Hapkido in Australia

Grandmaster Matthew Kim Sung Su

The founder of the Australian Hapkido Association is Grandmaster Matthew Kim Sung Su.

Matthew Kim trained Hapkido under Kim Yong Jun in the 70’s in the Jong Myo Dojang in Seoul. Kim Yong Jun was a student of Kim Moo Hong who was a pioneer of the art opening one of the first schools for the art in Seoul. A great innovator Kim Moo Hong is credited with having helped develop the kicking system used in most Hapkido schools today.

Matthew Kim also trained in Taekwondo and in 1975 was the Korean Bantamweight Champion.

Matthew Kim is the middle of three brothers. His elder brother Peter (Sung Do) Kim and younger brother Joseph (Sung Duk) Kim studied Hapkido and Kuk Sul Won under Professor Huh Il Wong in South Korea.

Around 1977 Matthew and Peter Kim were sent to Argentina to teach Hapkido to the Army and Police. While in Argentina they also started Hapkido and Taekwondo clubs in Sao Paulo. These clubs are still going in Argentina and we received the occasional email asking how Matthew Kim is going.

The first club opened by Matthew and Peter Kim was on the 1st floor, 60 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, Sydney around mid 1979. This club became the Australian Hapkido Academy and after the establishment of the Australian Hapkido Association in 1981, it became the headquarters of the AHA. This club was known as the City Gym and had classes every night of the week.

Many of the black belts from the City Gym went on to start suburban clubs throughout Sydney and country clubs throughout Australia.

In 1980 Joseph Kim Sung Duk arrived from South Korea to help teach Hapkido in the City Gym.

In 1983 Peter Kim started the International Hapkido College in Strathfield and left the City Gym and the AHA to Matthew  and Joseph. Joseph went on to run a very successful club in Kogarah with the help and support of Matthew Kim.

Most of the senior members of the AHA trained under Matthew Kim in the City Gym. Being students of Matthew Kim means that all our senior members have the same understanding of Hapkido and the same hope for its future.

Master Kevin Brown

Master Brown started out in Tae Kwon Do and achieved his black belt in 1983.

While training in Tae Kwon Do, Master Brown commenced training in Hapkido under Grandmaster Matthew Sung Su Kim.

In 1985 Grandmaster Kim started teaching on the Northern Beaches, first at Curl Curl then at Harbord. 

In 1985, Master Brown also competed in the AHA’s very first annual tournament and won the Male Grand Championship.

Master Brown achieved his Hapkido Black Belt in 1985 and went on to instruct at Harbord. In 1986, he opened clubs in Manly, Newport, Narrabeen and Avalon, teaching 5 nights a week.  

Students of Master Brown include Master Matt Geister, Master Steve Tamanini and John Ansley who are all now senior members of the AHA.

In 1994, Master Brown started a fulltime Dojang in Brookvale calling it Northern Beaches Hapkido.

In 1995 Grandmaster Kim decided to take a step back and appointed Master Brown as President and Technical Director of the AHA.

In 1999, Master Brown graded to 5th Degree and was invited to be on the cover of Blitz and Australasian TKD magazines, they also presented Master Brown with Blitz Hapkido Instructor of the year.

In 2002, Master Brown led another team of Black belts to Korea along with Grandmaster Kim, which was another fabulous experience of training and forming friendships.

In 2006, Master Brown opened a Dojang in Mona Vale and  Grandmaster Kim presented him with 6th Degree.

Also, in 2007, Master Brown was invited to travel to Korea with Master Daniel Marie and John Ansley to participate in the first World Yongmudo Championship. With over 20 other countries involved, the three of us had a fabulous time and we came away with a Gold medal for self defence demonstration. Also enjoyed training with Master Kang at his Gongkwon Yusul Headquarters in Seoul.

In 2010, Master Brown moved his Mona Vale Dojang to the Pittwater Sports Centre and changed the branch name to Pittwater Hapkido.

In 2011, Master Brown once more travelled to Korea with a team of Black Belts to compete at the World Yongmudo Championships.

Master Brown has been involved with martial arts in some form or another for close on forty years.

Grandmaster Kim instilled in Master Brown that we are not just an organization but a family.

Master Kevin Brown currently teaches at the Pittwater Hapkido Dojang and as President and Technical Director of the AHA runs many workshops and gradings at our branches throughout Australia. Master Brown also teaches the monthly Black Belt classes in Sydney.

Master Lee Jeong Seo

Our first contact with Master Lee Jeong Seo was during the Masters’ Visit to Australia in 1995. During this visit the Korea Hapkido Federation and Myung Ji University (located in Yong-In, South Korea) sent a group of 5 masters to help with the growth of Hapkido in Australia.

Master Lee Jeong Seo demonstrated such powerful and effective techniques during this visit that many of our members went on to seek additional training with him in Korea. The AHA also invited him back to Australia for a further series of seminars in 2005.

One of our students Andrew Byrnes went to Korea and studied Hapkido under Master Lee Jeong Seo for seven years. Andrew also completed a degree at Myung Ji University and studied under many other Hapkido, Poong Yudo and sword masters in Korea.

Andrew has since returned to Australia with a 5th Degree Hapkido Black Belt awarded by Master Lee Jeong Seo and lives in Sydney.

Several of our core techniques are greatly influenced by Master Lee Jeong Seo: Face Push, Step Behind and Throw, Tornado Throw. His posture, use of hips and biomechanical efficiency are very well developed.

Master Lee Jeong Seo is currently living and teaching Hapkido in Frankfurt, Germany.

Master Kang Jun – Gongkwon Yusul

Master Kang Jun has developed a really interesting martial art called Gongkwon Yusul that looks very much like Hapkido with grappling included. The grappling has a unique Korean style to it and is not just a copy of the Brazilian grappling that has become so popular in mixed martial arts in recent years. Master Kang has also integrated his self defence techniques really well into sparring – making them able to be applied in normal free sparring.

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