Authentic Hapkido by KJN Paul C. Holley
Every week I hear about someone teaching martial arts who is not teaching authentic Hapkido, Taekwondo, Kempo, etc. There are many variations of all styles around the world but yet we as martial artists who are supposed to be humble and lead by example are the first to criticize and or condemn one another because we believe ours is the only true way or path for said style of martial arts.
I heard about an individual who was teaching his own system of Hosin Sul and was told he is not authentic because he was 35 and only held a 3rd Dan in Taekwondo and a 1st Dan in Yudo had no direct certification from Korea. He was not using or claiming a master title but was still condemned because he had no certification from Korea. I know many individuals have run into this (Me Included) and it is very frustrating. But I have concluded that especially in Hapkido and a couple other Korean based martial arts people will condemn you for having success as a martial arts teacher as they inflate their ego and hope they get the attention that may be coming your way. I teach Hapkido which I have had a few high ranked Hapkido individuals say my Hapkido is not authentic Korean Hapkido. Well, truth be told, they are correct. I teach my own Eclectic style with effective techniques.
I have never claimed to teach traditional Hapkido. It is my own way of Hapkido called Tong Hap Kwan Hapkido which stands for “Integrated School Way of Coordinated Energy” So by me teaching my own way of doing Hapkido I am not authentic in their eyes. So, if they are talking about you, it’s because their ego is hurt, and it needs to be inflated. They feel that by tearing you down, they can build themselves up. Who has the authority to say what is authentic? If one is teaching their own method of a certain martial art, then it is a variation of that style and not traditional and that’s all it is. That doesn’t make it wrong! Since there were no organizations many moons ago who gave authentication to the original founders of the martial arts? No One!
Let’s agree to disagree as martial artists and show respect and help out one another as teachers and practitioners of the martial arts. Hapki!
About the author: Paul C. Holley is a multi-arts Grandmaster and the Director of the State of New York for the USA Hapkido Union and owner of Family Martial Arts Club in Panama, New York. Phone: (716) 487-7296
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