MYUNG , Kwang Sik










MYUNG Kwang-Sik was born in what is now North Korea but lived in Seoul for most of his early life.  It was there, in 1948 at the age of 7, he began training under his uncle who was a 3rd dan in Kumdo, the Korean form of Japanese Kendo. Myung Kwanjangnim (KJN) studied the sword throughout elementary school and added the study of Judo as a Junior High School student. However, because of his small stature, he felt handicapped in Judo and began training in Kongsoodo. So it was that, in addition to his school work, he studied Kumdo on the weekends, Judo 3 times a week, and Kongsoodo, an amalgam of various Korean influences with Shudokan Karate of  YUN Byoung-Im's background, every afternoon after school.

He earned his Kongsoodo black belt at the age of 12 but did not officially receive the belt until age 15 because of age regulations of the dojang. As a high school student, Myung KJN  organized martial arts classes for fellow classmates. During that period in his life, he also learned acupuncture, Oriental calligraphy, and Oriental India Ink drawing. Myung KJN  was also exposed to Charyuk, a little known training venue which sought to build internal strength through various esoteric practices and was not altogether unlike the "Taoist Breathing" material often cited in Hapkido traditions. Unfortunately, the advocates for this sort of training fell on hard times when their claims became increasingly grandiose. While the underlying premises are well-founded in Taoist and Chi-Qong (K. "Gi-Cheon") training, the claims to supernatural powers and abilities soon undercut the popularity of the practices. Myung KJN 's experiences in Charyuk may be one foundation for the nature and execution of the Hapkido "Dan Jeon Ho Hup" today. Given the Korean proclivity for Animism and Shamanism in their culture its common to find such activities as recurrent themes in the culture. As Myung KJN  is reported to have said:

"I've studied many martial arts", he said. "Kumdo (the Korean equivalent of Kendo), Yudo and Tang Soo Do in junior high and high school; Tai Chi, even Yoga. Yoga is not a martial art, but it's good for martial artists."

He also briefly tried out Western boxing.

Myung KJN  Kwanjangnim began his study of Hapkido with JI Han Jae in Seoul at the Ma Jang Dong location in 1957 at the age of 16. Joining Myung KJN  at that time were also early Hapkido practitioners Hwang Duk-Kyu (latter day president of the Korea Hapkido Association), Lee Tae-Joon, Kang Jong-Soo, Kim Yong-Jin (founder of the Ulji kwan) and Kim Yong-Whan. Myung KJN  Kwang-Sik later received lessons from Hapkido founder CHOI Yong Sul. Today he considers Choi his teacher. During his high school days, he was truly a pioneer in organizing classes for fellow students. And, as a student of Sung Kyon Kwon University he had majored in Commerce and continued as a Hapkido instructor at Ji’s Sung Moo Kwan school. As a college graduate, Myung KJN  chose Hapkido instruction as his profession.

At this time the first Hapkido federation, founded by Ji in 1963 and called the Kido Hwe, evolved into the Dae Han Hapkido Hyup Hwe (founded 1965). The original Kido Hwe had started with 10 Hapkido gyms. The central gym was run by Ji. The north gym was overseen by Kwang Sik Myung KJN . Bong Soo Han oversaw the southern gym at the Osan Air Force Base. In the west was Kim Duk In’s gym. Those directors who did not follow Ji into his new organization remained with the Kido Hwe to establish what would later become the Korean Hapkido Federation. In 1967 the Sung Mu Kwan of the Korean Hapkido Association sent 15 members of demonstration teams, including Myung KJN , to Vietnam to demonstrate their art and to teach Korean, US, and Vietnamese troops as well as Special Forces.

By 1968, as a senior instructor, Myung KJN  had about 11 years of training in Hapkido.  Myung KJN  soon published a 254-page, Korean-language book, “Hapkido,” at the age of 27. This was later followed by the first major Hapkido book in English, "Hapkido - Art of Masters" (October, 1976). In recognition, Myung KJN  was made the director of the Seoul Northern Branch Dojang, Korea Hapkido Association, under JI Han Jae. Perhaps the single highest honor at this time occurred at the historic National Unified Korean Martial Arts Exposition that was held on May 27, 1968 at the Jang Chung Sports Arena. In these pictures Choi used Myung KJN  on many occasions to show techniques.

Myung KJN  expanded his efforts, opening a school in the Sansunkyo district and calling it the Korea Hapkido Yon Mu Kwan Association, dedicated to the furtherance of Hapkido as a highly visible martial art. The institute provided specialized training to the director of each dojang, instructors and advanced degree black belt holders (masters) universally. The effort was recognized by the Korea Hapkido Association and Ji, Han Jae, but growing differences between the student and his teacher had become apparent.

Myung KJN  immigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States in 1973. He later moved to Detroit where he opened up his first Hapkido school and formed the World Hapkido Association on December 20, 1973. The following year, at the first general meeting of the World Hapkido Association on June 23rd. in Detroit, Michigan, Myung KJN  was elected president of the organization. And in 1976, at the 2nd Bi-Annual World Hapkido Association meeting, Myung KJN  published the 300-page “Hapkido – Art of Masters” copyrighted in October, 1976.

Leaving his Detroit facility in the hands of his brother, Myung KJN  Hong Sik, Myung KJN  Kwang Sik moved his headquarters to Los Angeles and then to Tustin, California. Bi-Annual meetings of the World Hapkido Association were also held in 1978 and the 4th in 1981, in Chicago. The 6th Bi-Annual meeting of the WHA was held September 29, 1985. Two months later, on November 16, 1985 at a rally in San Diego, California the name of the organization was officially changed to the World Hapkido federation. This signaled a turning point for the organization in several ways.

Up to this time the World Hapkido Association had been a non-profit organization. With the change of the name, there was also a change to “for-profit” status. Additionally, Myung KJN  sought to interface Hapkido material with a parallel Taekwondo program. Myung KJN  represented that he was ninth Dan founder of Taekwondo YonMuKwan. Further, Myung KJN  introduced hyung, or forms, that Myung KJN  had constructed, for use in the Hapkido curriculum. All of these changes resulted in great loss of talented members including Ji Han Jae, Chang Gedo, and Lee Jung Bai who felt that the original principles of the Hapkido arts had been lost. However, Myung KJN ’s greater contributions to the Hapkido community could not be denied and in 1986 Myung KJN  Kwang Sik received his 9th dan from Ji Han Jae in 1986 (Certificate # 85-001) and, later, his 10th Dan through the KIDOHAE by HWANG Duk Kyu.

Myung KJN  continued to teach and give seminars until a severe automobile accident left him confined to a wheelchair. To the surprise of his doctors Myung KJN  was able to rehabilitate himself and was able to return to teaching and seminars in 2006. However diabetic concerns, as well as age, continued to take a great toll on his health. Increasingly  Myung KJN  came to rely on his brother and his son administering the World Hapkido Federation organization. 

Myung KJN  KJN died in California on July 29, 2009. 


Published works

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Korean Hapkido; Ancient Art of Masters. World Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1976.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Weapons – Vol. Two – The Cane. World Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1988.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Weapons – Vol. Three – The Forms. World Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1988.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido: Special Self Protection Techniques. Seolim Publishing Co. Seoul, 1993

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Textbook - Vols. 1-6. Seolim Publishing Co. Seoul, 1998.



Kimm, He-Young. Hapkido (alternately The Hapkido Bible). Andrew Jackson Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1991

Kimm, He-Young. Hapkido II. Andrew Jackson Press, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1994.

Myung KJN , Kwang-Sik. Korean Hapkido; Ancient Art of Masters. World Hapkido Federation, Los Angeles, California 1976