Connections to the Hwarang

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There 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.

These 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.

Hwa Rang Do Tiger

The 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.