The Hwa Rang Do

The Hwa Rang Do | Hwa Rang Do History | Historical Development | Joo Bang Lee | Technique Structure | Tae Soo Do History | The Art of Hwa Rang Do | Hwarang Word Identity | Connections to the Hwarang | Code of Ethics | Student’s Progress

Hwa Rang Do is a Korean martial art that was created in its modern form by Joo Bang Lee and his brother, Joo Sang Lee. This martial art teaches and encourages fighting and defense techniques, spiritual training, intellectual enhancement, and artistic pursuits. It has an extensive history, and a very involved technique structure.

Hand 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 power and control used in Hwa Rang Do depends on specific ways of using the body. Structurally the skeleton can support large loads and transmit great force if properly aligned and conditioned. Extending this strength capability for use in split second evasion, opponent control, smashing kicks and strikes, and maintaining long term health is the major goal of training.

Likewise, the mind has a strong role in effective martial arts – not just for perception and awareness, but as the source of intention and the partner of spirit (resolve). In a sense, consciousness discards the petty and distracting elements of “the moment” and unites with the “essence of now”. “Heart” maintains the purity and compassion of that unity. The main indicators of progress are smoothness, easy strength, relaxation, confidence, quickness, use of the whole body, and ability to release power suddenly.

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.

Hwa Rang Do is a complete martial art that encompasses all forms of combat. A Hwa Rang Do practitioner is taught to be confident with any situation that may arise.

Whether the situation deals you more than one attacker, if the combat were to inevitably result on the ground, or if you are faced against an assailant with a weapon of any sort.

HWA RANG DO is a highly developed martial that relies on a balance of mind and body, it includes all forms of personal combat and mental dimensions with the physical disciplines in such a way as to enable the martial artist to realize his/her full potentials. The germinal seed of this concept is embodies in the logo of the UM-YANG symbol, meaning the unity or interactions of two opposites, therefore to understand the natural laws and to live with a deep appreciation for humanity.

The diversity and multifaceted aspects of Hwa Rang Do helps one be prepared during any aspect of combat. Hwa Rang Do’s grappling aspects include an extensive array of chokes, arm locks, joint manipulation, leg locks, and ground manipulation to gain the upper hand. Whereas, ending up on the ground is always the last resort to a situation.

In Hwa Rang Do you learn how to break the distance, extensive in-fighting, and throws and takedowns so that you may control and contain your opponent with the least amount of effort and not ending up on the ground in an unpredictable situation.

After a rigorous analysis of the successes and failures in the martial arts community, Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee created Tae Soo Do as a simplified subset of Hwa Rang Do (the undergraduate Hwa Rang Do Program) that is more accessible to all martial art enthusiasts no matter their experience level. Like Tae Kwon Do and Karate, Tae Soo Do is much more sport oriented. It focuses on inner mechanics of the martial arts to build a strong foundation to build upon.

One will learn to achieve a sense of confidence to empower them to achieve much higher aspirations within themselves. Tae Soo Do is a very effective means of self defense, physical and mental well-being, and a catalyst for the development of a true, traditional martial artist.

Sulsa were the special forces of the Hwa Rang Warriors and carried out similar duties as the Japanese Ninja. They specialized in intelligence gathering, assassination, and survival tactics. Unlike the Ninja however, the most important asset of the Sulsa was the ideal of Hwal Bop, which encouraged the warrior to save lives, rather than take them.

They believed if one was able to kill, one should be able to heal as well. In addition to special weapons and special hand to hand combat techniques, the Sulsa specialized in Un Shin Bop (concealment tactics), Jham Bok Sul (camouflage tactics), Jham Ip Sul (infiltration and exfiltration tactics), Bo Bop (stalking and proper movement), and Shin Gong (mental power).

Tae Soo Do is an abridged version of the Hwa Rang Do syllabus, also created by Joo Bang Lee, and is often used as an introductory course for students that have not practiced martial arts before. After achieving a black belt in Tae Soo Do (it uses belts instead of the sashes from Hwa Rang Do), a student is given a yellow sash and is shifted into the Hwa Rang Do syllabus.

Hwa Rang Do Symbol

Some new students are allowed to skip Tae Soo Do, and go straight into Hwa Rang Do. Typically this is an arrangement between the instructor and student, and is more common if the new student has extensive previous training.

Some schools have a policy that all students wishing to learn Hwa Rang Do must obtain a TSD black belt. Programs also exist to get this very rapidly in the case of experienced students, but this requires a lot of dedication on the part of the student. While Tae Soo Do is easier and less comprehensive than Hwa Rang Do, it is a complete martial art in itself, and a student learns quite a lot of striking (kicking and punching), and the basics of joint locks, throws, grappling and simplified weapon forms. In many schools both Tae Soo Do and Hwa Rang Do are taught.