GHA Mission Statement
“To develop Global Hapkido Association’s members physically, mentally and morally; to build an appreciation for life and to enhance its quality through continued education; to build confidence, teach and understand diversity. The goals set forth serve not only to develop students as future leaders, but also the community around them.
The Global Hapkido Association stresses the importance of its core values, “Respect, Honor & Unity”, through producing technically proficient martial artists who exemplify our core values and demonstrate the highest standards of global citizenship in the art of Hapkido.”
The Global Hapkido Association (GHA) was created by Grandmaster Hee Kwan Lee in Battle Creek, Michigan in 2013. Grandmaster Lee has acquired more than 50 years of experience in the martial arts, which included extensive leadership experience in two of Korea’s largest and most prominent Hapkido federations. He would travel to Korea, sometimes as many as four times a year to participate in executive-level leadership meetings for these organizations. It was through this experience that Grandmaster Lee realized the need for a Hapkido organization that would meet the diverse needs of its members in a way that would promote mutual growth and create a benefit to all Hapkido practitioners.
From that simple idea, Grandmaster Lee set goals for his newly-created organization that would become the pillars of success that led to the exponential growth of the Global Hapkido Association. First, he emphasized the importance of investing in GHA members through diverse, high-level training. The GHA training events are often conducted at international universities and are taught by experts in their field. In addition to teaching core Hapkido curriculum skills, the GHA offers training that covers topics like traditional Korean swordsmanship, archery, acupressure and chiropractic skills, and police and military tactics. Second, Grandmaster Lee established a system for promotion that included international credentials and prestigious rank certificates. Whether it is a black belt certificate, a letter of appointment, or an international referee card, all promotions are earned, never given. Third, he conceived an idea of large regional and world championships where athletes can compete among the best Hapkido practitioners that the world has to offer. Through highly-trained and impartial referees, and an open format that invites the best martial artists from around the world, regardless of affiliation, the GHA is able to create true world champions.
When the GHA first began, there were nine member nations (listed alphabetically): Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Thanks to the dedication of the board members meeting the needs of students, instructors, and member schools, the list of member nations continue to swell as Cuba became the 41st member nation in 2018. The GHA expects to continue to grow, providing excellent leadership skills as they continue to serve their communities: public safety, military, schools, educators, children, and adults alike.
In addition to providing a focus on service to its member schools, the GHA wanted to provide for a major, international tournament, providing a high-class championship with a focus on camaraderie and sportsmanship. At the 2017 GHA Championship in Mexico, the GHA truly achieved their dream with the largest turn out to any single Hapkido event with participants from all over the world. To help support their championship, the GHA offers international referee training, consistent to the GHA rules and regulations. In addition to Korean language training for the commands, referees are also able to learn the commands in their native languages.
Grandmaster Lee currently serves as the founder and president for the GHA. His Excellency Abdulla Alsaboosi, Consul General of the United Arab Emirates in Los Angeles, California, serves the GHA as chairman of the board, continuous sitting board member like many other GHA board members. Through the skilled leadership of the GHA board members, they have been able to obtain Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with universities in Mexico, South Korea, and Venezuela. Grandmaster Lee has been awarded an honorary master’s degree from a university in Mexico, and an honorary doctorate from a Brazilian university, Erich Fromm World University. All of the GHA board members are dedicated to meeting the needs of our masters, instructors, and students.
Throughout the world, the GHA helps people benefit from Hapkido training. The association is designed to expressly serve the organizations, school owners, masters, and instructors providing support to help them grow their Hapkido programs, leadership, and skills. The Global Hapkido Association stands to be an apolitical association, available for any and all martial artists seeking a consistent structure and fulfillment in their training. The GHA will continue to provide their care and support far into the future.
Grandmaster Hee Kwan Lee