What are my options?

Discussion in 'Hapkido' started by MAist25, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    Hey guys,

    I posted a while ago in the Taekwondo section about a teacher of mine who I learned to be a semi-fraud, I guess you could call him. He claims to be a 5th Dan in Hapkido and 3rd in Taekwondo. He is completely legit in TKD because he has certification through the USAT (Richard Chun's group), and Kukkiwon. I know his exact lineage and everything adds up. However, he never had any Hapkido certificates, he never knew his lineage, or the kwan of Hapkido he learned. He always said he simply wasnt concerned with all that. What I found out though is that the guy he claims to have been taught by (Master X, lets say) doesnt exist. There is, however, a man in South Korea who is an 8th Dan in Hapkido with the same name of the Master X my teacher claims to have been taught by. In using this mans name, he was able to receive rank through a completely legitimate and very well respected Hapkido organization for 4th Dan. So basically, because he knows TKD, some joint locks and throws that he learned from his Taekwondo teacher and a few Ju-Jutsu seminars, he is now in possession of a 4th Dan certificate unbeknownst to the legitimate org he belongs to.

    Anyways, I received rank through my teacher in Hapkido and Taekwondo. My TKD certification comes directly through the USTA and Kukkiwon, and I am continuing my training in Kukkiwon TKD at another school while I am up at college. My Hapkido rank comes from my teacher and through the legitimate organization he belongs to. So basically I am a TKD guy who knows some joint locks from my teacher and some throws from my previous training in Judo. I have also attended a few seminars with the legit org we belong to as well. The thing is that I have been lied to and was told I was learning Hapkido, even though I really wasnt and I feel like I have been ripped off.

    I have since left my school because of what I found out about my teacher but I still have a passion for Hapkido and want to continue my training. What I learned from my teacher was not Hapkido but it also wasnt garbage. My teacher did know some great locks and throws, combined with the things I knew from Judo. Also, my teacher has been to many seminars with the legit org he received rank from. He is a solid martial artist and teaches good martial arts. I mean, he was able to get a 4th Dan from a legit organization while showing them absolutely no paperwork, only pure technique on the mat. I dont know what to think of myself though. Because we are under this organization that believes my instructor to have the skill of a 4th Dan make my training in Hapkido legit? And now what about the lineage thing? Am I the only Hapkido practitioner that does not have a direct link to Choi, or a rather discombobulated one? I just dont know anymore... What do you guys think? I want to continue training in Hapkido but I dont know where to begin..... I have a Hapkido 1st Dan certificate sitting in my room that took me 6 years of hard work to earn, and I need to pretend it doesnt exist? It just sucks...
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  2. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Let's take a look at the above, piece by piece;

    If it wasn't Hapkido, what was it then? Hapkido is just a label and I think you'll find that there are many 'flavors' of Hapkido that don't always resemble each other.

    These things are part of HKD.

    So he's willing to continue his education to perhaps make up for gaps he may have in his HKD training.

    Paperwork doesn't always mean anything. If this legite org ranked him as a master based purely on the demonstration of skill presented...what's that tell you. Either this org isn't legite or he was able to demonstrate something impressive enough to warrant the rank.

    I would say yes.

    Have you seen my thread in the TKD section where I ask about the importance of lineage? Most people either don't know or don't care. I think it's important and if you do as well, start your lineage with your instructor. It all has to begin somewhere.

    Then as far as I'm concerned, you're a 1st Dan in Hapkido. You earned it, enjoy it.
     
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  3. dortiz

    dortiz Black Belt

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    "I mean, he was able to get a 4th Dan from a legit organization while showing them absolutely no paperwork, only pure technique on the mat."

    To most folks this holds a lot more water. In an ideal world the skills say it all. Its nice to get official certs if you want to teach later and it sounds like he went ahead and joined a good group for that.
     
  4. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    Thanks for the replies guys. Kong Soo Do, I did read your thread on lineage and I did see a lot of "I dont know's" and "I dont care's" when it comes to lineage. I dont think lineage is important at all for learning good martial arts. But I always thought lineage was important when it comes to calling your art something specific, like Hapkido. Sure someone could be great at joint locks and throws, etc. but does that make him good at Hapkido or just good at something that looks like Hapkido? Can someone go from no actual rank in any joint-locking or throwing martial art at all to a 4th dan in Hapkido just by attending some seminars? I mean I respect him for is actually getting on the mat and proving he can perform the techniques. What I dont respect him for is that he lied about having previous rank in Hapkido. I think the reason he wanted to get Hapkido certs was to keep the Korean theme in his school. He was already teaching Taekwondo so he wanted to teach a Korean system alongside that, instead of a collaboration of ju-jutsu locks, some HKD locks, TKD locks, etc.

    dortiz, I think you are right that he wanted to get official certs and continue his training and I respect that. And I also understand why he wouldnt want to start over at white belt in a joint-locking/throwing art like Hapkido when he already knew a lot of things from his previous training in other joint-locking systems. I certainly think the way he approached his training by actually getting on the mat is much better than the people who claim to be Hapkido black belts through their home study dvd's though.
     
  5. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    To further the discussion, back in 1954 Kanei Uechi Sensei held a mass promotion ceremony when first adopting the Dan/Kyu system of rank. He had several students do directly to Godan (5th Dan), while many more filled in the ranks between 1st and 4th. Now, they had been training of course for quite some time and could demonstrate skill appropriate with what a Uechi Ryu Godan should know. This doesn't seem to be much different than what your instructor has done?

    I don't know first-hand of course, but this is how it sounds from your description. If a legitimate Hapkido organization saw what he could do and recognized him as 4th, then it doesn't sound much different than what has been done in the past. As far as honesty, don't know him so difficult to comment.
     
  6. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    Very cool, I did not know that. However, I do know that Choi, Yong-Sool himself claimed to have learned Daito-Ryu Aiki Ju-Jutsu directly from Takeda, Sensei and he said that his certificates were stolen from him, so even he had nothing to show except for pure skill. I guess I have always just been questioning things because my instructor didnt do things the "conventional" way, but that doesnt necessarily mean he did things the wrong way. I think people today are way too hung up on things like certificates and organizations, etc. I seems like back in the day things were done much better, where practitioners just did things their own way and focused more on actual training than getting involved in politics. There was a lot less caring about what other people thought about you and instead working to become better at what you do, ignoring the static buzzing around you.
     
  7. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Well, I going to take a different stance. It appears there is too much selling of certificates for money only these days. I am against that, no matter how skilled the practicioner. If you had been diligent in studying TKD videos for 5 years, do you think it would be appropriate to be given a 2nd or 3rd or even 4th degree in TKD? Is there nothing to be learned in the dojo that counts? I think lineage counts to show where you came from, and there is a legitimate teaching method and curriculum. Is my lineage directly from Choi or another is less important than the fact there is a line of established GM from some point. Not everyone may agree, but that is how I feel. It helps keep those without good training from contaminating an art imho.

    Now as to your teacher, since I don't know all the details (and you may not either), it is more difficult to comment. Did he get legitimate training? I don't know. I do have some concerns about just seminars to get Masters rank. Why doesn't everyone just do it that way? I have earned 2nd Dan in Hapkido while in Korea, and trained to 3rd Dan. Since I have read Kimm's first book, "Hapkido, Korean Martial Arts" from cover to cover, should I now ask for certification to GM level? I don't think so. Sounds a little foolish doesn't it?

    But again, I don't know what training your teacher got, or how he got it. As I said, I had training from my GM to 3rd Dan. But I never tested a single gup from 2nd to 3rd. Nonetheless, I am sure my GM would have tested me for 3rd Dan had we ever had the chance to get together for it. I was able to continure training as I taught other students lower belts. My GM and I just never got together for testing. So I can't say based on what you have told us that he never got suficient training to legitimately claim righteous knowledge. But from what you have told us, I am suspicious and have grave doubts.

    But what did you do for 6 years? Did you study Hapkido exclusively for 6 years? It is entirely possible you have the skills appropriate to 1st Dan. And different schools have different requirements. Dr. Kimm had some differences from my school. Not significant really, but different skills in some cases. Is his school less valid than my GM's? I don't think so. I am aware of a school in the US, that from its web presence, appears to teach an abreviated Hapkido. Yet it gives Dan ratings from a legitimate school. Is the web presence misleading? perhaps. More may be taught that is talked about on their web site. Unless you have a well established lienage from a school that is known to police its Masters and Grand Masters well, one has to worry.

    Since you have left your school and old teacher, perhaps you should explore what you consider a legitimate school for the opportunity to study with them for a few months (so you can learn any few different skills needed) and test to 1st Dan. I would be careful telling that school all the details of why you left. You may not be correct, and could find yourself in court no matter. Just see if they are willing to let you study a little and test in their style.
     
  8. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    The reason I left my school is because, like you said, I had doubts about my instructors Hapkido background. I was learning solid martial arts, but I could never get any concrete info on his teacher, what our lineage was, etc. He was never someone who cared much about history or lineage or any of that, just training. Anyway, I kind of got fed up with the whole thing and left, and I made it known to him my reasons for leaving. I might also add that I was his top student along with one other friend of mine who also left alongside me for the same reasons. I told him that I simply wanted some sort of proof that what I was learning was Hapkido and instead he ousted me off and said I betrayed him by questioning his legitimacy. But hey, I am a customer and I want to know that I am getting what I'm paying for.

    As for my training, I trained for 4 years to 1st Dan and continued my training for almost 2 years longer before deciding to call it quits. You mentioned finding another school and training there for a while. There are 2 other people who I know teach Hapkido where I am from but they are both about an hours drive away. One is a Taekwondo teacher who also lists himself as a Hapkido "expert" and teaches Hapkido on the side, but I dont think he issues rank in it. And the other is a Combat Hapkido school. I just recently emailed the International Combat Hapkido Federation about continuing my training at the school closest to me. However, I would probably only be able to train like once per week or once every other week for 4 months out of the year because of the distance and because of school. Because of this, I wrote to them that I am interesting in simply continuing my training, not starting over. It would be a huge waste of time and money for me to drive an hour each way once a week to learn how to do a forward roll.... I am still waiting to hear back from them and I am interested in what they have to say. I know the ICHF is pretty open and not as strict as many of the other more traditional Hapkido orgs. And the whole reason I am doing this is not for rank, I just simply want to train and get better. Like I said, I just do not have enough time at home to start all over at white belt and plan on getting anywhere. While at school I am continuing my training full time in Taekwondo and there are no HKD schools in the area near my college either. Right now it seems the ICHF is my best bet for continuing in Hapkido, and if they are willing to help me out I will certainly become a member. I just want to be able to progress in the art and I do not want to be one of these ridiculous long distance dvd guys. If the ICHF will provide me with a good instructor that is relatively close, the ability to go to seminars, and to continue on in my training then I will be happy. I just want to get my *** on the mat and train.
     
  9. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Good luck in your quest. Hapkido is a good art and worth learning.
     
  10. zDom

    zDom Senior Master

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    Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. There are plenty of people out there who have studied taekwondo extensively, are taught a few wrist locks and throws and end up certified as hapkido blacks belts equal to or very near their taekwondo rank — even though the hours they spent training hapkido are nowhere near the hours invested in their TKD training.

    It sounds like you have probably received some training in legitimate HKD techniques.

    I think if you found an instructor dedicated solely to HKD rather than treating it as a modular add-on to TKD, you might find a deeper understanding of what hapkido really is.
     
  11. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    zDom, thanks for your reply. As a matter of fact, I just contacted the International Combat Hapkido Federation since there is a school near where I live. Grandmanster Pellegrini emailed me back and stated that he will recognize my rank and that I will be able to continue my training in Hapkido towards my 2nd Dan. I am pretty happy about this because I will be able to focus 100% on Hapkido, like you said, instead of it being a TKD add-on.
     
  12. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    I'd be interested to know if you like the CHKD training once you're into it, and how it differs (if at all) from what you've learned so far.
     
  13. Native

    Native Yellow Belt

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    I know this is an old thread, but I am looking at a CHKD school in my area. I was curious about your experience with this and how you think it compares to the HKD you learned previously.

    Thanks!
     
  14. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

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    Hey bud, I actually ended up not training at the CHKD school, so I can't really comment on the system from personal experience. However, I did communicate with GM Pellegrini via Email so I can comment on what little experience I have dealing with him and his organization. First off, he seems to have a genuine interest in spreading the art of hapkido and is very accommodating to people interested in the art. His organization also provides tons of opportunities to participate in different seminars that focus specifically on certain aspects that dont really get covered on a daily basis in your everyday hapkido class. The man is very open in welcoming in people who simply enjoy training. Based off of what I saw I would definitely say check out the CHKD school near you. Obviously, the instructor and training environment in that specific dojang is what is most important but he seems to have a pretty solid group so I see no reason why you should stay clear.
     
  15. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Hapkido isn't "just a label", but rather a unique martial art with distinct characteristics. The fact that Hapkido allows its senior practitioners a certain amount of freedom to express themselves does not in any way take away from the fact that Hapkido is, a unique martial art.
     
  16. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    Negative Glenn.

    Webster's defines the word 'unique' as follows;

    : Being the only one.
    : Being without a like or equal.

    If there were no outward signs (such as signs, labels, uniforms etc), and a person walked into a room where practitioners were training, they would be hard pressed to distinguish between Hapkido, Aiki Jujutsu, Chin Na or a variety of other arts of a similar nature. Indeed, even within one art such as Hapkido, some have forms and some don't. Some emphasis more kicking, others less. Some more realistic principles, others not so much. Hapkido certainly isn't the only one and it certainly isn't without like or equal. It is a label.
     
  17. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    Hapkido fits that webster definition. Hapkidoin know what I am talking about. As for telling the difference between hapkido, aikijutsu, chin na or other practitioners, I can tell the difference. I can also tell the difference between someone who trained in Hapkido and another person who trained in something else and is trying to call it Hapkido. At least the difference between that and good Hapkido. I can also tell the difference between someone who learned a tiny bit of Hapkido and mix in their own crap and someone who has learned hapkido for a long time from a competent instructor. Hapkidoin recognize other hapkidoin instantly, just like taekwondoin can tell the difference between a karateka and a taekwondoin, instantly.
     
  18. Kong Soo Do

    Kong Soo Do IKSDA Director

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    No, as I already pointed out, it does not. I know that you'd like to think so.

    I know that you'd like to believe you can tell the difference.
     
  19. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    What's the big deal with starting over at white belt? I was a hapkido 3rd Dan who had taught for several years as an assistant under my original hapkido teacher when I moved to California for school. But when I went to learn from GM JI Han Jae in California, I put on a white belt and started all over. And when I retested for dan rank, I started back down at 1st Dan and went through all the ranks, without skipping any. I have every dan certificate from 1st to my current rank, for taekwondo and hapkido.

    When I opened my own dojang, I noticed that those who were voluntarily willing to do the same were the ones who learned the longest and the most, and eventually ended up with the highest dan ranks. The ones who chose to wear their older or present ranks tended to not last as long. As a policy I never bring up the issue of what rank a new student should wear, I leave it up to them to determine what belt they choose to wear. If the parents or the students asks if it is ok to wear a white belt or their present belt, I always tell them whatever they want to do is ok. To me, it is a test of character, that decision of what belt to wear in the new dojang.
     
  20. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

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    I think it is more telling that you think they are all the same. By the way, what is your hapkido background? Have you actually studied the art for any length of time?123
     

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