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Regional Master

Master Thomas Lok


8th Dan
Canada - Regional Master

It was around the late 1960's that Master Thomas Lok was accepted into the Flying Tiger Gym to study Hapkido under Grand Master Kim Jin Pal. "It is not as easy as paying and signing up to practice" Hapkido that has kept the knowledge and skills flowing through Master Lok's veins through all these years, says Master Lok.  Initially, he had to go through an extensive interview, about a whole hour long, conducted by Grand Master Kim.   "In those days, Grand Master Kim thought everyone walking in the dojang would challenge him and you can image the first part of the interview didn't go too well until my partner and myself fully warmed up to him and fully made him understand verbally that we were seriously wanting to study Hapkido under him," quotes Lok.  During those days, Grand Master Kim Jin Pal taught Hapkido in a small apartment. The work out area was about 400 to 500 sq ft. "but" according to Master Lok, "those days were the best training sessions I ever had in Hapkido. You had Grand Master Kim's total attention and he was willing to teach you as long you practiced every technique that he showed you a hundred times. I meant many thousands of time...and since my partner and I already had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, we spent most of our time on self-defense and more advance kicks."

As mentioned previously prior to Master Lok studying Hapkido, he already received his black belt in Tae Kwon Do from Grand Master Han. Master Lok studied Tae Kwon Do in his early teenage years under Master Lee Yong So and Grand Master Han Cha Kyo. Master Lok used to spend about two to three hours training everyday with both Masters. "Grand Master Han had a very powerful side kick that no one in Tae Kwon Do could ever forget." Master Lok points out, that "he was the one that taught me how to strike a full swinging sand bag with a side kick strike." To this day, I thank him from the bottom of my heart for his time in training me as it has affected the rest of my life towards how I trained myself further with other skills and techniques."

When Master Lee Yong So left and migrated to Los Angeles, California and Grand Master Han Cha Kyo got transferred to Malaysia where he continued to promote Tae Kwon Do, Master Lok started looking for another martial arts instructor. "Someone mentioned to me there is a Korean instructor just arrived in Hong Kong and he had some fast and new kicking moves that no one has ever seen before and he also knows how to break wrists and arms," explained Master Lok. It was perfect timing for Master Lok to see if he could practice under such a Master. Master Lok entered the Flying Tiger Dojang and later became one of Grand Master Kim's first group of graduating Black Belts and assistant instructors in Hong Kong. "Hapkido was a popular martial art in those days due to the fact that several Hong Kong movie stars practiced at Grand Master Kim's studio namely: Sammo Hung, Angela Mao and even Jackie Chan. They were just at the early stages of their careers when they practiced with Grand Master Kim to which Master Lok often trained along side them. In three years, the studio grew from ten to 500 members and some classes were very hard to manage. The strange part was that they were all from ages 15 and up. We didn't have any young kids like what we have now a days," further explained Master Lok. It was also at the time when Grand Master Kim himself was in the movie business when he made about seven released Hong Kong movies. Hapkido was booming at that time! Even Master Lok had bit parts playing extras in Grand Master Kim's movies. Master Lok claims "that the parts weren't much mentioning as if you blinked one second, you would miss his performance."

Master Lok studied Hapkido under Grand Master Kim for few years more and later migrated to Canada to continue with his academic studies. When he arrived in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, he commented, "I missed Hapkido so much that I rented a garage from my landlord at the back of my boarding house and started my own Hapkido training." In the beginning, self-training turned into teaching a couple of students, quoted Master Lok.


In the early stages of his Hapkido career, Master Lok moved his dojang from several places like a classroom at the University of Regina, basement of the Little Flower Church on College Avenue, the gymnasium/auditorium at St. Mark Elementary School, the Cathedral Neighborhood/City of Regina Recreation Center to his first permanent studio on Broad Street located in the 1800 Block. Some of his first Black Belt graduates from the original studio are Peter Gee, Bill Hamilton, Grant Wright, Paul and Beryl Stawarz, Ken Ing, John Rizak, followed by George Syrigos and Nat Cottrill. The second group of graduating black belt dan students included Ron Staruiala, Ray Foraie, Colin Cameron, Troy Wrobel and Henry Wong.  One of his graduating and certified instructors, George Syrigos, 5th Dan  continued by starting their own studio in Greece. "Although I have taught Hapkido the past 30 years, I still continue teaching Hapkido purely for the love of Hapkido and not because of any financial benefit. I'm proud to say that everyone knows that I maintain a very high standard and my Black Belts and my instructors reflect that philosophy," Master Lok proudly explains.

1986 - Broad Street Dojang

Master Lok continued receiving his Hapkido training from Grand Master Kim throughout the years and by 1989, he received the rank of 5th Degree and was appointed by the committee members to become the Canadian President of the World Martial Arts Federation (federation originating in Los Angeles, California). In the spring of 1995 after seeing the growth of the Federation, Grand Master Kim Jin Pal finalized the plans and establishes the Jin Pal Hapkido Federation with assistance from Master Lok. As the Vice President and General Secretary of the Jin Pal Hapkido Federation, Master Lok had the opportunity to be involved on numerous projects within the Federation. One of the Federation's latest endeavors is the establishment of a Twinning Agreement between the Jin Pal Hapkido Martial Arts Federation and the Korean New Martial Arts Hapkido Federation (formally the Korean Hapkido Association) of Seoul, South Korea in the promotion of the art of Hapkido worldwide. The signing was an event in itself as Master Lok coordinated a group of about twnety students to tour, workout and witness the signing of the Twinning Agreement in Seoul.

With his thirty-seven years of Korean Martial Arts experience, Master Lok now holds a 3rd Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do from Grand Master Han and an 8th Dan Black Belt from the Jin Pal Hapkido Martial Arts Federation and the Korean New Martial Arts Hapkido Federation. He enjoys practicing and teaching Hapkido daily and travels to many of the Federation's Hapkido dojangs to conduct Hapkido workshops and seminars. With the assistance of his assistant instructors Colin Cameron, Ron Staruiala, Dave Gaitens, Vic Polsom, Jaret Gillies and Ray Coulson in Regina, Saskatchewan and his sons, Billy and Chris Lok in Richmond, BC, Master Lok currently holds the title of regional master and is head instructor of the new Vancouver dojo, located in Richmond, BC on McKim Way.

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