Talking bad about Hwarang Do

thanson02

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Man, I take a break from being online for the last year because of family stuff and ALL the drama pops up. :confused:

Ha Rang Do was created by Joe Bang Lee, whose family fled modern day north Korea, trained under Yong sul Choi's early form of modern Hapkido, to cut a long story short was a deeply spiritual man, in 1955 attained a master level under Choi, bur continued his spiritual studies under Suahan Dosa, after failing to unite Korean arts at his own expense created his own style Ha Rang Do, in 1972 emigrated to the USA,
In the US, his students found the concept of spiritual training very difficult, and had much less training time due to work and family life back then to comprehend, so he simplified the art to suit his new students.
After a time he decided to take students that wanted to learn the art in its entirety, into a situation where they could embrace the arts four fundemental principles of training, implementing over 4000 techniques, combining internal power, external power, mental power, and weapon power, and in order to achieve this, students needed to be away from modern life and it's pressures.
I do not know if the arts you speak of are actual cults, or if they are under the principles of master Joo Bang Lee, but I thought it necessary to inform you of the man's teaching philosophies, of being completely immersed in the art, and away from modern distractions in order to master it. By the way never trained in the art, but did learn about it of my own free will, as it shares it's history with Hapkido and it's documented founder.

Well as someone who has been training in the art for almost 20 years, this is for the most part correct. There are certain rules that they are strict on and certain things they are not. Dedication to the art is a BIG thing for the organization. Their attitude is " If you are going to be here and master what we do, be here and master it." Not everyone in the US, especially those who are big into MMA style training appreciate that, but the argument between "traditional vs MMA" has been done to death and frankly is a preference of style more then anything.

As for the comments of Hwa Rang Do being "cultish", I have avoided those discussions because for the most part, I do not know the people making the clams. I do not know their disposition, preferences, or history, and I have no context on what their experiences have been. All I can speak to is my experiences. Being someone who has been involved in Korean martial arts since I was 10-12 years old, all I can say is that the idea of "loyalty to your teacher and master" is something that I have seen in both Tae Kwon Do and Hwa Rang Do. My TKD instructor was really bad in this and his behavior would defiantly falls under the "cultish" label. He was the reason I left martial arts completely for 5 years, which were some of the hardest years in my life. My experiences with HRD has certainly been better then my TKD experience in regards to the instructors and most of the problems I have had has been from students who have come up through the ranks and felt that if they focus on their achievements, then the instructors should grant them "special privileges". I have trained with Dojoonim and his son, Grandmaster Taejoon Lee. They are intense and not everyone can appreciate that. To be honest, there have been times where I have not either. But their job is not to make me feel better about myself. They tell me how they see things and they tell me where I need to do better. I don't always like hearing it, but I have found (and sometimes it took a while) that their comments helped me move forward. I have never felt like I was not allowed to leave or that I was worthless or deficient if I do, nor have I ever felt like myself or my family was in danger if I do. (which is a classic cult practice in order to maintain the cult structure). On the other hand, I do not train under them all the time and last time I had any interaction with Grandmaster Lee was 4 years ago when he moved to Europe.

There has been a lot of drama around the Hwa Rang Do leadership, that much is obvious. But frankly, (and this is my opinion) if the art is not a good fit, move on to something else that is. There are more then enough martial art systems out there to train under. I don't think it is really that complicated.
 

thanson02

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Side note: If folks are just interested in talking crap about HRD and it is somthing that is a gulty pleasure for them, don't let my comments stop you. It is not a practice I particually get into nor do I find enjoyment in it. That was one of the few things that I did learn from my old TKD instructor that had any value (although I don't think he ment it to be a lesson). Tearing others down to show how good you are elevates no one to a better place.

But like I said, we all our pleasures..............
 

Gweilo

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I think the biggest problem is everyone is an expert, even if they have no training in a perticular art, we can all understand art loyalty, and we can all find a video that portraits an art in a non impressive way, the thing is, if we don't ask questions people don't understand, can you imagine, if the masses had followed the opinions of thoso in the know, when JKD was first exposed to the MA world, I can remember people laughing about new arts being shown at MA festivals in the late 80's early 90's, that are main stream training nowdays, I am all for keeping traditions, and keeping arts intact, as they were meant to be, but I have recently come to understand, we do need to evolve, as do our arts.
 

thanson02

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I think the biggest problem is everyone is an expert, even if they have no training in a perticular art, we can all understand art loyalty, and we can all find a video that portraits an art in a non impressive way, the thing is, if we don't ask questions people don't understand, can you imagine, if the masses had followed the opinions of thoso in the know, when JKD was first exposed to the MA world, I can remember people laughing about new arts being shown at MA festivals in the late 80's early 90's, that are main stream training nowdays, I am all for keeping traditions, and keeping arts intact, as they were meant to be, but I have recently come to understand, we do need to evolve, as do our arts.

Completely agree. All martial arts must grow and evolve, or they will become stagnant and wither away. And you have to ask questions. HRD is no different in this. For our community, the key is to grow without sacrificing the core of what you do and why you train. If for you that is pure competitive competition and the glory of the ring and excel in competitive fighting, great. Have fun. If it is to express a tradition and use competition to pressure test what you do to help deepen your understanding of what you do as you strive towards excellence in that art, awesome. Go do it.

Of course, it doesnt help that different people have different relationships with the concept of loyalty. Some people see it a "blind faith", which is unhealthy at best and strait up damaging at worse. Others (like me) see it as dedication to a martial community and what that community stand for. There are TONS of people who are dedicated to excellence in their training in their martial art, whether it is Judo, BJJ, Tae Kwon Do, Karate, ect. There are also people who are dedicated to their instructors or their schools for various reasons and you don't hear people bash the dedication, especially if people are getting results in what they do. But when relationships go south for whatever reason, there are hurt feelings and people get upset.
 
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