There are no Fresno Hapkido schools. I don’t know why that is. I know of at least two Hapkido black belts in Fresno. One teaches Taekwondo and has little interest in teaching Hapkido (he taught Hapkido in the past but the few students he had dropped out one by one). Another got his black belt from Ji-Han-Jae, a famous Hapkido grandmaster, but he does not seem to teach or study actively.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, where I began in Hapkido, there are schools everywhere. I studied at the San Leandro branch of the Korean Martial Arts Center. On Saturdays I drove to SF for the weekly Hapkido intensive at KMAC headquarters; and once a week I drove down to Campbell to study with Major Kim at Eagle Talon Martial Arts Academy (though I only studied with Major Kim briefly – the commute was a killer).
I also dropped in at several other schools to observe classes and check out their curricula, including Hapkido USA on Taraval St. in SF’s Inner Sunset district; the Hapkido Institute in SF’s North Beach district; and the Bay Area Martial Arts Academy in Belmont. Hapkido USA in particular impressed me with their techniques and single-minded dedication to the art of Hapkido.
I remember visiting a friend who lived off Los Angeles’s Wilshire Blvd. some years ago. I drove around Korea Town and spotted Hapkido schools everywhere. Of course that’s no surprise, as Los Angeles is ground zero for Hapkido in the USA, second only to Korea itself. You can’t throw a rock in L.A.’s Korea Town without hitting a Hapkido master.
I moved to Panama in December 2005. I was amazed as I walked or took taxis around Panama City to see Hapkido signs sprouting everywhere: across from Multicentro in Paitilla, on a side street in Marbella, in downtown Betania, and Ramon Navarro’s school in Marcasa which I joined.
Later I moved to a small town in the mountains two hours outside the city, and it was no longer practical for me to attend Hapkido class. So I started my own classes in my living room, teaching any locals who wanted to learn.
I guess my experiences in San Francisco and Panama spoiled me, because I was surprised and disappointed upon moving to Fresno in August 2008 that there are no Hapkido schools here. So I founded Hapkido in the Park, and I also joined a Jujitsu school (Bushikdokan of Fresno) in order to continue developing my skills. I still study at Bushidokan and I have been advancing through the ranks in Jujitsu and Shorin-Ryu Kenpo.
Bottom line is, if you want to study Hapkido in Fresno, you’re stuck with me, ha ha. 🙂 Come down and try a class, and see what you think.