Blanket response to the many HRD threads here

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Sun Bae

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I originally posted this in She-Sulsa's "Ken Corona Hwa Rang Do" post - She Sulsa appeared to rightfully take exception, so I am posting a new thread.

Having been around HRD since 1984 when you had to test at the Downey HQ for every belt in front of a committee of Kwan Jang Nim with Do Joo Nim heading up the testing while seated at a table in the middle of all the Kwan Jang Nim and a little 12 year old brat child running around yelling at everyone, while a very courteous 9 year old offered his services, I might have a little perspective about some of the threads about HRD.

My original HRD teacher was Kwan Jang Nim Chu, who you will not find listed on the official HRD web page. Kwan Jang Nim Gil Kim considered Kwan Jang Nim Chu to be his older brother and would stop by Kwan Jang Nim Chu's school and spare with us, this is the way to learn MA!, getting beat up by a Kwan Jang Nim LOL; all though, I believe it was Sa Bum Nim Kim at the time. My second HRD teacher was Kyo Sa Nim Corona who became Sa Bum Nim Corona who later became Kwan Jang Nim Corona and is no longer listed on the HRD web page. I was one of Kwan Jang Nim Corona's first "Tempe boys and Girls Club/City Park/University Blvd" students. Just for reference I also studied with Kwan Jang Nim Elliot, Sa Bum Nim Tyler and the Bain brothers. I have also studied under Sifu Kam Yuen and various other martial arts, unfortunately the martial arts have been more of an intellectual exercise and my highest progression has been to half-black, I really don't have the talent of my older HRD brothers.

When I visit the HRD HQ web page the original and best students of HRD including Kwan Jang Nim Chu, Kwan Jang Nim Gil Kim, Kwan Jang Nim Corona and many others are conspicuously missing from the Black Belt and above list, obviously something is up! The real question is; is it anyone's business besides Do Joo Nim and the students who have been removed from the list? I would say let sleeping dogs lie and pray that Do Joo Num shows true leadership and reconciles the differences in private restoring the family he started and then alienated.

I have done extensive research into the linage of HRD and if you are reading this Bruce, Do Joo Nim was almost your boss having been the top ranked Hap Ki Do Master at one time; all though, the Hap Ki Do you know would not be the Hap Ki Do taught by Do Joo Nim Lee. I have studied Kuk Sul Won under In Huk Su and find HRD and Kuk Sul Won to be surprisingly similar and I really don't want to debate which one is better. From my observations better is based on the individual; though, I do believe the quality control of HRD was incredibly tight at one time, which is verifiable by the abilities of the HRD first generation students. As far as differences and similarities between different Korean martial arts this is how I see it:

Hwa Rang Do: Composed of hard and soft kicks, punches, blocks, locking (praying mantis type), joint locks and breaks, throws, kung fu style forms all integrated into one art; in other words, when you learn each aspect of HRD you are also taught how to flow from one technique into another no matter what category it comes from. If you study Tae Chi and learn the combative interpretations of the movements and you learn HRD you will soon find out the techniques are the same. Kwan Jang Nim Chu taught a style of HRD that more fits the description of Lee Joo Sang with the soft touch that In Huk Sul demonstrates and taught the concept of flowing from hard to soft and soft to hard in a continuous motion. For example, drawing your opponent in with a soft block and then turning the energy around and exploding into your opponent with a hard linear technique. The way the techniques flow between each other are actually in the forms, which is probably difficult for someone from say Hap Ki Do to understand because originally they didn't have forms, what a contrast.

Hap Ki Do: I studied it for a for a few weeks when I lived in a place where I did not have access to a HRD school and the Kwan Jang Nim asked me to leave, refunded all my money and tore up the one year contract I signed because the students where asking me too many questions about techniques. I just wanted to workout with some folks that had similar interests. I went to another Hap Ki Do school and the instructor kept asking me to demonstrate the kicking techniques, I quit because I did not feel right teaching HRD kicking techniques to non HRD students, again no forms or way to fluidly flow between techniques. The little Hap Ki Do I did experience appeared to teach a subset of HRD joint manipulation, throwing and basic kicks as distinct techniques that did not flow together, I am sure it depends on the Hap Ki Do school since the term was used so loosely at one time.

Kuk Sul Won: It is obvious that In Huk Sul and Do Joo Nim Lee have had some kind of relationship in the past, the belt ranking, forms and joint manipulation techniques follow a very similar pattern; all though, HRD has a richer variety of kicking techniques, forms and flows between them much more fluidly. In Huk Su does have a tremendous amount of Ki and displays a much softer version of the techniques then the main stream HRD teachers, more like the soft touch of Kwan Jang Nim Chu.

Tae Kwon Do: Yeah, I studied this also and eventually was only allowed to spare with one guy who was literally a foot taller than me, 5' - 6' against a 6' - 7" person. Very challenging, the only time I came out on top was when he got cocky and tried to grapple with me, needless to say he went down quick. It is very difficult to close the gap on a guy that is a foot taller, very athletic, keeps the distance to his advantage and keeps trying to kick and punch you in the head when you get close; oh yeah, sparing rules only allow kicking and punching above the waist. I really didn't see the similarities between TKD and HRD beyond the first two belts in HRD, it reminded me more of Japanese Karate or a softer version of Tong Soo Do; where as, HRD kicking, grappling and forms remind me more of Chinese Kung Fu and Chin Na crossed with Aiki Jujitsu, even the short forms of HRD follow the tradition of short forms you find in Chinese Kung Fu.

As I stated before, it is easy to debate which is the best martial art; though, I believe it is not the art as much as it is the artist. Look at Bill “super foot” Wallace he perfected three kicks and retired undefeated heavy height champion by knocking people out with his three kicks, execution and timing is everything. What HRD offers is more options to the student and knowledge on how to execute and flow from technique to technique, does this translate into a superior student or martial artist, I don’t know. Remember Bill knocked opponents out with one of three kicks, nothing fancy.

What about conditioning and training? Does practicing several combinations of kicks and punches from various awkward angles improve you coordination; maybe, I have only seen these types of drills in HRD and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. Do intense drills that make you feel like your going to pass out give you an edge from an endurance standpoint? Does personal instruction from the Kwan Jang Nim of a school insisting that you attempt the same technique thousands of times being corrected every so often by the Kwan Jang Nim make a difference?

So with all this in mind who is Do Joo Nim: He is a man that is considered to be a "National Treasure" to South Korea, which is a pretty impressive resume and testifies to his ability as a martial artist. Do Joo Nim was the first choice for heir to the art of Hap Ki Do and turned it down to be Do Joo Nim of HRD, having much more to offer thru the combination of martial arts he had learned from his diversity of teachers. Like I said, I don't know the history of the break up between the original masters; even though, I would have a greater respect for the leaders of the KMA if they would reconcile their differences, though it is not my place to intercede.

To the point of who is Kwan Jang Nim Corona: If my memory serves me correctly, he studied the Japanese martial arts of Aikido, Aiki Jujitsu, Judo, Karate and Kendo for 10 years under a first generation Aikido Master before becoming a direct live-in student of Do Joo Nim at the young age of 19. There is a tradition in the martial arts where the father does not always teach their children directly and this tradition was followed by Do Joo Nim. Kwan Jang Nim Corona was one of the students Do Joo Nim taught with the specific intent of teaching his children directly, do you think Kwan Jang Nim Corona received the best training possible from a man that is considered to be a "Nation Treasure", based on his expertise in the martial arts? Kwan Jang Nim Corona was taught well beyond his official rank by Do Joo Nim and is one of the highest ranking non Korean Kwan Jang Nim's in the world, I would not take this lightly. The first generation HRD students can testify that the HRD that was originally taught in the US will never be taught today because of potential law suits; even though, the original training techniques produced some of the finest martial artists in the world.

I think it should also be stated that Kwan Jang Nim Corona travels all over the country teaching seminars (or at least he did at one time, I have been out of touch for about 3 years) to martial art schools, law enforcement agencies and military. I remember Kwan Jang Nim Corona looking for wall space to put plaques he received from law enforcement agencies commending him on the training of their officers. On a more personal note, I can also remember officers thanking Kwan Jang Nim Corona for the training they received, indicating that it saved their lives. For example: an officer was attacked by two men who gained possession of his fire arm, the officer used the training he received from Kwan Jang Nim Corona to not only recover his weapon he also subdued both men with only minor injuries to the assailants. I have heard other police officers thank Kwan Jang Nim Corona because he taught them how to subdue a perpetrator while protecting the perpetrator; thus, resulting in a non-controversial arrest.

Kwan Jang Nim Corona is one of HRD’s most dedicated and gifted teachers, even if he is not sanctioned by the WHRDA. His teaching has affected the lives of thousands and he has unselfishly shared his knowledge of the martial arts for many years. He has always shown the utmost patience, knowledge and integrity you would expect from a true master and teacher of the martial arts deserving of the utmost respect. The best testimony of a teacher is the ability of their students and Kwan Jang Nim Corona has left an incredible legacy that is evident by visiting the schools of his students.

I hope this post was not out of line and if any of the HRD older brothers see any errors in this post please feel free to correct them.

Thank you Kwan Jang Nim Corona for being my teacher and older brother in the arts,
Sun Bae
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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This may seem a little naive, but what HRD threads are you referring to? I did a wee bit o HRD w/ Mr. Kim; quite a bit with Rick Solis before his motorcycle accident and subsequent passing; and with a short-time student of the white guy who wrote the knife figting book then got blowed up on a plane ride (Michael Echinas (sp?); even went to a few tests, demos and seminars at the old Downey HQ, then stopped following the saga after Supreme World Great Grandmaster Lee moved down to south Orange County, and started focusing on folk energy medicine. Has there been some other prominent developments in the circuit since I checked out?

Best Regards,

Dave
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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Actually, forget I asked. This thread promted me to google HRD, and I perused a couple sites and their meanderings. It appears that things have pretty much scattered to the many winds, accompanied by the Twins of Confusion and Chaos.

To all upcoming and current HRD practitioners, from whatever lineage you may come: Your system is a good one, and the skill levels you can achieve with diligent practice are well worth honorable mention. To the extent you may as individuals, try not to allow the political chaos to negatively influence your lifelong martial arts endeavors.

I wish you all well, and will pray that peace finds you soon. Until we meet again in that place where we are all one,

Namaste,

Dave
 

shesulsa

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Nice post, Dave. The original post dated two years ago is a good one as well. :)
 

matt.m

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Dave, this is an awesome post. One of the best I have read in the KMA section in a while. Kudos to you sir.

I did enjoy reading it very much. However, can you shed a little light my direction please? If I read you post correctly and have put together teachings I have learned over the last 16 yrs of hapkido please tell me.....How does hapkido has joint locks that are a subset of hwarang do?

I know Choi had to the effect of 11 original students. I know Choi had 3808 techniques to draw from while teaching. He also wanted his original students to start their own Kwans, teaching diffently. This is why Kuk Sool, Moo Sul Kwan, Jung Ki, Sin Moo, Bong Soo Han's Hapkido, World Hapkido, and J. West Hapkido, and Hijinmok hapkido is a little different in application and cirriculum.

Now, back to HWD. I asked the question of what HWD was once. The answer I got was this, for right or wrong and not meaning any ill feelings was this. "HWD is a softer version of hapkido. It is a great art, but not as powerful on the execution of the techniques."

I believe there can be a similiarity to some of the locks, however a subset....I don't believe so. Choi never studied Hwarang Do. Ji Han Jae, Won-Kwang Wha, Lee H. Park. None of these men studied HWD.
 

Kembudo-Kai Kempoka

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Matt:

I am not the author of the original post in this thread. I happened upon it after mystic warrior commented on what appears to be a 2-year-old, previously uncommented on thread.

My own experience with HWD is "unofficial", inasmuch as I never fully enrolled at an HRD dojang. Rather, there are several folks from HRD whom I was lucky enough to call "friend", and we would train together and exchange notes; dummy for each other during practice, and sometimes stop each other to say, "What was that cool move you just did? Show me that one."

The histories of foundation of an art are never as glorious or stain free as the marketing machines would have us believe; coming from mainly kenpo, I can attest to the vast differences between what gets put out to the public as formation history, and what really hapens. Even back in the late 70's thru mid 80's I knew of murmurings within HRD about the history. It didn't matter to me, because of the exemplary skills demonstrated by it's representatives in my area.

Gil Kims school(s) in HB were not far from my home; a high school buddy of mine was a black sash in HRD, and I often tagged along to events at World HQ in Downey; I pirated many of the cool kicks to develop a skill set designed to complement the hand-heavy kenpo for my students who were interested. But I do not have any direct knowledge of the foundational knowledge sources of HWD, and will not regurgitate rumors from decades ago to split an already suffering house.

My activity with the HRD community dropped way down after a senior student friend of mine passed away from a late night motorcycle accident. I have fond memories -- some funny, some embarrassing, some brilliant -- of HRD and my brief stint in it, and would encourage you to form your own. Unfortunately, politics and ego appear to have fractured a good framework, just as they have my mother-art of kenpo. Nothing means anything but what we make it to mean.

Life is the moments that are in it; concern yourself less with such things, and get about the business of crafting moments that weave a fabric worthy of memory.

Best Regards,

Dave
 

shesulsa

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HRD types are not the sort of folk who rattle off our syllabus, sorry.

But we have joint locks, one, two and three steps, hyungs, many basic combinations, weapon training, throwing, falling, breaking, ground fighting, stealth, hand to hand and close quarters. Pretty well-rounded, I think.

I should say at this point that I am not a member of the WHRDA.
 

mystic warrior

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shesulsa said:
I should say at this point that I am not a member of the WHRDA.
I was and might be again, but if I am I will go to the east cost part of it.
There is a lot less b.s. on that side
 

Makalakumu

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Kembudo-Kai Kempoka said:
Life is the moments that are in it; concern yourself less with such things, and get about the business of crafting moments that weave a fabric worthy of memory.

Absolutly wonderful quote...
 

Pheonix

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Back to the original subjects of the thread. I have only trained with Kwan Jang Nim Corona once. It was about a 3 or 4 hour seminar in Yacolt Wa. And from what I have seen and heard I am in awe at his ability and control. I have seen his control first hand while being a example or body for him to show proper technique on to the other people around. I honestly can't wait to go to one of his seminars again.

farang
 
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