Biography of Grandmaster Son Young Gul
The history of Heukchoo USA begins in 2008 with Grandmaster Young-gul Son, the president of Heukchoo USA and the vice-president of the American Hapkido Competition Federation. Grandmaster Son, who has eighth-degree, seventh-degree, and third-degree black belts in Hapkido, Taekwondo, and Kuhapdo, started Taekwondo at a school club in 1972 when he was an elementary student. Two years later, Young-gul Son saw a movie produced by In-sik hwang, a Hapkido Grandmaster and a movie director, and then decided to become a pupil of Grandmaster Jong-moon Jin of Heukchoo School, one of the biggest Hapkido schools in Korea.
Many years later in 1998, Grandmaster Son eventually met Grandmaster In-sik Hwang for the first time at Grandmaster Hwang’s Hapkido school in Canada. There Grandmaster Son learned some delicate points from Grandmaster Hwang. Grandmaster Hwang was awarded a 10th degree black belt, the highest rank possible in the art. Grandmaster Son and Grandmaster Hwan still continue their martial arts meetings to this day.
Grandmaster Son spent most of his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood training and studying martial arts. At that period of time, martial arts information was limited in forms of documents or data. However, he had many books and videos in his study related to martial arts. Grandmaster Son collected martial arts data from Korea, United States, China and also Japan. However, his family members and close friends could not understand his obsession with martial arts.
Grandmaster Son was not satisfied with his bare-hand martial arts techniques and wanted to further his knowledge of martial arts principles and philosophy. In 2002, he decided to join Grandmaster Tae-ryong Jeong’s Mussangjikjeon Yeongsinryu Kuphapdo (無雙直傳 英信流 居合道) while running his own Hapkido schools. Grandmaster Jeong was well known for harsh personal training, but through it Grandmaster Son learned more about martial arts philosophy and its principles, and it helped him improve his techniques.
Based on his experiences with Hapkido, Taekwondo, and Kuhapdo, as well as Judo and boxing, Grandmaster Young-gul Son developed his own style of martial arts at Heukchoo USA. He now leads the Black Eagle Martial Arts School in West Des Moines, Iowa, USA.
Grandmaster Son chose to leave Korea and emigrate to a foreign country because he thought he could not train martial arts and its philosophy in Korea because most trainees there were too young. Grandmaster Son also realized sparring and demonstration techniques were not effective in actual fights. He saw this frequently when local people participated in demonstrations or seminars as opponents, and he realized the existing Hapkido techniques were not effective against them. This led him to call for the use of all the body’s core power, and not just arm muscles.
The Grandmaster emigrated to the United States in 2008 for the development of practical martial arts and the globalization of Korean martial arts. Grandmaster Son’s thoughts about globalization of Korean martial arts started when he held Hapkido demonstrations and seminars in the USA, Canada, and Europe as the head of the Heukchoo School in Korea. He continued building relationships world-wide: with the European Hapkido Alliance, Australian Hapkido Association, Iowa State University Martial Arts Club, and the University of Iowa Martial Arts Club.
In 2002, Iowa State University students attended a martial arts camp in Korea and introduced their martial arts professor, Yong-chin Pak, to Grandmaster Son. Professor Pak, who taught Judo, Hapkido, and Taekwondo for 40 years at Iowa State University, invited Grandmaster Son to teach Hapkido for two weeks at Iowa State University every year for the next 6 years. In 2008 Grandmaster Son emigrated to Des Moines, Iowa.
Since emigrating to the U.S., Grandmaster Son still maintains a close relationship with Iowa State University Martial Arts Club, and frequently hosts seminars in many cities in South America, Europe, and the United States. In addition, he holds the Huekchoo USA opening ceremony and seminar every October, inviting martial arts masters from Korea as well as those in the USA. In these seminars, Grandmaster Son teaches his new techniques and disciplines to the participants, helping them understand the need for constant training.
Heukchoo USA, based on the traditional principles of martial arts, is seeking to combine Hapkido with various kinds of martial arts to develop practical martial arts, and Grandmaster Yong-gul Son is continuously focused on related research and training.