|Hwa Rang Do|
Hwa Rang Do is a Korean martial art that was created by Joo Bang Lee and his brother Joo Sang Lee. This martial art teaches fighting techniques, weapons, spiritual training, intellectual enhancement, and artistic pursuits.
The name Hwa Rang Do is Korean for "The way of the Flowering Knights". It was named after the Hwarang, a buddhist elite youth order of the Silla kingdom during the Three-Kingdoms Period, in what is now Korea. The Hwarang were, basically, voluntary child soldiers consisting of older children, teenagers, and young adults who came mostly from aristocratic families, and who were educated in artistic, academic, and martial fields of study.1
In 1942, according to Joo Bang Lee, a monk named Suahm Dosa took him and his brother, Joo Sang Lee, into his home for training. (Note that "Dosa" is actually his title, and it is roughly equivalent to "hermit sage expert.") They lived with Suahm Dosa at the Suk Wang Sa Temple in the Ham Nam province of North Korea, before later escaping with him to Ohdae Mountain in South Korea during the communist take over. (Suahm Dosa had no formal syllabus to teach them.) 2
After their training by Suahm Dosa. The brothers generated their syllabus from scratch, based on the techniques that they learned from Suahm Dosa, and then started to teach it to the public. Prior to their immigration to the United States, the Lee brothers were registered as Hapkido instructors in Seoul. In 1972, Joo Bang Lee moved to California, taking the World Headquarters of Hwa Rang Do with him. Joo Bang Lee currently holds the title of "Do Jo Nim" within Hwa Rang Do and he claims that he is the 58th successive holder of this title.3
During the course of training, a practitioner will learn long forms, short forms, basic techniques, kicking test, and various self defense techniques including one step sparring methods, defense against grabs and holds, defense against kicks, joint locks, throws, and various other techniques. In addition, various weapons will be taught including Ssang Jyel Bong (nunchaku), Jang Bong (long staff), and the Jang Kum (sword), and the Dan Bong (short stick). Defense against other weapons, such as the knife, are taught, but training with those weapons does not occur until black sash. Hwa Rang Do students will also have extensive study in ground fighting and grappling (Gotoogi), weapons sparring with bamboo swords (Gumtoogi) as well as staff and double stick fighting (Bongtoogi).4 According to the Aug/Sept 2014 issue of Black Belt Magazine, They launched their new full round open-hand fighting program called Yongtoogi. This program not only includes hand fighting and kick boxing, but it also includes takedowns, throws, and quick submissions. It is continuous five minute rounds, and the goal is to takedown and submit in five seconds.
In Hwa Rang Do, practitioners are given sashes to signify their progression through the martial art. Before Cho Dan (first degree black sash), the belt order goes from white to half-black:
- White Sash: Goo Kub (ninth grade)
- Orange Sash: Pal Kub (eighth grade)
- Yellow Sash: Chil Kub (seventh grade)
- Green Sash: Yuk Kub (sixth grade)
- Purple Sash: Oh Kub (fifth grade)
- Blue Sash: Sa Kub (fourth grade)
- Brown Sash: Sam Kub (third grade)
- Red Sash: E Kub (second grade)
- Half-black sash: Il Kub (first grade)
After receiving a black sash, a practitioner earns the title Jo Kyo Nim (assistant instructor). In addition, every degree of black sash has its own title, and shows a respective knowledge level. Note that there can only ever be one ninth degree and one tenth degree at any one time.
- Cho Dan: first degree black sash. Title: Jo Kyo Nim (Assistant instructor)
- E Dan: second degree black sash. Title: Kyo Sa Nim (Instructor)
- Sam Dan: third degree black sash. Title: Sa Bum Nim (Head Instructor)
- Sa Dan: fourth degree black sash. Title: Susok Sa Bum Nim (Chief Instructor)
- Oh Dan: fifth degree black sash. Title: Kwan Jang Nim (Master)
- Yuk Dan: sixth degree black sash. Title: Do Sa Nim, or Dosa (Master)
- Chil Dan: seventh degree black sash. Title: Su Suk Kwan Jang Nim (Chief Master)
- Pal Dan: eighth degree black sash. Title: Kuk Sa Nim or Chong Kwan Jang Nim (Grandmaster)
- Gu Dan: ninth degree black sash. Title: Kuk Sun (Head Grandmaster)
- Ship Dan: tenth degree black sash. Title: Do Joo Nim (Supreme Grandmaster, Keeper of the Way)
Hwa = Flower
Rang = Man
Do = Way
The common English translations are "The Way of the Flowering Manhood" or "The Way of the Flowering Knights". The "Man" idea in this title refers to an ideal man: one of honor, strength, responsibility, and virtue. The reason for the word "Flower" is to state that just as a flower grows and then blooms, so should a man grow and then bloom. Since it is in the name of the Art, these ideas are central to all aspects of Hwarangdo: one should be without needing to try to be. By this concept a practitioner is taught to be humble, strong, and honorable.4
Hwa Rang Do attempts to teach moral principles in addition to physical techniques, out of a belief that those who receive martial arts training must also be taught to use their skills responsibly. The foundation of Hwa Rang Do's code of behavior is the Hwa Rang Do Meng Sae, composed of the Oh Kae, and the Kyo Hoon. The five rules and nine philosophical principles of Hwa Rang Do.4
|Korean Numbers (1-5)||Rules in Korean (Hangul)||Translation|
|Il||Sa Kun E Choong||Loyalty to one's country|
|E||Sa Chin E Hyo||Loyalty to one's parents and teachers|
|Sam||Kyo Woo E Shin||Trust and brotherhood among friends|
|Sa||Im Jeon Moo Tae||Courage never to retreat in the face of the enemy|
|Oh||Sal Saeng Yoo Teak||Justice never to take a life without a cause|
- Lee, Taejoon (2005). Hwa Rang Do: Defend, Take Down, Submit. Los Angeles: Black Belt Books. ISBN 978-0-89750-147-7.
- Haines, Bruce A. (1995). Karate's History and Traditions. Vermont: Tuttle Publishing. pp. 107–108. ISBN 978-0-8048-1947-3.
- Echanis, Michael (1972). Knife Self-Defense for Combat. Los Angeles: Black Belt Communications. pp. 11–13. ISBN 978-0-89750-022-7.
- Garris, Nicole (August 1, 1993). "Oriental Healing for the Mind and Body". Orange Coast Magazine (Orange Coast Kommunications) 18 (12): 12.
- Koenig, Peter (January 1, 1977). "America’s Special Forces Learn Ancient Guerilla Tactics". Black Belt 15 (1): 19–23.
- Hwa Rang Do History - Official Website
- Hwa Rang Do East Coast - Official Website
- The West Coast Headquarters of Hwa Rang Do in Los Angeles, Ca.
- The Minnesota Headquarters of Hwa Rang Do - Official Website