Hapkido teaches more than techniques of a martial art – Baltimore Sun

Elements of athleticism and artistry are entwined in Hapkido, an eclectic Korean martial art.

This form of self-defense mixes strategies such as grappling, throwing, kicks, punches, striking attacks, and weaponry, including knife, sword, rope and many more.

The techniques and discipline needed when learning this art are important. Dedication, practice, respect and diligence. All these traits are evident in Edward “Ed” Ogle.

Ogle, who grew up in Hampstead, is an instructor and student at Global Martial Arts Academy, and has been studying hapkido for about 23 years. He is a 2002 graduate of Delone Catholic High School and now resides in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania.

Growing up, Ogle participated in sports such as baseball and soccer. A friend of Ogle’s was taking classes at Global and Ogle mentioned it to his parents. Right before turning 9 years old, his parents signed him up for lessons as a gift.

He has been steadily moving up the ranks since then, except for a 5-year break after his daughter, Madison, was born.

“I definitely gained a lot of confidence,” Ogle said when asked about what he found was one of the things that he gained or learned through his years training. “I used to be a shy guy. It’s helped with socialization as well.”

In Hapkido, as in any sport, there are some aspects that might be tougher to master than others. For Ogle, his struggle was with breaking boards. While he was growing up, they used to break at every belt test, using both hand and foot.

“I had a mental block for fear of the pain,” he said.

He doesn’t exactly recall when he got over that fear, but he can break them now without the mental block.

Kids taking classes now don’t start breaking until they have received their brown belt. The number of belts someone can earn depends on their age and at what point they start training.

Ogle also said it has helped him with his job as a full-time manager at Lowe’s in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

“The job requires people skills,” he said, “and to be outgoing. It has helped me be more outgoing.”

Many families attending Global have multiple children in classes, and his family is no different. Ogle’s 15-year-old stepson, Tyler Kirkessner, started Hapkido in 2014 and on Oct. 21 took and passed his brown belt senior test.

Earlier that evening, Madison tested and received her yellow belt in the youth group. She started about a year ago with Hapkido but has also participated in other activities while training.

Ogle looks at both kids and see that the children are learning the techniques, as well as traits such as respect, but a plethora of lessons can be gained when learning Hapkido.

“I feel that one of the biggest things I’ve learned,” Kirkessner said, “is definitely self-control.”

Ogle commented that he and his wife have seen a change in Kirkessener in school, too, with a change in discipline and paying attention: “He’s been on the honor roll the last two marking periods.”

“I want to continue on with Hapkido,” Kirkessner said, “I want him [Ed] to keep bringing me, and teaching me. … I want to be an instructor and work with kids.”

He already helps at the Westminster location with the young Dragons classes.

The effects of the teachings can be seen in Madison as well.

“From early on, in everything she does, she has always been ahead of the curve,” Ogle said, “and she is very, very witty.”

Ogle has five more levels to reach Grand Master 10th level. Having always trained at the Hampstead location, Ogle was taught by Master Joe Borucki.

Borucki, who opened the Hampstead location 25 years ago and the Westminster location five years ago, has been studying and learning Hapkido since 1985. He is also trained in Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Aikido, and Brazilian Ju Jitsu.

Borucki is a 7th-degree black belt, holds a business degree and had previously worked in the financial industry.

“I decided to take a chance,” Borucki said, “and started this business.”

While talking about working with Ogle over the years, Borucki said, “During his training, over the years, I have definitely seen him mature and gain confidence.”

Borucki feels that Hapkido is a great way to earn confidence. “It’s a place to fill their [students] confidence pool and then when they leave, it flows out.”

“It is empowering. It provides character development and, in addition to parents, is a great support system,” Borucki added. “They have an opportunity to learn and practice techniques; to visualize them.”

Having the older students, that have reached their black belt, teach the younger generation helps them grow as well.

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“Teaching teaches you more,” Borucki said.

Implementing the above sentiment, there are about 350 students, almost 30 instructors, and close to 25 junior instructors between the Westminster and Hampstead locations.

While teaching students, instructors themselves are working to move up in the ranks, and participate in seminars and other classes that help them learn; and the junior instructors work with the younger students to teach them, but they are constantly learning as well.

Ogle and his children plan to continue their lessons and work with others to teach them. “We want to not only teach the techniques of Hapkido,” he said, “but the life lessons as well. To be hardwired with good habits.”

Finding time for the kids, work and his classes, is a tough job, but Ogle finds the easiest way is to “take it day by day.”

“I definitely need to put work and family first,” Ogle said, “I listen to everyone and prioritize what is important.”

Borucki summarizes Hapkido on the facilities’ website by saying that Hapkido teaches one to not only fight and defend yourself, but to find their inner strength, what the Chinese call “chi.” And that you can accomplish goals you didn’t think you could.

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