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About Hwa Rang Do 화랑도

Korean martial arts are military practices and methods which have their place in the history of Korea but have been adapted for use by both military and non-military personnel as a method of personal growth or recreation.

 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.

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. Lee has provided no evidence other than his unsupported word of Suahm Dosa's existence. (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.

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 with no mention of Hwa Rang Do. In 1972, Joo Bang Lee moved to California, taking the World Headquarters of Hwa Rang Do with him. Joo Bang Lee currently claims the title of "Supreme Grand Master" of Hwa Rang Do; it is believed by his adherents that he is the 58th successive holder of the Do Ja Nim title.

The Sashes

Hwa Rang Do Kyo Hoon (nine virtues)
Korean (Hanja) English
In Humanity
Oui Justice
Ye Courtesy
Ji Wisdom
Shin Trust
Sun Goodness
Duk Virtue
Choong Loyalty
Yong Courage

In Hwa Rang Do, practitioners are given sashes to signify their progression through the martial art. Before first dan (first 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 (or alternatively, Yu Dan Ja), and can now be an 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: Susuk Sa Bum Nim (Chief Instructor)
  • Oh Dan: fifth degree black sash. Title: Kwan Jang Nim (Master)
  • Yuk Dan: sixth degree black sash. Title: Kwan Jang 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, Owner of the Way)

The Physical Techniques

During the course of study from beginner through black sash, a practitioner will learn a long form, eight basic techniques, 30 "one step sparring" techniques and the same number of self-defense techniques at every sash level. In addition, three main weapons will be taught: The Ssang Jyel Bong (nunchaku), Jang Bong (long staff), and the Mok Gum (sword). 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 grappling, joint manipulation and submission fighting, and new curriculum rollouts allow studying kumtoogi and weapon fighting earlier in the program.

Meaning of Hwa Rang do

  • 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

The Hwa Rang Do Meng Sae

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 Meng Sae, which is composed of five rules and nine philosophical principles.

Hwa Rang Do O Kae (Five Rules of Hwa Rang Do)
Korean Numbers (1-5) Rules in Korean (Hanja) 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

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hwa Rang Do", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.






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