Hwa Rang DoÂ® is the most comprehensive system of self-defense and combative techniques in the world. This system has been developed in accordance to the ancient principles of Um-Yang, which emphasizes balance in life and harmony with others and nature.
Hwa Rang DoÂ® is the mother art of Tae Soo DoÂ®, the undergraduate program that prepares Martial Artists with the fundamentals, basic mechanics, and philosophies inherent in the practice of martial arts.
to-hand combat is as old as the human race, and the different fighting styles
that prevailed in different regions of the world took generations to evolve.
Each individual country developed different combat skills in order to protect
their country and their people. The evolution of the Korean combat skills began
about 5000 years ago when KoChoSun was established. KoChoSun was a country
that started on the Korean peninsula. This country established a strong military
warriorship tradition, and their territory spread. Their territory spanned
far from the original peninsula, and eventually included all of Manchuria and
all most half of China.
roots of what is now known by the modern martial art name Hwa Rang Do®
"The way of the Flowering Manhood" or "The art of the Flower Knights," which
was founded by Dr. Joo Bang Lee, originated from the combat skills of the
Hwarang (Hwarang and Rangdo) system of the ancient Silla kingdom of Korea.
These secret combat skills, which were called Um Yang Kwon, have survived
the passage of time, and have been passed for 58 continuous generations.
we continue with this martial art history, it is important that we clear any
public misunderstandings. In the modern time there have been some ignorant
martial art historians that have produced mistaken accounts of history. Along
with these historians, there are a number of people throughout the martial
art community that have also made false claims about their own martial art
and its relationship with the ancient Hwarang system.
practitioners claim that the roots of their arts came from the ancient Hwarang,
even when they
have an inadequate understanding of the history of the Hwarang. These types
of claims, which are also combined with inaccurate historical references,
have been lies and have also caused a great deal of confusion within the public.
So before we proceed further, it is imperative that you have an understanding
of the terms and vocabulary associated with the ancient kingdom of Silla's
Hwarang warrior system and the martial art identity Hwa Rang Do®.
The martial art name: "The way of the flowering manhood." This
is the name of the martial art identity that was founded in 1960 by Dr. Joo
Bang Lee. He is the one who created the syllabus of this martial art for
public instruction. He combined the spirit and philosophy of the ancient
Hwarang warriors with the ancient secret Hwarang combat skills Um Yang Kwon
that were passed to Dr. Lee from his master Suahm Dosa.
"Flower man" The title given to the leaders of the youth group from the ancient
kingdom of Silla. This title was only received by the youth of royal family
members, and not civilians.
"Fellows" The title of the Hwarang's fellows. These people were the students
disciples, and soldiers of the Hwarang, and all came from the civilian class.
Hwarang(s) - (Hwarangdo)
The term used to refer to the ancient Hwarang warriors. The Hwarang and
Rangdo together were called the "Flower knights." In reference to these individuals
as a group of people, the Hwarang (leaders) and Rangdo (fellows), two terms
are used. Most references simply say Hwarang (s), but there are some later
references that also use Hwarangdo. The "DO" suffix used here means a
group of people. So the term pronounced Hwarangdomeans a "group of flower men."
you can see the martial art name Hwa Rang Do® (The
Way of the Flowering Manhood) and the ancient Hwarang/Hwarangdo (Flower knights)
youth group of Silla are different identities. They have the same Korean
and English spellings, however their meanings are different. The "DO" term associated with the ancient Hwarang/Hwarangdo means a group of people.
However, the "DO" term associated with the martial art Hwa Rang Do®
means the "Way" or "Art." The Korean language uses hanja
(the characters of the Chinese writing system) as wells as hangul (the Korean
alphabet) to produce the written meanings of their language. This combination
has created a circumstance where words that have the identical Korean pronunciations
also have completely different meanings. For example the hangul word pronounced,
in Korean has 45 different meanings associated to it because of this connection
with the Chinese language. Another example of this is the hangul word "Mudo
This word means martial (military) arts ,
another "Mudo "
means inhumanity, and also another "Mudo "
means dance. Even the word "Hwarang "
has multiple meanings.
One is Flower Man "",
and the other is a picture gallery "Hwarang ".
Because of these problems with translations, and the difficulties that surround
the terms of these languages, we will show the hangul and hanja
meanings with a phonetic spelling for an English equivalent. Another reason
for this is the popularity of Hwa Rang Do® has risen
throughout the world, and we need to show these details in order to correct
the wrong understandings that have been caused by ignorant histories.
Claims About Connections to the Hwarang
are many people who claim a connection to the Hwarang. Some of the common
claims come from other martial arts and practitioners. There are claims that
Korean Tae Kwon Do came from the Silla Hwarang. Other Tae Kwon Do practitioners
say that their art came from the ancient Koguryo kingdom. Hapkido practitioners
even make claims in connection to the Silla Hwarang, to Silla royal court
martial skill techniques, as well as Kochosun roots. Claims have also arisen
from some dishonored and ignorant Korean martial art practitioners. In the
modern time there has been an explosion of dishonorable practitioners that
have been expelled from their art, are betrayers, or are video tape "practitioners"
who all never learn the basics of the honorable way of martial arts, and only
copy fighting techniques. They make their own fake style name and lie to the
public by coping our history. However, these dishonorable individuals do not
know the way of martial art honor. They only make their own "monkey styles"
and claim fake historical roots. These fakers even call themselves by a master
or even Grandmaster title when nobody gave them that rank.
claims have arisen based upon inaccurate historical accounts and on flat out
lies. This is a very serious problem related to the history of all martial
arts, and the history of the Hwarang and the martial art Hwa Rang Do®
in particular. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the martial art Hwa
Rang Do® existed 2000 years ago. This has happened
because there have been some ignorant historians as well as ignorant martial
art masters who have not understood the meaning of the terms listed above.
They think that the ancient "Hwarang/Hwarangdo "
(Hwarang and Rangdo) group of people is the same as the martial art identity
"Hwa Rang Do®"
founded by Dr. Joo Bang Lee in 1960. This has lead to confusion within the
public about Hwa Rang Do® and the ancient Hwarang
system. In addition to promoting the inaccuracies that have already occurred,
there are many people who claim and copy the ancient kingdom of Silla's Hwarang
history and use this as the history of their own martial art. This is not
just a problem for the martial art Hwa Rang Do®,
but it is also a problem for all other martial arts. The quality of the identity
and integrity of our martial arts is our honor. As this quality diminishes,
all martial arts' honor is destroyed and there is great public confusion.
That is why we must know the truth of history and follow the tradition of
our martial art that history has left us.
historical problems related to the history of the ancient Hwarang and the
martial art Hwa Rang Do® have occurred purposely
as well as accidentally. Even the Encyclopedia Britanica has mistaken the
identities of the Hwarang (flower man) and the martial art Hwa Rang Do®
(The way of the flowering manhood). Before 1974, they translated Hwarang/Hwarangdo
as, "Flower Knights." This is an accurate translation of the ancient Hwarang
warriors. However, in their later editions they have changed their translation
as, " The way of the Flowering Manhood." This is the translation that we first
used for the martial art identity "Hwa Rang Do®".
As our martial art name gained popularity in the 70's they saw this translation,
and took it from our source. Dr. Joo Bang Lee was the first one to use this
English translation in the public. Please remember, the martial art Hwa Rang
Do®"The Way of the Flowering Manhood" and the Hwarang
"Flower Man" or the Hwarangdo
"Flower Knights" system are different names and are related to different identities.
The editorial officer of the World Hwa Rang Do®
Association has contacted the Encyclopedia Britanica about this issue, and
the said they will try to correct this for their next addition. Even so, this
is an example of how mistaken historical references have been created, and
whether it has been done intentionally or unintentionally it shows that historians
must be totally thorough in their efforts. We also hope this explanation clears
any misunderstandings from the public as well as in the martial art community
regarding the ancient Silla Hwarang youth group and the marital art identity
Hwa Rang Do®.
The Identity of the Hwarang Word
word and the characters of the Hwarang
are generic letters and they are not a martial art name. However, the word
and the characters for the martial art Hwa Rang Do®
are related to the name of a specific martial art identity founded by Dr.
Joo Bang Lee. The importance of this relationship between a martial art and
its name is connected to the total traditional identity of that present particular
martial art instructional name. This means that the name of a martial art
is the representation of a specific martial art instructional business identity,
and cannot be used for any other martial art style's identification. This
is like the names of the movie industry, Universal Studios®
or Paramount Pictures®. The Hwarang words can be
used in modern times by different business categories, like a Hwarang restaurant,
a Hwarang soccer team, or a Hwarang store. But it cannot be used by any martial
art instructional businesses because our martial art is internationally trademarked
and we have the registered right to protect our name throughout the world.
is our notice to the public that any other marital art businesses cannot use
our name for their school names. Examples of illegal use of our identity's
name are, Hwarang, Hwarangdo, Hwarang musool, Hwarang muyea, Hwarang mudo
or in any combination with another martial art names such as Hwarang Tae Kwon
Do, Hwarang Hapkido, etc. Also, our Hwa Rang Do®
never gives permission to use an individual's personal name with our Hwa Rang
Do® name. Using a personal name in conjunction with
a martial art name is a denial of the same family of that martial art, and
also makes it easy for these instructors to break away from their tradition.
For example, companies do not use these types of personal names because all
employees are working for the ideals and success of that company. That is
why we do not have bracnches of these business identites that use names like
Kim's Universal Studios or Mike's Paramount Pictures.
of this, the titles of our academies use the name of the city of the school
added to Hwa Rang Do®. For example schools are called
Hwa Rang Do® Academy of Madison, WI, or Hwa Rang
Do® Academy of Arcata, CA. Similar to the names
of our academies, all other countries use the name of their country as a chapter
of the World Hwa Rang Do® Association. For example
they would be called the Korean chapter of the World Hwa Rang Do®
Association or the German chapter of the World Hwa Rang Do®
Association. This way there is only one governing organization for Hwa Rang
Do® throughout the entire world. This organization
is controlled by the Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters
which is located in Do Joo Nim's living area. Some reasons for these polices
is also because of the rise in disrespectful and dishonorable martial artists
who have made their own kwan, won, organizations and as well as their own
fake styles using the same techniques as their original system. These fake
"creations" then go by the maiden name of these people (example:
Kim's Hwa Rang Do® Association). The individuals
who have done this were expelled or betrayed their original art, and are now
only damaging and destroying their art's honor and identity. So we have this
rule to protect our art from those who were expelled by breaking the rules
of our tradition, as well as others who have damaged our strong sense of familyship,
and who do not respect martial art loyalty. If you need any details about
our rules and laws please check out our rules and
history of Hwa Rang Do® is very unique, and the
introduction of its concepts and techniques to the public is the result of
one man's vision. Our founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee is the one and only source
of this system in the world, and without him nobody would know these skills.
Nobody was even using the martial art name Hwa Rang Do®
before him. Please keep this in mind as you read this history, because the
tradition of this martial art follows the traditional ways of a martial art.
This means that principles of human morality are extremely important to its
practitioners. Principles such as honor, loyalty, respect, and duty are the
integral components that create the quality and integrity of our martial art
identity. That is why there is one governing organization in the world of
our martial art, the World Hwa Rang Do® Association
and the one Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters. It
is this organization and world headquarters that certifies all schools, masters,
and instructors as well as creating policies that ensure our identity is not
dishonored. An example of this, is the World Hwa Rang Do®
association has registered an international trademark and copyright of our
martial art Hwa Rang Do®, which means any aspect
of our art cannot be used without permission. This includes our name, techniques,
uniforms, concepts, etc. . . Another important act of this association is
we post all certified schools, black
sashes, instructors, masters,
and their ranks on our web site. This way the public throughout the world
can know if a claim about rank from a particular individual is earned and
true. If someone makes the claim that they are a Hwa Rang Do®
instructor and they are not on this listing or do not have our founder's certification,
they are a faker and liar. So please check first, before you train. If you
want to join our Hwa Rang Do® family please contact
the Hwa Rang Do®
World Headquarters and we will direct you to the best option for training
in this art.
Historical Development and Influence Begins
tradition of the Hwarang system has existed for over 2,000 years, and during
this time it has developed into an incredibly influential force. The impact
of the Hwarang system and people was strongly felt in the East Asian region
in ancient times, and has also reverberated through time, leaving a lasting
mark for us. The Korean combat skills originally began over 5,000 years ago
with the formation of the Kochosun kingdom. In order to protect the people
and their territory this kingdom began the development of a strong combative
system. Later, over 2,000 years ago, the kingdom of Silla (BC 57) was formed
and they began the development of their own warrior system.
Hwarangdo system eventually spread to Japan and was very influential in the
development of the Japanese Samurai system and Bushido (Korean-Musado, this
is the moral mentality of the Hwarang and samurai). During this time much
of the Japanese culture originated from the Korean kingdoms of Silla, Koguryo
and Packche. Along with social customs, martial aspects were passed across
the sea to Japan. So the counterpart of the Silla Hwarang was the Japanese
Shogun, and the counterpart of the Silla Rangdo was the Japanese shogun's
soldiers (their samurai). It is also thought that the family of the founder
of Jujitsu was also connected to the Hwarang warriors. The name of this "Jujitsu "
founder is "Shinna Sabro ",
and the Korean pronunciation of his name is "Silla Samrang." There were many
Koreans who moved to other countries, and because they still felt strong ties
to their homeland they used this kingdom's name as their maiden name. The
meaning of this founder's name is "Silla third man," so it is thought
that this founder's ancestors came from the kingdom of "Silla ".
soft styles such as Judo
(mostly a sport version of throwing and chocking), Daitoryu Yawara
(same as Aiki Jujitsu
- mostly throwing, joint manipulation, and grappling), and Aikido (mostly
the use of an opponent's strength, and joint manipulation) were the same
skills that evolved from Jujitsu. But, in Japan the Daitoryu yawara (Aiki
Jujitsu) and Jujitsu name has been disbanded, and presently these branch
schools are called Judo and Aikido schools. However, the Jujitsu that has
become poular in present times is called Brazilian Jujitsu and is mostly
focused on grappling and ground locks. All of these Japanese soft style skills
share many similarities with the soft style "Yusool" skills of the ancient secret combat skills of
the Hwarang which are called "Um Yang Kwon
" (Yusool -soft
skills and Kangsool -hard
skills). Because of these many similarities and the meaning of the founder's
name, it is thought that Jujitsu's roots lie in the Hwarang tradition of
of the influence of this Hwarang tradition is due to the arrival of King Chinhung
(540 AD), who was also a Hwarang. The Hwarang system existed before King Chinhung,
but he was the individual who greatly developed the power and strength of
this system within his administration and military. After his arrival followed
a long period of wars of expansion with the larger kingdom to the north, Koguryo.
However, before the northern kingdoms were engaged, King Chinhung took on
the task of driving out the Japanese colonies to the east, which were in alliance
with the Yamato clan of Japan. Ten years later, King Chinhung turned his armies
onto the fertile valleys of west and central Korea, between the Han and Imjin
Rivers. This was the Pakche kingdom, and the conquest of the Han-Imjin river
area brought great wealth to Silla through the acquisition of the richest
agricultural lands in the peninsula, additional military service, and the
labor of the peasantry. This conquest also opened an easier route to China
through the capture of the ports on the Yellow Sea. Because of the Hwarang
warriors of Silla, these three countries were unified for the first time.
Who Were the Hwarang?
of the most significant acts by King Chinhung was the development of the
Hwarang system within his military service. This Hwarang system was organized
by groups of youths who went to mountains, rivers and other places of natural
beauty to learn to develop human morality, loyalty, and mental and emotional
control along with their combat skills. Through this development of strong
mental, physical and spiritual training they were taught to act as models
of their culture and chivalrous warriors. They were Silla's elite warriors.
They were called Hwarang
(Flower Knights) and Rangdo
(a Hwarang's disciple or soldier). These were young men who exemplified the
warrior-intellectual that influenced the Silla kingdom's history for many
centuries. A 13th century monk recorded that the Silla kingdom had "issued
a decree and chose boys from good royal families who were of good morals
and renamed them Hwarang (title of leader or General). Hwarang Sor Won was
to be admitted as a Kuksun (Dae Jang Gun
or head General). This was the beginning of the Hwarang (JanGun-General)
and Rangdo (SaByoung
-soldiers) special integration within the military system. During this time
these warriors were called Hwarangdo
(Hwarang and Rangdo group of people) which means the flowering knights and
religious instruction, the Hwarang were taught traditional dance and songs
for their emotional development. Literature, the arts, and sciences were
taught for their academic development. They were also taught the art of warfare,
archery, combative skills etc. Their combat skills are based upon the concept
of the unity of opposites embodied in the um-yang . Their
empty-handed fighting techniques were known for their blending of the hard
and soft, linear and circular attacks. A linear thrust punch could break
through the wooden armor of an opponent and kill him instantly. They could
also spin kick at such speeds that their enemies frequently thought that
the feet of the Hwarang warriors were swords. Also they learned 108 different
weapons within their curriculum.
eighth century Silla historian, Kim Taemun, noted in his Hwarang chronicle.
"Sagacious counselors and loyal ministers follow the Hwarang and Rangdo; they
produce great generals and brave soldiers." The rank of Hwarang signified
the position of a teacher of the their combat skills and he commanded 500
to 5,000 students, who were called Rangdo. A Kuksun possessed the rank of
head general (Dae Jang Gun) in the army. The ferocious fighting spirit of
the Hwarang warriors became legendary, and their exploits were recorded for
posterity in Hwa Rang poetry and literature. The Hwarang narratives of the
Silla dynasty became the basis of the classical novel that formed the backbone
of Korean literature for a thousand years.
Examples of the Strong Moral Mentality of the Hwarang
of the most famous stories eulogized by Hwarang literature is the martyrdom
of the son of General P'umil, who died in the wars of unification. Kwan Chang
was a Hwarang commander at the age of 16. He was captured during a battle
with Paekche, one of the western kingdoms. Since his high ranking battle crest
indicated he was the general's son, he was taken before the Paekche general.
Lifting his war helmet, the Paekche general was taken aback at his youth.
Thinking of his own young son, he decided against execution, which was the
usual fate of the captured officers, and returned him to Silla lines. Kwan
Chang went before his father and asked that he be sent back into battle at
the head of his men. General P'umil agreed. He was captured after a day-long
battle, but after he was disarmed, he broke loose from his guards, killing
both of them by hand and attacked the Paekche general's second in command.
A leaping, spin kick killed the commander as he sat on his horse, a full eight
feet in the air. Finally subdued, he was taken before the Paekche general.
Much distressed over the loss of his chief commander, he told Kwan Chang,
"I gave you your life once because of your youth, but now you return to take
the life of my best field commander." This time the Paekche general returned
the boy's head attached to the saddle of his war horse. At the Silla line,
General P'umil grasped his son's head and wiped off the blood with his sleeve.
"My son's face is as when he was alive!" he shouted to his men. "He was
able to die in the service of the king. There is nothing to regret." The General
rode back into battle to complete the final defeat of Paekche. This was the
famous Hwang San Bul battle and the story became legendary throughout Korean
legends of the Hwarang warriors were preserved in many forms: dances, poetry
and literature. They were told and retold from one generation to another and
provided an example for the young of each generation to follow. The fighting
spirit of the Silla warriors was so widely known that even the most powerful
enemies hesitated to attack.
of the most famous stories that illustrates the respect that the country of
Tang (as China was known in this period) had for the people of Silla, is told
about the young Hwarang general named Yoo Shin Kim. General Kim was 15 at
the time he became a commander in the army. Some years later China and Silla
were in an alliance in a war against Paekche. The Silla armies had engaged
Paekche in a battle and defeated them. But the battle had taken several days
and it caused the Silla commander, Moon Kyung Kim, to be late for a meeting
with the Chinese general, who was the top commander in this temporary alliance.
Hwarang commander and General Kim went before the Chinese General Jung Bang
So to report the good news of their victory. But General So wanted to punish
the Silla Commander for his disobedience and late arrival, so he ordered his
execution! Suspecting treachery, that China's real intentions were to first
take Paekche and then turn on Silla, General Kim spoke out angrily, "Are we
your allies or your slaves?" Then in a burst of fury he exploded, "I will
first fight with your army and then we will defeat Paekche." Kuksun Yoo Shin
Kim's sword rose from its scabbard by itself into his hand and he was about
to take the life of the Chinese general. It was thought in those times that
the sword was the soul of the warrior and that it followed the mind of its
master. Seeing this, General So was taken with fright. He quickly apologized
to General Kim and rescinded the order of execution.
was defeated and Silla prepared for a war with China. However General So was
afraid to attack Silla and returned home to China. Asked by the Emperor why
he had not taken Silla also, General So said, "It is true that Silla is a
small country, but their King is very wise and the generals are fierce and
loyal. All the people are united in a strong camaraderie." He repeated
the incident with the Hwarang commander and said, "they are small, but we
cannot defeat them."
story which revealed the depth of familial bonds of the Silla period concerned
the death of the Hwarang General Bi Yeng Ja. Asked by General Kim to lead
a suicide attack against a large Chinese force. Hwarang Bi Yeng Ja replied,
"You have given me a great honor to show loyalty to my king and country."
He then requested that the general watch over his son and prevent him from
following him into battle. Since Hwarang Bi Yeng Ja had only one son, he was
concerned that his family name live another generation. General Kim assured
him that he would watch over his son. Hwarang Bi Yeng Ja entered battle and
was killed. Upon witnessing the death of his father, the son mounted his horse
and followed his father into battle and was killed too. Then followed the
house manager and servant who were also killed. The whole Silla army witnessed
this act of loyalty and, swept with a wave of sympathy for this act of sacrifice,
charged into battle to avenge the death of the Bi family. They defeated the
Chinese armies and saved Silla from almost certain conquest.
loyalties among the Hwarang warriors were frequently as strong as familial
ties. Another story is about Hwarang Sa Da Ham who was 15 years old when he
became a Hwarang under King Chinhung. In a war with the Northern kingdoms,
Sa Da Ham pleaded with the King that he be allowed to lead the first attack.
In spite of Hwarang Sa Da Ham's young age, the King consented so as to demonstrate
the bravery of the Hwarang youth. Sa Da Ham led the army into battle against
a fortress and he was the first to breach the gate. For his bravery, King
Chinhung gave him 300 slaves from the defeated army, but Hwarang Sa Da Ham
gave them their liberty and wished no personal rewards for his deeds.
this war, Hwarang Sa Da Ham lost his closest comrade, Hwarang Moo Kwan Rang.
From early childhood the two young friends had a death pact that obliged each
to commit suicide should one or the other die in battle. Sa Da Ham heard of
his friend's death and fell into remorse and mourning. He refused to eat or
sleep for seven days. He died on the seventh day, and his sacrifice was eulogized
in Hwarang novels for centuries to come.
story of Hwarang Won Sool, the second son of Dae Jang Gun Kuksun Yoo Shin
Kim, commander of the Silla army, is similar in its importance. Hwarang Won
Sool was a lieutenant in the army when it suffered a defeat at the hands of
Chinese troops. Upon his return, his father requested permission from King
Moon Moo to execute his son for the disgrace he brought on the family and
the country. But King Moon Moo replied that the boy was not in command and
therefore was not responsible for the defeat. But the father banished his
son into exile in the mountains as a monk. When the father died Won Sool came
back down from the mountain to face his mother, but she refused to see him
replying that she would not violate the father's command. Won Sool returned
to Tae Bak Mountain. Some years later China launched another war. Hwarang
Won Sool heard of the impending war and returned to the King to request that
he be allowed to enter the battle. He was given a command and performed brilliantly.
King Moon Moo wanted to reward him, but Won Sool refused, saying that his
family held him in shame and that he could not accept. He returned to his
mountain once again to live out his life as a hermit monk.
stories, which became part of the Korean folklore and heroic legend, were
not idle fairy tales, but models of the martial code of chivalry. This code
evolved into a system of ethics and morality that was essential to the Hwarang
warrior's mentality. The ego and self-interest was never sufficient to sustain
such a commitment.
development of a code of ethical behavior was achieved by the monk Won Kwang
Bopsa. He told his young disciples Hwarang - Kwi San and Chu Hang, "The society
of the Silla people already had five rules called Sae Sok Ohkae, but I command
you to give these five rules to the Hwarang warriors for their rules of life."
From this point on these five rules are called the Hwarang Ohkae. These five
rules have been passed down and held by the Hwarang warriors from every generation
since Won Kwang Bopsa first gave them to his two Hwarang disciples.
The End of an Era
Hwarang system was passed through the Koryo dynasty. However, the name of
this system was changed to kuksondo and pungwealdo
during this time. Even so, this system existed in the same capacity until
one Hwarang Jang Gun (general) Sung Gae Yi (or Lee) took over the Koryo kingdom
and established the new country of Chosun (1392 AD). The third king of Chosun,
King Tae Jong (the fifth son of Sung Gae Lee) destroyed the Hwarang system
when he initiated a policy that ordered all of the independent Jang Guns'
(Hwarang generals) personal soldiers to be under his control. King Tae Jong
was afraid of the power that the individual Hwarang generals had. King Tae
Jong believed that the possibility of another strong Jang Gun attacking his
reign was great. So this policy was created in order to destroy all of the
power that these individual Jang Guns held. This act eliminated the Hwarang
system from the public which was based on the relationship between the Jang
Gun and his soldiers.
giving the king their soldiers, some Hwarang generals left the kingdom. They
left society and turned to mountain life or became monks. It was almost 600
years that the Hwarang system and these Hwarang combat skills did not exist
in the public society of Korea. The combat skills of the ancient Hwarang
were only passed secretly from one monk to one monk, until they were passed
to Suahm Dosa. He is the 57th generation Hwarang title holder and master
of the secret ancient Hwarang combat skills called Um Yang Kwon .
He in turn, passed these secret skills to two young boys, Joo Bang Lee and
his brother Joo Sang Lee.
The Return of the Secret Hwarang Combat Skills to the Public
was in 1942 that Lee's father went to Suahm Dosa at the So Kwang Sa temple
in Ham Nam province of Korea (present time North Korea). He asked Suahm Dosa
to teach two of his sons his ancient skills. Suahm Dosa accepted these brothers
and began training them in the secret ancient Hwarang combat skills. In 1945
Korea gained its independence from the Japanese occupation (1910-1945). However,
after this, Korea was divided into the northern communist territory and the
southern democratic territory. So in 1948 Lee's family and Suahm Dosa escaped
together to the south. The Lee family settled in Seoul and Suahm Dosa moved
to the Yang Mi Ahm sanctuary on Ohdae Mountain. Later in 1960 the Lee brothers
opened their first school. It had been almost 600 years since these Hwarang
combat skills were taught in the public. With the establishment of their Hwarang
Musool (Hwa Rang Do®) dojang the Lee brothers ended
the secret passage of these Hwarang combat skills. Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee
and his brother also created the public syllabus for this new martial art
identity Hwa Rang Do®, that they founded. When they
founded this martial art identity they divided and created the categories
of techniques and ranking system for their public training system from what
they had been taught by their master Suahm Dosa.
July of 1969 Suahm Dosa passed away. However, before his death he gave the
58th generation Hwarang title holder and Do Joo Nim (owner of art) position
to Dr. Joo Bang Lee. In 1968, Dr. Joo Bang Lee registered the Hwa Rang Do® name with the Korean Government
and founded the Korean Hwa Rang Do® Association.
Also in 1968, Head Grandmaster (KukSunNim) JooSang Lee moved to America and
opened the first Hwa Rang Do® school in the United
States in Los Angeles, California. Later in 1972 Hwa Rang Do®
Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee moved to America and opened the World
Hwa Rang Do® Association and the Hwa Rang Do®
World Headquarters in Downey, California. Most martial art's World Headquarters
follow their founder's living place. So the Korean secret ancient combat skills
receiver and martial art Hwa Rang Do® founder left
his homeland and relocated the homeland of his art and the World Headquarters
Hwa Rang Do's® Divisions
Hwa Rang Do® Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee divided four
categories of his martial art. From the Musool (martial skills) aspects,
there is Nae Kong (internal power), Wae Kong (external power), Mu Gi Kong
(weapon power), Shin Kong (mental power), and 280 different categories of
over 4000 techniques. He also divided the Insool (healing skills) aspects
into the six categories of Ji Ap Sool (acupressure), Chim Gu Sool (acupuncture
and maxabustion), Yak Bang Bop (herbal medicine), Jup Gol Sool (bone setting),
Hwal bop (Special Aids), Ki Ryuk Sool (Ki Power healing). Hwa Rang Do® is not only an art based
on self-defense. As well as being a martial art it is also a healing art.
with having this incredible array of skills, one of the most important priorities
of all Hwa Rang Do® practitioners is the development
of their characters. Their mentality is based from the Hwarang Ohkae, the
code of ethics of the ancient Hwarang, as well as the Hwa Rang Do®
Kyo Hoon, which are Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee's nine principles of human morality.
Hwa Rang Do® training is not only about fighting
techniques. Hwa Rang Do® first counts a strong human
moral mentality. That is why the "Way" of Hwa Rang Do®
includes strong discipline as well as the study of philosophy and human morality.
History of Tae Soo Do®
martial art Tae Soo Do® was created in 1990 by our
Hwa Rang Do® Founder, Dr. Joo Bang Lee. This was
done because the martial art Hwa Rang Do® is very
hard and complicated for the majority of present day practitioners. This system
is so demanding it requires a strong commitment to progress through it. There
is so much to learn it has taken people without any previous training between
5-10 years before they are ready to test for their first dan. Because of this,
Tae Soo Do® was created as an undergraduate program
to Hwa Rang Do®. Through the training in this program,
practitioners develop a fortified foundation of their physical skills and
proper attitude. It takes an average of 2-3 years to achieve a black belt
in Tae Soo Do®. Once a student receives this rank,
they graduate into the advanced program of Hwa Rang Do®
as a yellow sash (master beginner). Then it takes another 3 years on average
for these practitioners to earn a black sash in Hwa Rang Do®.
of the greatest strengths and benefits of Hwa Rang Do®
is that it has extensive techniques and training in all aspects of combat
skills as well as healing skills. This art can offer something for everyone.
However, for the majority of inexperienced practitioners this system can take
a very long time to progress though and can also be very difficult if the
proper fundamentals have not already been established. This program is for
people with little to no previous martial art experience. Individuals that
already have had previous training can start in the advanced program of Hwa
Rang Do® as a white sash. The Hwa Rang Do®
program contains over 1200 techniques plus all other forms and physical movement
requirements. This requires tremendous concentration for all practitioners.
However, remembering this many techniques is difficult for most children so
they begin in the Tae Soo Do® program. Adults that
can make this strong commitment in their training and have a good attitude
can also begin directly in the Hwa Rang Do® program.
Tae Soo Do® was established and divided into basic
movement, striking and kicking techniques, self-defense, forms, weapons, and
sparring, similar to Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung Fu.
martial art Hwa Rang Do® is very different from
other martial arts. Most founders of all other martial arts have passed away
and their students have made many different "Kwan", "ryu",
or "Won" from their one original martial art name. Because of this
there are so many different and conflicting histories for the same martial
art name. Along with these conflicting histories, there is a plethora of schools
and organizations that have been made by dishonored or espelled students.
These circumstances are the main reasons that most martial art identities
have lost the integrity of their name. And because of this people have began
to discard their martial art identities completely. That is why we have seen
a rise in individuals who call their school Kim's Martial Art Academy or Monkey's
Martial Art Academy. It is like these people do not have a martial art identity
However, this history of Hwa Rang Do® set here,
is the one true history of our art's identity. Our founder, Dr. Joo Bang Lee
is the one who brought this art to the public and is the one and only source
of the aspects and techniques from this tradition. The roots of the martial
art Hwa Rang Do® are from the ancient Hwarang warriors
of the the kingdom of Silla. These combat skills and the Hwarang title have
survived the test of time, by being passed down for 58 continuous and unbroken
generations to our art's founder. The way of the Hwarang system is still intact,
and the Hwarang we equally count as our instructors and masters, and the Rangdo
as the students and desciples. And through the adherence to the Hwa Rang Do®
Meng Sae, our five ethical rules and the founder's nine principles of human
morality, we will have a strong moral mentality, which will ensure that our
martial art Hwa Rang Do® will be passed on for at
least another 2,000 years! •