In Korea martial arts masters are called (sabeomnim) 사범님
Shifu Roger Hagood, one of Mr. Park’s more publicly known students arrived in Korea in 1976 part of the 101st Airborne (“Screaming Eagles”) stationed in Camp Hovey,
Close to Camp Casey, home of the 2nd Infantry Division, his practice with Master Park would begin soon after his arrival.
Shifu, Hagood, would later specialize in southern mantis going on to becoming a noted practitioner and one of its representative in China.
Unfortunately Roger, left Korea a couple of months or so before I would meet Mr. Park
I arrived in Korea early 1978. Stationed at Camp Edwards, located in what was called the western corridor 15 km, from the “Z” “DMZ”.
South Korea still under martial law at the time, getting around not so easy.
A long bus ride to Camp Casey.
My first meeting with Master Park after arriving in Korea, a chance happening on a hot mid summer day
Walking around Camp Casey I stopped, watching a martial arts teacher training one of his Korean students. I walked over introduced myself, asking about what I thought was CMA. An unexpected sight in Land of the Morning Calm, “Korea”
Sabeomnim, Park, was teaching at the Camp Casey gym where he taught GIs stationed there.
He introduced him self as “Mr Park” asked a little more about my own back ground, and explained a little about his Mantis Style ”
(Mei Hua Tang Lang (Plum Flower Praying Mantis Boxing)
I would addressed him as Mr Park.
Mr Park, suggested I try my White Crane style, against his student Mr. Cho, the student I saw practicing. An informal test of skill sets and way to gain a “taste” of the Northern Mantis.
On the bus ride back to Camp Edwards, 1 to 2 hours over dusty often unpaved roads of the day, I had a lot of time to think and reflect, before our next meeting. .
Bobby Drake, one of Mr Park’s senior students, very quiet in his practice, often mentioned Roger’s sparring with other martial artist testing his style. He felt I had missed a good chance to meet with Roger at the time…
Drake, in the US Air-force, stationed far from Camp Casey, we would only meet each other by chance later on.
As fate would have it, I would meet Roger, later on in the US where he was teaching southern mantis to a select group of students.
Master Park, something of an enigma, never really spoke much directly about his past teacher’s although he would mention different types of training he went though. Much of it very severe adjusting to the realities of the Korean war and its aftermath. .
“was born in 1930 in what is now North Korea. He first began studying gong fu within his family at a very young age (around 7 or 8 years old). He later traveled around the Korean peninsula studying under any master he could find. At that time he met his main master, shifu Lin Ping Jiang.
During the Korean war he along with most other young men from his home town were recruited to fight for the south as guerilla fighters not actually associated with the formal army. After the war he was able to relocate to the south and has not seen his family since then.
Shifu Park Chil Sung worked for some time after the war for the South Korean equivalent of the American CIA, training in hand to hand combat”
Shifu Roger Hagood, keeps in contact with sabeomnim Park and teaches
Southern Mantis in China, hosts an online program for those outside of China interested in traditional CMA training. .