West's Hapkido Academy

With over 200 years teaching experience in the ancient martial art of Hapkido, our instructors at West’s Hapkido Academy provide a well rounded course of instruction in traditional martial arts with a focus on improving the overall being rather than just “teaching someone how to fight.” In actuality, we teach our students how not to fight.

“We are serious about Hapkido, but not somber.”

Respect and traditional etiquette are mainstays in our Dojang, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to have fun, laugh, and joke with each other as we learn and improve our techniques.

Hapkido martial arts instructor Grand Master J.R. West

Grand Master West

9th Dan – 50+ Years Teaching

Owner and Founder of West’s Hapkido Academy

HapKiDo was virtually an unknown art in United States in May of 1970 when GM West, a HapKiDo black belt since 1967, returned from Vietnam. After searching the southeastern United States he was fortunate enough to become associated with Master (now Doctor) He-Young Kimm (Kim, Hyung-suk), an extremely well educated and talented man with an incredible knowledge of Korean Martial Arts including, among others, Hapkido and Yudo.

Hapkido martial arts instructor Chief Master Dexter Mangum

Chief Master Dexter Mangum

7th Dan – 33 Years Experience

I’m Chief Master Dexter Mangum. I’m a 7th Dan Black Belt at West’s Hapkido Academy in Ridgeland, MS. I have been training at West’s Hapkido since 1987 under the instruction of GM J. R. West. I received my 1st Dan Black Belt in 1993. In 2012 I received a Master appointment by the Korea Ki Do Association. I received the rank of 7th Dan Black Belt in 2015.

Hapkido martial arts instructor Chief Master Watkins

Chief Master Watkins

7th Dan – 26 Years Experience

My daughter was a student and got me started here at West’s HapKiDo Academy. Starting was the hardest part of this journey. Once I started the family like atmosphere with the other students has kept me here. There is always someone willing to help you and encourage you. From that first night they stressed to me I only need to keep coming to the next class and all would be well. It has been over 26 years now and I now have an extended family that covers much of the United States.

My daughter and I now have a special HapKiDo bond, that we both treasure. My physical conditioning is much improved. I am 69 years young and feel great. I feel confident that as I travel about in retirement that I am very capable of defending myself in any situation.

Hapkido martial arts instructor Master Alexander

Master Alex

5th Dan –  13 Years Experience

My name is Michelle Alexander. Many of the senior students know me as Alex. I have been training at West’s Hapkido Academy for 13 years come April 2020. Hapkido has become embedded in me to which It is not just something I do to fill time or simply get a good sweat, like an aerobics class. Every moment in the Dojang can and is a learning moment, if you’re open to it.