Visit to Kyung Mu Dojang

As part of my two-week vacation at the turn of the year 2017/18 in South Korea, Seoul, I had the opportunity to attend several training units at the KM Hapkido School and also to actively participate.

Grand Master Kim, Nam-Jai

Kyung Mu Hapkido is not only a school but also an association that includes several schools in Europe, the USA, Canada and South America. The president of the association and head of the school in Seoul is Grand Master Kim Nam-Jai, holder of the 9th Dan Hapkido. In the 1950s, Grand Master Kim learned from Grand Master Ji Han-Jae, who is generally regarded as the founder of modern hapkido as we know it today. Before, different styles were common under different names. In 1969, in his mid-20s, Grand Master Kim opened his school. It is one of the oldest in Seoul and will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Grand Master Kim regularly organizes international seminars not only in Seoul but also in the association schools outside of Korea. Foreign students are always very welcome in his school. I was warmly welcomed there and invited to his office for a cup of tea before each training session.

During my time there, another German student was in Korea for a total of two months with the aim of getting some initial experience with Hapkido. By the way, KM Hapkido is one of the few schools in Seoul that even give foreigners the opportunity to actively take part in classes. There is also a German trainer who occasionally leads the training; Master Daniel Lindemann holds the 4th Dan in Hapkido and also has the 2nd teacher degree in Taekwondo. He studied Korean and lives in Seoul. Unfortunately, I only met him once in KM's dojang because he works for Korean television and had to shoot. He is quite well known in Korea for a TV show.
training experiences

But now to my training experience with Grand Master Kim. Training begins with individual warm-up and stretching. This is followed by the warm-up by Grand Master Kim personally or by one of his master students. The warmup essentially consists of well-known exercises such as jumping jacks, pushups and situps in different variations, with all the kicks and kicks that we also know from taekwondo. At the end of the warm-up, there were various stretch exercises, as well as intensive practice in the fall school. This was followed by training and learning the special hapkido techniques.

Quality instead of quantity

Grandmaster Kim consistently focuses on quality instead of quantity. Only two or three techniques are practiced per training, but these are very intensive. Grandmaster Kim attaches great importance to the exact execution of the technology. Every little misalignment of the hands, feet or hips is immediately criticized and corrected, which sometimes made me doubt or despair about my ability to coordinate and my ability to understand ... sometimes Grandmaster Kim too. But of course there is a reason. Only if the techniques are carried out exactly, will they work against larger and stronger opponents without having to use excessive muscle strength.

Some techniques that I could train or observe were already known from my lessons in Germany from my teacher Master Uwe Wischhöfer, where I usually train. Others are performed a little differently there and others are completely new to me. Unfortunately I was only able to take part in the training four times there and therefore only learned a few techniques. But after all, I was actually there on vacation.
It was a great experience to train with a grand master like Kim Nam-Jai and I would recommend it to anyone who gets the chance to travel to Seoul.
Grandmaster Kim and his students are very friendly and the training was not as serious as I actually expected. Nevertheless, everyone was very focused, as I am used to from our home training.

With special thanks to Grand Master Kim for his hospitality and his patience with his guest student.

Hermann Mayerhofer

Hermann Mayerhofer

Hapkido Praktizierender
1. Dan Kummooyeh
4. Kup Hapkido (KHCA)
1. Kup Taekwondo