May 19, 2024


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Building Bridges, Not Walls by KJN Richard Hackworth, PhD.

Building Bridges, Not Walls by KJN Richard Hackworth, PhD.

Ten Ways the International Independent Hapkido Alliance is Fostering a Thriving Hapkido Community

Dear Fellow Hapkido Practitioners,

Across continents, languages, and cultures, we share a common bond – the dynamic and enriching art of Hapkido. We train in the sweat of the dojang, united by the pursuit of self-improvement, mutual respect, and the principles of harmony and balance. But how do we, scattered across the globe, translate this shared passion into a vibrant, thriving community that transcends borders and fosters excellence in our beloved art?

Today, I propose ten pathways to build a strong, interconnected Hapkido community, where mutual respect and high standards of teaching and training reign supreme:

1. Embrace the Power of Technology: The internet has shrunk the world, and we must leverage its potential. Online platforms can bridge geographical gaps, allowing practitioners to connect, share knowledge, and participate in virtual training sessions. Imagine a global Hapkido forum where master’s from around the world exchange techniques with students everywhere, or a live-streamed masterclass accessible to dojangs in every corner of the world.

2. Foster Intercultural Exchanges: Cultural exchange is the lifeblood of any community. We can organize international seminars, workshops, and even friendly competitions to bring practitioners together. Immersing ourselves in different training styles and cultural perspectives broadens our understanding of Hapkido and fosters respect for diverse approaches.

3. Standardize Terminology and Teaching Principles: Consistency is key to maintaining high standards. While Hapkido’s beauty lies in its adaptability, a core set of terms and techniques can serve as a common language, ensuring clear communication and proper execution. This can be achieved through collaborations between international Hapkido federations and organizations.

4. Encourage Reciprocity and Collaboration: Let’s break down the walls between schools and styles. Cross-training programs, joint seminars, and guest instructor exchanges can foster collaboration and mutual learning. Imagine a world where students can train in a Korean Hapkido dojang one week and a German Hapkido school the next, enriching their skillset and expanding their horizons.

5. Celebrate Individuality and Inclusivity: Hapkido welcomes all, regardless of age, gender, or physical ability. We must actively promote inclusivity within our community, ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected. This means creating accessible training environments, celebrating diverse perspectives, and fostering a culture of open communication and support.

6. Invest in Instructor Development: The quality of our community rests on the shoulders of our instructors. We must prioritize instructor training and development, ensuring they possess not only technical expertise but also strong communication, leadership, and pedagogical skills. Regular workshops, certifications, and exchange programs can equip instructors with the tools they need to excel.

7. Promote a Philosophy of Lifelong Learning: Hapkido is a journey, not a destination. We must encourage a culture of continuous learning, where practitioners of all levels are motivated to explore, experiment, and refine their skills. This can be achieved through mentorship programs, advanced training courses, and initiatives that encourage ongoing research and development within the art.

8. Recognize and Celebrate Achievements: Every milestone, big or small, deserves recognition. We can establish international awards and recognition programs to celebrate outstanding instructors, dedicated students, and those who contribute to the growth and development of our community. This not only motivates individuals but also inspires future generations.

9. Support Grassroots Initiatives: The heart of any community lies in its local dojangs. We must support grassroots initiatives that promote Hapkido at the local level. This can involve providing resources, scholarships, and mentorship programs to underprivileged communities, ensuring that everyone has access to the transformative power of Hapkido.

10. Share the Spirit of Hapkido with the World: Hapkido is a gift, not a secret. We have a responsibility to share its principles of harmony, respect, and self-defense with the wider world. This can be achieved through community outreach programs, demonstration events, and partnerships with educational institutions. By showcasing the beauty and practicality of Hapkido, we can attract new generations and inspire them to join our vibrant community.

Building a thriving global Hapkido community is not just a dream; it is a necessity. By embracing these ten pathways, we can pave the way for a future where Hapkido transcends borders, unites diverse perspectives, and inspires generations to come. Let us break down the walls, share our knowledge, and celebrate the spirit of Hapkido together.

In unity and respect,

A fellow Hapkido practitioner

Richard Hackworth

Vice President of the International Independent Hapkido Alliance

About the author: Richard Hackworth is the Vice President of the International Independent Hapkido Alliance and Chairman of the Hapkido School Growth Committee and Membership Committee. He is the President of the USA Hapkido Union, the National Branch Member of the IIHA. For information on membership or business coaching email him at

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