Kwang-Sik was born in 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 Kendo. He studied the sword
throughout elementary school and added the study of Judo as a Junior
student. However, because of his small stature, he felt handicapped in
Judo and began training in Kongsoodo. In addition to his school work, he
studied Kendo on the weekends, Judo 3 times a week, and Kongsoodo, an
amalgam of various Korean influences and the overall impact 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, Grandmaster
Myung 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 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. Using KJN
Myung's experiences in Charyuk may be one foundation by whcih I can
improve the nature and execution of the Hapkido "Dan Jeon Ho Hup"."CHI-GUNG"
today. Given the Korean proclivity for Animism and Shamanism in their
culture its common to find such activities as recurrent themes in the
culture. Today, for example, the "Gi CHEON" people have assumed the
mantle but you would be hard-pressed to get the Koreans to own that they
still recognize "divining", "geomancy" and recognition of the mountain
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 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 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 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 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 chose Hapkido instruction as his
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. 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, 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 had about 11 years of training in
HKD, and, at the age of 28, Myung 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 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 on many
occasions to show techniques.
Myung 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
Myung 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 was elected president of the
organization. And in 1976, at the 2nd Bi-Annual World Hapkido
Association meeting, Myung published the 300-page �Hapkido � Art of
Masters� copyrighted in October, 1976.
Leaving his Detroit facility in the hands
of his brother, MYUNG Hong Sik, MYUNG 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 sought to interface Hapkido
material with a parallel Taekwondo program. Myung represented that he
was ninth Dan founder of Taekwondo YonMuKwan. Further, Myung introduced
hyung, or forms, that Myung 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�s greater contributions to
the Hapkido community could not be denied and in 1986 MYUNG Kwang Sik
received his 9th dan from Ji Han Jae in 1986 (Certificate # 85-001).
Myung continued to teach and give seminars until a severe automobile
accident left him confined to a wheelchair. To the surprise of his
doctors Myung was able to rehabilitate himself and was able to return to
teaching and seminars in 2006. However diabetic concerns, as well as
age, have taken a great toll on his health and he has grown to rely to
increasing degrees on his son and brother in administering the World
Hapkido Federation organization.
Myung was presented with his 10th Dan through the KIDOHAE by HWANG Duk
Myung, Kwang-Sik. Korean Hapkido; Ancient Art of Masters. World Hapkido
Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1976.
Myung, Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Weapons � Vol. Two � The Cane. World Hapkido
Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1988.
Myung, Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Weapons � Vol. Three � The Forms. World
Hapkido Federation. Los Angeles, California, 1988.
Myung, Kwang-Sik. Hapkido: Special Self Protection Techniques. Seolim
Publishing Co. Seoul, 1993
Myung, Kwang-Sik. Hapkido Textbook - Vols. 1-6. Seolim Publishing Co.