Lester Goodwine began martial arts as an imitator. Imitating people, voices, and things he saw in life and on television. He was introduced to Martial arts through a 4H summer camp and soon thereafter, a more constructive direction was considered as he was enrolled in a Taekwondo class. On his 3rd birthday, Lester was accepted for training by instructors associated with Master D.W. Kang (WTF Affiliation). Instructors rarely accepted students that young, but during their initial meeting and trial period, Lester imitated many of the techniques & movements without being told, and those he couldn't do, he tried. Bruce Lee films, Saturday afternoon martial arts theater at the cinema, and neighborhood training with childhood friend Larry Epps inspired Lester's formal training from the beginning and through those early years. Years later, Master Kang’s training had impacted him so deeply that when Lester achieved his rank of 4th degree Taekwondo (Sabumnim) Black belt, along with the proper traditional inscriptions for the rank, he asked that his Instructor's name be clearly inscribed on his belt to honor his mentor & teacher. Preliminary testing for 7th Dan in 1987, Lester continued his training and teaching as part of his 40 year "time-in" requirements for the rank adding stripes to that belt as the ranks were earned. Sabumnim Kang sponsored Lester's 7th Dan full promotion which he received in May 2004. He became one of the youngest non Korean Dan graded Taekwondo instructors outside of Korea.
Along the way Lester trained with Moo Duk Kwan TaeKwonDo Master Instructor, Richard Chun in preparation for the 1988 Seoul Olympics where he participated as an alternate and trainer in the at that time trial sport, TaeKwonDo. He also fought in partial contact tournaments and full contact PKA contests to get a sample of competitive martial arts. Retiring from the fighting circuit undefeated, Lester "The Spiderman" (ring name), found what his teachers had said all along. Fighting is a last resort, and one fights for life, choosing their battles drawing from beliefs, circumstances, and experience. He recently retired his TaeKwonDo belt, (almost white again from the years of training & teaching) to a "kamidana" (place of honor) in his home. His promotion to Founder / Creator / Sensei of Hapchida-do is a continuation of a lifelong journey for him and he hopes to live up to Sabumnim's name for him, "Yon", which in Korean means "flow".
Frustrated with injury working to achieve flexible splits for Taekwondo and recognizing that no one art is the “be-all-end-all”, Sensei, (Japanese translated as 'Teacher or 'Born before' as he's called now) was encouraged to study additional arts to round out his skills, and started training in his Sabumnim's suggestions, Hung-gar Kung-fu and then, Aikido. During those early training years Sensei also trained in wrestling and Chinese and Japanese martial art weapons while pursuing another of his loves, music. Where'd he find the time for all of these things? Early mornings and into the night! The studies definitely didn't stop here as training in Ninjustu with Rumiko Urata Hayes Sensei during summer month training camp sessions helped pave a "path to enlightenment" that continues to this day. Yearly visits to Zen Mountain Monastery for meditation, fasting, Spiritual cleasing, and Chinese Martial arts studies studying 10 years of Hung-gar KungFu with Sifu John Leong, 15 years of study of Aikido with William Gleason Sensei (ASU affiliation), Yoshokai Aikido (with students of Takashi Kushida Sensei), Goodwine Sensei received his Black belts and Dan grades in both arts (Black sash and Shodan Rank). While training in Aikido, he began to see elements that could work well together from the different systems of study and incorporated several of the techniques, feelings, and experiences from the different martial arts into Hapchida-do.
Sensei's studies don't end here as he attends seminars with World re-known Master instructor Tony Annesi Shihan of Bushido Kai Budoya, as well as training and teaching in seminars all over the world. Additional Budo training comes in the form of studies in AikiBudokai with Shidoin Jigme Chobang Daniels and Aikido instructors all over the world in seminars and training camps. Even as we speak Goodwine Sensei is living in Norway, continuing his Aikido studies, teaching, and has received Shihan and Soke ranks in Hapchida-do. These high honors are reserved for the head of a system/family and bestowed upon that person by his peers in the martial arts. For context one could consider it the ultimate black Belt Test. Continuing to blend and "flow", Goodwine Sensei has merged customs from the various cultures where his base arts have come from. Japanese Rei or bowing, a kamidana or "place of honor" in the dojo with images of the founders primary, instructors, influences and mentors, Korean standing bow and terminology for Korean techniques, Chinese terms and philosophy for GungFu components and so on . . .
Hapchida means “Combined” or "Unique" and Do means "way" . This is a founding principal of this system. Sensei also incorporated elements of JiuJitsu (grappling), Judo (throwing), Ninjustu (Path to enlightnment) as well as Chi Kung breathing, meditative visualization and many of the weapons associated with the martial arts. Formal Hapchidado training began in Nov. 1989 in a dusty basement in Boston MA. with a child and a few adults. Training moved outdoors to a park, along the Charles river, a convenience store basement storage room, and eventually found a long-time home at Berklee College of Music. Hapchida-do has since been recognized as a hybrid self-defense based martial arts system by the Martial Arts Masters World Federation (Nov. 2003) with a training curriculum up through 6th dan. Sensei has also been recognized as a Master & Founder by this federation! The Independent Martial Arts Federation also recognizes and endorses Sensei's independent 7th dan Sabumnim TaeKwonDo rank, Shodan Aikido rank, Sifu (Black Sash) of Hung-gar rank, Ninpo Shodan rank, as well as his Founder/Creator/Sensei rank in Hapchida-do (Nov. 2004 & 2005). There are School Charters in Boston (2003) and Norway (2005). The International Independant Martial Artsts Association has recognized Goodwine Sensei´s Founder/Soke Rank (Nov. 2014)
Hapchidado founder Lester Goodwine with daughter (and first student) Randi.