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An experienced six-year-old martial artist from Raleigh, North Carolina will be one of the youngest students in the United States to earn his 1st Dan Black Belt in the Korean martial arts form of Hapkido. What makes this young man more special is that he fights the obstacles of having Autism and ADHD on a daily basis.

Harvey Alvarenga has been training in martial arts since the age of two. Throughout his journey, he has been homeschooled since the age of three, and in 2019 he became a member of the largest and oldest international high IQ society in the world, Mensa.

Through the practice of martial arts, Harvey has been able to hone his hyperactivity and hyperfocus, which is always a challenge for most other sports, into a more focused and disciplined manner. His attention to detail and memorization abilities helped him thrive in Hapkido.

“Harvey is the most naturally gifted student I’ve ever had. He has far exceeded my expectations of what a typical Hapkido student represents. Harvey continues to work very hard to exceed his goals and perform always at top level,” says Master Eric Laino, Founder and Instructor of the Korean Pro Martial Arts Institute in Clayton, North Carolina, longtime member of the World Pro Hap Ki Do Federation, and Demo Team Leader of the World Hapkido Union.

Harvey’s achievements will be recognized by the World Hapkido Union (WHU), of Nashville, Tennessee which is led by Doju Ronald Garland, one of the most decorated and respected martial artists worldwide. Harvey will also be the youngest 1st Dan Black Belts recognized by the WHU.

A member of the WHU is Grand Master and 9th Dan Black Belt, Richard Hackworth. Hackworth is an international certified Grand Master of the Korean martial arts in Taekwondo, Hapkido and YuSool achieving the highest level of Grand Master in the martial arts. Grand Master Hackworth says about this accomplishment, “Harvey’s work ethic and enthusiasm make him an inspiration to all of us. Being the youngest person to achieve the rank of Black Belt in the World Hapkido Union is just another example of his exceptional abilities. Harvey is a rising star in the martial arts community, and I am sure that we will see many other outstanding achievements as he continues to elevate up the ranks. We hope that other children will be inspired to achieve their dreams because of his example. He is a worthy role model for other children to look up to.”

The World Pro Hap Ki Do Federation and the Korean Pro Martial Arts Institute will also recognize this achievement thus earning Harvey global respect and recognition from his martial arts peers.

“Never has Harvey let his Autism or ADHD get in the way of his goals,” said his father Kris Alvarenga. “He is a shining example in an ugly world that that has restricted us from normality; there is still a way to move forward with your life. My son works twice as hard at achieving success. I cannot be prouder of the young man he is and continues to be.”

Master Laino concluded by saying, “This young man has taught me more than I could ever teach him.”
Harvey will undergo a multi-hour test mid-November to gain this amazing achievement and earn what few have done before him at this age.


The World Hapkido Union is the recognized International World Leader for Hapkido. It is a world-class organization comprised of highly skilled and dedicated Hapkido teachers whose skills are rich in tradition of excellence. The Union provides its members unparalleled opportunities for personal growth, development, and career advancement. The World Hapkido Union always strives to exceed the expectations of its members, the schools and the Martial Arts Community. They can be found online at http://www.worldhapkidonews.com and on Facebook under World Hapkido Union.