Michael Parks

I believe I have the honor of writing the first personal profile after our beloved friend and teacher, Grandmaster Joe Sheya, joined his soul with the Universe. But he’s still with us all, and I feel that his spirit is guiding me in writing this profile. Even now, senior black belts in class are saying “This is how Joe does it.” (note the present tense).

I studied Tae Kwon Do in the early 1980s prior to finding a home in Traditional Hapkido. I loved TKD but like many in our Hapkido family who previously studied other arts, I felt that something was missing...though I didn\'t know what that something might be. That “something” turned out to be the essential connection between people and their energy, or chi. Even in those early days, Joe guided us in that most difficult ? and ultimately rewarding ? of teachings.

Professional requirements forced me to leave regular practice, to find training wherever in the world I found myself. Twenty-four years passed before I joined the Hapkido family once again. I was astonished to find how much the art had evolved in that time under Joe’s stewardship. Traditional Hapkido is now the most personally transformative and effective martial art I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve experienced many. Joe honored me greatly by awarding me the first degree black belt. In doing so, he placed on me a grave responsibility: Live up to it! Thanks, Joe.