Inside Tae Kwon Do "February 1993 Issue"

There are painfully few weapons used in the Korean martial arts. The complex art of Hwa Rang Do, however, offers systematic training in 108 different types of traditional weapons! So many, in fact, they are organized into 20 categories. Here, a master instructor of this art introduces them to our readers.

The ancient Korean martial art of Hwa Rang Do combines the martial arts with the Oriental healing arts to form a natural, compatible way of life. The martial art aspects can be divided into four main divisions of power: 1) Nae Gong - or internal power development, which is first studied for health purposes and can later be tapped for power ramifications; 2) Wae Gong - or external power application, which combines physical movement that can be characterized as both tense and linear in nature as well as soft and circular, in over 4,000 distinct techniques; 3) Moo Gi Gong - or weapon power training, and 4) Shin Gong - or mental power development training.
These for power divisions are generally taught concurrently, with the exception of Moo Gi Gong. Since the weapons taught are an extension of the physical/mental/spiritual self (due to their potential lethal qualities or the potential to inflict damage to the practitioner as well as others), Moo Gi Gong training is very specialized and demands strenuous, consistent practice; special wepon tactics are also taught to law enforcement, military, security, etc.
There are 108 different types of traditional weapons, with these weapons being developed as primary tools of war. Since the advent and common usage of the gun, modern society has less use of such weapons and has spent more time working on empty-hand methods of self defense.
There are twenty categories of weapons found within the traditional 108 weapons of the Moo Gi Gong division. These categories include: Types for cutting, poking, throwing, shooting, slicing, grappling, chopping, spearing, tying, poaching, sticks (short/mid/long), stabbing, striking, shocking, jointed-weapons, thrusting, fan types, slings, strung types, and choking types - and are still practiced in their original, traditional manner.
The late Michael D. Echanis was one of Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee's premier Hwa Rang Do students. He authored a book series on Hwa Rang Do for the U.S. military special forces. Due to the lethality (or potential for it) the publisher pulled the book from the shelves. Dr. Lee directed the shooting for the book series prior to Echanis' untimely death.
Training in weapons helps to develop mental concentration since the weapon is an extension of the human body. Without proper practice, it is possible to injure oneself or one's partner(s). Sword practice is considered asthe epitome of weapons training, with stick types generally being the first type of weapons to be taught, unless the needs of the situation dictate otherwise. Practicing these weapon types in their traditional form enables the practitioner to most efficiently utilize any available object to its' own utmost potential.
The World Hwa Rang Do Association holds periodic seminars on specific weapon types and their usage (predominantly through its Military Mobile Training Teams and Law Enforcement Mobile Training Teams, though some seminars are available to civilians who have the proper credentials).

Modern Applications
Modern-day weapons of self defense include, but are not limited to: Chemical irritants (such as mace, pepperguard, or any derivative thereof); stunguns, knives, and of course, a variety of firearms. These popular weapon types all have their followers and all possess both advantages and disadvantages in their usage as a primary self defense tool.
In addition to the availability of the weapon and how quickly it can be brought into action if the need arises, one also has to determine how capable one is in its execution. Many people buy chemical deterents, stunguns, knives, or firearms and throw them in a purse or coat pocket thinking that they now have the means to defend themselves. Without proper training (and in most cases, continual practice) these "defensive tools" may only escalate the situation with the victim having these "tools" used against him or her.
It's also important to note that if one makes the decision to even purchase anything that has deadly capability for self-defense, that they can indeed use it in its extreme capacity. If not, one shouldn't acquire that deadly item, for it probably would be turned against him.
In the aftermath of nearly all cases of self-defense, law enforcement officers and prosecutors want to see that all avenues of avoidance of deadly use of force (in an incremental escalation of force) were followed, and that the least serious use of force to contain the situation at hand was indeed applied. They consider this with thought given to the severity of the situation, the real threat levels involved, and victims' ability to defend themselves against the level as carried out by the assailant(s).
Excluding law enforcement and active military personnel, a majority of people do not actively carry self-defensive weapons with them wherever they go. If they do, and they use these weapons offensively (or what can be found in court to be offensively), they may face severe legal ramifications that may lead to their own incarceration (as well as punitive damages, court and attorney fees, and civil lawsuits). However, the old adage that, "it is better to be tried by twelve than to be carried by six" still holds it's degree of truth.
By training in the basic use of the 20 categories of weaponry found within the art of Hwa Rang Do, the practitioner can most effectively utilize any object as a weapon as the situation deems appropriate. The use of "field expedient" weapons - such as pens, pencils, books, sticks, rocks or stones, umbrellas, canes, cups of coffee, tree branches, trash can lids, clothing, adinfinitum - makes these multitude of potential weapons available to the practitioner of Hwa Rang Do without having to carry "weapons" with them wherever they go.
As in the training of the traditional 108 individual weapons, these impromptu weapons can be an extension of the trained practitioner's self and thus effectively be used within the specific needs of the self-defensive situation at hand.
For further information regarding the weaponry of Hwa Rang Do or upcoming weapons seminars, please contact the World Hwa Rang Do Association, Hwa Rang Do World Headquarters, 13762 Newport Ave. #201 Tustin, CA 92780 . (714) 731-5425(KICK)

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