Many study Martial Arts with the hopes of being able to better defend themselves and their loved ones in that time of need. In the time before my training under Master Barrett, I know that I could have and would have fought to the death to protect a loved one if the situation arose, reacting quickly and harshly towards anyone who threatened the safety of friend, family, woman, or child in need. Now, however, with the extensive training that I have received, there are better options. If the situation ever arises, I will more likely be confident and calm in the face of danger, rather than harsh and quick to attack with the animal like instincts that kick in when fear and/or anger takes over.
Scientific studies actually show that when someone becomes angry that their IQ is diminished due to the changes in blood pressure and certain chemicals released in such a mental state. This can cause unwanted reactions in stressful situations and lead to trouble and regret if a poor decision is made in an angry state. Dangerous situations that cause stress and anger are the most important time for our brains to be operating at full capacity and proper training can give the confidence and knowledge to help us escape such dilemmas in the safest possible way.
Some of the most notable masters of martial arts have agreed that a true warrior can, “effectively disarm, stop and placate an opponent without the need of hurting or harming them.” In studying the martial arts, we become more familiar with and comfortable in the face of adversity and therefore ALL stressful situations are able to be handled in a more well thought out and civil manner that is beneficial to everyone. At Barrett Hapkido, we learn not only from our remarkable instructor, Master Barrett, but also from an extraordinary training staff and our fellow students as we gain “Strength Through Each Other.” Master Barrett’s method of instruction allows us to experience working with other people of varying skill level, experience, size, and speed so that we benefit from each other’s thoughts and experiences which helps prepare us to deal with the infinite variety of possible malicious assailants that we may, one day, be forced to face.
Master Barrett teaches in a way that encourages us to be creative with our martial arts so that it amplifies out strengths, improves upon our weaknesses, and allows us to use our imagination and become martial “artists” rather than clones who only know how to perform pre-prescribed movements. We practice in many varied situations that simulate the unpredictable nature of real0life encounters so that we are prepared to instinctively handle unwanted contact, in the most efficient ways possible, from one or more possible attackers. To sum it up, I study Hapkido in order to strengthen my body and mind so that I may better serve my purpose on this planet. The training at Barrett Hapkido is as much mental and philosophical development as it is physical I truly hope that my training enables me to continue to benefit humanity rather than harm even the most deserving. In the meantime, while I hope and pray to never have to use my training, I enjoy weekly affordable classes with a group of people of the highest caliber. Neither student, nor instructor ever make you feel uncomfortable about your weaknesses or if it takes you a little longer than others to figure out certain techniques.
The atmosphere is not one of competition and rank-status, rather it is more like a family of individuals working together to educate ourselves and help one another become more prepared to handle the many battles (physical, mental and emotional) that this world sets against us on a daily basis.
Rob “Seqioia” Berkman – School Teacher.
Barrett Hapkido, what can I say about this school Even though I’ve been training there for only half a year, every class I got to I do not only gain strength and flexibility but knowledge as well. Barrett Hapkido is undoubtedly one of the best martial arts schools in the state of Florida and maybe America. Not only is the instructor so knowledgeable and wise but even the trainers help you embrace your strengths and work on your weaknesses. All I have to say to Barrett Hapkido is Thank you.
Stephan Beltran, Age 12
I am a local law enforcement supervisor/sergeant and I travel over fifty miles to attend this school. I pass over twenty other martial arts schools on the way there. This is by far the best tactical school I have seen. I often use the principals I have learned, in my line of work and they have proven to be very effective. In conclusion in my fifteen years of law enforcement and twenty years of military (U.S. Army/Army Rangers) this is the best training I could recommend.
Donald “Ranger” Pulver
Having studied Karate for about three years, plus wrestling in high school, and then going into law enforcement I thought I was well prepared for whatever would come my way. I couldn’t have been more wrong when I had one of my first criminal encounters, not having the knowledge at that time to fuse what I did know and make it work in a real situation. The biggest difference at that time was I was in great physical shape and wore down the criminal into submission. Had I not been who knows what would have happened. The situation took too long to get under control, and that was the lesson I learned that night. I knew I needed to learn something else that was more suited to my line of work and that could save my life if need be. Through research I found that Hapkido might be the way for me to go. That’s when I found Barrett Hapkido. After one class I was hooked and have continued to train with Master Barrett since 1999. The real life skills I’ve learned there over the years has proven to be very valuable not only to me but to my child as well, as it has helped her develop into a very strong athletic young lady. I’ve found Master Barrett’s system of Hapkido to be extremely well rounded and very practical. Being a law enforcement officer puts me into situations where I have to use my Hapkido skills often, and simply put, if Hapkido didn’t work I wouldn’t do it. Beyond the practical usefulness of the art, Hapkido training becomes a part of you. The core values and study of martial principals truly make this art a lifelong study.
Michael “Hammer” Gonzalez
This school provides quite a bit not only to the students, but to the community as well. I have tagged along with Sabunim (our Master Instructor), and we have helped the community and done lots of things that have nothing to do with profit of anything you would expect of a martial arts school. The learning is fun and it teaches you more than just how to defend one’s self, it teaches values many of which people today tend to overlook or forget. I’ve been at this school for three years, I have been to other schools, I even studied martial arts in another country, and I’ve never quite had the experience I have had here.
It all began simple enough, my son wanted to take martial arts and by accident we stumbled upon Barrett Hapkido. From the first greeting by Master Barrett to this very day we have always felt a warm welcome and relaxed yet professional family environment exists. The schedule is very flexible allowing for most people to attend class. My wife would take my son during the week and I would take him on Saturdays. We would often comment on the wonderful personality of Master Barrett and how he would engage in conversation with parents, entertaining them with humor, advising them of the child’s progress, and making sure students and helpers were actively (and correctly) practicing. All of this made me realize that I might actually spend a little more time with my son and create something more in common. So I signed up. In class all levels are trained together at times and separate at others. This allows for all ranks to share experience and learn. Maybe that Is where the schools motto “Strength through each other” comes from. I had more to learn than just positions, strikes, and techniques.
As classes continued on, I have been involved in grappling, sparring, and have been able to spend time with my son. We have both learned that rank belts do actually help a student learn by NOT just beating them at whatever being done but by allowing students to actually learn through training and doing. Training is not easy. You twist and turn and grapple and kick and spar and get bruised and sore. Much like anyone who enjoys sports the workout is very good and feels very rewarding at the end of the class/ I should also make clear that Master Barrett is always there and is always highly involved with every aspect of the school. He finds a way to pay attention to all of us and I believe he makes us all achieve just a little more by making us laugh and work during class.
As my son and I have been taking classes I began to realize that Hapkido had become more than just going to class, it had truly become a fellowship. All that attend feel a bond to the other as often occurs through hard training. We show each other respect and the kids learn from these good habits. I cannot recall ever seeing an instance where someone became mad or treated someone with disrespect. This creates a great environment for kids and adults. So while I might go on about how tough people at school are or how great their skills might be. I am simply happy to spend time in a place where good things happen. Maybe i am learning?
Anthony Genova SR.
I have been training at Barrett Hapkido for five years and I am still hooked. Hapkido has improved me mentally and physically, ultimately improving my quality of life. Flexibility, physical and mental endurance, strength and overall health has improved because of going to Hapkido three days of week. The class motto is “Strength Through Each Other.” This mentality keeps you motivated to work harder to improve yourself as well as others. The idea is that when one student improves, the class as a whole improves and the work becomes more interesting. Training always becomes more of a challenge the farther along you get. In the beginning stages, all movements are big and fairly simple. As you become more advanced, techniques and movements become smaller and more efficient. There has yet to be a class at Barrett Hapkido that did not challenge my abilities.
Four or five years ago, I began researching martial arts looking to find the best martial art to fit my needs and personality. At the time, I was bouncing in nightclubs and also doing some protection work for private investigators. All my encounters were chaotic situations, close quarters and hands on. I was never attacked in the middle of the day by one man with straight forward karate, one-two punchs. It was real life, dark, crowded, and usually more than one person wildly swinging objects such as beer bottles or worse. You could grab an individual and they could be sweaty, your hands would slip, or a friend would jump out of the crowd at you. The only thing that was predictable was that you needed to be ready for anything.
That being said, I needed a martial art that would be there for me when I needed it. It was my job to keep others safe as well as myself. Doing my research I found many of the arts were focused on one area. Jujitsu, mostly ground fighting, Tae Kwon Doe, mostly point kicking, Karate, mostly stand up, Aikido, mostly non-resistance. I wanted an all around martial art that would be hands on, immediate and effective in close quarter situations. Something three dimensional, that included non-resistance, pressure points, joint locks, kicks, strikes, and ground fighting. I stumbled upon a Korean Martial Art called “Hapkido” that seemed to combine all the elements I was looking for.
Having decided on Hapkido, the next hurdle was to find a Dojang close by that offered Hapkido exclusively. I didn’t want to be at a commercial type place that offered Hapkido, Karate, and Kick boxing on different days of the week, scattering its focus in different directions. My search produced very limited options, two to be exact, for Hapkido Dojangs in the area. I signed up at the first Dojang because it was close to my house, without visiting the second.
The instructor was very traditional, had trained in Korea, and his version of the art was based on flowing, larger movements of the sword. He taught in numbers, you learned moves one through six first, then moves seven though twelve, etc. You did the same move over and over again until you perfected it to his liking. I liked the art, but didn’t feel it was exactly the kind of training I was looking for. Three or so months after signing up, the instructor closed the school and moved out of state for a better opportunity.
I wanted to stay with Hapkido, so I visited the only other school in the area that offered it exclusively, Barrett Hapkido. I walked in and saw the same art but what a difference in style, teaching methods, attitude, etc. It was like night and day. The things the Master Instructor said seemed to make sense and instead of seeing the large dance like movements of the sword, I was seeing Hapkido and its principals being applied in real life situation. Many of the students were law enforcement officers and used Hapkido on a daily basis, transporting and controlling unruly prisoners. The art took on a whole new meaning for me. Another thing I noticed was the attitude on the mat. The students were learning, but also having a good time. The respect for the Master Instructor and the other students was there, but they were also relaxed, smiling, and laughing occasionally. They appeared to be learning from each other. I saw a Master Instructor that was dedicated to his school, and students. It was like a big family was on the mat training together. I was hooked and have been learning from and enjoying the people at Barrett Hapkido ever since.
Hapkido, Barrett Hapkido, and Master Barrett have done many things for me over the last four or five years. I am physically and mentally stronger. I am more relaxed and closer to being stress free. I am more capable of defending myself or assisting others if need be. I have developed numerous friendships and business relationships. My school has been there for me, and I have put effort into my school benefiting others as well as myself. I look back today and realize something that I didn’t realize four or so years ago. What the motto on the back of our shirts is all about “Strength Through Each Other.” Nathan G.