A retired United States military veteran, Master Herbert E. Hazeley Jr., a native of Liberia, has returned home to offer his services to his people.
Master Hazeley is also a retired New York City and Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice and State Corrections officer.
He is the founder of ‘Kpelle Do’ a form of martial arts similar to Taekwondo that is loosely translated as “The Way of Kpelle Fighting.” He named and developed the art in honor of his Kpelle ancestry to develop the physical and inward strength of its adherents.
Though he has in past visits encouraged ordinary people to join the art, his current focus is on paramilitary officers, including the police, the army and officers of the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS).
“I have been coming to Liberia from the United States since 2005,” he said in an interview last Friday in Monrovia, adding that he wants to “empower them.”
He has called on the Liberia National Police, the Armed Forces of Liberia, the Liberia National Fire Service and the Liberia Immigration Service to allow their representatives to consult with him and see what he has to offer.
“I want Liberia to open the door for me to help,” Master Hazeley said, adding that practitioners will enjoy physical and mental discipline, excellent fitness and the ability to defend themselves if necessary.
He said “God has blessed me to have acquired knowledge in the security field which all started in Monrovia, and I want to give back to my Liberian people.”
For that to happen, he said he needs government agencies and ministries to show interest in what a Liberian who has acquired enough knowledge in a field that paramilitary organizations can use can do for them.
For example, the frequent cases of fire incidents in Monrovia demand that members of the Liberia National Service undergo vigorous preparation to get them prepared mentally and physically to meet their challenges.
Anyone who has watched the difficulties young Liberian police officers encounter in their attempts to overcome lawbreakers would recommend self-defense as part of the police curriculum. “There are numerous occasions when lawbreakers overcome police officers and it is because the officers are not physically prepared and this is where Master Hazeley comes in,” said an admirer of the retired US Navy veteran.
Master Haseley said he grew up on Ashmun Street where the new Central Bank building is located. He introduced Kpelle Do to 50 individuals in Monrovia on January 26, 2014 at the Sports Commission on Broad Street.
He said his interest in country-fighting came from his Kpelle relatives. “I went ahead to develop the style and mixed it with other styles,” he said.
Like other martial arts, Kpelle Do is mainly used for defensive purposes to protect the weak, women and children, and to also gain physical fitness.
“Its central message is self-defense,” Master Hazeley told the Daily Observer in an interview last Sunday.
A religious man, Hazeley is a member of the Emmanuel AME Church in Frederickson, Virginia, in the United States, where he is a trustee, choir member and self-defense instructor.
He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Diana E. Davis Orphanage Center in Brewerville.