History of Hwa Rang Do
The Hwarang movement was a Korean warrior corps that adhered to strict philosophical and moral codes. Most of the great military leaders of the Silla Dynasty had been Hwarang. Korean history records the Hwarang Warriors (Korean Silla Knighthood), as a group of aristocratic young men who gathered to study, play and learn the arts of war.
Though the Hwarang were not a part of the regular Silla army, their military spirit, their sense of loyalty to King and Nation, and their bravery and fighting prowess was legendary. Korean culture and martial arts of the period were strongly influenced and enriched by Hwarangdo, a military, educational and social organisation and noble youths of the Silla dynasty. The code of honour on which the Hwarang was based was loyalty to the nation, respect and obedience to one‚s patents, faithfulness to one‚s friend, courage in battle and avoidance of unnecessary violence and killing.
The Hwarang’s most important role in the Silla Dynasty between approximately 57 BC – 935 AD is recorded as being their devotion to furthering the unity and well-being of the nation as a whole. They were highly literate and composed songs and performed dancing, also involving themselves in intellectual and political affairs.
The Silla youth did not remain Hwarang for life, and were not born into the class and its privileges. Koreans and practitioners of Korean martial arts may take special pride in the heritage of the Hwarang movement – a uniquely spiritual and physical training that has never been duplicated in Korea or anywhere else in the world.
What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art that was first developed over 20 centuries ago. It is an effective form of self-defence that embraces various strikes, block, dodges and parries. Techniques consist of sharp, strong movements with free flowing circular movements, resulting in a balance of beauty and power. Taekwondo trademark is in its unique kicking techniques that are, once mattered spectacular and devastating. It is a Martial Art that is constantly improving its technique.
Not only does Taekwondo offer physical training, it also trains the mind, placing a strong emphasis on moral character and spirit. In addition to the benefits in health and fitness, Taekwondo improves concentration, disciplines, confidence and self-control.
The Meaning of Taekwondo
|태||to strike or break with foot|
|권||to strike or break with fist|
|도||Way, method or art|
Therefore, taekwondo may be roughly interpreted as “the art of the foot and fist” or “the art of kicking and punching”.
Tenets of Taekwondo
The Tenets of Taekwondo are the foundations of the art. Without the tenets there is no Martial Art. Students should know and understand the tenets if they wish to truly learn the art.
Courtesy 여의 (Yu Ul)
Courtesy: To be thoughtful and considerate of others. Hwarangdo students and instructors should be polite, and show consideration for others.
Integrity 염치 (Yon Chi)
Integrity: to be honest and good. Hwarangdo practitioners should live by a code of moral values and principles.
Perseverance 인내 (In Nae)
Perseverance: to never give up in the pursuit of one’s goals. Hwarangdo students should welcome challenges, because challenges cause students to grow and begin to open there HRD eyes.
Self-Control 극기 (Guek Gi)
Self-Control: to have control of your own body, mind and spirit. A Hwarangdo student should practice controlling his action and reaction inside and outside the training centre.
Indomitable Spirit 백절불굴 (Baejul Bool gool)
Indomitable Spirit: to have courage in the face of hardship. Hwarangdo students should never be conquered by having his or her spirit broken by another.
The self-defence system involved in Hwarangdo is a combination of blocking and striking techniques using many parts of the body, but mainly focusing on powerful hand and foot techniques. Grabbing, throwing, wrestling and joint locking techniques combines with the powerful strikes create the while system which when applied in a self-defence situation becomes a highly effective mean so self-preservation.
Students of Hwarangdo begin their initial training with basic stances and movements designed allow the body to adjust to the new movement paths steadily. This minimise the chance of physical injury. The basic kicks and strikes are taught throughout the Yellow Belt levels, with emphasis placed on co-ordination, balance and flexibility.
Throughout the Blue Belt levels, the more advanced Self-defence lessons are enforced, training in coordination etc. Joint locks throws and takedowns are taught, with all members learning to take and opponent to the ground and\or finishing movements.
The Red Belt levels pertain to the advanced jumping kicks, weapons defence and other advanced self-defence techniques throughout the Red Belt levels, all techniques learnt to this stage are highly performed quickly, with purpose are very dangerous so the training of these techniques is always performed under the guidance of instructors to prevent injuries.
Lastly, Black Belts are expected to work hard from their basic training to become proficient in all areas of self-defence, The typical 1st Dan student should have a full understanding of the techniques they have learnt as a colour belt and mastery of these techniques are now their goals. Further advanced self defence techniques are added as the student becomes more and more proficient. Slowly they need to strike as a form of defence becomes less necessary and therefore the need to injuring during self-defence is less likely to occur. This is the optimum goal for the Hwarangdo Student, performing a high level of self-defence without injuring the attacking opponent.
Weapons training and weapons defence is also taught to high-level students.
The whole Hwarangdo system deals not only with the self defence aspects, but development of each individual student. Physical, Mental and Spiritual training occur throughout the progress of an Hwarangdo Practitioner.
Although attaining the ability to defend one’s self against singular or multiple attackers is the primary goal of the Hwarangdo practitioner, the secondary benefit of health, strengths flexibility and co-ordination are also achieved through regular training session. All members are taught to strengthen and protect their bodies through the exercises involved in their training. Beginning each class and eventually each day with a warm up and stretching routine the Hwa Rang Do practitioner can look forward to a long health and active life.
Mental stimulation during training provides knowledge of the practicality of Martial arts, and by which mental development outside training can be continued. Constant stimulation of the mind in training and life, can lead us to greater success in all areas of the work force. Comradeship developed at training, builds strong relationships between different cultures and business levels, and advances self-confidence in person-to-person dealings.
The highest quality in an Hwarangdo student is defined as an Indomitable Spirit. Throughout an individuals training they will accomplish goals outside the normal spectrum of life. The paths to these achievements are wrought with challenges. Overcoming these challenges develops the spirit and therefore success in all areas of life will then be achievable thought each individuals beliefs in their own ability. This in turn gives access to their Indomitable Spriit allows them to rise to the challenge and surmount all obstacles.
General Grading Information
Grading at Hwa Rang Do is held every 3 months for coloured belts and black belts are grading towards the end of the year collectively. Before being suitable for grading, a student must meet certain standard. Grading is an opportunity and not something that students should take light hearted. We believe that progressing through the grades is just a reflection of how long a student has trained but rather an actual progression and growth. Students must have the necessary knowledge and skill to go for their grading promotion. The instructors at individual Hwarangdo branches will ensure students are ready to grade before allowing them to grade, however just because they have been allowed to go to grading does not mean they will necessarily pass. Full effort is required at every grading.
Each grade has a recommended number of lessons that should be attended before going to each grading. Keep in mind that this is a suggestion and because a student has attended the minimum number of lessons doesn’t mean they are ready to grade. Some students will take longer than others. It is highly recommended that students attend more lessons than required. Attendance will count towards the final grading result.
There must be a consistency in training leading up to the grading. One must train towards a grading, not train a few months prior, take a break and then come back the week before and expect to grade.
Variety in lessons attended
It is beneficial to attend a variety of different lesson. Since grading generally involves technique, sparring and fitness, Hwarangdo students should prepare themselves by attending different lessons throughout the months. It is taken into consideration that students have other commitments during the week, but it is important to see a student attending a variety of lesson when they have the time.
It is expected that a student trains as hard as they can and to the best of their ability each lesson. It must be shown that a student is constantly improved. Students will progress at different speeds and have different fitness levels. All that is required is that a student understands themselves beyond their own level.