Why Learn Martial Arts

August 7, 2013

By Dr. Ronald Stone

As both a father whose daughter grew up in the martial arts and an instructor with black belt rank in three different styles I feel somewhat qualified to comment on some of the observations I have made in over 40 years in and out of training.  I have visited numerous schools throughout the years and couldn’t help but notice that the more prestigious ones shared similar traits. Please note that I said “prestigious” not big or fancy, because while I truly believe quality and education should be rewarded economically, profit and prestige are not necessarily the same thing.  One only has to remember the first Karate Kid movie. I ask you, would you rather study with a humble but qualified Mr. Miyagi at the beach or with the financially successful owner of the Cobra Kai school with all his colorful mats, punching pads and large number of delinquent students? I thought so.  So what is it that all these schools I would have liked to study at have in common?

Dr. Ron Stone

Hapkido Master Dr. Ronald Stone

Forty years ago when I first went looking for a martial arts instructor I was more interested in the qualifications and knowledge of the instructor than the color of his floor mats but then I was a relative exception to the rule.  Most parents today don’t really do much research and confuse “showy” with knowledgeable or worse yet fun with education and preparation. Having a lot of kids laughing and running around may impress a certain number of uneducated parents but my experience is that they end up leaving all too soon due to a lack of support or long term interest. A wise man once said that you only have one chance to make a good first impression and that is certainly true in the martial arts.

You can be a great instructor but to teach you must first attract, sign up, and maintain students. I believe that parents or prospective students shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or out of place upon first entering a dojang.

Regardless of how humble or large the school is, an effort should be made to welcome strangers and make them feel at home. Questions should be answered and a place made available where they can watch.  Some sort of literature should be immediately handed to them in order to overcome any time constraints or in case they don’t know what questions to answer.  I am also a believer in using posted legitimate credentials as a subtle marketing device. Diplomas, trophies and other awards should be obvious but not blatant.  By this I mean they should be something the parent or student realizes but not one that is rubbed in their face (so to speak). I distinctly remember entering a dojang some years back and before anyone said hello or even inquired as to my previous experience they started bragging about all their trophies and the school’s success at tournaments. It was clearly a “my style is better than your style” situation and since humility is supposed to be part of the arts I left disgusted with their boastful attitude.

At the time I was more interested in self-defense than sport competition and consequently they were never given the chance to explain their capabilites in that type of instruction because they had jumped to the conclusion that I was ignorant of the martial arts. Listen to what the customer is interested in before beginning any sales approach.  Fulfill their needs not your own ego’s.

Cleanliness and first impressions are very important.  I’m not talking about fancy, just clean and orderly.  Many parents are also interested in the discipline aspect of the arts, and if they aren’t they should be.  In several of the schools I’ve attended a certain period of time before class even started was devoted to having students sweep the mats or vacuum and cleaning around the dojang.  It was explained to the parents from the outset that this wasn’t to replace a cleaning crew on the cheap but rather to teach students to take pride in their school and to teach them responsibility.

Class schedules were strictly enforced and parents were made to understand the importance of not interrupting by tardiness or by uninvited participation. While no one understands the difficulty of risking angering a potential paying customer, for every parent who leaves because his child’s arrival twenty minutes late meant he wasn’t allowed on the mat, others will leave if they perceive a lack of proper decorum and object to the interference or interruption of the class they are paying good money for.  The concept of respect for oneself and one’s classmates must be a hallmark of any martial arts school and this concept must be explained though the parents so they can help promote the concept. To avoid such embarrassments a large sign can be posted with a list of 5 or six major class rules (arrive on time, uniforms must be worn, they must be clean, etc.)

There seems to be a tendency to modernize the martial arts with name changes like “Modern this” or “Combat that” but truthfully I believe the core student population prefers stability and evidence of martial art longevity and traditional success.  Uniforms and required routines like bowing in, facing the flag, addressing the instructors properly etc. help set the stage for that impression.  Another more “modernized” school I visited in Miami in the 90’s was a classic example of how to turn away a serious martial artist.  I was looking for a school to train my 5 year old daughter so naturally I chose the closest one in the style I desired. What I didn’t know however was that this particular school was one of a franchise chain. The school was situated in an upscale neighborhood and in a rather pricey mall.  With all the signage and location I expected to find a successful martial arts school.  It may have done well financially but when I entered I immediately noticed the number of parents and students walking around the mats with shoes still on. The noise was deafening and not from Ki-ahps but rather from parents talking and kids running around unsupervised.  One young student ran up to me with a uniform emblazoned with so many patches he looked like a Nascar driver. On his belt were several stars and stripes. When I asked about the stars he informed me they were not from success in the art but rather because he had finished his homework or because he got a good grade in school on a report. In spite of the current politically correct mentality of child rearing I personally do not believe giving awards for merely showing up is in the long run a good idea. If everyone in class recieves a promotion simply for showing up then where is the pride in accomplishment? What does an “A” in school mean if everyone gets one.

Most of us remember the boring teacher in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Bueller, Bueller, anyone?) and trust me that attitude will lose students faster Bruce Lees one inch punch.  The instructor must convey a sense of enthusiasm and vary the class routine.  While repetition is essential to proper martial arts training it can still be achieved with moving drills and games that emphasize proper technique while still make the time go quickly.  Such things as coordination exercises (crossing lines back and forth at a jump, maze drills, dodge ball, column moving drills etc) make the children feel like they are at play while still instructing them and helping increase strength and reflexes.

I am firmly convinced that the success of a child martial artist is due in large part to the “soccer mom” attitude of the parents.  To succeed in the martial arts someone has to take the child to class two to three times a week for years and put up with temper tantrums, pleas to quit and do other things, financial hardship etc.  Therefore it is essential to educate the parents as well and to allow them to participate in some fashion.  Whether it be in hosting a birthday party, or helping organize a demonstration at a school or church.  Whenever possible I like to have a couple of willing parents hold the kicking pads so I can do maze or speed drills.

It gives them a feeling of sharing the experience with their children and occasionally some of the parents end up taking lessons as well. A decent dojang should pay attention to detail.  Having a place to put one’s shoes lends an impression of orderliness. The same is true of the locker room. Trust me, trying to change clothes in a bathroom so small there is no room to place to turn around or to hang one’s things is annoying.

Pads should be but away in an orderly manner, not left lying around.  There is nothing wrong with not having the most expensive pads or kicking dummies (remember Mr. Miyagi’s “paint the fence or “wax on wax off?”) but what you do have should appear well maintained.  Some of the best and most entertaining drills I remember were trying to kick a simple tennis ball suspended from a string or trying to block or kick a series of rubber balls thrown at the student.(Dodge Ball.)  At the end of class however they should be collected and put in a bin or drawer.

I remember a rather small two story dojang taught by a Taekwondo master.  The upstairs mat area was not big enough to both hold class and at the same time allow parents to watch.  The master cleverly solved the problem by installing a camera upstairs and video screen downstairs so the parents could watch and comment without disrupting the class. A coke machine for the parents even helped a little with the school’s finances.

Finally the better dojangs are those who have instructors trained in a certified curriculum, not in a monkey see monkey do approach to the martial arts.

These types of schools often confuse endless exercises with martial arts instruction or disguise their lack of knowledge with a narcissistic attitude.  Exercise is important but not to the extent that you lose students who don’t yet have the conditioning necessary or worse yet spend so much time with push-ups they never learn to defend themselves from a trained attacker.

Martial arts exercise is supposed to limber the student for class to avoid injury and to build the stamina and flexibility necessary to learn the necessary techniques.  In the end however it is the technique one is supposed to learn not the exercise.  The end goal having a superior self-defense capability not merely a superior physique.

So in the end there is no magic to what is mentioned above.  Most partents teach it to their children early on.  Respect, integrity, humility, cleanliness, promptness and education.  Trust me, the discerning parent looks for the same philosophy when selecting a school for their kids. I know I did. As a martial arts instructor and student I try to implement all of the above tips into our Hapkido school in Ocoee, Florida.


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.

Sponsored by www.worldmartialartsmedia.com and www.haemukwan.com

Hapkido Training Improves Flexibility In Adults

January 2, 2012

Hapkido Training Increases Total Body Flexibility for Adults

At Korean Hapkido Federation schools we know that flexibility is an important aspect of overall health. There are many benefits of flexibility training, including a lower risk of back pain, increased physical performance, improved posture, reduced muscle soreness and much more. Practicing Hapkido is a great way to increase flexibility and get all of the wonderful benefits. It is a great alternative to yoga that many people enjoy. Plus it brings the added benefit of learning self-defense. If you are looking for ways to increase your total body flexibility check out the Hapkido schools in your local area.

martial arts school winter garden florida

Hapkido Self Defense Instructor in Clermont, Florida

Hapkido is an excellent martial art that serves as a powerful method of self-defense. This eclectic Korean martial art uses joint locks, kicks, punches, and some techniques that are borrowed from other martial arts. Students also get to learn how to use many traditional weapons. Practicing this martial art is good for your health and a whole lot of fun. Adults can build their confidence as they increase their flexibility and become well trained in the art of self-defense.

Good Hapkido schools give their students all of the tools they need to stay physically fit and mentally powerful. Some adults think that losing flexibility is a thing that just occurs over time, but that is not true. However, regular exercise is simply not enough. In order to flexible adults must focus on flexibility training. Hapkido training not only serves to help adults maintain their current level of flexibility, it allows them to increase it. Those who use Hapkido as an alternative to yoga are impressed at the great results they experience after only a few practices. The proof of effectiveness that appears in their own body and the fun that they have while attending one of the great Hapkido schools is what helps keep them motivated.

So, rather you are looking to learn methods of self-defense, improve your health, or increase your level of flexibility Hapkido training is right for you. There are many Hapkido schools and it is not hard to find one that you like. Hapkido training can literally change your life for the better. As your level of flexibility goes up you look and feel much better. Having better health automatically reduces stress greatly. In addition Hapkido training enhances your mental focus. Hapkido schools can give you the tools you need in order to be successful.

self defense martial arts instructor in Winter Garden, Florida

Hapkido self defense instructor in Winter Garden, Florida

There are so many benefits to Hapkido training that the list can go on and on. As for flexibility, Hapkido training is the best alternative to yoga that you can find. This is a great way to enhance your life and get rid of some of the things that has been bothering you. Take the necessary action to make a significant change in your life by visiting one of the Hapkido schools in your area and signing up. You can experience the benefits of better flexibility for yourself. Every joint in your body will be healthy and able to move much better. It is amazing what Hapkido training can do.

About the author: Richard Hackworth is a multi-arts Grand Master and the host of the World Martial Arts TV & Radio Shows. He is also the Editor of World Martial Arts Magazine and the author of more than forty books on the topics of health, wealth and success. He can reached via his website at http://www.worldmartialartsmedia.com .

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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.

Hapkido Schools Near Orlando

September 30, 2011

Are you an adult professional looking for a new challenge in the martial arts but don’t want to join some violent MMA martial arts school? Then you should try Hapkido. We offer the only traditional Hapkido classes in Central Florida taught by qualified Master Instructors.

You may be wondering What is Hapkido? It is the Korean military art of self defense. This style of martial arts dates back several centuries. Throughout the history of this country, Korea had to repel invaders from the north, south, east, and west. All attackers brought their distinct styles of combat and weaponry. The battles took place on different terrain, during freezing winters and
sweltering summer heat alike, with the Koreans often greatly outnumbered by the enemy forces. As a result of these factors, the Korean warriors acquired a style that combined strong spirit with extremely effective self protection techniques. These tactics that were at the same time practical, deadly, and effective against any type of enemy under any circumstances. The style was natural and free while having no strict rules, rigid structure or limitations .

Hapkido is designed to be highly adaptive and practical, training using technique drills and footwork instead of set forms.

Real Korean Hapkido focuses mainly on controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking and weapon applications.

The techniques of Hapkido were practed by the King’s Royal Guards in the past and by the Korean Presidential Body Guards of today. In 1969 Hapkido became the official martial art of the US Secret Service and over the years has spread to other government agencies.

Hapkido is the official martial art of the US Secret Service, FBI, CIA, DEA, Special Military and Police Unites featuring flowing, relaxed, yet powerful movements. Our licensed and certified instructors will teach you effective ways to defend against kicks, punches, grabs, knife, stick and even gun attacks.  Plus our traditional Korean martial art is a great way to improve your overall health with special exercises called DanJun (Ki Energy) breathing.

Everyone is welcome to try our class.

No prior experience is necessary. All you need is the desire to improve yourself and learn a unique, powerful and street effective martial art. Call one of the locations below to get started. You will be glad that you did. This class is for ages 18 and over only.

  • Clermont Ph: 352-536-5063
  • Orlando Ph: 407-923-5269
  • Ocoee Ph: 321-443-8077

To learn more about the martial art of Hapkido or to locate qualified schools outside of the Central Florida area please visit our Korea Hapkido Federation Haemukwan Website.

Also feel free to “Like” us on our Korea Hapkido Federation Haemukwan facebook page. The self defense schools listed above are associated with the Korean Hapkido Federation and the world headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Classes are taught by licensed instructors. Don’t settle for less!

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 zubairihapkido@yahoo.com . Be sure to read his articles in World Martial Arts Magazine.

A Little About Hapkido

June 22, 2011
Hapkido self defense teacher Darren Norris

Master Darren Norris

Learn A Little About Hapkido
By Master Darren Norris

What is the Korean martial art of Hapkido? Let’s take a look at the basic definition of the word Hapkido to beging.

Hap = unity, eclectic, gathering

Ki = inner strength

Do = art of, the way

What we learn from this definition is that Hapkido is an ecclectic art centered around inner strength. Some people might even consider it to be the original Korean Mixed Martial Art with roots in Japan. As the story goes, Dojonim Choi-Yong-Sool was abducted as a child and taken to Japan. There he lived and trained with Aikijutsu Master Sogaku Takeda from 1916 until the time of Takeda’s death in 1943. Choi returned to Korea where Korean Yudo (judo) and the Korean style of kicking influenced his Jujitsu art. He eventually remnamed his modified style Hapkido.

Thanks to the Grand Master Ji Han Jae, Hapkido is curently well known throughout the world for it’s outstanding and realistic self-defense techniques. He was one of Choi’s early students and became the President of the Korea Hapkido Association which later became known as the Korea Hapkido Federation. This more modern form developed by Choi Yong Sool uses the striking & kicking skills popular in styles like TaeKwonDo and blends them with the ease and flow of arts like Aikido.  Much like it’s Japanese counterpart Aikido (who’s founder also trained with the same master), the Korean art of Hapkido uses the opponent’s energy against himself while simutaneously building the defender’s personal power.

I like to tell students that the art of Hapkido is a blend of the soft and hard. It is also a blend of offensive hand and foot techniques, defensive throwing, rolling and restraining techniques. This is what make Hapkido a realistic self defense art. We see that any valid technique can be incorportated. With its underlying theme of obtaining physical and mental balance and confidence in oneself it is an ideal develpmental art for both genders as well as for adults and children as long as it is properly supervised.

Members of the Korea Hapkido Federation Haemukwan learn breathing exercises are also incorporated to strengthen “ki”, or internal power.  Hapkido teaches one to become more “centered” in mind body and spirit. Hapkido movements originate from a relaxed and natural position from whence opposing energy is controlled and redirected. This is whey Men and women of all ages benefit from participating in classes.

Hapkido, as taught at Korean Hapkido Federation Haemukwan schools, is an excellent vehicle to acquire self defense and family protection skills, self-confidence, discipline, fitness, focus and self-esteem while at the same time enhancing non-violent conflict resolution, goal setting abilities and strength of character.

About the author: Master Darren Norris is the US Representative for the Korean Martial Arts Instructors Association, A certified master of Hapkido and Korean Weapons and owner of Aikido Hapkido of Hendersonville, NC. He can be reached via his website at www.masterdarrennorris.com . To find a Hapkido school teaching self defense classes in your area visit http://haemukwan.com