Physically Strong Knowledgeabley Weak

July 23, 2012

I remember a discussion I had a while back with a Grand master who had returned from a Hapkido seminar that he was invited to teach.  After the two day seminar was over one of the more physically fit and higher ranked men in this group of attendees confided to the Grand Master that although he had been in the martial arts for thirty years he had never even seen half of the techniques that were taught, even though many of the techniques shown were fairly basic for lower dan ranks in Korea.

Hapkido teacher in Ocoee, Florida

Grand Master Richard Hackworth, teaches the total mind, body and spirit training that is a tradition in Korea

Unfortunately there are many in the martial arts industry who confuse gymnastics and exercise with martial arts. I am not saying that physical fitness is not important, I am saying it should not be confused with the primary mission of martial arts instruction which is self-defense training. Proper training methods help to develop your total mind, body and spirit. This particular seminar attendee obviously had trained for years while learning from a substandard instructor who camouflaged his lack of knowledge by filling the class time with exercises and repetitive drills. Those who studied with him mistook rank advancement with increasing physical fitness and speed or improvement in the limited number of techniques learned. Being able to perform a certain number of pushups was part of his black belt exam.  I equate this with the man who studies for years to be the fastest draw in town without knowing you also have to put bullets in the gun, aim and fire. He may look good, be in great shape and draw first, but when he finally goes up against a real gunslinger he will learn a very nasty lesson. A teacher who would fail to seek out the advanced knowledge that he lacks while telling his students that rank requirement stuff is just “politics” is morally and ethically weak.

I recently read with great delight about Keiko Fukuda the highest-ranked female judo practitioner in history, holding the rank of 9th dan from the Kodokan and the United States Judo Federation (USJF), and 10th dan from USA Judo, and is the last surviving student of Kanō Jigorō, founder of judo. She was born in at the turn of the last century and the last video clip I saw of her when was seated in a chair with a cane teaching students at the Kodokan.  Should we criticize her skills or rank because she is in her nineties and frail and not “physically fit like Heidi Klum?”

My point is that martial art rank requires not only physical skills but experience and knowledge as well.  While we certainly need exercises in order to limber up and to prevent injuries, and while the more fit individual has the better chance in a physical encounter, it is not the sole factor to consider in rank advancement.  In fact in the final Grand Master ranks promotion is based on education, knowledge, theory and students success rather than on a physical demonstration of fitness.  My understanding is that Chuck Norris has had a hip transplant. Should we criticize his martial arts skills because he uses his son to double for his high spin kicks? Steven Segal is a little larger around the waist than he was twenty years ago.  Does anyone seriously doubt his rank because he is not as fit as he once was?

While there are many tremendously fit football players in college sports, I personally would rather study with Don Shula or Dan Marino even though they may not run as fast or throw as far any more.  If it is teaching I need I want the most knowledgeable instructor. Someone who has “been there done that” so to speak.

I am always impressed with men like Jack Lalaine and Buster Crabbe who could model clothes and swim the English channel in their eighties but truthfully they have always been the exception to the rule. As someone pointed out to me once, you can train a monkey to flip and kick but they can’t earn martial arts rank.  Of course they can’t because there is so much more than jumping and doing cartwheels and the true masters know that.  We all strive to be as fit as we can be but life and genetics take their toll.

Recently I read with horror and dismay about a sport Karate master who was sexually abusing students. Should he be praised for his fitness?  Certainly not.  The martial arts, especially arts like Hapkido, are also about respect, humility and self-discipline.  My point is that while physical fitness is an important aspect to training it should not be confused with the end all do all of the martial arts.  Again I ask you would you rather study say Kung fu with a twenty year old local tournament winner who is in perfect shape or with Jackie Chan.  I know my answer but then again I am over 50 and not quite as easily impressed as I once was.

I’m sure that the master mentioned at the beginning of this article did not understand why I was not so impressed with his large biceps but lacked fundamental knowledge of Hapkido principles. He was proud of his physical strength and the hard work that it took to develop it. But he failed to realize that he had ignored the development of wisdom and virtue. It made him physically fit but morally weak and that is not the way of the Warrior.

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Why Adults Over Fifty Should Learn Hapkido

December 11, 2011

5 Reasons Adults Over 50 Should Learn Hapkido Self Defense

Dr. Ronald W. Stone
American Dragon Martial Arts Academies
Winter Garden, Florida

Dr. Ron Stone

Hapkido Master Ronald Stone

This month I celebrate my 57th birthday and my 39th year in the martial arts. I assume this qualifies me to discuss the benefits of Hapkido adult self defense for adults my age.  Like many of my generation I am constantly amazed at the difference between the things my mind and heart are willing to do and the sad ability of my body to perform them.  With the passing of time I become more and more convinced of the old adage that a man is merely a boy grown into a bigger body.  The fellow who said “the mind is willing but the body’s unable” wasn’t kidding.

After I turned 45 years of age I began to notice aches and pains that I had never experienced before.  I can still remember the first time I jumped down off a ladder and felt a strange sensation through my knees.  When I was a youngster I didn’t even think about having knees.  They were merely areas where my leg bent.  Now with the passing of time they are a constant source of discomfort and a reminder the truth behind the aging process. Like many “baby boomers” I lived high and ate well.  Perhaps too well.  By 1996 I had been diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes.  I was never sick a day in my life until then and now not a day passes that I don’t have some physical malady.  Fortunately with modern medicine my diabetes improved and is relatively under control.  Truthfully though, the single most important recommendation ever given me regarding control of my disease was to reenter the martial arts and to get back into shape.  Although I started my studies in 1970 I had stopped training for a few years during which time I gained 95 pounds and grew apathetic.

Apparently I was not alone.  Any statistical analysis of those in the population of men over 50 years of age will surely include a dramatic increase in obesity, heart disease and arthritis.  Not all of this can be attributed merely to junk  food.  With modern transportation and an increasing dependence on television and the internet for entertainment, physical activity has decreased to an alarming degree.


womens self defense winter garden

Hapkido Arm Bar Self Defense

Returning to the study of Hapkido adult self defense has to no small degree been part of my salvation, and I am not referring simply to the benefits of exercise or to the control of Diabetes.
To understand all the benefits of Hapkido study for those over fifty years of age it is perhaps wise to review some of the needs of those in this age bracket.  Oten with age comes decreased physical fitness leading to:
1.  Cardiovascular weakness
2.  Obesity
3.  Decreased flexibility and ultimately arthritic changes
4.  Increased stress and loss of mental acuity
5.  Victimology. In other words the impression exists that the older you appear and the more out of shape you are the more likely you will be target for attack by felons.

Financial and work-related responsibilities unique to those in this age bracket often interfere with family life and social interaction.  Very few men over fifty don’t wish that they had more time to spend with their children or in the case of  the typical working housewife could spend more time with husband and friends outside the house.

Hapkido is more than merely a set of self defense techniques.  It is a complete martial art grounded in time tested and proven methods for improving both mental, spiritual and physical fitness.

Dan Jun breathing and meditation usually proceed the typical Hapkido self defense class.  The benefits of such mental and breathing exercises are legendary.  Stress is reduced, blood pressure is lowered and concentration is enhanced.  The body is hyper oxygenated leading to pain control, improved circulation, and a sense of well being.  Abdominal and spinal muscle tone is improved, leading to an improvement in posture.   This in turn creates a sense of self worth and better confidence, so often lacking in the elderly.

Hapkido training will by its very nature improve the cardiovascular status of any of its practitioners.  Hapkido offers both aerobic, isometric and isotonic exercises.
Arterial sclerosis, hypertension, excessive cholesterol in the blood, and weakening of the cardiac musculature are conditions that will all be improved by the exercises that are practiced in Hapkido training.  With proper training there will be a lowering of blood pressure, an increase in cardiac output and improved oxygen interchange, and a conversion of fat tissue to muscle, all benefits for those over 50.

Proper stance and good posture are basic components of Hapkido.  This means that in order to correctly perform Hapkido techniques the lower legs, knees and spine must improve. Obviously the stronger one’s support structure becomes, the stronger the tendon’s and ligaments that support the joints are, the less the effects of arthritis or degenerative joint disease will be noticed.

With increased Hapkido adult self defense training, posture and lung capacity, the body’s flexibility will be improved.   When the  stretching exercises that are practiced at the beginning and end of class are coupled with the basic movements associated with Hapkido throws, strikes and kicks the muscular skeletal system will be strengthened.  It has been repeatedly demonstrated that such exercises will slow the natural process of osteoporosis or the deterioration of skeletal bone that often occurs with the aging process.

It goes without saying that almost exercise regime will benefit those who are overweight.  Such regimes must however be balanced and appropriate.  (i.e. a beginner to weight training should not try to lift too much too quick or do so from a weak stance or injuries will result).  The exercises, stances and technique movements in Hapkido training are all based on tried and true methodologies, such as the water principle.  Students are encouraged to learn at a brisk pace, but are not forced to overdo, to stress themselves unnaturally, or to attempt techniques before learning and understanding the fundamentals. Weight loss will occur as it should, in a healthy and gradual manner.

As body weight returns to normalcy, as lung capacity and tissue oxygenation improve and as pain and stiffness decrease the mind will improve.  From a scientific standpoint view, beneficial hormones called endorphins are released with exercise.  From a spiritual point of view Hapkido practitioners will learn to harness Ki energy in a positive manner.  Meditation will improve well being and the mind will be better able to focus.  Eventually self confidence and well being will result.

Anyone who is working for a living will admit the irony  that adults eventually work to provide for our families but at the very same time that work often keeps us apart from the ones we love.  My daughter and I have been practicing the martial arts for many years and it has brought us that much closer.  Often those in the family who don’t themselves practice the art will share in the successes of those who do.  This feeling of closeness seems to become more and more important and the years progress.

The exists a certain camaraderie among Hapkido practitioners, a willingness to help each other learn and a closeness and pride that creates a bond among classmates.  They share each others triumphs as well as setbacks.  This is especially true of the bond between instructor and student.   Often the friendships that develop during martial arts training will last a lifetime.

Finally one of the sad facts of life is that while the world is filled with wonderful, kind and caring individuals, it is also home to evil doers  One pronounced characteristic of felons is that for the most part they lack the courage to attack people who are their physical equals.  The older one is the more prone he or she is to be the victim of attack by those seeking an easy victory.  Hapkido effectively teaches those of all ages to protect themselves.  Since it is based on the water principle and combines both hard and soft techniques it is ideal for those over 50 regardless of their physical status.  The concept of redirecting the attackers force and applying ki energy instead of brute strength is very attractive to those whose physical abilities have diminished with age.  Even those forced to walk with support will be delighted to master the art of the Hakido cane, which offers some of the most effective self defense techniques in the martial arts world.

Just as it is for the young, Hapkido Adult Self Defense class is a logical and advantageous choice for those who are approaching their golden years.

Real World Street Self Defense for Adults

October 8, 2011

Three Hapkido techniques that make effective streetwise self defense

At the Korea Hapkido Federation Haemukwan schools we teach real world street self defense skills through the martial art of Hapkido.

1. Off-Balancing for self defense:
One of the first concepts a student learns in Hapkido self defense class that is effective on the streets is Off-Balancing. Its one thing to be off-balance and fall in the Dojang on safety mats, but quite another on the hard streets. If an attacker is manipulated losing control over his own body then he is much less likely to succeed in his attack. When we are off balance our mind can only concentrate on regaining this balance. So as Hapkido practioners we strive to set our
techniques up by first creating an off-balancing situation that results in an over-reaction from our opponent. This will feed into finishing the fight with kicks, strikes, joint manipulations/breaks and throws.

2. Transitional Flow for self defense:
When you train in a Hapkido self defense class you will learn that REAL fights are unpredictable. A victim might get punched, kicked, tackled, from the front, from behind, etc. So the ability to switch techniques on the fly are vital in surviving an attack. If an attempt at one wrist lock fails, switch to another without breaking a sweat.

That is where the value in Hapkido lies, obtaining the ability maintain control loosely leading the opponent into an ever worsening position. This ability is much like a chess master biding his time for check mate.

3. Seize/Control/Pain Compliance for self defense:
When you study at a licensed Korean Hapkido Federation self defense school you learn that by following the procedures of seizing an opponent, controlling and then providing pain compliance, victory can be achieved. It goes back to the theory that once contact is made by an enemy you must turn the tables on them, not letting go until the fight is ended. Once you’ve gained control over an opponent then it becomes a matter of applying pain through
kicks, strikes, throws, joint breaks, pressure point and vital point compliance total defeat of an attacker.

Please leave your comments below and share your Hapkido self defense tips. Thank you.

Learn Hapkido Self Defense from an official school

July 28, 2011
hapkido self defense winter garden clermont

Hapkido Self Defense

Here is an article that best explains the Korean Self Defense Art of Hapkido.

HapKiDo: The Korean Art of Self Defense Hapkido is known in Korea as military art of self-defense. The Korean Hapkido Federation style of Hapkido is the military art taught to and practiced by, the Korean police and the elite Korean military units.

While this art is at its essence an unarmed art, there are some notable exceptions in Hapkido. Hapkido as it is taught by the Korean Hapkido Federation schools includes the use of improvised weapons. Hapkido cane techniques, for example, are known for their efficiency.

An apparently infirm, elderly, or disabled individual trained in Hapkido cane techniques may very well provide a would-be assailant with a very hard lesson.

During the brutal Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula, 1905-1945, the Japanese attempted to destroy Korean culture, history, arts, and even the Korean language. Practice of the traditional Korean military arts was strictly prohibited and, if caught, the punishment was potentially fatal.

When the Japanese Empire was finally crushed in 1945, a new Korea began to emerge from the ashes. Hapkido began in post-war Korea with Daito-ryu Akijujutsu by means of a returning ethnic Korean who had spent the war years in Japan. While this may have been Hapkido’s origin, in the six decades that followed Hapkido has evolved into a strictly Korean military art.

Kano Jigoro, the Founder of Kodokan Judo, a martial art that started life known as Kano-ryu Jujutsu, expressed the opinion that Daito-ryu Akijujutsu was the highest form of jujutsu.

Not a bad position from which to begin the conversion to an even more effective military art.

Hapkido is not a military art that many foreigners choose to study and practice. It is literally a subject of lifelong of study. Indeed, it is a way of life. Nor is Hapkido simply a course in fighting techniques. It is a holistic study in the
development of a traditionally educated Asian warrior. The course of study for a Hapkido practitioner is both wide and deep. For those who choose to train at an official Korean Hapkido Federation School it is a education in not just martial arts, but history and culture as well.

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Hapkido – A Unique Martial Art For Developing Wisdom

June 22, 2011
Rizwan Mustafa Zubairi

Prof. Dr. Rizwan Mustafa Zubairi

HAPKIDO- A Unique Martial Arts for Developing Wisdom.

In the nations culture they have some-thing to contribute into martial arts and have an understanding that what technique they are going to teach and of what benefit the practioners will get it. The most popular martial arts for self-defense in modern times is given to the world by Korean culture and we all now call it HAPKIDO.

Hapkido is a pure traditional martial arts used for self defense in south Korea. The art is previously practiced mainly by buddhist temples ,royal court ,sun and presidential body guards of Korean. Today in the millennium years, the South Korean Hapkido martial art has been flourished all over the world and practiced by many nations. Few nations have made high superiority in Hapkido techniques with its birthplace practioners. Hapkido is mainly focused on self-development skills and motivate personal confidence and strength in human personal life, which ultimately makes a person successful in every corner of life.

The technical areas focused in Hapkido teaching from white belt to black belt is composed on basic exercise , special breathing techniques ,Self-defense, kicking, board breaking and sparring. In self-defense techniques, joint locks, pressure points, ground fighting techniques, blocking. It’s curriculum also includes selected weapons. There are many Non-Korean masters in the world who develops unique methods or styles in Hapkido and get recognition from leading Hapkido world wide organization according to the needs of their nation and members.

The Hapkido unique techniques are composed of soft and hard. The soft techniques e.g. are throwing, chocking, paralyzing, and twisting, while hard techniques e.g. punching, kicking. The Hapkido practioners not only redirects the attacks but turn it back against the attackers and follow through with offensive techniques if require. Hapkido students can learn the concepts that are based on scientific principals of anatomy and biokinetics, as well as psychology and strategy. The great emphasis is on redirecting the assailant’s force and controlling the attackers with minimum efforts on the student’s part. The ideal Hapkido practioners could be any one-e.g. men, Women, Business man, Law enforcement agencies, Police, military , busy professionals as well as students of schools, college and universities.

Studies have shown that Hapkido system is also ideal for senior citizens as well. Hapkido is strongly oriented to practical self-defense rather than the competitive or sports oriented approach. The modern approach in training of Hapkido provides any of its practioners to deal in real fighting situation in the streets, parking lots, stores etc.

As a Hapkido master instructor in today’s modern world I suggest every one to go into Hapkido training and develop his mind, body and soul to live longer, happier, healthy and wisely. So in true sense one who has been master in Hapkido techniques by the passage of time in years can be considered a wise man than a normal human being. A wide range of martial arts people around the globe including Hapkido practioners are of the opinion that the new concepts in martial arts are turned into sports and many martial arts are become Olympic sports like Judo and Taekwondo, and many others are in process of getting recognition with Olympics like, Wushu, Karate, Thai kick Boxing, Pencak Silat, Ju-Jitsu etc, and some gets recognition at some stages.

Hapkido also need a strong unification at organizational level and to make Hapkido under one umbrella, which is a very big task, for its leaders to full-fill. Its time now for Hapkido leaders to think over what and where they want to take Hapkido to make it most popular martial arts in the world with all its modern and traditional ways.

About the author:  Prof Dr Rizwan Mustafa Zubairi is a highly respected International Master Instructor-5 th Dan. He is also President & Founder Pakistan Hapkido Federation, the official Hapkido branch of the Korean Martial Arts Instructors Association in the country of Pakistan and a master of Haemukwan Hapkido.  Professor Zubairi can be reached by e-mail at . Be sure to read his articles in World Martial Arts Magazine.

New Hapkido School in Clermont, Florida

August 17, 2010

American Dragon Martial Arts Academies is EXPANDING! We have become so popular in Lake Country that we are adding a second location to better serve the community.

We now have a second Hapkido and Taekwondo location serving the West Clermont, Groveland and Mascotte area.

The location is at 1158 Fifth St. Clermont, FL 34711 at the intersection of Fifth Street and Hwy 50, just two blocks West of the Winn Dixie shopping center with classes in Taekwondo and Hapkido. The Chief Instructor is  former Korean Marine Corp Demonstration Team Captain 5th Degree Korean Hapkido Master KiPyo Lee serving as Hapkido teacher. Grand Opening Party announcement coming SOON! Call 352-536-5063 for registration details. Registration starts August 17th, 2010.


FREE Korean Hapkido Federation E-Newsletter

March 5, 2010

Dear Hapkido Familiy Members,
There is now a FREE Korean Hapkido Federation e-newsletter
availble for you and your students that will have a monthly article about Hapkido training or Hapkido History.
From time-to-time there will be special announcements about upcoming Hapkido events and trips to Korea. You can subscribe for free at or in the USA visit . For the best Hapkido training in your area visit our Haemukwan Hapkido schools at . You can hear our new radio show at or watch our Hapkido students on television at .