Training with Hwang In Shik
My name is Matthew Rogers and I am one of Master Hwang's senior students. Training with Master Hwang has been the most rewarding experience of my martial arts training which has included training with very senior teachers of hapkido, aikido, jujutsu and judo in Korea and Japan.
I know that seems hardly surprising declaration considering Iím one of his students but there is also a reason Iíve always returned to his school when Iíve been in Canada and could have trained anywhere. He teaches from a system where theory and practice coincide completely.
The school at Adelaide and Simcoe is East-West Hapkido and is run under a fellow who trained primarily under Chung Kee-Tae and sought to affiliate his school with Master Hwang after receiving private lessons. His training is not representative of Master Hwang's approach whether what he is doing is impressive or unimpressive. Watching a video of someone else's school with not give you a fair representation of what we do.
The early stages of hapkido training primarily focus upon training basic striking and so I am not surprised that you felt as if you were watching a TKD school. At the upper levels one does increasingly more grappling, throwing, and, the heart of hapkido, which is standing jointlocks. Good basics are important regardless of where you go. If you train defenses against people without good basics you only train to counter those who are easily countered.
Information can be found on Master Hwang at www.eaglehapkido.com and www.worldhapkido.com.
Master Hwang is the Headteacher for the World Hapkido Federation and was previously the Chief Instructor for the Korea Hapkido Association Headquarters in Seoul. Some of fellows who practised at the same school as he did were Bong Soo Han (Billy Jack movies, IHF president), Myung Kwang-Sik, Kim Chong Sung. In short the most senior teachers in North America. ( see www.hapkido-info.net for information on Hapkido lineage)
I trained in Korea for 2 years and could train anywhere for free by merely stating my teacher's name. Master Hwang is the real deal if you are looking for hapkido. However hapkido isn't for everyone. I would also encourage you not to make any judgement on any school based upon a single visit.
I run a small training group myself in Scarborough and do my best to share with others what I have been able to glean from my 19 year association with Master Hwang. www.spiritforging.com
Lastly, the key to doing well at Master Hwang's has nothing to do with the classes. The classes are just organized exercise at Eagle. Master Hwang watches how you train on your own and will give you personal instruction based upon how much you 'sweat' through what he has taught you. Heís very Ďold schoolí and isnít interested in people who arenít committed and arenít giving it their all. He loves hapkido and has been very important to its development. We are very lucky to have him here in Canada. There are very few teachers his level in Korea.
In regard to the 'no-touch' fainting
Thanks for the interest in my teacher's school.
I hesitate to answer this one as I'm pretty sure that I would be telling you more about my own take on "ki" and its external forms rather than accurately representing Master Hwang's views, which of course are best gotten from him.
I'd like to be clear in one thing however that Master Hwang does not represent such "ki" manipulations as being a practical fighting tactic or a "no touch throw" of the type promoted by some nei-gung teachers or aikido teachers. I believe he feels it is merely an exercise which is supposed to show how if one is sensitive one may feel external manifestations of "ki" in other people. That he and other hapkido-ists believe in Ki is however undoubtable. ( He doesn't ask others to believe however and in Korea the concept of "ki" is well centred in the culture with words like "ki-bun" referring to people's moods, spirit or energy. )
I myself have felt a feeling of being "pushed" at such moments in demonstrations but do not display such abilities nor pursue them. Nor is it something which is irresistable. Some might feel it is hyponotism but Master Hwang doesn't believe that this is so.
This internal exercise is something Master Hwang works on and is not something which other members can perform nor is it something which members spend much time on developing, as hapkido training is primarily practical. Good punching, kicking, throwing and jointlocks are the emphasis of Eagle. Breathing practise allows us to relax and perform in a relaxed manner when under pressure. It also helps allow us to calm down when in a state of agitation or anger. Meditation and breathing exercise is good for one's life rather than good for 'throwing down'.
I hope that that in some small way answers your query but I would encourage you to talk to Master Hwang himself if you really wish to know about the details of his art.