Hapkido! Finally!

6 June, 2007

After being down here for 4 months, I’m finally training in martial arts again. That was something that was seriously missing from my life, and it was a lack I felt pretty keenly. I’ve been working out at home, but it’s just not the same, especially for a style like Hapkido which relies so heavily on training partners to practice techniques on.

As I’d written earlier, my search for a good martial arts school was pretty disappointing. I did have a lead on a Hapkido instructor down here, a fellow by the name of Hal Whalen who seemed to be quite well spoken of. But the link I had for his website now goes to an eBay auction, and the email address I had for him was no longer valid. However, I recently found a different email address for him, and this one worked. I found out where his club was, and tonight I went to my first class there.

I’m fairly pleased. Hapkido can vary a lot from instructor to instructor, but this stuff was very recognizably similar. Master Whalen clearly knows his stuff, and he’s got the kind of integrity that all martial arts instructors should have (though sadly too many don’t). He also was very well aware of my own instructor, Master Michael Forster, and seemed to hold him in high regard. The class was almost two hours long, which is a rarity these days. There was a very positive vibe there, the students seem to have good heads on their shoulders, and Master Whalen is very willing to share his knowledge. At the same time, he’s very curious about my own Hapkido style and background. At one point tonight, he said that my technique was very “old school,” which of course pleased me immensely. = ]

So I’ve found my dojang, for however long I’m here in Boston. It’s a bit more like home now.


Ok, so I haven’t found a dojang after all. The day after I posted this, I got an email from Master Whalen saying that he was moving away to take a job. So no Hapkido for me after all. I’ll keep working out at home, but that’s not nearly as fun as training in a proper class, and all it does is keep me sort of in shape… it doesn’t really give me the opportunity to advance my skills and learn more. Oh well. I’ll keep my ears and eyes open, and maybe something will turn up.



  1. After almost 10 years of being away from martial arts, I had also been recently looking for a school. It looks like we both found the same place at the same time. That certainly was a great class – brought back a lot of memories. It’s good that Hal’s number came up on the list, but it’s too bad that he had to move. It’s difficult to find a dojang/dojo that you like, but it looks like the search is back on. *sigh*

  2. Hey Mike, neat to hear from you. I guess there really is no anonymity on the net. Yeah, it’s a darn shame about Master Whalen leaving. Given how difficult it is for me to get to Quincy by 6, I don’t think I’ll be making it out there for any more classes – just not as worth it without the master there.

    I guess I should post an update about not having found a dojang after all. = /

  3. Hi danisacat, have you had any luck finding a Hapkido dojang over the last couple months?

  4. No, I’m afraid I haven’t. Master Whalen’s students are still training in Quincy, but it just doesn’t work for me. I’d have to leave work 2 hours early to get down there in time, and that just isn’t feasible. So these days I’m still just training at home and picking fights in bars.

    Except for the picking fights in bars part, I don’t really do that. ; ]

  5. To those that were concerned ,Iam Back teaching In Quincy ,The project I was on is Complete.

    I would like to thank My students that tried to keep my class going until I returned .

    So Once again I back on the Mat in Quincy .

    FYI Iam the person that first taugth Hapkido in the Boston area since 1979


    Hal Whalen
    7th Dan KHF

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