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Every martial artist must make an important choice. What martial art do I wish to practice? Searching for the best art for you may be a daunting task if you do not have any experience within the martial art community. There are many individuals who make claims about their styles and their history, however only some of them ring with the resonance of truth.
If you are a veteran in the martial art community, you may have already experienced some of these shortcomings first hand, and you are now left with the question, What can I do? This kind of concern is very important to the martial art Hwa Rang Do® and its practitioners. Over the past 40 years of public instruction our main goal has been to provide the most qualified instruction for the most comprehensive martial art.
The Hwa Rang Do® syllabus was established by the Founder of this system, Dr. Joo Bang Lee in 1960. He has devoted his life to spreading the wisdom of this art to the general public. However, the main concern has always been to have qualified practitioners over a large quantity of practitioners.
Beginning in the 1960's but increasingly so in the 1980's, trends of the martial art community began taking steps away from the traditional values of the martial arts. Concern about one's martial art identity and the Way of the martial arts has taken second stage to the actual techniques and business practices of those arts. This is the main reason why many martial arts that exist today no longer have an identity that can maintain its integrity, and their names have become generic terms.
With this in mind, Hwa Rang Do® has implemented specific actions and policies that will ensure that its name can always maintain its integrity. On this site there is a detailed list of these that can be found in the bylaws, rules and regulations, judicial committee, and in the fact that we have and maintain a registered trademark. Because of these kinds of guidlines this art has very qualified instructors, but unfortunately there is not a plethora of them. Do not be disappointed about this fact, because while Hwa Rang Do is not the most popular martial art in the world, the quality and integrity it has is one of the best.
That is where the point of this Tae Soo Do® Long Distance Training Program comes in. We understand that there are those individuals out there who are truly searching for the one martial art that has an honorable identity as well as strong and comprehensive syllabus. We have been in contact with many of them over the years, and it appears that a growing sense and yearning for the truly traditional martial art is becoming a more meaningful necessity that people are looking for these days. This kind of art is becoming unique these days, but even so, it is the true Way and path that the sincere practitioner should be devoted to. Training in a martial art, and especially so for instructors, must be a Way of teaching and maintaining the traditional virtues of honor, respect, duty, and humility. This kind of art is not simply a conglomeration of fighting techniques and is different than what has appeared on the corners of so many streets these days.
A martial art is a way of life, and this path cannot be forgotten or sacrificed. Unfortunately, the majority of the arts within our community have now taken a turn to stand closer to modern business practices. This may have produced some successful means for individuals to make money, but they have exchanged the integrity of their martial art's identity for this cause. This co-optation of these martial arts has created a situation in which all of the traditional values that originally defined these arts have almost been completely lost.
As a veteran within the martial art community, you may have probably already experienced some of the expressions of these modern trends such as: individuals who self-promote themselves to master titles, the lack of teaching in the categories of basic moral philosophy, the vast mixing of different art's syllabi, the vast displays of multiple martial art names and rankings, the opening of martial art schools like regular storefront businesses, and the "creation" of so many "new" martial art names. These are just some of the main happenings within our martial art community, and this is truly a sad situation. If these kinds of circumstances continue to become the "trends," sooner or later all martial art identities will become meaningless, and the people who call themselves martial artists will be no different than simple fighters or gangsters.
Because of these kinds of situations, the martial art of Hwa Rang Do® has decided to take a stand against the modern business trends. A martial art should not be run like a store front, it is not like academic study, and its traditional values are important to the development of character within individuals and the community at large. If you understand this meaning and concern, and this philosophy is what you are truly searching for then you would be a good candidate for this program. In the past, if you did not live close to a certified instructor you would have to travel long distances or simply not train in this art. However, we truly empathize with your situation and would like to create a means for those people out there that sincerely wish to find a traditional martial art identity with roots, quality control, and a comprehensive syllabus. That is why we have begun to offer a Tae soo Do® Long Distance Training Program. We understand that there may be many arts that are located in close proximity to you, however, if you are concerned with the value and integrity of that art you wish to spend your life practicing, this program may be the option you have been looking for.
This program is also especially designed for the martial artist that is already an active instructor. For those of you teaching in our martial art community as a professional practitioner, you have experienced these shortcomings first hand, and may feel stuck because your art and almost all others have lost their traditional value and meaning. We have spoken with so many instructors and masters that have this concern, and we would like to provide a means for you to find that one honorable martial art identity you can be dedicated to. Sincerely look into what you are searching for in a martial art and if you are going to obtain that.
This is an important concern. Your martial art name has similar qualities as your maiden name, and the honor of your life is closely connected to both of these names and your service to their benefit. Please do not only think about the techniques of your style, think about your identity. You must have a good understanding of this concept and your desired martial art identity in order to teach your next generation of practitioners the value of their own identity. It is our sincere hope that no matter what martial art identity you are or wish to be a part of, that your efforts and actions are dedicated to growth and betterment of your art's identity and its future generations.
Hwa Rang Do® History
The concepts, techniques, and philosophies contained in Hwa Rang Do® have endured for about 2,000 years. The chronicles of the ancient Hwarang warriors and their actions have been passed down through the many generations. These individuals and their exploits have impacted much of Korean culture and have also influenced the philosophy and mentality of the East Asian martial art traditions.
During the ancient Silla dynasty, the Hwarang lead their society and were one of the major factors in the unification of the Korean peninsula. The reason for the success of their positions and accomplishments was due to their dedication to their education. The Hwarang sought out to be masters of life. They studied all types of combat skills, including: weapons, archery, equestrian skills, stealth, warfare tactics, and a comprehensive array of hand to hand combat skills. However, they also studied a significant amount of healing skills such as, acupuncture, acupressure, bone setting, and herbal medicine.
Along with the study of these physical techniques, the Hwarang also developed their mental capacities. Through meditation, these warriors developed a greater sense and awareness of themselves and perception of the external world. A lineage of a succession of masters and their individual students has handed down this system and philosophy for the past 58 generations. During the Silla dynasty, the Hwarang system was a very active component of the society and country. However, with the arrival of the Yi dynasty (1392 AD), the Hwarang system fell into decline do to political pressure and policy. The remaining warriors that still desired to be dedicated to the practice of their skills left the civilian life and society, and lived out the rest of their lives as hermit monks within the mountains of Korea.
From this period on, the techniques, concepts, and philosophies of the Hwarang warriors were passed down in secret from monk to monk. If a master found an acceptable student he would teach him this ancient knowledge, and in turn pass the Hwarang title to his student before his death. This way of transmission continued until the master Suahm Dosa. Suham Dosa accepted two brothers as his students, Dr. Joo Bang Lee and Joo Sang Lee. He taught these brothers the ancient skills at the Sa Gwang Sa Temple located in north Korea. Then with the arrival of the Korean War and the influence of the communist north, the Lee family and Suahm Dosa escaped to the south. Training then continued at the Yang Mi Ahm sanctuary located on O Dae Mountain.
In 1960, Dr. Joo Bang Lee wished to bring the wisdom of this tradition to the rest of the public. He believed this Hwarang knowledge would greatly benefit the general public because it affected so many areas of one's life, physically, mentally, and spiritually. With this goal in mind, he established and founded the martial art identity called Hwa Rang Do®, which means the Way of the Flowering Manhood.
The musool, martial skills, of this art are divided into 4 different divisions of power:
Nae Kong - Internal Power - This division deals with the development of your Ki. Different breathing exercises and meditation techniques are used to develop a greater awareness and control of this universal energy of life.
Wae Kong - External Power - This division includes the study of all external combat skills. This division is divided into 280 categories of techniques that are based on specific situations. This division also includes the study of movement, and 365 kicking techniques.
Moo Gi Kong - Weapon Power - This division includes the study of weapon power. There are 108 traditional weapons that are divided into 20 categories such as striking, cutting, throwing, etc. The goal of this division is to be able to utilize any object in one's environment as a weapon if necessary.
Shin Kong - Mental power - This division is dedicated to the development of one's mental capacities. It includes 13 categories of mental techniques. Through meditative practices one can learn to become aware of their mind's true potential.
The insool, healing skills, of this art are divided into 5 categories.
Jiapsool - Acupressure
Chimgusool - Acupuncture
Yakbangbop - Herbal Medicine
Jyupgolsool - Bone Setting
Kihaengsool - Ki Healing
The World Hwa Rang Do® Association
As mentioned previously, Hwa Rang Do® is very concerned about the quality of its identity. That is why there is only one governing organization of this art, the World Hwa Rang Do® Association (WHRDA). Throughout the world, the WHRDA acts as the one and only governing organization of Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do®.
The WHRDA is one of the main reasons that Hwa Rang Do® is different than most other martial arts. Through the efforts of this organization, a high standard of practitioners, instructors, and schools has been established. In fact, all schools, masters, instructors, and black sashes are certified by the WHRDA. To open a school and to receive a black sash in this art, an individual must test at the Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters. It is through policies like this that Hwa Rang Do® has been and will continue to maintain its reputation and standards. Hence forth, you and the rest of the general public will know that an individual is false if they make claims to have a rank or title within Hwa Rang Do® and they do not have this certification. The WHRDA has also established specific rules and regulations that govern the public instruction of this art. All schools, instructors, and practitioners follow these guidelines and that is why Hwa Rang Do® has been able to maintain its identity over the past 40 years.
It is a duty of all Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® practitioners to understand their responsibilities as a practitioner of this art. One must follow principles of human morality, and also the rules and laws of our art. For further clarification of these, please review the information posted this site, and in the Hwa Rang Do® student manual.
Just like a practitioner of a local dojang, the long distance practitioner will also have to understand these guidelines and responsibilities. Through the duration of long distance training for individuals, the Long Distance Training Program Committee located at the Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters will act as the administrative body for all long distance training practitioners. Any questions regarding specific policies related to the long distance training program or about Hwa Rang Do® in general should be directed here. The best way to make inquires about this program or other issues is through email at Longdistance@hwarangdo.com.
This long distance training program is designed for those individuals who are searching for a specific art. We understand that there are probably some kinds of martial art schools located near you. Nowadays, you can find a school or instructor located pretty much anywhere. It does not matter if you are in a rural or urban area; there are people out there that are claiming to have a connection to some martial art.
However, who are these individuals? And what are they practicing? There are many people who have all of a sudden sprung up from the ground like dandelions. Where they came from you can hardly be sure, and what kind of qualification they have, well, we will just leave that to your imagination.
The goal of the Tae Soo Do® Long Distance program is to give an opportunity to those individuals who live far away from a local dojang the opportunity to train in Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do®. This is a specific system that allows individuals to broaden their knowledge in these comprehensive martial and healing techniques. This program is set up similar to that of the educational system. First there is an undergraduate program (Tae Soo Do®) which builds your foundation in the basic fundamentals of training. Then there is the graduate program (Hwa Rang Do®) which explores the infinite possibilities of application and experience.
Our Vision: Harmony, a Way of Life
This entire process will lead individuals to a greater understanding of all areas of their being. Study involves a comprehensive curriculum of both martial and healing skills in order to develop the physical, mental, and spiritual spheres of our existence. Our goal is to maximize our human potential so that we can truly understand what it means to be human.
The undergraduate and graduate concept of Tae Soo Do® and Hwa Rang Do® -
is similar to that of the educational system.
The Tae Soo Do® and Hwa Rang Do® program has benefits for all types of individuals. No matter your age or current skill level, there is something unique for you to learn. There are many kinds of individuals that are involved in this program. If you are interested in training for purely personal reasons, or if you have professional motivations, this will be a good program for you if you are interested in learning Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® specifically.
For the non-experienced individual, the Tae Soo Do® program is one of the best ways to build your foundation in the martial arts. It is our undergraduate program, and is designed to develop an understanding of the basic mechanics and philosophies inherent in the study of martial arts. Training in this program involves the following:
Linear and Circular Kicking
Linear and Circular Blocks and Hand Strikes
Practical Self-defense Techniques
Basic Joint Manipulation
Basic Take-downs and Throws
Basic Ground Fighting and Choking
Weaponry: Ssang Jyel Bong, Jang Bong, Juk Do, Jang Gum
(nunchucks, long staff, bamboo sword, sword)
Beginner to Advanced Forms: Weapon and Open Hand
Basic Acrobatics and Falling Techniques
Stretching and Agility Drills
The Tae Soo Do® undergraduate program will allow you to stand strong, as your foundation for the more advanced and intensive training of Hwa Rang Do® begins. Once you progress through Tae Soo Do®, and receive your black belt, you will also receive the rank of yellow sash in Hwa Rang Do®. Achieving this rank is the first step of many, along the Hwa Rang Do® path.
The Experienced Individual
For the experienced individual, the Tae Soo Do® program is also a good place to start. If you have already been training in other martial arts, you have probably already learned some similar techniques throughout your study. Even so, the techniques taught in Tae Soo Do® reflect the approach needed to have a foundation in the graduate program of Hwa Rang Do®. Hwa Rang Do® is a blend of both hard/linear movement and soft/circular movement. One must have a strong foundation in hard style angles, striking, and stances, and also understand the grace and power of soft style movement, blocks, and joint manipulation in order to truly have a comprehensive vocabulary of martial techniques.
Your previous training will undoubtedly help you progress through the Tae Soo Do® program with more speed than the non-experienced practitioner. So as you learn and understand this material you will be able to test and then progress to the next rank. Just like in a local dojang, it is imperative that the student fully understands the requirements for a given rank, and then test in order to be promoted. The speed at which the student can progress through the Tae Soo Do® long distance program depends on how fast they catch and master their requirements for each belt. Then, once the experienced practitioner receives a black belt in Tae Soo Do®, they too will enter the Hwa Rang Do® program and continue their education.
Personal or Professional Motivations
The motivations of the long distance practitioner are important. Over the past 40 years of public instruction, we have had a number of people wish to train in Hwa Rang Do® that have had a vast array of reasons for training. These reasons usually break down into 2 distinct categories, personal or professional. Personal motivations include the fulfillment of your own individual desires for training. This may be to learn effective self-defense techniques, increase the overall state of your body (strength, flexibility, balance, control), or to simply get in shape. The goals of personal motivations are often many, and the individuals dedication to the program will reflect their achievements.
There are also people who have professional motivations in mind when they start their training. The professional martial artist is one who wishes to teach and spread this knowledge to the public. The professional practitioner has their own personal motivations for training too, but one of their main goals is to teach. We have many professional practitioners in Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do®. There are some individuals who teach part-time in a club atmosphere, and also those who make their livelihood teaching in a full fledge dojang.
For those individuals who wish to study Hwa Rang Do® and have professional motivations, this long distance program is an incredible way for you to make the change over to this art. The undergraduate/graduate program of Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® that is expressed here, is the same way we teach the students at our local dojangs. Students first start out in Tae Soo Do® to build their foundation, and then proceed into the Hwa Rang Do® program. Please review the Stages of Growth chart that is posted above to see the specific path of development students go through.
Now, if you are a professional martial artist that already has a school and students, but you wish to switch and be a part of Hwa Rang Do®, this long distance program is perfect for you. Since you already have experience you will personally be able to progress through the long distance program quickly. Then after learning all of the requirements you will be able to switch all of your students over to Tae Soo Do® while you learn the Hwa Rang Do® requirements. Then while you continue your own education in Hwa Rang Do® your students will be able to progress normally through the Tae Soo Do® undergraduate program. By the time your students are ready to pursue their own Hwa Rang Do® education, you should be well on your way and will be well prepared to teach them along that path. This way, the professional practitioner will be able to make a smooth transition into a the new martial art identity of Hwa Rang Do®.
Should I switch to Hwa Rang Do® & Tae Soo Do®?
Switching over to another martial art is a serious and important decision. We have had a number of instructors make this switch from other arts in the past. Some people are sick and tired of internal politics of competing organizations and individuals, some people are searching for a system that has a complete syllabus of martial and healing techniques, and some people are searching for an honorable martial art identity to be a part of. These are the main reasons why professional and non-professional individuals have sought Hwa Rang Do® out to study.
Dedication to your martial art identity is very important. One should spend his or her lifetime practicing and working for the benefit of their one martial art identity. Knowledge of technique is important, however, it should not be the only driving force for individuals. That is why we suggest that everyone should thoroughly research what they are interested in, who can offer that, who has an honorable reputation, and is this martial art identity you wish to be a part of.
Martial art training is not only concerned with the study of techniques, nor is it the same as academic study. People should not study multiple martial arts, and should not claim to teach multiple arts. For the quest of fulfilling the thirst of knowledge, a current trend has developed which places the learning of multiple disciplines as the norm. However, the result of this trend is that these kinds of practitioners have turned their respective martial art identities into generic terms that are no longer distinguishable to the public.
One of the basic requirements of becoming a practitioner of Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® is that the individual must decide to practice only Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do®. This true for all of our local dojang practitioners and for our long distance practitioners. If you were searching for techniques and had plans to study Hwa Rang Do® to make it a part of your repertoire of multiple styles, we are sorry but we will not be able to help you. Our identity is very important to us and we do not intend to lose its integrity. However, the techniques, concepts, and philosophies of Hwa Rang Do® are extremely comprehensive so you do not need to study multiple arts in the first place.
Please consider this decision carefully. Hwa Rang Do® is a unique program designed upon a specific syllabus and philosophy. It is important that our practitioners follow basic principles about human morality, the laws and regulations of our art, and the traditional Way of the martial arts. This is our mental foundation and spirit, and we hope that you feel the same resonance in your approach to the study of a martial art.
Testing for your next rank is an important step in the study of a martial art. Even though the long distance practitioner is not training at a local dojang, he or she still must test in order to prove they have learned the specific requirements for their rank. These promotions are done through video. The students will record themselves performing all of the requirements as they appear on their instructional video for that rank. All basic combinations, kicking tests, techniques, forms, and weapon forms must be executed in the same manner as shown on the instructional tape, to the best of the student's ability. That tape is then sent to the Long Distance Training Program Committee where it is reviewed along with the other requirements for that rank.
After all of the material of the promotion is reviewed, the student will be notified of the results of the examination and receive an evaluation sheet of his or her test. If successful the student will also receive a certificate and belt with information on progressing to the next rank.
White Orange Yellow Green Purple Blue Brown Red Half-black 2-3 months 2-3 months 2-3 months 3-4 months 3-4 months 3-4 months 4-6 months 4-6 months 4-6 months
The average time frame for progressing through the Tae Soo Do® Color belts is listed in the table above. However, once the practitioner learns and can execute their requirements properly, they can test for the next rank. After the student achieves Tae Soo Do® Black Belt, they will then become a Hwa Rang Do® yellow sash, and continue their education in the Graduate program.
Black Belt Promotion
Training in Tae Soo Do® involves many aspects of your being. It is not enough that you learn all of the physical requirements, and then have the right to be called a black belt. You must have a good character and a strong mentality, and then prove that you deserve this rank. So for practitioners with professional motivations, your Tae Soo Do® black belt test must be in front of an instructor or master. The location of this instructor will be picked by the Long Distance Training Program Committee and will be dependent on your location. If there is not someone relatively near you, you must test at the Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters. If you only have personal motivations for training you will still have the option of testing through video. The Tae Soo Do® Black Belt test does have other nonphysical requirements that all candidates must successfully complete.
***All Hwa Rang Do® black sash testings are held in front of the Founder and the master's testing committee at the Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters no matter where you live and whom you may study with. This way we can ensure that quality and integrity exist at a high level for all of our Hwa Rang Do® Black Sashes.***
Long Distance Training Program Fees
The fees for training in the Tae Soo Do® long distance training program are fairly simple. Similar to a student at a local dojang, there is the WHRDA membership fee, a tuition fee, and testing fees. These are broken down into the following:
$65 World Hwa Rang Do® Association membership fee-
This fee includes $40 annual fee, passport, plus the Hwa Rang Do® Student Manual (value $20), and shipping and handling. WHRDA membership entitles the member to special discounts on equipment, seminars, and tournaments. This fee is required by all Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® practitioners and goes towards the efforts of the WHRDA of spreading and maintaining Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® throughout the world.
Per Belt tuition fee:
Beginner - (White, Orange, Yellow) $290 per belt
Intermediate - (Green, Purple, Blue) $390 per belt
Advanced - (Brown, Red, Half-black) $650 per belt
This fee is not contingent upon the time period it takes to progress through each belt. It is a one time fee that includes the video tape which contains all of your requirements for that specific belt, plus additional literature to assist your learning.
Black Belt Club tuition fee:
Single payment of $3,900 This fee includes entire tuition from White through Half-black belts. It also includes the entire Tae Soo Do® belt-by-belt video tape series, which contains all of your requirements.
Testing fee for each belt rank promotion:
This is the same fee charged for rank testing here at headquarters, and includes certificate and belt.
The above fees are all of the standards fees associated to training in the Tae Soo Do® long distance training program. All merchandise, equipment, uniforms, books, and other videos are not included in these fees, and can be purchased separately at the WHRDA member discounted price.
Acceptance into the Long Distance Program
If you are interested in this program, gaining acceptance into the Tae Soo Do® Long Distance Training Program involves the following:
The applicant must be able to first make a commitment to follow the rules and laws related to a Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do® student's responsibilities. ***These include following the basic principles of human morality expressed in the Hwa Rang Do® Meng Sae, and the bylaws, rules and regulations that are set forth on the Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters website.***
The applicant must also make a commitment to study specifically Hwa Rang Do® and Tae Soo Do®, and no other martial art identity.
The applicant must completely fill out the following application form and send it to the Hwa Rang Do® Long Distance Training Program Committee.
The applicant must include their answers to the essay questions, typed and double-spaced. Total length of all 3 essays combined should be between 5 and 10 pages.
The applicant must include a $20 nonrefundable application fee. Fee must be in the form of a money order, cashier's check, or credit card.
Application and fee must be sent to the Hwa Rang Do® Long Distance Training Program Committee located at:
Attn: Long Distance Training Program
Hwa Rang Do® World Headquarters
13762 Newport Ave., Suite 201 Tustin, CA. 92780 U.S.A.
The Application for training in the Tae Soo Do® Long Distance Program is a PDF file. Download and open with Adobe Acrobat Reader. (If you do not have Adobe Reader, it can be downloaded on the Adobe Site for free.) Print the application out, fill it out completely, then send in for review. If you are accepted in the program you will be notified and sent initial materials for beginning in this program. Any questions regarding the long distance training program for interested applicants should be directed to the above location, or at the following:
Phone: (714) 731-5425(KICK) Fax: (714) 731-5420 Email: Longdistance@hwarangdo.com (email preferred)
Click Here For Application