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Last updates: January 13, 2001
 January 18, 2001
   January 23, 2001
January 27, 2001
February 1, 2001

    This open letter and those to follow is the beginning of a public feud better kept private.  To those outside the World Hwa Rang Do Association and the many ex-communicated, there will be little substance of interest here.  It is an internal polemic caused by years of verbal abuse in a public forum.  Since the WHRDA  posted its libelous assault against me on their Web Site: in the Summer of 1996, I have resisted the temptation to drag personal and internal disputes out into the public. In December of 1996, I posted a response to their personal accusations, and requested that they retract and apologize, but I kept the commentary focused on my memory of events and historical records from other sources on the modern development of Hwa Rang Do.  Four months ago, I discovered that functionaries within WHRDA at Joo Bang Lee's direction were again circulating highly personalized attacks against me to total strangers eighteen years after the supposed events.  I sent a request to Henry Lee and to the organization that the practice be stopped and that they take down the pages in reference to me on their Web Site. I suggested that none of it was necessary to promote their business, and that I was as capable of writing rancid, personalized attacks as were they. 

     I waited until now and they didn't have the common courtesy to reply.  I am ready to respond, and I will continue until they take the offending pages down from their site, post a retraction and apology, however, I care not what they do.  I wish to speak to the neophyte who may be unaware of what lurks behind the facade of high sounding virtues. 

    I would spend more time dealing with the accusations by John Huppuch, but his diatribe is a true reflection of his rather limited IQ and it is not worth spending the energy on this wasted sycophant.  It is enough to say that John Huppuch was a former student of mine from the Aspen Academy of Martial Arts. I awarded him his Yellow Belt and (unfortunately for all concerned) I recommended that he go to Headquarters in Downey to continue studying the art.  For those who know him, his claim posted on his Open Letter , "I have been studying Hwa Rang Do from my master - Hwa Rang Do founder and Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee - on a daily basis for over twenty years at the World Headquarters", is the most laughable self congratulatory deceit to come from any of the small clique surrounding the SGMD Joo Bang.  To start with, his rotund physic would belie daily anything other than his corpulent addictions of which there are many, but it is not worth the time to itemize them here.

Carsten Jorgensen     

    Much more entertaining is the Page on the WHRDA site authored by Carsten Jorgensen, a proselyte from Denmark.  At least Carsten is not as intellectually challenged as Huppuch.  I will take on Carsten's Page point by point with regards to his critique of my Personal History written on another page on this site.

  •  Carsten can be forgiven for many misinterpretations of my memory of the early history of Hwa Rang Do since English is not his first language.  More to the point, he can be forgiven because he is not old enough (Twenty-three at the time of writing his critique of me) to have been around when these defining events occurred and therefore takes what he hears from Joo Bang to be truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  The Page on Personal History starts with an explanation of how a number of ex-hwarangdo instructors came together to discuss the possibility of creating a platform for examining the art in a fraternal atmosphere. I mentioned that meeting in San Francisco was called by the First Generation of Instructors: myself, Vicente Montenegro and Gil Kim.  I then mention that the senior instructors at the meeting included Gil Kim, Vicente Montenegro, Mike De Alba, Randy Warner, Jessie Lechuga and myself. There were approximately twenty Black Belts at the meeting.  

  •  Carsten claims that Montenegro does not support the purposes of the group, yet he was there and I speak with him frequently.  I can tell you that Vicente has never ask me to take down any page on this site.  He would be in favor of some form of reconciliation, but he has no official association with WHRDA, never takes his students to be tested before the "Masters" at the Headquarters, pays them no dues nor has any respect for their behavior. 

    1993 Meeting of Hwarang Instructors at De Alba's school: Vicente Montengro Center facing, Gil Kim talking to Vicente, Jessie Lechuga to Vicente's right, Randy Warner almost out of photo behind Kim and twenty others.


  • Carsten claims that I started three organizations and that each was founded after writing letters to HRD Black Belts and asking them to join some new organization of mine.  In point of fact, the United Federation of Hwarangdo was started by Kil Kim.  I wrote the letter to the attendees of this gathering in Mike De Alba's school in 1993, and it is reproduced and revised on Hwa Rang Do, A Personal History.  I started on the Internet The Society of the Hwarang in 1996, but I have never considered the Society an organization, but rather a place to express an opinion, as a kind of sounding board to evolve the art. This type of discourse, the WHRDA sorely resents. They have an ultimate Authority and he is called Supreme Grand Master Doctor.  Beyond that Pontifical reassurance they are unable to hear any other voice. 

  • It is possible without knowing for certain that Carsten is also referring to a series of letters that I wrote in 1986 when I left the Lee Family organization; I am not sure because he wasn't around at the time.   I explain in another page on this site Warning To WHRDA  Members the detailed reasons why I left and why so many others did the same.  More importantly, I warn the novice who is thinking of joining the World Hwa Rang Do Association that there is a contract they are required to sign before they test for their Black Belt that will convert them into Indentured Servants. I have posted a sample of this contract on a separate page: WHRDA CONTRACT.   I have always made my letters public because the WHRDA is operated like a Mafia where there is only one opinion that matters, and those who question the Don's authority are considered criminal.  It is a special way of thinking and behaving. I will deal with this point below.

  • Next, Carsten makes the mistake of trying to recite history and challenge my doubts of the official WHRDA promotional propaganda that Hwa Rang Do traces its history back to the founding of Hwarang 1800 years.  In the early years of my association with Joo Bang, he preached the myth at every opportunity that Hwa Rang Do was a direct descendent of the ancient Korean institution. They still do; one needs to read the interviews with Joo Bang in the fall 1999 issues of Black Belt, also posted on their site. I repeated this myth in the books that I wrote for him, "The Ancient Art of Hwa Rang Do". I retract the claim in Personal History; simple math would deny that the Hwarang as an institution go back 1800 years, and there is no basis for associating the historic institution of the Hwarang with the contemporary art, Hwa Rang Do.  Carsten who claims to have a degree in Korean Studies compounds his ignorance by stating "that HRD was not founded in the 6th century, (as I said) but long before that (hence the 1800-2000 years).  Won Kwang Popsa only added the Hwarang O Kye (Five Rules of the Hwarang)."  He even writes a separate page on Hwarangdo history on the organization's Web Site and takes as evidence that the Hwarang existed 2000 years ago based on obscure references to warrior youth groups.  But all tribal societies had initiation rituals to prepare their young men for combat.  This does not constitute an institution which was later created by King Chinhung any more than calling a modern form of the martial arts Hwa Rang Do makes a direct descendent of the same.   Now I would expect more from one who holds a degree in Korean Studies and is an instructor for the organization, but let us see.

  • My source for the founding of the ancient institution of the Hwarang is a doctoral thesis, "The Emergence of Multi-Centered Despotism in the Silla Kingdom: A Study of the Origin of Factional Struggles in Korea" written by Kim Chung Sun in 1965 which is what I used for authority in writing Lee's book. (University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, Michigan)  Kim states that the Hwarang was established during the reign of the twenty-fourth king, Chinhung who became king of Silla in the year 540 A.D. Kim's source was the Samguk Yusa and other historical texts that survived from the mid twelfth century.    Authorities close to the subject debate whether the institution of the Hwarang was created during the first year or the thirty-seventh year of King Chinhung, but none dispute the fact that it was during the Chinhung kingdom that the institution was established. 

  • A short footnote to this debate is that I just picked up the interview with Joo Bang Lee in Black Belt and the speaker (It actually sounds like Henry Lee, not Joo Bang. More later) says, "They (The Hwarang) became the standard for Silla's military at the time of King Chinhung in 540 A.D. The legendary Buddhist monk, Won Kwang Beopsa, gave the Hwarang their Five Codes to govern their behavior."  Shame on you Carsten! You are contradicting your MASTER!  Go Sit in the corner!

  • Perhaps the accusation that should cause the greatest outrage on reflection is the source of my greatest mirth. Carsten accuses me of being a liar when I state that I wrote most of the three volumes "The Ancient Art of Hwa Rang Do".  I will put aside the presumption that the liar here is Joo Bang himself, and Carsten a naive True Believer.  After all,  he was a child at the time that I did the research and writing which served as the basis for all three volumes as well as the first six pages of Mike Echanis' introduction to his book on knife fighting.  What I so delight over is that Carsten just finished saying that Joo Bang's English was so poor that he could not explain the difference between the two forms of "Do" or The Way and Disciple, and now he has him dictating to me history and philosophy.  

  • The mirthful part of this stupidity is that at the time I wrote the section on theoretical basis of the art, I relied on Hegelian Dialectics.  As a former Marxists, I still accepted the notion that the eastern view of Yin-Yang or the Korean version of it, Um-Yang, was consistent with Hegel's Dialectical Unity of Opposites. Hegel believed that evolution to higher forms is a synthesis that converge from two opposite elements.  Transposing Hegel's notion of dialectics, I borrowed the concept and applied it to the unity of soft-circular and hard-linear form as an oscillation between the two opposite aspects of the art.  The idea that Joo Bang Lee who could barely speak English was dictating Hegelian Dialectics is deeply humorous.  Joo Bang was of no help whatsoever in the writing of the book; Huppuch was called upon to write transition paragraphs between chapters and photo descriptions because I was in Aspen, teaching at the Academy.

  Here is a little photographic evidence which I failed to point out in Personal History. These two photographs were taken by Vicente Montenegro. The one on the Left with Joo Sang Lee executing a Arm Bar/Foot Sweep on me (note my personal logo, The Swallow, on my pant leg) was taken in 1969. The photograph on the Right was taken in 1973 with Joo Sang on the Left with Vicente at his side (after setting the camera on auto expose), I am in the middle and Joo Bang is on the far Right. The two photos were taken in exactly the same location in the room, but in 1969 the only banners that Joo Sang hung on his wall was the American and Korean flags. The patch on Joo Sang's Gi was also the Korean flag, not the now familiar Hwa Rang Do logo.  In 1972, Joo Bang had arrived with a new banner baring the logo of Hwa Rang Do or (Fa Rang Do).  It was only after Joo Bang arrived in the country that the Hapkido sign was taken down and we changed the patches on our Japanese style Karate Gi and the banner on our wall.  

  • Well, now we have to talk Spin Kicks.  Carsten again suffers lack of comprehension of simple English or he just invents a scene like a screen writer.  I am thinking of his "friend" who lives near me and learned to do his spin kicks on his heel, but in the same paragraph says that I have not trained in twenty years. Carsten has not been studying for twenty years, so, I wonder who his mysterious friend is. No matter. Carsten dwells on my supposed ignorance that my spin kick is a mid-level kick.  The subject of discussion is not the level of the kick, but velocity and power.  The question that I posed is not whether there are twenty seven different forms of the spin kick, it is  the mechanics of generating velocity through the target.  One of the measures of whether you can achieve maximum velocity is the alignment of the body at the point of impact.  When the body lays back in a straight line from head to heel, more than half the body weight lies on the back side of the center axis.  This is the way the kick is illustrated by both Bong Su Han and Joo Bang Lee in their respective books. I compared the spin kick as illustrated by both Han and Joo Bang to the spin kick taught and executed by Joo Sang Lee.  I can tell you that they were entirely different styles.  They were so different I believe that the Lee brothers had different teachers.  


  • Spin Kicks were my specialty.  In another page on this site, I describe in some detail my point of view (you can follow the link if you are curious), so I will not take time here.  I worked on that kick for seven years trying to perfect what Joo Sang taught me before I felt it was good enough to use in a fight....that is, it had velocity and the full weight of my body behind the kick.  Whenever I spared with someone who dropped the body backwards, it was time to move in because I knew they had dropped the weight out of the kick, and it could be blocked with a single hand.  Of course, if you get hit in the head by such a kick, it can hurt mightily, but it won't kill you.  And most people that I see execute the Spin Kick do it with the body dropped backwards whether they are Hapkido, Kuk Sool or Hwa Rang Do.  

  • Now a word about Carsten's Twenty Seven Spin Kicks.  Yes, there is a great collection of Spin Kicks in the three arts.  One has to say all the air kicks: Jumping Spin, 540 Spin, Vertical Spins are beautiful and I loved practicing them, but they are purely exhibitionist, acrobatic kicks. There is a wonderful place for those beautiful things. They belong to one's personal pleasure workouts, movies and demonstrations. There is a legitimate role for exhibition kicks or techniques, but one must not confuse it with fighting.  A well grounded Spin Kick and the Jumping Back Spin Kick are the most powerful, lethal kicks ever invented.  If they are executed with the body tucked forward and the hip torqued beyond the target, a single-hand block will result in a broken arm.  This is not a kick that you spar with, not even with your enemies, because it can not be controlled.  It also cost a great deal of energy, and one must invest many hours developing set-ups or hand combinations that distract the opponent because it can be seen coming from a block away.   

  • Let's discuss the much disputed "Hwa Rang Do Training Syllabus".  In Personal History I tell how two students of mine attended a Kuk Sool Won seminar taught by In Hyuk Suh in New Orleans sponsored by He- Young Kimm in 1977.  They returned from that seminar with a printed and photographically illustrated training manual that was designed and published by He-Young Kimm, but he states in the cover letter, " was  written with the supervision of Grandmaster In Hyuk Su, 9th Dan, the President of World Kuk Sool Association, and Master Lee H. Park, 7th Dan, U.S. Representative of Korean Hapkido Mu Sool Kwan Association and Head Hapkido Coach at Southeast Missouri State University." In Personal History I state that this manual is a Kuk Sool Manual, but I misrepresented that fact to the extent that Kim says it is a collaboration between Kuk Sool and Hapkido. The manual is called, "Kuk Sool Hapkido".


  • Joo Bang Lee says that he formed a group of four other masters from Hapkido and Kuk Sool in 1962 where they shared their techniques and came up with a common syllabus. There is some plausibility here.  There are certainly many other explanations, but let us examine the pool of water that these various arts draw from.  I scanned a page of photographs from this manual that Joe Twiggs and Gerald Edmonson brought to me following the seminar in 1977.  Those familiar with Hwa Rang Do Training Syllabus will note a near mirror image of Yellow Belt throwing techniques (Son Mok Soo). There is a slight rearrangement of sequence, but everyone in Hwa Rang Do will recognize exactly the same techniques (Hoshin Son Mok Sul).  The similarity is true from beginning to end of the manual.  The photo may take a minute to load since I kept it large enough to view the whole page.  

  • Up to the time that I brought this manual to Joo Bang, we instructors at Headquaters had nothing in print.  We took notes. When I brought the manual from In Hyuk Soo's seminar to Joo Bang Lee, he was deeply disquieted. For one, he clearly recognized the techniques were the same as those that he was teaching.  Now, it goes without saying that the syllabus Joo Bang was teaching was in his head. I never suggested that Joo Bang made up his syllabus at this time from the Kuk Sool Hapkido Manual.  But nothing was in print.  In a week, he returned with a hand written syllabus in Korean, and John Huppuch was assigned the task of typing the syllabus for the instructors.  It listed techniques in an orderly fashion in the sequence that we had already learned.  For example,  Hoshin Son Mok Sul, Yellow Belt Techniques: 1 thru 28. 

  • Carsten gets bent out of shape because I say in Personal History, "For my personal use, I took this manual (the typed one of Joo Bang Lee's) and prescribed English terminology to the list of techniques because the Korean version only identified techniques by number."  I never claimed that I wrote the manual for any other school, headquarters or any where except for my students. If the instructors wanted to learn techniques by the number in a form of rote memory , I couldn't care less.  They continue to learn in this fashion, and I find it slow and repetitious.  

  • Now, Carsten's disquiet over altering the "Traditional Syllabus" by adding techniques to the list is more interesting. Let me quote Carsten's remarks on his discomfort from his first Letter, "Talking about Duggan's "Revised Manual," Duggan is going to place his fourth (!) revised version on his site. First question: Who made Duggan the "Keeper of Techniques?"  I think most martial artists "collect" techniques but to then "revise the syllabus" is quite arrogant and invalid. Is it normal in other martial arts that students make new syllabuses and then claim they are official. (I never claimed that techniques we developed are "Official". For people like him, it is a waste of time.) But he goes on, "I mean, is it only Duggan who can add worthy techniques to the syllabus? Can any instructor say, "I have 15 new blue belt techniques, I would like to add and one of my blue belt students has another 5?" The answer to both these questions is, Yes.  Anyone is capable of discovery, and knowledge must be acquired from wherever it can be found.  I have personally learned a great deal from my students because their experience is different than mine.  

  • Here is the heart of the differences between those who hang around Joo Bang Lee, and those who have abandoned him.  JOO BANG LEE BELIEVES THAT HE IS THE ART, PERIOD.  The sycophants who surround him believe it as well.  Note the language of John Huppuch quoted at the top of this page and the rest of his letter published on their Web Site.  It is total submission. Huppuch is totally obedient to his Master (at least in public; in private he is quiet a different person). There is not a creative bone in this man's body, and certainly not in his brain.  He derives his sense of self-worth from his proximity to a charismatic personality.  Religious cults are sustained by such True Believers everywhere and for all time.  My belief is that knowledge grows. It is never perfect.  Joo Bang Lee had to believe this once or he would have never assembled the various techniques from many different sources in the beginning of his career as a young martial artists.  However, he now wants disciples who will treat him as a God or at least a Demigod.  He wants nothing that he teaches altered because it is a violation of his personal legacy.  If this is not a cult, I don't know what is.  

  • Read the WHRDA CONTRACT with a detached analytical point of view.  It's purpose is to clothe feudal loyalty and obedience to a SUPREME GRAND MASTER in a legal contract that is binding for life.   He wants to be treated like a feudal lord in a capitalist society. He wants to use its legal contracts to bind his disciples' obedience to him for their entire life, to oblige them to pay a tithing for life, to give a share of whatever business they create, to him and his son.  He wants to use the media and the Internet to generate the myth, the mystique and his legacy of greatness.  But the fact of the matter is, he is just a man.  Not ordinary for sure, but a man nonetheless.   

  • What is interesting to me is that the three arts are drawing their techniques from the same pool of water whether we believe that they came from the group that Joo Bang says he organized in '62 or they evolved in some other way.  Since nearly all the founding teachers of Hapkido, including Joo Bang Lee received instruction from Master Yong-Su Choi , many of these techniques had to have come from Japanese Aiki-Jujitsu or Yawara, the Korean term for Yu Sool as taught by Master Choi.  Joo Bang acquired his Master Rank from Choi, he says, in 1959, then opened his first school in 1960.  Then there is Su Ahm Dosa; we don't know what techniques the Monk taught because there is no record.  Then the other members of this committee that Joo Bang says he put together, brought their own syllabus and experience to the table.  Whatever story we accept, all three arts dip from the same pool of water to construct a modern martial art system, and the differences are largely due to personality and individual experience.  There is nothing wrong with that fact, but there is no 1800 years line of descent from some ancient Korean institution or Buddhist Monastery. Those claims are purely promotional to give the organization a mystique and legitimacy. 

  • I just discovered (February 1, 2001) a Web Site called the Playful Tiger managed by a K. Burdick. He posted a Hapkido Lineage page based on his own research and that of He Young Kimm. The lines of descent reflect my personal opinion expressed elsewhere on this site, but I am searching other sources of information for collaboration.  The Lineage Map by Mr. Burdick shows that Mu-hyun Kim (also spelled, Moo-woong Kim) was Joo Bang Lee's teacher. Joo Bang says in the Black Belt interviews that he was a co-equal with Kim and Ji Han Jae, and that the three of them were the founders of Hapkido (and in addition Joo Bang Lee founder of Hwarang-do).  It is not what Ji Han Jae says.  I suggest the curious reader follow the link to Burdick's site for a look. 

  • A final point regarding the claim that Joo Bang Lee opened his first school in 1960. He declares on page 61 of the November issue of Black Belt that he was the founder of both Hwa Rang Do and Hapkido.  In 1960, Joo Bang was 22 years old. He says that he began the study of Hwarangdo from the Buddhist monk, Su-Ahm Dosa at the age of 4 in 1942, and that the training regimen was every day from dusk to dawn.  He says that he studied the Japanese art of Daito-Ryu Jujutsu with the Master, Choi Yong-sul from whom he was awarded his Master Rank in 1959.   According to Joo Bang, Choi opened his first school in 1953; so, in three years and at the young age of 21, he is ready  in his own words to become the father of two great martial art systems.  Perhaps, this explains the Hapkido sign hanging over Joo Sang's door, but then Carsten will have to change the course of his argument.

  • To accept this creationist version of the soft Korean arts,  one must beleive that Joo Bang Lee was a very busy young man because he told me that he obtained a college degree in business....this is one story that I don't doubt. However, it means that he also attended public school from the age of 5 or so and completed all the requirements through primary and secondary school in order to go forward to college.  HE WAS NOT ONLY A BUSY YOUNG MAN, BUT AMBITIOUS.  At 21 years of age we have the FATHER of the Korean Soft Martial Arts systems.  No wonder he has so many titles. 

  • There are two contradictory stories here about the creation of Hapkido/Kuk Sool/Hwarangdo. Most references that I have consulted say that in 1961 Mu-hyun Kim opened his own school called Shin Moo Kwon Hapkido (also spelled, Shin Mu Kwan Hapkido) with Han-chul Lee, Woo-tak Kim, Il-woong Huh and Joo Bang Lee as his principle Black Belts.  But he was soon called into the Korean armed forces and his principles moved over to In Hyuk Suh's school in 1962. Joo Bang Lee says that he opened his first school in 1960 (as mentioned above) called, Hwarang Mu Sool.  Joo Bang goes on to say that in the winter of 1962, he created an organization called the Kuk Sool Hoi that included Han-chul Lee, Woo-tak Kim, Mu-jin Kim and In-hyuk Suh.  Joo Bang asserts that In-hyuk Suh did not form his own school until 1962 when he returned to Pusan. Other sources say that In-hyuk Suh founded his first school in 1958. However, Suh was born in 1939 and that would make him 19 years old as the founder of his own school.  But the truth is all of these guys were young when they opened their first school: Ji Han Jae was born 1936, Joo Bang Lee, 1938, In Hyuk Suh, 1939, Mu-hyun Kim, (193?). 

  •  It is worth pointing out that while everyone except Suh, called Yong-Su Choi, their Master, none of them opened a school under his name or the name of his school. Not one of Choi's nine disciples carried on his "Tradition".   It shows how brief Tradition is for all of these Masters, and perhaps how short their personal loyalty is.  They either changed Masters like a dirty towel, or perhaps there were deeper personality conflicts that we are unaware of, or simple ambition led them to launch their own businesses at such an early age.   This is an interesting historical point that would deserve some informed commentary.

  • I just received (April 3, 2002) a dissertation by a Brazilian and Tae Kwon Do practitioner who is currently studying for his Doctorate in Philosophy in Canada that discusses many of the historical coincidences between Hapkido, Kuk Sool Won and Hwa Rang Do. I urge the interested reader to go to this page that I have just posted: Korean Soft Arts in Brazil

  • Returning to Carsten and skipping down a few points which are either not interesting enough to reply to or I have dealt with them above, I must say a few words about what I learned from Joo Bang.  I was with Joo Bang Lee as his principle and eldest student from 1972 until I founded ESI in 1980, and with his brother between 1968 and '72. In 1981, Joo Bang awarded me a Fourth Degree Certificate, and two others that designated me Head Instructor of State of Colorado and of Western Region.  I scanned a copy of the State Certificate, and it is posted here.  I didn't feel like I earned it, or rather, I know that I didn't earn what was contained in the official syllabus.  I know this because I have a copy of the first syllabus that was typed by Huppuch.  However, I learned everything that Joo Bang Lee had to teach through Second Degree.  The current syllabus is actually a thinned out version of the original Second Degree list of techniques through Fourth and Fifth.  In 1985, Joo Bang offered me my Fifth Degree, and I refused it.  I refused it because it didn't mean anything, not because he didn't require that I test; the test is for the purpose of generating cash streams into the coffers of the organization, like the annual certification requirements.  I refused it because it did not represent knowledge.   Strutting around and being called Master was not a meaningful experience for me; it did not advance the art one iota. It, in fact, demeaned the art to know what the "Rank" actually represented.  He was just expanding his business into the Rocky Mountains, and I was his coolie.  Within a year, I was out of the organization.  

  • There is one other vital point to be made.  Joo Bang alleges that there are over 260 categories of 4,000 techniques in the system that he learned from his teacher, Su-Ahm Dosa whom he contends was the 57th generation heir to the lineage of Hwarang training handed down from the Silla period  (Black Belt October issue, page 58).  I will set aside for the moment that he says he was a student of  Yong Su Choi and that the Kuk Sool Hapkido Manual mentioned above is practically identical to Hwa Rang Do syllabus, my observation of the hundreds of techniques from White Belt to Second Degree Black is that the syllabus is full of duplication: The same technique taught in rote, but differing only where the opponent grabs you, or whether you step into the opponent and seize the limb.  There are countless repetitions of same technique.

  • However, this is not the underlying flaw in the system.  It is teaching methodology.  From White Belt to Second Degree Black, joint locks are taught with a complaint opponent.  He presents himself as a target, he grabs you or you move in offensively, and he stands like a manikin, ready to take the fall.  The techniques illustrated by Henry Lee in the October and November issues of Black Belt is exactly the method of instruction in WHRDA Headquarters and all of the obedient disciples' schools.  There is not a single point at which the two move into the joint lock spontaneously. It matters not that the practitioners are standing or on the ground, the technique is practiced without resistance or spontaneity.   Learning the system is focused on learning the number of techniques in sequence, not how to execute them.  

  • It is exactly opposite to the training methodology of the Brazilian ground fighting systems.  The comments by Huppuch and Carsten claiming that they too have ground fighting techniques, is simply ludicrous.  They are offended that I urge the younger generation to study Brazilian systems, and fortunately,  entirely independent of me, the younger generation of Hwarangdo students all around the country (I should qualify this to mean those Hwarang students who have left the WHRDA) are becoming highly proficient in the Brazilian ground fighting arts.  It is because it is obvious to anyone that Hwarangdo ground fighting techniques are primitive.   

  • There is one more serious flaw regarding joint locks in the Hwa Rang Do syllabus.  They don't work against resistance!  I am not talking about someone grappling, or taking the fight to the ground.  I have an article on this point elsewhere in two pages called Joint Locks and Capturing, so, I am not going into detail here.  I can testify, however, that I have repeatedly given my wrist to Hwa Rang Do Black Belts and others as well, and I offered no more resistance than to relax or extend, and they can not execute any variation on the technique.  I learned this problem when I began teaching Defensive Tactics at ESI in 1980.  We get a very large number of accomplished martial artists, body builders and other individuals who have very strong joints.  Some ESI students can bench press 450 or 500 pounds, and they must be convinced that a technique will work on them before they will try it.  I actually learned a different concept in the execution of  joint locks long before starting ESI from an old Aspen Academy friend and associate, John Clodig, a disciple of Daito Ryu Jujitsu.  Clodig taught me the difference between a joint lock executed with a straight line and one executed with a spiral.  One must wonder  what happen in the transition to Joo Bang Lee via Yong Su Choi.  Unfortunately, students of Hwa Rang Do take pride in the number of techniques they remember rather than the ability to apply them in spontaneous settings.  

MORE COMING.................




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