About Us

Modern American Goju (aka USA Hapkido Associates) teaches students of all ages self-defense in the styles of USA/Urban Goju Karate-do and Korean Hapkido.

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Our History

Our school, Modern American GoJu (originally known as American Falcon Hapikdo, USA Hapkido, Karate Institute of Allwood, Inc.), has been in operation for more than 29 years. The head instructor, Dr. Walter “Doc” Krawiec, originally began teaching a small group of select students in his home back in 1977. After a couple of years, a more suitable commercial space was needed and acquired to fit the needs of the growing school. A few years later a larger space was acquired in a professional building. We had been at this same location for 27 years but in September of 2007, we have moved to 1245 Main Ave., Clifton, New Jersey. Over this time, the school has promoted nearly 100 Black Belts, reflecting a commitment to providing the highest quality training, rather than offering rapid promotion at the expense of a thorough education.

We are specifically a Hapkido school, unlike some schools, which teach mainly Tae Kwon Do with some Hapkido added in. However, we have selectively integrated a few elements from other art forms over the years. Most notably, a number of elements of Goju Ryu Karate have been incorporated without compromising the integrity of the primary art. Examples of such elements are the inclusion of additional kicking and striking techniques not originally found in Hapkido and a group of additional defensive parries to supplement Hapkido’s standard blocks. Also, we have the tradition of referring to our school with the Japanese, “Dojo” rather than the Korean, “Dojang” and likewise using the Japanese title “Sensei”, when addressing instructors.

These minor additions reflect the head instructor’s original background in the martial arts, when he first began studying Goju Ryu Karate. Sensei Doc currently holds an 8th Degree Black Belt in Goju Ryu Karate from the late Grandmaster Peter Urban, and a 6th Degree Black Belt in Hapkido from the American Teachers Association of the Martial Arts that is also recognized by the International Federation of Ju-Jutsuans. His original Black Belt in Hapkido was from Synbonim Yun Sul Sun. He also holds a Black Belt in Temeshiwari (breaking). As a professional educator, Sensei Doc had been a full time teacher of American history and presently is an Assistant Principal in the Wayne Township Public School System in Northern New Jersey. He has been committed to teaching and education for over 35 years. He holds a BA and MA Degree in Social Sciences from Montclair State University and a Doctorate in History Education from Walden University. His career in education has afforded Sensei Doc unique insight and understanding of children, adolescents, and adults when teaching the martial arts. His success in teaching children as well as building discipline and positive self-esteem has always been a strong point of the school.

In addition, we have a thriving Adult Class which has attracted a diverse range of successful and well educated professionals. Our students have included chiropractors, medical doctors, accountants, investment brokers, computer programmers, and even members of the Clergy. Sensei Dr. John Surie is a licensed Chiropractor with an office located in Northern New Jersey in a Gold’s Gym. He is the third ranking Black Belt presently in the school after Sensei Doc and his son, Sensei Richard Krawiec. Both Sensei Rich and Sensei John each hold 4th Degree Black Belts in both Hapkido and Goju Ryu. Sensei Rich is a marketing executive and is, together with his father, a co-owner of the school.

About Hapkido

Hapkido is a Korean martial art with a primary emphasis on self-defense rather than sparring or sports related competition. It is a complete, or integrated, fighting system which combines the dynamic kicking and punching traditionally associated with Korean martial arts, together with a vast array of joint locks and throws designed to subdue or control an attacker, more typically associated with Japanese arts such as Aikido and Juijutsu.

“Hapkido” can be literally translated as “the way of harmonized power”. This refers to the way in which most Hapkido techniques deal with an attacker’s force: obliquely redirecting it rather than confronting it head on. To meet an attack head on only results in a clash in which the larger, stronger adversary has a decided advantage. However, by directing the force of his/her defense in the same direction as the force of the attack, the Hapkido practitioner can combine (or “harmonize”) his/her power with that of the attacker, using both against the attack. In this way the defender always has the advantage. To accomplish this redirection of energy, Hapkido makes frequent use of circular motion in its defensive techniques. The effects of circular motion on an attacker can be easily visualized if you can imagine someone getting stuck in a revolving door. Pushing forward, the force they exert comes full circle and is ultimately directed back in the direction it came from. Lesser fractions of a circle can also be used to easily deflect the force of an attack off to one side.

In addition to the principle of circular motion, Hapkido also makes use of what has been referred to as the “water principle”. Water is, of course, one of the softest things on earth. It has no rigid shape. If you use your hand to push water sitting in a pool, the water will always yield but then return to its natural level and thus not be moved. Likewise, the Hapkido practitioner yields in the face of head-on force but is not moved by it. Then, when in motion, water does not seek to penetrate an obstacle, rather it takes the path of least resistance, flowing around an obstacle it cannot move, surrounding it, and ultimately eroding and washing it away. Likewise, when the Hapkido practitioner counterattacks, he/she does not do so directly and head-on, but rather moving obliquely, delivering his/her strikes from the side or even the rear of the assailant, to exploit his weak points, overwhelm and ultimately defeat him.

Developed in the late 1940’s and early 50’s by a Korean named Yong Sool Choi, Hapkido is a relatively modern art form. However, it is this origin, in the years immediately following the Japanese occupation of Korea during World War II, and the subsequent years which saw the outbreak of the Korean War, which is responsible for forging the practical, self-defense oriented focus of the art. The central purpose has always been to enable the average person to escape unharmed when confronted by a violent attacker or attackers. Hapkido proved so effective along these lines that it was soon being taught to the South Korean presidential bodyguards. Later, Hapkido was taught to members of elite units in the South Korean armed forces and, after coming to the attention of the U.S. military in the 1960’s, was taught to the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) for use in hand-to-hand combat.

Time-and-again, Hapkido proved itself to be one of the world’s most effective fighting arts. However, it is also a highly versatile art, capable of modulating in severity between more or less violent applications of the same technique. A technique which would be used on the battlefield to completely tear apart the joints of an attacker’s arm can also be used in a bar room to restrain a drunken assailant without causing any injury at all. Frequently in class, techniques will be shown in their less violent applications to all students while high ranking students will be shown the more advanced (and more dangerous) applications of the same technique. Likewise, technique is taught in an age appropriate manner, with the more potentially dangerous techniques being confined to the adult classes while children’s classes focus on more non-violent technique categories appropriate to the level of schoolyard altercations that they are more likely to find themselves in.