Frequently Asked Questions
What is different about Hapkido compared to Karate?
In the US most people see all martial arts as Karate. Originally Karate encompassed Japanese styles that included striking with the fists and hands. Hapkido originated in Korea and includes many aspects of Karate but it also includes much more. It includes advanced throws, falls, and ground techniques. It also includes fitness, breathing and meditation exercises.
Can I start Hapkido anytime?
A visit or phone call to discuss some of what we do would be helpful but simply coming to watch a class is also a good idea. Remember that not all Hapkido techniques are suited to all people. We are all different and it is important that each person find their own way. Physical differences and medical limitations drive what is suitable for each person.
Do I need to be in shape to start Hapkido?
Hapkido is a way to improve one’s fitness so you will be able to do this in class. That said I would recommend some simple things to do in preparing for starting class. This can be discussed during a visit or phone conversation.
How often do we test and how long will it take to get a black belt?
It has been my experience that scheduled testing is not required to achieve personal improvements. We will only test two or three times per year. It is much more important to focus on making yourself better than it is to get a new color for your belt. It is all about the journey of making yourself better. The belt changes represent those milestones and that should be meaningful. It takes time and effort to develop any skill, this is no different. You will earn a Black Belt when you have developed the necessary knowledge and skill; this is not an issue of time.
Many styles use terminology like “Modern Combat Style” or “Real, Combat, Street, Reality and many others. How is a traditional Martial Art different?
I cannot say anything about other styles; I can only speak of my own training and Mu Gong Kwan ideals. We teach a complete traditional martial art. Our Hapkido can help you to make yourself better on many levels. It is not about learning a whole bunch of techniques without understanding; it is about using our techniques to improve your own abilities. We have strong roots that go back to Korea with a clear lineage of instructors.
Do all instructors need to have a teacher?
This is a very important question and one that must be answered by every instructor. No one knows everything and must therefore work to develop their understanding and strive for self improvement. That means an instructor needs and instructor and so on. But what happens when you reach the top? Well, you never really do because in a traditional system there is a board that exchanges ideas and works to uphold the quality of the system. My immediate instructor is Master Barror, his teacher is Grand Master Gagne and his teacher is Grand Master Choi. After that there is the board of the International Hapkido Federation (IHF). So we are all working to support a large tree of knowledge and experience. And we only practice and teach Hapkido as it is in itself a lifelong study. Studying multiple systems, especially at the same time, is not usually beneficial to anyone.
How much does Hapkido Cost?
Regular classes cost $75.00 per month. That is typically 8 classes per month but that varies depending on schedules, weather, etc. Uniforms must be worn at all times on the mat except for the first month of participation, and uniforms cost $49.00 per person. There is a US Hapkido organization fee of $25.00 per year. Special seminars and other events may have an expense but that will be presented prior to the event. There will also be 5 testing fees of $45.00 per belt. There is also a Black Belt registration fee with the IHF but the price is set by them. This will typically be a few hundred dollars.
Can Hapkido be used for Self Defense?
Hapkido is really all about self defense. It is not a sport, fighting style, or watered down mix of fighting methods. It is a traditional martial art that develops one’s self including how to protect yourself. It is not a sport and it is not about fighting, in the literal sense. It is about learning how to defend by understanding multiple aspects of the attack and how you can defend against it.
Do you teach MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)?
Hapkido by definition is a kind of very traditional mixed martial art but it is not like the sport practiced today. Since the Hwarang Do Hapkido has evolved as a mixture of many fighting methods. It includes strikes, throws, joint locks and numerous ground fighting techniques. Many of the belt levels include numerous chokes and choke defenses. The greatest difference is that Hapkido techniques are not taught as sport fighting. They are taught in a safe environment where the full application is reserved for self defense situations.
Can I get in shape and reduce stress with Hapkido?
It is very important to realize that the only person that can make you better is you! Hapkido is a great way to develop one’s self but it requires the effort of the student. It is very different than a gym workout because it is based on moving in many directions. And all of the drills and exercises prepare the student to move. We have an extensive exercise component that helps develop strength, flexibility, and endurance. Breathing and meditating exercises help the mind to focus and the body to relax.