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Master Mike Wolmerschauser

Revered Grand Master Passes On



Master Instructor Dave Murray
Alana Thibodeau and James Thibodeau



Grand Master Mike Wolmerschauser, eighth degree black belt, exemplary Hapkidoist and instructor died after fighting a 5 year battle with cancer. In his twenties, Grand Master Wolmerschauser began a lifelong journey of the study and practice of marital arts, concentrating on the art of Hap Ki Do. “Master Mike” as he was known to his students and colleagues, was unique among practitioners as he was the only non Asian to be granted the privilege of studying directly under the founder of Hap Ki Do, Choi,Yong Sool. He also became the only Westerner to ever reach the rank of Hap Ki Do Grand Master.

From the seventies onward, under the tutelage of Grand Master Choi, Master Mike proved himself a skilled, dedicated and honorable martial artist. Grand Master Choi visited the United States in the early 1980s and asked Master Mike to found and lead the American Hap Ki Do Association. Under the direction of Master Mike, the AHKDA became an organization dedicated to expanding knowledge and understanding of Hap Ki Do, while maintaining its purity and integrity.

Master Mike toiled endlessly to facilitate the growth of the art of Hap Ki Do. His many initiatives and accomplishments included hosting many high ranking Korean Hapkidoists to visit and teach, founding many tournaments such as the Second Memorial Choi,Yong Sool’s World Hap Ki Do Championships in Daegu City, Korea, holding summer camps and teaching a virtually innumerable amount of seminars. Master Mike also co-founded the Korean Hap Ki Do Hall of Fame.

Always concerned with spreading the knowledge of Hap Ki Do, Master Mike spent a great deal of his time teaching the art via numerous forums. Aside from working with his own students, he was an Adjunct Professor of Combatives to American institutions such as the Springfield and Western New England Colleges and taught self defense to US County Sheriff Departments and other agencies. Master Mike was also quick to recognize the accomplishments of others. For example, during the course of his illness, while still very busy teaching, Master Mike took the time to induct Chung, Kee Tae (one of the pioneers of the art under Grand Master Choi, and teacher of Master Instructor Dave Murray) and others into the Hap Ki Do Hall of Fame, on June 19, 1998 at the 13th Annual Hap Ki Do Black Belt reunion. Also in attendance was one of Master Mike’s original teachers Im, Hyun Soo.

Master Mike was also an avid and diligent researcher, putting over thirty years of work into investigating the origins and development of Hap Ki Do and its forerunners. He traveled a great deal and interviewed many of the early students and prominent instructors of the art, as always concerned with the promotion of Hap Ki Do in its purest and truest form.

Grand Master Wolmerschauser left behind a wife and three children, and his son Jonathan is following his father’s footsteps. Continuing in the interests of keeping the art pure, Jonathan traveled to Korea to study and test under the Korean Hap Ki Do Masters.

On May 25th, 2002, Master Mike traveled to the Maritime Martial Arts Academy in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada for what would become his second to last seminar. Here he was reunited with his longtime friend and colleague in the arts, Master Instructor Dave Murray, President of the Canadian Hap Ki Do Association. The seminar was typical of those taught by Master Mike, both highly enjoyable and informative. Master Murray and Master Mike’s styles synergized excellently, as they showed how the art of Hap Ki Do can be influenced by the style of the instructor, but still maintain the purity and integrity of its roots.

Master Mike spent his final days in the same manner as always, learning and teaching Hap Ki Do. His final seminar was in Chicago, and he continued working and teaching up until the end of November, 2002. Master Mike died as he had lived, a paragon of dignity and honor. He passed away on December 8th, 2002. Master Mike was an exemplary martial artist and a superb individual. His influence and contributions to art of Hap Ki Do was profound, and he will be greatly missed.

General Choi


Chung Ki Tae

1st Generation

Grand Master Murray

2nd Generation