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World Sin Moo Hapkido Association of Northern Virginia

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Abandoning Hapkido Training


There are many reasons to abandoned training. Training is like everything in life, if is good for you it will cost hard work, commitment, and it will take you out of your comfort zone until it becomes part of your life, but in order to be part of your life you need to make it be a priority. People often ask me, but Sir is just training, why make it a priority over many important things in life. In truth, it is a matter of balancing pros versus cons and making a decision around how you want to engage in the process. You need to make it relevant because it is good for you. We all live stressful, demanding, often frustrating lives. Training in Hapkido will positively enhance all aspects of your life if you allow the art to be a priority.


Rsearch suggests that participating in Hapkido training improves practitioners’ physical, social, educational, psychological, and behavioral functions (Cueves & Lee, 1995). Hapkido training fosters self-discipline, motivation, and positive social change (Brownridge, 1975). Positive outcomes of Hapkido training include improved confidence, (Finkerberg, 1990), increased physical capability (Richmand & Rehberg, 1986), improved stamina, increased cardiovascular function, enhanced motor coordination, increased physical dexterity, aesthetics, and muscular strength (Kang-Young & Jeong-Deok, 2004).


Two person drills, Sparring and full contact fighting emphasized in Hapkido dojangs, include instruction in combat patterns: partner step-by-step, progressive defensive and offensive movements intended to develop combat skills. These practices help practitioners improve motor coordination, physical dexterity, response timing, flexibility, and fluidity (Felmet, 1998). Hapkido include physical and breathing exercises as well as meditation to improve health, increase longevity, and achieve self-knowledge and inner peace (Morgan, 1992).


The philosophical principles behind Hapkido help provide guidance for daily life (Becker, 1992). Vockell and Kwak (1990) recommended that the philosophical principles of Hapkido have a great impact in the lives of practitioner’s young than adults. Strayhorn and Strayhorn (2009) suggest that the Hapkido philosophy increasingly becomes part of one’s personality. Eastern philosophies, which pervade Hapkido, develop good morals, character, and nonviolence to resolve conflict (Back & Kim, 1978). Konzak and Boundreau (1984) posited that a Hapkidoist’s code of moral rectitude helps that person develop into a more respectful, caring, compassionate, and socially conscious person. Ueshiba (1991) cited the Aikido (Hapkido sister art) emphasis on correctness of word, action and thought. Kurian, Caterinom, and Kulhavy (1993) argued that these moral codes make Hapkidoist’s examples of good conduct and moral rectitude in their communities.


Research indicates that Hapkido training not only affects morality and discipline (Brownridge, 1975) but also helps the practitioner understand the human position in the universe (Ueshiba, 1991). Hapkido philosophies usually follow nondenominational, deist approaches to spiritual growth. Through Hapkido, individuals with ADHD could find a nonjudgmental, welcoming environment to explore spiritual growth and the universal laws of beneficence, respect, and harmonious existence. These philosophical concepts are found in all major religions and are taught by most traditional Hapkido schools (Guthrie, 1995). Of particular importance is the emphasis that humanity is a single family, regardless of religion (Luijendijk, 2005).


Weiser, Kutz, Kutz, and Weiser (1995) studied the psychotherapeutic aspects of Hapkido, noting that although physical activity and group exercises are a key component of martial art training, relaxation, concentration, assertiveness, and honest communication are also important. These qualities, they argued, make Hapkido an effective therapeutic tool to improve self-esteem, self-perception, and self-control. Early psychological studies suggested that Hapkido participation reduces a practitioner’s levels of aggression (Duthie, Hope, & Baker, 1978). Research on benefits for children and young adults have cited improved self-confidence and self-acceptance (Egan, 1993), better self-concept (Finkerburg, 1990), and enhanced self-esteem (Richmond & Rehberg, 1986).


According to Fuller (1998), the principles of Hapkido help improve mental health, assertiveness, and stress management in practitioners. Windle and Samko (1992) proposed a parallel between Hapkido’s psychophysiological state of centering and Ericksonian hypnosis. Guthrue (1995) found that Hapkido training helps female trauma survivors increase their self-view and decrease their self-perception as victims. Kurian et al. (1994) found that as students’ progress in training, they exhibit increasing self-reliance and optimism.


Kurian, Caterino, and Kulhavy (1993) studied self-image and self-esteem in Hapkidoist. They found that practitioners showed affirmative responses to physical demands, lower levels of anxiety, higher self-esteem, a more assertive nature, and an increased sense of responsibility. The researchers also found that martial arts practitioners tend to be more self-sufficient, emotionally stronger, and more self-assured than the average person. Reynes and Loran (2002) studied the relationship between Hapkido training and aggression and found that training in Hapkido helps practitioners manage stressors in a more pro-social manner and handle anger in a less violent fashion. Saposnik (1986) stated that Hapkido’s three stages of defense (perception, evaluation, and reaction) are helpful in verbal conflict resolution.


Hapkido is bound to have all of these positive benefits in your life. Life will give you many reasons to stop training. It is really a matter of making the choice to not allowing all the negative events that might be happening in your life, to take away all of the positive benefits that Hapkido can give you. As my instructor once told me; you will be, tired, worn out, exhausted, frustrated, and drained by a long day at work, at home, in life, walk through the door , and I assure you that you will emerge from training; strong, invigorated, re-energized, able, energized, strong, refreshed and restored. So what are you waiting for come in, come back, it is time to bring training back in your life.



About the Author: Dr. Ramfis L. Marquez, PhD, LPC , is a 8th degree black belt in the art of Sin Moo Hapkido. He holds black belts in Gumdo, and Taekwondo. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology.  He has been training in the martial arts for 37 years and is a direct disciple of the founder of Hapkido, Ji Han Jae Dojunim. He runs a Dojnag in Haymarket, VA. He can be reached at