The Hunt for the Heir to the Hapkido Empire

Kittan Bachika

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So I have been perusing the internets in search of the heir to the Choi Hapkido empire Master Chin Il Chang. According to some sites he teaches in NYC at a dance studio. But that studio has changed locations and there has been no response to inquiries regarding Maser Chang

So where is the heir to the Choi Dynasty?

Conspiracy theories are welcome.
 

iron_ox

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Hello all,

Well, there is certainly no Empire...Hapkido has been allowed to become disjointed by phony history and rank...but that is another story.

Dojunim Chang Chin Il does (or did) live in New York, and was chosen as Dojunim in part because Choi Dojunim felt New York was the best hub for the world to see his martial art. (Just FYI, from one of the men that was there and helped in the selection process).

Some 7 years ago, I was fortunate to have a very long audience with Dojunim Chang, and will always remember the experience.

Dojunim Chang has not been in the public eye for more than 5 years, and even those that know him well have not heard from him in as long. This is not unusual for him.

If Dojunim Chang does not designate another successor, there are two men, and only two men, that have been ranked to 9th Dan directly from Choi Dojunim. Dojunim Chang was the first 9th Dan, Grandmaster Lim Hyun Soo (of the Jungki Kwan) the second, Grandmaster Kim Yun Sang (of the Yong Sul Kwan) was the third and his training partner Grandmaster Lee (deceased) was the fourth.

These are the only men that can rightly claim 9th dan in Hapkido directly under Choi Dojunim, the Founder of the art.

If you are in New York, I would not suggest "searching out" Chang Dojunim, please respect his privacy.
 

zDom

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Hello all,

Well, there is certainly no Empire...Hapkido has been allowed to become disjointed by phony history and rank...but that is another story.

I'm pretty sure phony history and rank aren't the only contributing factors to hapkido being "disjointed."
 

goingd

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*steps in* Pride. The earliest of the Hapkido organizations had the opportunity to unite early on, but would not compromise with each other. I think Hapkido has a lot of potential to be an incredibly open style, conforming to the same concepts, but not to a singular system.
 

iron_ox

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*steps in* Pride. The earliest of the Hapkido organizations had the opportunity to unite early on, but would not compromise with each other. I think Hapkido has a lot of potential to be an incredibly open style, conforming to the same concepts, but not to a singular system.

I understand where you are coming from, but the Founder of the Art, Choi Dojunim only died in 1986, so I really don't think it was pride keeping them apart more than, perhaps, arrogance and lack of integrity.

Far too many students of Choi Dojunim, and their students, inflated their rank and tried to add material to a style they had not fully learned...

This is why there is no single system...the problem is that it can be interpreted in an open fashion - usually incorrectly - even most of the core concepts are misunderstood...

There is, never the less a single current Dojunim, Chang Chin Il. And more fortunately, many of the "offshoot" styles tack something in front of the word Hapkido, so at least the public can know what they are getting in many cases.
 

zDom

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I understand where you are coming from, but the Founder of the Art, Choi Dojunim only died in 1986, so I really don't think it was pride keeping them apart more than, perhaps, arrogance and lack of integrity.

Far too many students of Choi Dojunim, and their students, inflated their rank and tried to add material to a style they had not fully learned...

This is why there is no single system...the problem is that it can be interpreted in an open fashion - usually incorrectly - even most of the core concepts are misunderstood...

There is, never the less a single current Dojunim, Chang Chin Il. And more fortunately, many of the "offshoot" styles tack something in front of the word Hapkido, so at least the public can know what they are getting in many cases.

I understand that you are proud of your lineage. I am just as proud of mine.

As for inflated rank, I am not aware of any in my lineage (Choi, Suh Bok-Sub/Won Kwang-Wha, Lee H. Park, Mike Morton, me). In any case, I'm sure all of these people have at least as much certification as Choi himself had ;)

I'm sure our opinions differ, but in mine: Choi didn't know hapkido. He was just the most significant contributor to several sources of technique that, when combined became Hapkido.

To use a metaphor, Choi is the beef in a beef stew. But a bowl full of beef is not beef stew. It isn't until you add the potatoes, carrots, etc., and let it simmer that it becomes stew. Ingredients vary slightly and proportions hence the many varieties of hapkido.

You think your stew is best because it is full of Choi beef and, if I understand correctly, very little else. That's great.

I think OUR recipe for stew is better. No disrepect intended for Choi he was a critical and essential ingredient *the catalyst for hapkido becoming hapkido.

But I think the kicking added by Kim Moo-hyung was a GREAT addition and that those hapkido style that DON'T have the dynamic kicking are missing a great ingredient. I think the full-circle throwing added from the judo backgrounds of many of the key figures in my lineage is also a GREAT addition.

I think the beef we got from Choi is some good stuff. Meaty, very little fat. I'm sure if you spent some time on the mat with Lee H. Park before he passed away, you would have been impressed. Everybody who met him was. Very much.

You can drop words like arrogance and integrity, but I think my instructor and his instructor before him (Park) had none of the former and plenty of the latter.

As for a unified hapkido I think it's a great idea, but I don't think everybody will drop their curriculum in favor of ours and we surely won't be dropping ours to conform with anyone elses :)

It isn't that we are arrogant; we love our stew recipe and think it's the best. Adopting one we don't believe in would show a lack of integrity.

Just remember we ARE part of the hapkido family (and at the senior side of the family tree, fwiw) and all the redefinitions and wishes won't change that. I hope there is a mutual respect between us.

Wishing your and your branch of hapkido all the best.

Respectfully yours,
 

goingd

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I think Hapkido has the potential to unify without conforming to a single system. Hapkido has several variations and they all have their advantages. I think if an organization were to stop using things like membership fees and school charter fees, and they were an open organization, there would be much more incline to join. I think perhaps that is why the Kukkiwon of Taekwondo became so big - they charge certification fees, and testing and seminar fees when you use them. There are no reoccurring memberships and school charters. I've never seen any Hapkido organization like that.
 
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Kittan Bachika

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Hello all,

Well, there is certainly no Empire...Hapkido has been allowed to become disjointed by phony history and rank...but that is another story.

The idea of the thread title is from Timothy Zahn's most excellent Star Wars Novel "Heir to the Empire" and information that indicated Chang Chin Il was selected as Choi's successor. It also has a nice ring to it.


Dojunim Chang Chin Il does (or did) live in New York, and was chosen as Dojunim in part because Choi Dojunim felt New York was the best hub for the world to see his martial art. (Just FYI, from one of the men that was there and helped in the selection process).

Since you had a front row seat to such this particular event, would it be possible for you to share what happened during the selection process? And if New York was considered to be the best hub for Hapkido, why aren't there more Hapkido schools in New York?

Dojunim Chang has not been in the public eye for more than 5 years, and even those that know him well have not heard from him in as long. This is not unusual for him.

If you are in New York, I would not suggest "searching out" Chang Dojunim, please respect his privacy.

When reading these parts of your response, a joke about leading a secret life fighting crime with Jim Kelly and being hunted down by ninjas if one did not follow your advice came to mind as a response. However, it might come across as obnoxious so it was dropped.

The original reason for this thread was to see if he still taught in the New York City area and it appears that he does not. Whatever his reasons for leaving are his own. If he wants to share them, great. If not, it his right to keep to himself and it should be respected.
 

blackdiamondcobra

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I have known Master Chang personally since 1983 and he has never hidden or tried to play any games hiding. He taught at his school in upper manhattan and in the bronx for a good part of that time. Easily found throughout that time in the phone book. Many people from several foreign countries and throughout the US easily found him and came to train and meet with him because I was there to personally witness each training and interaction. Master Chang conducted an open hapkido seminar we did in New Jersey as well I think in 1999 so he conducted several open seminars. He can be found but people respect his privacy and dont just give out his info blindly. He closed his school and decided to conduct more smaller classes which was his choice on how to pass his art. Each man chooses his own path on how he teaches his art, master Chang is one of the sincerest and true men I have ever met in my martial path which in itself has been long and distinguished. Also I dont believe that master Chang was picked as heir because of his location but because of the man he is and the skill he possesses.
 

blackdiamondcobra

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I just want to add a bit more to my original post since I posted it really late last night and it wasnt as helpful as I thought it could be:

Master Chang taught openly in a commercial school for close to 28 years plus. Anyone could have looked him up, came in and joined. Whether you stayed because of the rigors of the classes was up to you. He also during that period taught classes at the United Nations and we participated in his yearly hapkido demonstrations for UN Day. Master Chang taught for six days a week ceaselessly and like clockwork whether there was one student or twenty.

Most importantly, I witnessed Master Chang always being the gracious host to those equally who often came to challenge him as well as those who came to truly learn and understand. He is humble and sincere. He is a master as Doju Choi cultivated him to be. A man of integrity and purpose.

He decided the wear and tear of running a school was too much as many people do and down geared his classes to manhattan instead of upper manhattan and the bronx where the original 3 schools were. He wanted to do that so everyone could easily travel in to train with him. He did the classes in small studios for that reason.

Many people in manhattan do that because of the skyrocketing costs of running schools in NY. There are many martial arts classes run out of these type of studios. Many of my friends do the same thing with great success.

Master Chang still lives and teaches in New York. Its his lifeblood and his purpose in life. I will see him soon and I will ask about his classes.

He is a perpetual student even at his age. Constantly improving, constantly researching, constantly evolving.

I have read in the past alot of nonsense about him not teaching, not doing this, not coming forward or hiding. But its all conjecture on the part of people who really know nothing about him and generally very little about hapkido. Secondly, without a doubt, his skills especially are exceptional and singular. If you want to understand hapkido, every increment inch by inch, understand the evolution of the art, talk to him about his trainings with Doju Choi, look at the tons of photos and documentation of his evolution as a student to a master, you will not only be stunned but equally amazed.

I'm not involved in hapkido or hapkido politics, I will leave that for you guys to bat around. But i wanted to offer my own first hand knowledge and experience free of any conjecture or hearsay. You can take it for what it is worth just as anything you read. Discard it if it doesnt interest you. Look into it if it does.
 
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Kittan Bachika

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I truly appreciate your response. All I know about Master Chang is what I have read and honestly, all of it has been good.

As I stated before, I just wanted to know if he still taught in New York City. From iron_ox's response, it appeared that Master Chang wanted to be left alone which is his right and should be respected.
 

rd8256

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Hello all


Well, there is certainly no Empire...Hapkido has been allowed to become disjointed by phony history and rank...but that is another story.

Dojunim Chang Chin Il does (or did) live in New York, and was chosen as Dojunim in part because Choi Dojunim felt New York was the best hub for the world to see his martial art. (Just FYI, from one of the men that was there and helped in the selection process).

Some 7 years ago, I was fortunate to have a very long audience with Dojunim Chang, and will always remember the experience.

Dojunim Chang has not been in the public eye for more than 5 years, and even those that know him well have not heard from him in as long. This is not unusual for him.

If Dojunim Chang does not designate another successor, there are two men, and only two men, that have been ranked to 9th Dan directly from Choi Dojunim. Dojunim Chang was the first 9th Dan, Grandmaster Lim Hyun Soo (of the Jungki Kwan) the second, Grandmaster Kim Yun Sang (of the Yong Sul Kwan) was the third and his training partner Grandmaster Lee (deceased) was the fourth.

These are the only men that can rightly claim 9th dan in Hapkido directly under Choi Dojunim, the Founder of the art.

If you are in New York, I would not suggest "searching out" Chang Dojunim, please respect his privacy.
Hi I'm from new york! I was able to meet Chang, he showed me his certificates of inheritor of hapkido by choi, he's gonna come out of hiding soon he told me and take his rightful place, this meeting took place in 2010, he teaches privately in an undisclosed location and only takes students by private interviews only. Be wishes to start a hapkido franchise he told me, there's only one all curriculum hapkido school in new York and its on 6 th ave and 14th street.
 

rd8256

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Hi, thanks for taking the time to post about Chang. We would love to do research and learn about this amazing martial artist, can you give us some web links to him ? There doesn't seem to be many of them, or there very hard to find, thank you
 

blackdiamondcobra

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Hi, Not much out there. I have been working with him over the last several months to assemble all his material for some articles and other very interesting releases hopefully that will come out next year. He has droves and droves of stuff in his apartment. Its a large task. First up was to get all his certificates in order especially the 10th dan one and all the specific doju appointments and paperwork because its all there and in order with full documentation. I am proud of him for taking this important step. I have done research, writing and training throughout the world and always put the same hard light and questioning to anyone in front of me whoever and whatever they are and Master Chang as always produced above and beyond anything I asked of him.
 

Doomx2001

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Hi, Not much out there. I have been working with him over the last several months to assemble all his material for some articles and other very interesting releases hopefully that will come out next year. He has droves and droves of stuff in his apartment. Its a large task. First up was to get all his certificates in order especially the 10th dan one and all the specific doju appointments and paperwork because its all there and in order with full documentation. I am proud of him for taking this important step. I have done research, writing and training throughout the world and always put the same hard light and questioning to anyone in front of me whoever and whatever they are and Master Chang as always produced above and beyond anything I asked of him.

Take as much pictures and video of him doing techniques as you can! Document everything!! This man is so important to Hapkido history. There are so many questions that we have, and now we have the opportunity to get answered. Keep up the good work, and let us know about your progress.

- Brian
 

iron_ox

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Hi, Not much out there. I have been working with him over the last several months to assemble all his material for some articles and other very interesting releases hopefully that will come out next year. He has droves and droves of stuff in his apartment. Its a large task. First up was to get all his certificates in order especially the 10th dan one and all the specific doju appointments and paperwork because its all there and in order with full documentation. I am proud of him for taking this important step. I have done research, writing and training throughout the world and always put the same hard light and questioning to anyone in front of me whoever and whatever they are and Master Chang as always produced above and beyond anything I asked of him.

Yea, you said the same thing three years ago, and still I don't believe he has had any contact with those that have known him for decades. Is there a reason for that?

Additionally, not that you have any reason to lie, but it is all to convenient to make such statements and provide no information about who you are.
 

blackdiamondcobra

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I havent been out of the country for good deal of that time and I have been working on my completing my other documentaries and writings so its been hard for me to sit down with him and help out as much as I can when I can. I'm there to try to help the process as much as I can--nothing more. I've been on this forum enough if you read my posts and my contacts are there. I do what I can to help when I can. You can take it or leave it question or knock it, its all fair and good.
 

iron_ox

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I havent been out of the country for good deal of that time and I have been working on my completing my other documentaries and writings so its been hard for me to sit down with him and help out as much as I can when I can. I'm there to try to help the process as much as I can--nothing more. I've been on this forum enough if you read my posts and my contacts are there. I do what I can to help when I can. You can take it or leave it question or knock it, its all fair and good.

I, like many will look with great curiosity at what is produced. You seem to be accomplished in writing and producing martial arts documentaries, so this should be a pretty easy one. Can you please also include information about any students of record and standing of Chang Dojunim since he has been teaching non-stop for 3 decades, there should be some, this would be very helpful in establishing a training timeline in New York.

And understand, while I do not doubt your veracity, the tale of so many people he knows that have not heard from him in almost a decade does speak for itself.
 

iron_ox

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Hi I'm from new york! I was able to meet Chang, he showed me his certificates of inheritor of hapkido by choi, he's gonna come out of hiding soon he told me and take his rightful place, this meeting took place in 2010, he teaches privately in an undisclosed location and only takes students by private interviews only. Be wishes to start a hapkido franchise he told me, there's only one all curriculum hapkido school in new York and its on 6 th ave and 14th street.

Yeah, this sounded reasonable until the bit at the end for a school with virtually no standing in Hapkido at all...:BSmeter:
 
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