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News Page - March, April, May 2007

United States:









United States News:

GoTooGi and Kumdo Challenge 2007

The West Coast Hwa Rang Do Academy shook with the thunder of the Spring Go Too Gi and Kumdo Challenge – a Preliminary Tournament on Sunday, April 15th! Grouped into beginner students, who grappled for position and points, through intermediate and advanced students who added submissions to their repertoires, everyone got down and dirty on the mat!

Click here to see pictures from the GTG matches!

The Tae Soo Do and Hwarangdo juniors began the day, impressing everyone with their tenacity and acumen. Nicholas Pfeffer, a TSD purple belt, won the division, winning some tough matches against his fellow TSD and HRD students.

Next up were the women’s TSD beginners. Though the beginner students have only been grappling for a few months, these ladies took it like ducks to water. Nikki Makar won the division, battling through the other orange and yellow belts with a warning glint and a killer guard!

Of course, the testosterone was being pumped in, as the men’s beginner and intermediate divisions had at least ten competitors each! Amongst these burly warriors, though, our Won Hwa battled and decided their own fates! Honing her skills for the World Hwa Rang Do Inter-School Championships coming up in July, Juana Rodriguez became the reigning female Go Too Gi Champion, tapping out both her opponents to win her division!

Then the men got to the mats! Amongst a ferocious field, including opponents that outweighed him by twice his own weight, Fernando Ceballos who placed 2nd, Jason Minters relied on his wrestling background, which complements his newly acquired grappling skills (Matthew Kim, anyone?), to emerge victorious in the men’s beginner division. Also, we should mention Mr. Jeffrey Pheffer who placed 3rd in the Men’s Beginner Division who as the oldest competitor, recovering from a torn Achilles’ tendon surgery and a car accident, fought with fierce determination and heart. Way to go Mr. Pheffer!

Then the men’s intermediate/advanced division held court. Over the course of what seemed like two days, but really was probably only two hours, these titans clashed with each other and destiny! Amongst the fallen were TSD black belt candidates, and HRD students of various ages and experience. When the roar of the crowd diminished to a hoarse whisper, Antonio Goodwin stood as the division winner. He then had to face Jokyo Nim Nicholas Day, who won the Black Sash semifinal match against Jokyo Nim Jerry Kang, for the title of Go Too Gi Champion, and the coveted black jacket!

Where the earlier matches battered the senses like a hurricane, this championship match had all the tension of a lightning storm! Each of the contestants stalked silkily around the ring, and everyone was on pins and needles wondering when and where they would strike. In the end, Mr. Goodwin prevailed as this year’s Go Too Gi Champion, winning the right to represent the West Coast Hwa Rang Do Academy in taking in all comers at the World Championships this summer!

Then came the Kumdo warriors, armor-clad and fearsome in appearance! The juniors rocked each other, cries of mori! and echoes of jukdos bouncing off the walls. Andrea Perez-Bertolotto showed her skill here, winning the junior division. Here victory mirrored Sa Bum Nim Scott Macknight, who took home top honors for the advanced division.

Click here to see pictures from the Kumdo matches!

A great day of intense competition and camaraderie saw all the contestants testing themselves, finding their strengths and their weaknesses, and doing it all with a smile in the hearts and on their faces. The Inter-School Championships should be another wonderful opportunity to strengthen bonds with our sunbaes and whobaes from around the country and around the world . . . and hit the mats a little harder! Hwarang!

Junior Intermediate and Advanced: 1st – Nick Pheffer, 2nd – Dresden Meyer, 3rd – Luca Gache
Adult Beginner Female: 1st – Nikki Makar, 2nd – Natalie Diaz, 3rd – Kel-Ann Hsieh
Adult Int/Adv Female: 1st – Juana Rodriguez, 2nd – Chloe Ginsburg, 3rd – Andrea Perez-Bertolotto
Adult Beginner Male: 1st – Jason Minters, 2nd – Fernando Ceballos, 3rd – Jeff Pheffer
Teen Advance Male: 1st – Luke Keifer, 2nd – Thebe Kgositsile, 3rd – Larry Pershing
Adult Int/Adv Male: 1st – Antonio Goodwin, 2nd – Rodrigo Ochoa, 3rd – Christian Boothby
Adult Black Sash Male: 1st – Jokyo Nick Day, 2nd – Jokyo Jerry Kang
Gotoogi King 2007: Antonio Goodwin

Take a look at the Gotoogi Highlights Video Clip on Youtube.com

Junior & Teen: 1st – Andrea Perez-Bertolotto, 2nd – Nick Pheffer, 3rd – Nick Moreno
Adult: 1st – Sabum Scott MacKnight, 2nd – Jokyo Jerry Kang, 3rd – Isaiah Faulkner
Kumdo King 2007: Sabum Scott MacKnight

Jokyo Jerry Kang Receives the Prestigious Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching


William A. Rutter (Bill) is a creative entrepreneur. He is the father of Gilbert’s Outlines, conceiving and writing all of the original summaries. He created and managed for many years what certainly was the leading bar review course in the state. He formed the highly successful Rutter Group, which he sold to West Publishing Co. and which provides high quality educational materials and seminars for practicing lawyers. Bill created the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching with the belief that universities must reward excellent teaching as they do critical research. Established in 1979, the award recognizes and rewards outstanding commitment to teaching at three law schools - his own alma mater USC, UC Davis, and at UCLA. This award has become not only a symbol of recognition but also an opportunity to celebrate our success as one of the great teaching faculties in legal education, UCLA.

Jerry Kang teaches Asian American Jurisprudence, Communications Law & Policy, and Civil Procedure. His scholarly pursuits include communications law, cyberlaw, and critical race theory. He has spoken and testified nationally on various matters ranging from Internet privacy to affirmative action. The UCLA Law Class of 1998 named him Professor of the Year. He has served as co-director of the School of Law's Specialization in Critical Race Studies, founded in fall 2000. During law school, Professor Kang was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review and Special Assistant to Harvard University's Advisory Committee on Free Speech. He then clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on cyberspace policy. Professor Kang is the author of Communications Law & Policy: Cases and Materials (2001) and co-author of Race, Rights, and Reparation: The Law and the Japanese American Internment (with Yamamoto, Chon, Izumi, and Wu, 2001). His most recent scholarly works, addressing cyberspace privacy and "cyberrace" (the techno-social construction of race in cyberspace), have appeared in the Stanford and Harvard law reviews.

Professor Kang/Jokyonim, we are very proud of your achievements outside the dojang. You epitomize what is a Hwarang, a scholar/warrior as you continue to lead by example as a scholar and as a warrior.

Man Sae to Professor/Jokyonim Jerry Kang!

The youngest generation of Florida students advances in Tae Soo Do

Cole, 3 years old, and Harrison, 6 years old, tested together on April 27th in front of parents and family members. These Little Tigers were required to know their first four basics, to listen to Instructor Spoehr, and to perform all they were asked to do at their test: both of them, on one day, at one time.

The boys accomplished their tasks in a manner that earned them their Tae Soo Do yellow belts, and they are deservedly proud of their hard work. As you can see, Cole and Harrison have learned an even more important lesson than mere basics. These Little Tigers know the true value of Hwa Rang Do, as they demonstrated our third rule:

Sam. Kyo U E Shin. Trust and Brotherhood Among Friends.

Hwarang Forever!

Minneapolis Seminars 2007

The Hwa Rang Do World Tour came once again to the Minneapolis Academy on March 3rd and 4th, just days after a Minnesota blizzard dumped almost 2 feet of snow over much of the state. Fortunately, Chief Master Lee’s flight was able to land safely, and students from across the Midwest were able to shovel themselves out in time to attend this incredible event.

The Minneapolis Academy’s Junior Teuk Gong Team started things off on Saturday by leading warmup, and as usual, did a strong job all the way through even though there were so many people in attendance. After the warmup, everyone jumped right into the first seminar, Sparring Takedowns, where beginner students were given their first chance at takedowns, and more advanced students were given helpful instruction on how to properly setup and execute a takedown in a sparring environment. This training is sure to lead to better attempts and accumulated points in the upcoming Midwest Championships next month in Madison, WI.

The afternoon was packed with four hours of grappling: leg pickups, ankle locks, compression locks, rear mount, arm bars, neck cranks, and more! Master Lee’s emphasis on fluid movement and the technical ways to setup the next step of the technique greatly increased the participants ability to acquire the lock securely. The last segment of Saturday’s sessions focused a good deal on the transitional steps of grappling and the various positions one encounters as a grappling match rolls along.

The students and their friends and family concluded the day at Timberlodge Steakhouse, sharing stories and bonding over a group dinner. A big steak dinner was definitely needed after the day’s training, and to prepare everyone for what was in store on Sunday.

Everyone returned the next morning excited for more intense training, and they were certainly not disappointed. Master Lee began with a self-defense seminar, focusing on not only the practical application of our techniques, but also some insight into how to avoid a self-defense situation in the first place. The day-to-day common sense awareness and psychology one uses has an impact on overall level of personal safety, and if it actually comes to a defense encounter committing to a variety of techniques can get one out of the situation.

The afternoon entailed a solid four hours of weapon fighting, not only Kumdo (sword fighting), but also a topic rarely covered until the more advanced stages of development: staff vs. staff. The Kumdo session focused on the competitive side of counter fighting once the beginners caught up on some basics. Participants drilled on seeing the movement of the opponent’s weapon and following up with proper stepping and counter. As the drills progressed some participants were able to land very swift strikes before the opponent was able land anything at all. Now, we all just have to practice a lot more in order to be faster and accurate when it comes to our matches.

The Mugidaeryun (weapon fighting) then continued with our jang bongs, and the staffs went into action. Using Kumdo as a basis of movement and striking, the staff combinations followed these fundamental principles of weapon combat. Proper footwork is a must in order to strike and defend, and while it takes a little time to get used to swinging a jang bong around your head when you are wearing armor, the participants of this session definitely got deep into the training. In fact, the kiaps and the sounds of weapons clashing filled the Minneapolis Academy to the point that it was difficult to hear Master Lee’s instructions!

As always, the weekend was punctuated with honest advice and motivating discussion from Master Lee to inspire us all to push ourselves harder everyday. Using our skills, and the wisdom gained through the experience of Hwa Rang Do training to benefit the world at large through our daily actions is also a message that requires our diligence and the participants were grateful for Master Lee’s example to us all. As the students packed up their things to head home, they left with not only the new equipment they had trained with and new knowledge about how to use it, but also a renewed commitment to their training and development, resonating with a greater understanding of the Hwa Rang way. Each and every student was instilled with the desire to learn more and be more, and even as they were leaving, many were already discussing their plans to attend their next Hwa Rang Do seminars.

2007 Hwa Rang Do Midwest Tournament

The 2007 Midwest tournament, held in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, on April 28th was a huge success. It was obvious that instructors focused their energy into preparing themselves and their students for this special event. The time and energy put into training and instructing clearly paid off as students gathered from all over the Midwest to participate in this annual family celebration.

Spectators were able to witness extraordinary martial arts talents as they watched family and friends participate in open-hand forms, weapon forms, and sparring divisions. It was enlightening to see students cheer on their teammates and offer words of encouragement and praise to competitors from other dojangs. One of the many aspects of Hwa Rang Do training that sets it apart from other martial arts is the emphasis on teamwork, strong spirit, and sportsmanship. Hearing the cheering and applause resonate throughout the gym was strong evidence to the spirit Hwa Rang Do and its followers exemplify.

The black sash demonstration was a perfect example of Hwa Rang Do’s diversity in training. Among the techniques and skills demonstrated were seated and prone self defense, forms, board breaking at an amazing height, Kyuk Pa Breaking of a baseball bat, knife defenses, joint locks, throws, and grappling. Instructors also engaged the audience by use of a wide variety of weapons. Master Kijek concluded the demonstration by amazing onlookers with a display of Ki power as he pierced spokes through his forearms and lifted buckets of water. His control of bleeding and pain showed spectators the extreme power of a trained warrior’s mind and spirit.

This year’s team sparring trophy went to the Madison-West dojang. Instructor Garofalo and Instructor Dean proudly held up the trophy with their team as the other dojangs applauded their accomplishment. As always, the competition was tough, and it was clear that the team had worked hard under the strong guidance of their instructors.

At the conclusion of the day’s events, Master Kijek awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County a check for $2,500, surpassing the amount donated last year. Along with the Hwa Rang Do code of ethics is a sense of honor, self-sacrifice, and giving back to the community. At the core of Big Brothers Big Sisters is the idea that building positive relationships will maximize the potential of individual children. The partnership between Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Academy of Hwa Rang Do is one that will clearly make a lasting impact.

In the evening hours, Instructors and students packed into a local restaurant to enjoy a family style banquet together. Students from all over the Midwest exchanged stories and laughter as they shared their training and accomplishments with one another. Awards and hugs were given out as students reflected on the year. Instructor Sirny gave a toast that showed heartfelt appreciation for the roots of Hwa Rang Do in the Midwest under the strong leadership of Master Kijek. The power and energy of the Midwest has become contagious!. As the night ended, students were left with a sense respect for all that had been accomplished and of the greatness that lies ahead.

Optimist Club Recognizes Dane County Deputy

May 21, 2007. Madison, WI – Dane County Sheriff's Deputy Coy Bethel who is also a first degree Black Sash in Hwa Rang Do, has been selected as the 2007 Optimists "Respect For Law Program" award winner. Deputy Coy Bethel of Oregon has been with the Dane County Sheriff's Office for almost 8 years. He currently works as a Community Deputy out of the West Precinct. Deputy Bethel was selected for this award based on his dedication to working with youth throughout Dane County.

Over the past two years, Deputy Bethel has taken on the task of supervising 12 young men and women in Dane County's Explorer Program. The program is designed to expose interested youth to law enforcement related activities such as traffic stops, crime scene and crash investigations, and interviewing techniques. The training is then applied at both State and National competitions against other Posts. The Dane County Explorers have received four first place awards at both levels of competition. As the Post supervisor, Deputy Bethel has many responsibilities and obligations. Since there is no funding set aside for this program, he coordinates fundraising efforts and devotes a significant amount of his personal time into the success of the Post.

Deputy Bethel will be presented with this award at noon today at the Edgewater in Madison. The Dane County Deputy Sheriff's Association sponsors the Explorer Post.

25th Anniversary in Arizona

On March 31st 2007, Master Tim Elliott and the Phoenix Academy branch of the WHRDA celebrated its 25th Anniversary of Master Elliott teaching Hwa Rang Do in the valley of the sun.

The celebration kicked off with a special training clinic taught at the Phoenix academy by none other than the founder of Hwa Rang Do, Dr. Joo Bang Lee and one of his first generation Masters, Grandmaster Ki Nam Yum. Along with Master Won Hee Lee from Korea and Instructors from the East Coast branch HQ of the WHRDA. Also in attendance were Master Kijek from the Wisconsin branch HQ, Master Sanchez from the Hanford CA branch HQ, and Instructor Dan Steeby from the Washington St branch as well.

Later that evening, the Gala event was held in the City of Glendale Az at the Glendale Civic Center. This was the largest Hwa Rang Do event in Arizona HRD History with over 200 people in attendance. It was a night to remember with a Korean cultural flavor. Besides all of the great TSD and HRD demos that was enjoyed by all, there was also traditional Korean singing ensemble and traditional folk dancing group called (Samul Nori) and a performance on the Korean instrument called the (Kayagum). As well as Master Elliott's brother in law giving a great singing performance of the song (God bless the USA).

As you can well expect, there was much eating, drinking and toasting the night away in celebration of Master Elliott's 25 years of spreading HRD to the great people of Arizona.

Best of all, it was great to see Supreme Grand Master and Mrs., Lee there along with their family members Dr. Janet Lee and her family, Miss Stacey Lee, and Dojoo Nim's grand sons Luke and Jeffery having a great time as well. All in all it was a great evening that I know everyone will not soon forget.


International News

Italian Volunteer Service at Gaslini

The Italian Branch of the WHRDA created its first Voluntary Service Team to demonstrate the first virtue in the Kyo Hoon, Humanity. The team will be serving at the Giannina Gaslini Institute, an internationally acclaimed children’s hospital, by volunteering with the Gaslini Band Band, a group with the simple purpose of bringing smiles to the faces of the children staying at the hospital.

Before the team could enter the ward, they attended a basic course to learn the general themes and fundamental principles of the work they would be doing. The training was divided into four main phases. The first course, taught by a psychologist, was directed towards relating with the patients and understanding their moods. The next course, taught by a theatrical educationalist, focused on how to use verbal and non-verbal communication to interact with the patients, and also taught the team the difficult task of using dance as a therapy. This session proved to be a great challenge and required intense practice! For the third course, a musicotherapy teacher was brought in to teach the importance of music in the patents’ treatment. This holistic approach deals with the spiritual part of the person as well as the physical one (research has shown an improvement, not only in the patient’s emotions, but also in the parts of the brain which regulate perspiration, heart rate, and blood pressure). In the fourth session, the experienced volunteers helped the new volunteers with their storytelling skills, while, more importantly, encouraging them to put aside their uncertainties about the challenges that lay ahead.

Through the time spent in the course, the volunteers found that no matter where they come from, or their social origin, or their personal aim, when they all enter the Gaslini Institute, they blend together to become one unique operational body with the simple aim of making patients smile. And that is a story which is still just beginning, as the team prepares for the day they will make their debuts in front of the patients!



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Hwa Rang Do Online Store
KixCo Martial Art Supplies

World Tour

Discussion Forum

Hwa Rang Do Book Release

Long Distance Training Program

Hwa Rang Do® Video Clips

Korea Trip Highlights

Newest Black Sashes

World Headquarters Academy



WHRDA Homepage

Hwa Rang Do
® World Headquarters

E-mail: whrda@hwarangdo.com