligence Agency. In the end however, he pledged to dedicate his life to Korean Martial arts. From that day forward, he committed himself to becoming a Grandmaster and to grow the Korean Martial Arts as much as possible.
Through the 1960’s, Grandmaster Seo opened many schools in Korea and become the Chief Master of Kuk Sool in 1969. Through his dedication to the Korean Martial Arts, he also became an official representative of the Korea Kido Association. This initial contact with this Association would grow into much more in the coming years.
In addition to spreading and growing the Korean Marital Arts, Grandmaster Seo also put himself through a rigorous training regime that pushed him every day. His daily training included striking, kicking and self defense techniques for 6 hours and forms for 4 hours. For self defense techniques training, Grandmaster Seo practiced with the students and used that time to hone his skills in realistic fighting situations.
One example of the extreme nature of his training included his efforts to perfect his favorite kick, the spin kick. Back in the 60’s, he would practice 3000 spin kicks a day in order to perfect the kick to be used in actual fighting situations. His philosophy was to ensure that any technique he practiced was applicable in real life situations and only way to do that was to patiently practice. The benefits of this type of training can still be seen today as Grandmaster Seo will demonstrate his spin kick (at age 67) in seminars today.
He believes that the rigorous training he put himself through in his youth is still benefiting him today. Through the 1970’s, Grandmaster Seo’s focus on training and growing the Korean Martial Arts would become even more apparent. He was appointed as the official Martial Arts instructor for the Pusan Central Police Force in 1971. Starting 1974, he would appear on Korean local and national television broadcasts where he would demonstrate various martial arts techniques and skills. Grandmaster Seo is also noted to be the first documented Korean Martial Artists to demonstrate with a “live” blade (Jin Gum) on Korean television. In 1977, Grandmaster Seo was selected as the Martial Arts Director and participant for Government funded Documentary on Korean Martial Arts called “Ho Kuk Moo Yea”(Fifty of GM’s students also appeared on the documentary).
This documentary was a Korean Government sponsored film that was distributed across the world to showcase Korean Martial Arts. In 1978, Grandmaster Seo was selected to head a Martial Arts Team to represent Korea at the 75th Anniversary of Korean Immigration to Hawaii. Finally, in 1978, Grandmaster In Sun Seo published the first official Korean Kuk Sool Won textbook.
Grandmaster Seo’s tireless efforts culminated in his election to President of the Korea Kido Association in 1983. Grandmaster Seo was the first martial artist to hold this position and he quickly demonstrated the vision and dedication in growing this organization to prominence. Under Grandmaster Seo’s leadership, the Korea Kido Association grew to over 1000 schools at its peak. In addition, the Korea Kido Association would conduct two large scale tournament/master’s demonstration every year, host multiple seminars, national testing’s and instructor trainings and the organization would take its place as one of the most prominent in Korea.
In 1986, Grandmaster Seo recognized the growth in Korean Martial Artists worldwide and established Korean Kido presence in the United States. He would then establish the World Kido Federation in 1990 as the official governing body of Korean Martial Artists around the world. From 1983 through 2002, Grandmaster Seo would continue to lead the Korea Kido Association. With the turn of the century and the continuing growth of Korean Martial Arts, Grandmaster Seo’s vision for Korean Martial Arts soon outgrew that of the Korea Kido Association and he parted ways with the organization.
In 2002, Grandmaster Seo established the Hanminjok Hapkido Association. This organization’s focus was on the increased growth of Korean Martial Arts not only in Korea but also around the world. To that end, the Hanminjok Hapkido Association enjoys a tight integration with the World Kido Federation and Grandmaster Seo’s commitment is to support not only the needs of Korean Martial Art practioners in Korea, but those across the globe. The Hanminjok Hapkido Association and the World Kido Federation host numerous seminars in Korea, the US and around the world every year. In addition, a Korea Trip and international tournament / demonstration are hosted by Grandmaster Seo.
Grandmaster Seo’s organization is also developing international youth exchange programs, intensive training trips to Korea, martial arts youth scholarship programs and martial arts cultural expositions in the near future. Even after all these years in the martial arts, one thing that everyone notices upon meeting Grandmaster Seo is his love for martial arts and his love for training. To this day at age 67, Grandmaster Seo trains 2 hours every day. He currently continues to teach seminars and personally executes all techniques to demonstrate proper application. After all this time, his original love for martial arts is still what drives him every day.
- 1958 Receives 1st Dan in Hapkido(From Teacher Choi Yong Sul)
- 1961 3rd Dan in Hapkido 1965 Korea Kuk Sool Won Instructor
- 1966 Korea Kuk Sool Won’s Pusan Area Master
- 1967 Korea KIDO Association Representative
- 1968 First in Korea to demonstrate with “Jin Gum”(“real” or “actual” sword)
- 1969 Korea Kuk Sool Won Chief master
- 1970 Appointed Pusan Central Police Force’s Martial Arts Instructor (First in Korea to be appointed such)
- 1974 First Martial Artist to appear and demonstrate on Korean TV show “Moe Ki Da Hang Jin”(Talent Show)
- 1974-Present Hosted two Martial Arts Championship-Exhibitions each year. GM has held the most martial arts events in Korea.
- 1975 First Martial Artist on KBS TV “Bi Mir Ea Moon”(Secret Door)
- 1976 First Martial Artist on TBC TV “Game Show”
- 1977 Selected as the Martial Arts Director/Participant for Government funded Documentary on Korean Martial Arts “Ho Kuk Moo Yea”(Fifty of GM’s students also appeared on the documentary).
- 1978 Selected to head a Martial Arts Team to represent Korea at the 75th Anniversary of Korean Immigration to Hawaii. First ever to be appointed martial arts team leader in an official government sponsored trip.
- 1978 Appointed as Martial Arts Instructor for CIC (Korea’s equivalent of CIA)
- 1978 Published the official textbook for Korea Kuk Sool Won
- 1980 Seminar tour in Mexico
- 1983 Elected President of Korea KIDO Association (first martial artist to serve as president) and has been serving for the longest duration in history.
- 1983 Published the 2nd Edition of Kuk Sool Textbook
- 1984-2001 Korea President’s Secret Service Agency’s Testing Committee Head
- 1986 Published the 3rd Edition of Kuk Sool Textbook
- 1986 Established WORLD KIDO HQ in USA 1989 Published the 4th Edition of Kuk Sool Textbook
- 1990 World KIDO Federation established in Fremont, CA 1991 Invitation to the White House and presentation of honorary Dan to President Bush
- 1992 Published the 5th Edition of Kuk Sool Textbook
- 1992 Europe seminar tour in England, Netherlands
- 1995 Seminar tour and exhibition in Germany
- 1996 Published the 6th Edition of Kuk Sool Textbook
- 1998 Published the 1st Edition of KIDO Textbook/Album
- 1983-2002 President Chairman of Korea Kido Association
- 2001 Seminar tour and exhibition in France and Spain
- 1980-Present GM has given over 200 martial arts seminars throughout the world and has received numerous commendations and awards from different cities, legislature, and assemblymen he has visited all oer the world.
- 2003- Founded Han Min Jok Hapkido Association receives Korean government recognition for the new organization.
- 2006- For the martial arts newspaper, ‘Mooyesinmun’ wrote a 10 month series on the ‘Inception and Development of Modern Hapkido’ As of present time, Grandmaster In Sun Seo has certified 270,000 Black Belts and he serves as President/Chairman of World KIDO Federation, Han Min Jok Hapkido Association and Korea Kuk Sool Association. Currently, there are 450 registered dojangs in Korea and 450 dojangs worldwide. Grandmaster Seo continues to travel the world to teach and share his martial arts knowledge and skills.