Confused by hwa rand do comments.
During a recent search for forum postings on Tae soo do/ Hwa rang do I was somewhat mystified. I have trained through all of Tae soo do, and I am now a green sash in Hwa rang do. There seems to be a lot of misinformation on this branch of Korean martial art, so I thought I'd relate my own experiences.
First let me clear up the idea that there is no sparring involved in the training. Since almost the first day, we have trained in stand up sparring. It involves head strikes with hands and feet as well as body shots above the belt. Kicks below the belt are discurraged because of the potential for joint injury, although blocking kicks are allowed. Grabs, sweeps, and throws are a valid part of sparring, and actively encouraged as a practicle application of joint lock techniques. If the fight goes to the ground the sparring is stopped and returned to stand-up position. The reason for this is that ground sparring is done as a seperate training function (Gotogi).
My experience may be somewhat different because there are just not very many of us in FL, but my instructors actively encourage me to spar with people from other martial arts. There is a lot of crossover in Tang soo do and Taekwondo as you might expect; but there is also a lot of similarity to Shotokan and Kung Fu (at least mantis and shaolin styles) Rather than taking this as proof that all styles steal from each other, I have always thought it a simple permutation of the fact that the human body can only move in so many directions. This was driven home recently when I was watching something on Loa ( traditional hawian martial art) and recognized several of the exact joint locks, and joint lock combinations I have learned. My first thought was not Aha! the hawians were obviously trained by koreans! Instead I thought how ridiculous it is to lay claim to the idea that if I put the wrist and elbow at 90 degrees and turn them the opposite way they are meant to go, pain and injury ensue. I'm sure someone had discovered that before there were words to describe it.
My experience with sparring with people from different martial schools has been fairly positive. I find myself the equal of anyone who has been training for the same amount of time, and able to learn new nuances from those who have been sparring for considerably longer. It is hard for me to believe that a " McDojo" as I've seen hwa rang do refered to here would be capable of imparting that kind of flexability and skill in the ring.
I also have had the chance to use gotugi grappling with several BJJ practitioners. I have to say that there is very little difference in the practicle application other than the fact that we usually start from a standing position, which puts much greater emphasis on the initial rush and take down. BJJ does not seem to emphasize strikes or kicks. Subsequently I help train my BJJ sparring partners in stand up strikes, and they help me refine my ground game.
Overall I've had nothing but a positive learning experience from Tae soo do/ Hwa rang do. I haven't experienced any of the "cultish behavior" that I've seen referenced in prvios threads. Certainly the other practitionars of my art are proud of the work they have done to achieve their present level of skill, and feel that the highest ranking member of the art (Dr Joo Bang Lee) is a knowlegable and honorable man. I would be suprised if this were not true of any school of martial arts; otherwise why would an individual stay and train there.
Anyway, that is in brief a synopsis of my experience in TSD/HWD. If there are any questions I can help answer ( as I didn't see any posts from others who have actually trained in HWD for any length of time) please feel free to forward them on.