July 23, 2024



Hapkido Instructors Must be Responsible by KJN Richard Hackworth

Hapkido Instructors Must be Responsible by KJN Richard Hackworth.

No matter what the topic is. Knowledge is Power. It is also the weapon we use to combat ignorance and untruths. In 1997 I had an opportunity to attend the Hapkido Master’s Course in Korea. The one lesson that sticks in my mind the most from that Master’s Training Course was the lecture that was given. The instructor said that there are over 25,000 Hapkido schools worldwide. But of that 25,000 schools who claim to teach “Hapkido” over 22,000 ignore the true foundations of Hapkido as taught by the founder, Dojunim Choi Young Sool. Most schools don’t teach any Hapkido history or culture because they are hiding the truth from their students.

At a seminar a few years later, I had a chance to speak with a group of beginners and when I asked them: “Do you know who Choi Young Sool is?” I got nothing but blank stares and shaking heads. When I explained a little about Dojunim Choi being the founder of Hapkido one person who had come in told me that “this is the first time he heard about it”. And he was already a Black Belt!

As Hapkido Instructors, it is our responsibility to give the beginners the necessary information about the history of their art. It helps them learn loyalty. Why would an instructor not display his own instructor’s picture the school? Why would he not teach students basics so that their journey down the martial arts path is successful? Many teachers never received the basics either, but they were given (sold) high ranks. And when they began teaching their own students, they duplicated the weak teachings they had received from their original instructor.

We have reached a point in the History of Hapkido where people are wearing ranks that they don’t qualify for and are telling a lie about the history of their art to cover up the fact that they don’t know instructor level techniques even though they wear 10th Dan Gold Belts. (Don’t even get me started about the whole 10th Dan scam).

True Hapkido trains the Body, Mind and Spirit. He insisted on a rejuvenation of all three forms of training and that the Mind training was to consist of more than philosophy and meditation. It must also include history, etiquette, and leadership training. So, I am challenging all teachers to teach true Hapkido. Attending the Hapkido Master’s Courses is a great way to launch your Hapkido training and school in the right direction.

Teachers must teach the basics to your students, not the ones you think are the basics but the ones that are part of the official Hapkido training from Korea. That training is available to you twice a year at the annual Hapkido Master’s Course in Chattanooga, TN every November and the annual Hapkido Masters Course in Korea every March.

Hapkido is a fantastic self-defense art that is rich in culture, history, and etiquette. It is not just about strength or violence it is about footwork and proper body mechanics. Learn them and improve your skills dramatically! The curriculum outline from the federation is given to each graduate of the Masters Training Course. It is an incredible resource and that alone was worth the investment I made in attending.

If you are a student, remember that your teacher is the one guiding you on the Hapkido path but at the end of the day YOU are the one walking the path. Remember that you train for yourself for your own good and that no one is higher than you as we are all human beings. Get the knowledge you need where you can find it. Respect your teacher for what he is giving you but be pro-active and let your teacher know if you would like to be a teacher someday. If you are over the age of 18 and wish to make teaching a career you need to look into attending the Masters Training Course as part of your own education.

About the author: Richard Hackworth is the author of the book, “Be a Life Champion: The Martial Arts Way”, President of the USA Hapkido Union, a Grand Master of Haemukwan Hapkido, Taekwondo and Korean Sword. He also holds a master’s License in Tai Chi from the World Martial Arts Congress in Beijing, China.

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