How To Choose A Hapkido School

Learning Hapkido in Korea can be an exciting lifelong dream for some. If you attend the right Hapkido School then it can become a reality. There are many fine schools affiliated with the World Headquarters in Korea. Below is an article explaining how to choose a Hapkido school. Read it carefully.

How to Choose a Hapkido School by Grand Master I.M. Kim

Please watch this video and then read the article below.

Click above or here to watch the video.

For the traditional Korean military art of Hapkido, the problem is not so much choosing a school. It is finding a school.

If your purpose is to learn a traditional Korean military art, you may very well learn that finding a proper school is something of a task, if not a quest. A few simple concepts may help guide you in that request.

First, remember that you do not have to give up either common sense or the benefit of your life experiences to date to find a Hapkido school, or any other military art school for that matter. If something does not feel right to you, if something does not pass your personal sniff test, turn and walk away.

Next, inspect the physical plant that is the training facility. Is it clean and professional appearing? Are the changing rooms clean, if plain? Inspect the lavatory facility. Is it to your standards? Is there a first aid kit and are the local emergency numbers posted? Are the proper occupational licenses posted in plain sight? Are any hazards in the training area marked, with protection provided? You are planning to enter an educational experience. If
the school does not reflect a place of learning and respect, walk away.

Find out who actually owns the school. If the owner is a corporation, check the corporation’s status with the Secretary of State. Does the corporation have liability insurance? As a bottom line, if something goes very bad, is the school owner going to do right by you or is the school owner going to sneak away in the night?

Check out the instructor(s). Is your potential instructor properly licensed? In the Republic of Korea, teaching the military arts is considered a profession. Every instructor is required to have a designated level of college education. Instructors must attend, and pass, a national level instructor course. Every instructor applicant must be endorsed by other instructors and a senior instructor must be listed on the license application as the one responsible for the instructor’s conduct and proficiency. All of this must be done before
the Kwan will issue an instructor license.

Under the Korean system, a military art must be registered and officially recognized by a national standards body approved by the federal government. All activities within this art, including training is supervised by this recognized body. Instruction and rank within the art is done by the Kwans of the art. A “kwan” is a system, school of thought, or system of
philosophy. All training in the traditional Korean military arts is done through the various kwans of each art. If the school and the instructor that you are considering are not licensed by a kwan in Korea, whatever they are teaching in that school it is not the Korean military art of Hapkido. Turn and walk away.

There is a system of Hapkido specifically approved for foreigners by the governing body for all military arts in Korea. That is HaeMuKwan Hapkido.

The so-called martial arts industry in the United States is a totally unregulated multi-billion dollar industry. It is an industry rife with fraud.

Entire Hapkido organizations have popped up in the United States having no connection whatsoever with the Hapkido governing body in Korea. The so-called instructors in these organizations have no rank recognized in Korea, no recognized qualification as instructors, and no recognized training in the art. Yet, honest and sincere people are paying them good
money for instruction in Hapkido.

Some of these organizations have gone so far as to establish their own bogus kwans, which are supposedly headquartered in Korea. Instead, they are “located” in this country in such places as New Jersey or California, with a post office box in Korea.

Some of these organizations also offer their members training at their “headquarters school” in Korea. In actuality, there are two ways that this scam is carried out. In the first, there are individuals in Korea who offer a turn-key rental operation for a Korean school or “dojang”. For a fee, a rental space is turned into a Hapkido dojang or a Taekwondo dojang with all of the appropriate decorations, down to and including the personalized “Welcome
to Korea” sign for the organization. They will even provide “instructors” with actual training in the appropriate art, with plenty of photo opportunities. In the second, an actual school is rented and the visitors train during a period when the dojang is not in use by the regular students. One such dojang owner in Seoul tried to increase his profit by submitting these visitors for actual Hapkido rank. His kwan revoked his school and instructor licenses, as a warning against such conduct by others. The American visitors, who thought they were getting a great deal, lost their money and are banned from ever receiving rank from that kwan.

This blog is sponsored by World Martial Arts Media and approved by the Korea Hapkido Federation Haemukwan. Below is a list of the top Hapkido schools in the country. Begin your search for training at one of these schools.

There are a few regional headquarters in the USA with martial arts training centers approved to teach beginners through master level classes and are authorized to conduct Black Belt Examinations and host Instructor Certification Courses. Only the below listed Hapkido schools are authorized to do so with full authority from our World Headquarters in Korea.

  • East Coast Hapkido Headquarters 
  • Etowah, North Carolina Ph: 828-388-0635 
  • Mid-Western Hapkido Headquarters 
  • San Saba, Texas Ph: 325-372-4800 
  • South Eastern Hapkido Headquarters
  • Ocoee / Orlando, Florida Ph: 321-443-8077 
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