Yongmudo is a style of Hapkido, a Korean martial art, focusing on self-defense and incorporating techniques useful in a variety of self-defense situations including kicks, strikes, throws, falls, rolls, joint locks and grappling (ground defenses). Our primary focus is on practical self-defense skills in a fun and safe environment.
Imperial Japan outlawed martial arts in Korea when it made Korea a colony in 1910. At that time, Choi Yung Suhl, an expert in the traditional Korean martial art Taekkyun, emigrated to Japan and studied Daito-Ryu Ju-jitsu, a forerunner also of Aikido and Judo. By his return to Korea in 1945, Master Choi had combined Taekkyun and Daito-Ryu Ju-Jitsu into a style he called Hapkido. Eventually, Choi and his student Ji Han Jae brought Hapkido to Seoul, where it gained great popularity. Master Choi died in 1987 and Ji, a 9th degree master, assumed leadership of the school.
Hapkido was introduced to the U.S. by Dr. Ken Min (9th dan Yongmudo-Hapkido, 8th dan Judo, 9th dan Taekwondo), who began teaching Hapkido, as well as Judo and Taekwondo, at UC Berkeley as a Physical Education class in 1973. Dr. Min is an early graduate of the Yudo College, now called Yong-In University, outside Seoul, South Korea. Dr. Min was affiliated with and guided by Grandmaster Myong Jae Nam of the International Hapkido Federation until the mid-1980s, teaching a style of Hapkido based on Ho Shin Sool or self-defense techniques taught at both Yong-In University and in the military.
Yongmudo was born in 1998 out of recognition that the term "Hapkido" was becoming increasingly meaningless. Some Hapkido schools were closer in approach to Aikido at one extreme while others were closer to traditional Taekwondo at the other extreme. After first changing to Hankido (and later Kukmudo), the name Yongmudo was chosen to differentiate our style from this wide variety of martial arts schools. Thus, Yongmudo is the style of Hapkido primarily emphasizing self-defense techniques.
As Yongmudo has modernized and incorporated practitioners with backgrounds in other martial arts, we have integrated techniques from a wide variety of other styles. We continue to adapt and add techniques and approaches to our self-defense repertoire as we look for the new ways to practice self-defense from a variety of ranges and situations.
We are affiliated with Yongmudo USA, which is headed in the Yongmudo Club at the University of California, Berkeley, headed by Dr. Ken Min (9th dan Yongmudo-Hapkido, 8th dan Judo, 9th dan Taekwondo) and Dr. Norman Link (7th dan Yongmudo-Hapkido). The Yongmudo USA is affiliated with the Yongmudo program at Yong-In University in Korea and with the World Yongmudo Federation.
Brattleboro Yongmudo instructor Kobey Shwayder trained at the Yongmudo clubs at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA (Harvard Hapkido) and at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA (Temple University Yongmudo Hapkido/Philly Yongmudo) and maintains strong connections with those clubs.
Brattleboro Yongmudo is taught by Kobey Shwayder (4th dan).
Kobey started training in Yongmudo/Hapkido in 2004 at Harvard Hapkido under the instruction of Shu-Yi Oei (3rd dan) and received his 1st degree black belt in 2009. Kobey subsequently moved to Philadelphia, where he trained and taught at Temple University Yongmudo Hapkido (now Philly Yongmudo) under head instructor Robert Brown (6th dan). He was promoted to 2nd dan in 2011, 3rd dan in 2014, and 4th dan in 2022. In addition to Yongmudo/Hapkido, Kobey has cross-trained with Aikido, Aikibudo, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Dan-Zan Ryu Jujitsu, Judo, and Muay Thai clubs.
Outside of martial arts, Kobey has a Ph.D. in Linguistics (University of Pennsylvania, 2015). However, after struggling to find jobs in an ever-dwindling academic job market, Kobey decided to leave academia to pursue his hobbies as a career. He launched Vermont Vermouth in 2020, making craft vermouth with local ingredients. He also enjoys cooking, baking, and playing the viola da gamba.
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