West Coast Hwa Rang Do Academy, Los Angeles, CA
Knowing nothing about the "controversy" surrounding Hwa Rang Do and the rest of the martial arts world, a business partner of mine invited me to take a class at the dojang he had been training at for about 6 months.
I was about 280 lbs, had played high school and college football for 7 years, out of shape and hadn't done martial arts since the 4th grade (Karate-Do).
My first class was with none other than Chief Master Taejoon Lee. I had an opportunity to speak to Master Lee prior to class in his office. He was clearly not a salesman and was a straight shooter and told me exactly what I was in for.
At the time, I had been in the business world where people carried a very similar "no excuses" philosophy which Master Lee subscribed to (and beyond). I connected with his hard-nosed "whatever it takes" take on life and success. He was also very honest too. I said someting related to me working out and getting in shape. He pointed to my stomach and commented "it looks like you need it."
Prior to knowing what I know about business, personal development and coming to terms with reality, I would have been bothered and offended by his comment. Luckily, I was more mature and accepted his comment as constructive criticism. I was ready for my class.
The class began with some meditation then a formal bow to Master Lee, our assistant instructors and Dojoonim (Supreme Grand Master Lee). Then Master Lee turned up some techno music and we began our warm up stretches & exercises. A quarter of the way through the class, I needed a break and Master Lee granted me one only because I was a beginner. (Otherwise he would have forced me to suck it up.) I was basically out on my feet. The dojang was spinning and couldn't focus. The "warm-ups" had done me in.
I managed to regain my coordination and finished the class. I then sat down with Master Lee about joining the school. While dehydrated, my head still spinning and my sinuses congested (for some reason), I briefly counseled with my friend Ray about joining and signed on the dotted line.
I knew I needed the training, accountability & discipline Master Lee would require of me. It's been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
7 months later, I had the privilage of competing in an Inner School Gotoogi (Grappling) tournament in front of my family. Even though I was disappointed with my performance, (2nd place for Beginners) and was proud to have participated in front of Master Lee and my family.
It was the first time they had seen me compete since High School Football.
Since starting in Tae Soo Do, I have gotten in shape, regained my stamina and endurance from my football days, improved my balanced and coordination and learned a great deal about my physical abilities and limitations.
I've learned that I have no limitations. As I've progressed, I first struggle to perform a new kick or technique then through training, I develop the capacity to perform.
At now 270 lbs, I regularly receive compliments about my kicks from students and parents of other students. It's impressive to them to see someone my size kick the way I do. My heart silently fills with pride...
The bottom line is that Hwa Rang Do & Tae Soo Do provide life changing instruction. It's not just about what you can do physically, it's about training your mind to overcome what you body thinks is impossible. (It's what the MMA fanatics will seldom understand.)
The criticism pelted at Hwa Rang Do is undeserved. Master Taejoon Lee is a successful business man, but who has brushed all other ventures aside, to devote his life to his passion, Hwa Rang Do. As a world reknowned and sought after martial artist, he has passed on any type of privilaged life and continues to live at his dojang and self-lessly instruct for the betterment of others.
I am grateful for his sacrifice.
I'm a green belt now and the physical challenges grow exponentially. As of now, I can't imagine what the Hwa Rang Do students have to be able to learn and perform. It seems so daunting at my level. But that's the cool part. Knowing that I can progress and overcome the physical challenges belt-by-belt and eventually become a Hwa Rang Do Student performing physical feats that most would consider impossible for someone my size to perform.
I've committed to receiving my Black Belt in Tae Soo Do and moving on to Hwa Rang Do.
The naysayers about this art have no idea what they are talking about. I challenge them to survive even one class, instructed by Master Lee. This is the only way opinions and the ease of criticism over the internet can be answered definitively.
For some free Hwa Rang Do instruction, you can register here and get 10-Days of instruction online. My friends have really enjoyed this. http://www.completemartialart.com
I think this will help answer many questions about the effectiveness and legitimacy of Hwa Rang Do.
Last edited by sollabec; 4/30/2007 2:06am at .
The thing of it is sir.
It really doesn't matter what people say sir on the the net because.
As long as you are happy with what TSD or HRD is giving you as far as your life goes.
Then that is all that should matter anyway. People will always have some thing to complain about. If it is not this art it is another one.
No one wants to believe that they train in an art that is considered weak.
It is not the art that may be weak. It might be the person running off at the mouth.
When they should be in the school training to begin with in the first place.
Good luck with training and your life.
I hope you get as much out of it as you put into it.
I have spoken with master lee many times. He is a cool man. And you are right he is a straight shooter.
Last edited by Jungdo1; 8/20/2007 10:29pm at .
These scores appear to be inflated. Schools like American Top Team, Miletich Fighting Systems, and Chute Boxe receive 10's because they consistently produce successful fighters and the instructors are "A-List".
Please review the scoring criteria here http://www.bullshido.net/forums/showthread.php?t=48577 and adjust your ratings accordingly.
A score of 10 for Aliveness indicates "Regular (monthly or less) skill testing via full contact, full range fighting, minimum safety equipment." In what little I've seen of HRD, the combatants were well protected. If this is not generally the case, or if there are special exceptions for "Alive" testing, I'd be interested to learn more about it.
While Teajoon Lee might qualify as an "A-List competitor" in some circles, the requirement for a 10 in Striking also stipulates "proven success in limited restriction, top level competitions". In which of these competitions does your school compete?
A 10 in Weapons training is currently reserved for "Regular (quarterly or less) skill testing via full contact, full range fighting, minimum safety equipment. (Pain, Blood, bone breaking and/or death)". I have never seen any evidence that HRD weapons training meets this level of intensity. I know that HRD does have deeper weapons training than many schools. However, I was also advised that special safetly equipment was developed especially for their program.
Last edited by sdave; 9/08/2007 11:59am at .
Reason: No response from OP. Will remove ratings when OP has revised his.
Originally Posted by jnp
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