The Korean martial art Kuk Sool was compiled in the late 1950s by several Korean martial arts masters who had acquired many different skills and fragments of many different arts. The purpose of their coming together was for the preservation and accretion of these arts into a single national Korean martial art, which they called Kuk Sool Hwe.

It's worth noting that almost all of these contributors were students of the Hapkido a certain Choi Yong Sool had brought back to Korea from Japan. Hapkido is Choi's Korean name for what in Japan is known as Daito-ryu Yawara Aiki-jujitsu. For that reason, Kuk Sool's joint locking component consists of the martial art hapkido. In fact, though many of these masters started their own martial art systems, during the 1960s, they all called their martial art "hapkido" (ie: "Kuk Sool Won Hapkido" and "Hwarang Do and Hapkido"); however, Hapkido was the only martial art which they all shared.

These men were also steeped in native material, such as Chinese kung fu, which had been imported centuries earlier -- particularly praying mantis, crane, and tiger styles. Others were inheritors of the Gung Jung Mu Sool, or Royal Court martial art. Others had perfected palm striking arts and arts preserved from Korean Buddhist temples.

All Kuk Sool is comprised of three main arts:

  • Hapkido: A Jujutsu imported from Japan. Aiki (Hapki) and Judo (Yu Sool) movements are favored.
  • Kung Fu: Kuk Sool movements favor crane, praying mantis, and tiger styles.
  • Gung Jung Mu Sool: Korean Military and Royal Court techniques for weapons, as well as classic forms.

Kuk Sool also contains native Korean kicking styles, kigong energy development, and iron body practice.