Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been around, huh? Well, now that I’m back in college, I get a bit busy.
Last month I made a 2,000 mile road trip to Greensboro, NC, where I attended a two-day Hapkido seminar hosted by Essential Martial Arts. All of the bigwigs of the WHA were there, and I have to say that I was very impressed. Being an alumnus of Hwarang Do, I expected to see a watered-down version of what I already knew, much as I expect hapkido students would expect from a tae kwon do seminar. I was as much in error as they would be. Hapkido, although smaller in curriculum, more than stands on its own in the company of Hwarang do.
In fact, I have to say that the Korean masters were particularly impressive. The president of WHA, Master Jung, Tae, represented exactly what I would expect in someone who holds the title of “Master”; he had obviously completely internalized the principals and techniques of his art to the point that they were as natural to him as breathing. Even more impressive was Grandmaster Hwang, In-Shik.
When I first associated with the WHA, I read that Master Jung had made a special position for him in the organization. I had assumed that it was simply a political move in Korean martial arts; a gesture of respect to one of the senior masters. I didn’t have to watch him for very long, however, to see the truth: Grandmaster Hwang is truly a Grandmaster. I didn’t know that hapkido had men of his caliber, and I honestly wouldn’t know how to compare him to Lee, Joo Bang (which is about as high a compliment as I can imagine giving a martial artist).
Unfortunately, I only completed the first day and a half of training; by Sunday morning, my neck was literally completely fatigued from being thrown so hard so often. I had to roll on my side to get out of bed for the next four days, because I the muscles in the front of my neck were too weak to lift my head. Nonetheless, it was some of the best martial arts training I’ve ever had, and I hope to attend their winter event as well.