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Hong Moo Kwan [HMK] Kumdo Academy provides a specialized place to practice kumdo. This is an extremely rewarding and enjoyable sport. Kumdo gives a variety of benefits to many different people. Most importantly the practice of kumdo not only increases the welfare of the individual but also to society.
HMK is a Kumdo specialized facility. We teach no other martial arts. HMK has a comfortable and safe training area. There is high quality hardwood floor. The space has high ceilings and air conditioning system for the kumdo practitioner. Also, there are men and women locker rooms and restrooms.
HMK has armor(bogu) storage shelves for our members’ convenience. HMK has lots of free parking spaces in a clean and safe neighborhood.
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HISTORY OF HMK
HMK was founded in 1997. Since then it has grown to be a home for some of the strongest and well-known kendo practitioners, as well as the place that caters to the growth potential of many high potential beginners.
Our members range from children, teenagers, college students, married couples, to elderly that wish to partake in a physically and mentally challenging yet enriching sport. The HMK has a safe practice area with special wood floors specialized for kendo.
MASTERS OF HMK
Master Albrand Jo
Head Master of HMK, Professor at University of Bridgeport [7th DAN]
Kum (The Sword) ensures prosperity and Do (Doctrine) unites people in many blessings.
Through Kumdo, I can look within and improve myself which has led me to better interactions with others and a more fulfilling life. Kumdo is one of the greater martial arts because it is not based on self-defense and it is geared toward the development of the human character. One can practice it for one's entire life. You are able to practice with people of all ages and enjoy class when you are in your 70s, 80s, and beyond.
The purpose of kumdo is not to harm or win: it is to mold the mind and body, cultivate one's spirit and share what one has learned with others by penetrating through the gap of the opponent's spirit. Both the striker and receiver should be able to exchange smiles after the match.
Kumdo is a gathering of diverse individuals and uniting through the swords. You can learn from both elderly and the young and build integrity trough mutual experiences. It is my desire to share kumdo with more people.
To me, Kumdo is far from a simple sport. It is unrelenting in providing new challenges and opportunities for me to learn and grow from. Thus, practicing Kumdo has provided me with a level of goodness and tranquility in my life.
Master Cindy H. Jeon [5th DAN]
I injured my lower back in my twenties. I don't recall the specific cause of my injury, but I do remember that during the physical therapy, someone had recommended Kumdo. At first, I was a bit skeptical as to how shuffling my feet will help me with my problem, but I was drawn to its mystical beauty.
So, I began my training. Needless to say, Kumdo fixed my lower-back and more importantly, it prevented future injuries. Often my arms would be covered in bruises from the miss-hits from practice, but they constantly reminded me that I was alive as they disappeared under my new skin. Sometimes, I feel powerless when my mind and my body fail to become one, so I become wildly proud when they do sync. These moments prove to me that nothing is impossible with hard work and strong determination.
After more than 25 years of training, I have achieved 5th Dan, but obtaining higher ranks is not my ultimate goal—instead, I wish to continuously strive for improvement.
No words can describe the pure joy I feel after a hard session of training. Through the special bond I share with my fellow peers and Masters, I find that I am a member of a very special community based on mutual respect regardless of age, gender, or skills. The fact that I can continue to practice Kumdo together with other generations for years to come is certainly an exhilarating thought.
Master Tsugio Imai [4th DAN]
When I was young, I played judo. After I grew up, I never had a chance to retry judo because of my busy life. I was also afraid of any injuries from practicing judo which could cause a slower recovery compared to when I was young. That's why I have been hesitating to continue judo.
After my life got settled down, I was looking for a healthy and enjoyable sport. That was kendo to me. Kendo is a life-long martial art for everyone. Anybody can start it anytime and it is not as risky as it seems.
Now, I am in my mid 60's. I really appreciate that I can enjoy kendo whenever I have the time. I own a company and I have many business trips that prevent me from practicing kendo more often, but whenever I come back home, I go to HMK first. Doing kendo refreshes my mind and body, while relieving all stress from the business. HMK is the charging station in the vitality of my life!
Master Tyrone Bentley [4th DAN]
I started training in kendo because one of my seniors and mentor in another traditional Martial
Art suggested that swordsmanship would enhance my life and it would fit me like a glove. I
wanted to find a Kendo teacher who would help me to build on skills I obtained while studying
medicine-self-discipline, concentration, perseverance, decision making ability but also maintain
and improve my health and physical fitness.
I have been training in Kendo, also known as Kumdo, as a Student of Master Albrand Jo at the HMK Kumdo Academy for more than 10-years and it has been an essential part of my life. Throughout my training there have been times where I have been tested, I have been hurt and I have failed, but I remain motivated to constantly improve my basic Kendo skills and to continue to build trustworthy relationships through practicing courtesy, respect, humility, and responsibility as a Senior member of our school and in daily life.
I was awarded the title of “Master Teacher” and received my Master Kumdo Instructor
certification in 2021 by the Korea Kumdo Association. I currently hold the advanced rank of 4th
Dan and I have accumulated Kendo teaching experience with children and adults. I have also
acquired an impressive regional and national reputation as a Kendo Player and Team Captain,
winning in individual and team Kendo competitions.
Most importantly, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in national and
international Kendo training seminars accredited by the AUSKF, USKF and Korea Kumdo
Association and develop friendships with players from around the world, practicing Kendo and
breaking bread with likeminded people of different cultures truly defines the human
experience…and the meaning of Kendo for me.
Master Sam Ralosky [4th DAN]
I first started Kumdo at age seventeen. I was a timid but outwardly kind person, who had a very
hard time advocating for myself as my self-esteem was very low. My parents sensed this in me and
realized that I did not have much direction in my life. I did not have the discipline to be a good student and was not going to continue my education immediately after high school. They approached me and told me they were worried, and that I needed to give myself direction by picking up a hobby and devote myself to it. I had always admired and loved martial arts films and comic book series; and whenever Kendo or other sword martial arts would be portrayed it gave me an amazing feeling that filled that me with curiosity. I almost immediately responded to my parents saying that I wanted to learn Kendo, and quickly looked up schools and found HMK Kumdo Academy.
When I would see Kendo and other forms of swordsmanship portrayed in film and comics, it
showed a means to not only hone your skills and focus your mind, but also a path to develop one’s
character. The swordsman often represents a figure of justice, only drawing their sword to aid those not strong enough to fight for themselves. I find this to be the main philosophy at Hong Moo Kwan Kumdo Academy. My teacher has always said that the meaning of our school’s name is “Kumdo that benefits others” and I didn’t truly understand this concept until a few years after starting Kumdo. In Kumdo we never gloat or brag or furiously, unable to accept our loses. Sportsmanship is valued just as much as the sport itself, and the more time you congratulate your opponent for beating you, the more you see value in your losses. This is true of the hero’s journey in comic books and films as well.
The protagonist is continuously faced with adversity and challenge and is often tempted with a
selfish means of gaining power. It is the fact that they are fighting for others that gives them strength and allows them to overcome their foes. If they succumb to greed and striving for personal strength than the hero has fallen from the path. This is true for Kumdo, when we practice with others in Kumdo, we never have the feeling of wanting to be stronger or better than our opponent. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try to win the match of course, but that we simply accept the skill level of ourselves and our opponents. If we win the match, then that means we are helping our friend by getting better and if we lose the match, then we are grateful for the lesson being taught to us and we congratulate our opponent. When we can have this mindset, our Kumdo will always improve and grow. I think this is one of the reasons why Kumdo is considered a life long martial art, because the ability to develop skill and character is infinite if we are open to learning.
Every day I am grateful for HMK, for my teachers, and for Kumdo itself. I would not be who I am
today if I were to never practice Kumdo, and this is the reason I will continue to practice for my life.