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I would like to wish my entire Hwa Rang Do® Family a Happy New millennium!† Now is a common time to reflect upon where you stand and on what you have achieved.† For the past 2,000 years the Hwa Rang Warriors and their combat skills have stood strong and achieved much.† And it is my hope that this continues for another 2,000 years!
However, we must never become complacent about where we are, and we must always strive towards excellence.† It has been 2,000 years that Hwa Rang warriorship and their combat skills have been passed from generation to generation until now.† The Hwa Rang warriors (HwaRangDoe`s) of the Shilla kingdom built a strong mentality, and their combat skills were passed to my master Suahm Dosa, who was the 57th generation Hwa Rang warrior titleholder.† Starting in 1942 he began teaching to me and my brother the ancient combat skills UmYangKwon and healing skills UmYang OhHeangSool.† During his lifetime he only taught me and my brother these skills.† All Hwa Rang Doists need to know that he never taught any other persons.
After all these years I think back to when I first began my training in North Korea at Sukwangsa temple.† We trained there from 1942 until 1948.† Then with my family, my master moved to South Korea.† My master lived on Ohdae mountain at Yangmiahm temple from 1948~1969 until he passed away.† This place was different than a regular temple with a lot of monks.† ďAhmĒ places are where a monk has his own small living quarters out in nature.† So my master lived alone on the mountain working to build his mentality.† When my master passed away I burned out that living quarters because my master order that is the Buddha way.† So now there is no more Yangmiahm (house) on Ohdae Mountain.† Sometime in the future we must rebuild our artís mother place near the same mountain in Korea.
††††††††††† Now we are at the beginning of a new millennium, and this next year will be an important year of growth for Hwa Rang Do® throughout the world.† As you know, Hwa Rang Do® has its own unique identity.† There are many martial arts that have not maintained their identity, and their names have become generic.† Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Karate, Kung Fu, etc. are now all generic names and anyone can say they are practitioners of these styles.† In fact anyone can say they are masters of these styles, and can buy and sell a dan degree certificate at stores or make one on a computer.† There are many junk practitioners that do this and then open up a school and call themselves masters.† Where is their true martial art honor?† A martial art and its name are connected to a person like a family maiden name or country name.† These names cannot be bought and sold or even changed at will.†
††††††††††† These kinds of people seem to think that martial art training is the same as academic training, and these different art names and ranks should be displayed like trophies.† This kind of display destroys all martial art identities, and people no longer know why there are all these different names.† Many people now believe that a marital art is only a set of fighting techniques, and have lost the understanding of true martial art morality and honor.† A martial art has a name, and this name is like a country name or a family maiden name.† Everyone knows that they have citizenship in one country, and their loyalty is to that country.† Even kids understand these principles.† We all have a family maiden name.† Can this name be changed?† Of course not.† This name is passed on to us from our previous generations.† But when people change their martial art name like this people consider it normal.
††††††††††† Why is it so important to be loyal and honorable to our family name and our marital art name?† This question is probably one of the most important questions that all true martial artists should ask themselves, but in todayís martial art community I donít think it has been asked much at all.† First of all why do you train in a martial art?† If you are training to only learn how to kick and punch, and learn self defense you are not training in a martial art, but are training in a sport.† Martial art training is not focused on just winning fights, but is focused on building a good character through the vehicle of combat skills.† Once a person understands this fundamental principle, being an honorable martial artist is common sense.† But why is this the true martial art way?†
††††††††††† When we die, what do we leave behind?† When an animal dies it leaves its flesh to be used for the next generations.† When a human dies we only leave our name.† The money we make and the things we buy do not have any permanent value and cannot go with us.† It is only the honor of our name that we leave behind with the actions we have completed that has any lasting value.† When we leave our name, we are also giving it to our next generation.† The next generation will do many actions and then leave behind their names also.† Because of this kind of cycle we must maintain the quality of our name and what is passed on to the future.† That is why people spend their lifetime practicing in one marital art, making that artís identity strong and honorable.† Anybody can learn how to kick and punch, even monkeys know, but what makes a martial artist different from a regular athlete or even a gangster?† It is a martial artistís commitment to their honor!
††††††††††† Because there are these kinds of dishonorable martial artists who worry only about themselves and their profit, the public no longer trusts and believes in generic martial artís ranks and titles.† Even these kind of people betray their master and art, and then make their own style name and then each school make their own organization.† A hundred thousand break off for individual money and self interest.† After they make their money then they close down the school and fly off to some other business.† These kinds of people donít care about the future of the martial artís community and do not work on building a strong mentality and morality in order to have a respectable and honorable life.
††††††††††† Because of these modern circumstances our Hwa Rang Do® name is internationally trademarked.† This means that nobody can steal and use our identity for their own benefit.† I am very sad that in these times a martial art needs this kind of protection from bad people.† It is ridiculous that the people who should be the most honorable in society constantly act in these bad ways.† However, we are prepared and can now maintain an honorable identity.† The World Hwa Rang Do® Association is the one governing body of Hwa Rang Do® in the world, and is our way to ensure the highest quality of our art.† I hope everyone understands the importance of this Association.† We are one family under the Hwa Rang Do® name, and we must maintain the integrity of our martial art identity.
††††††††††† Because we have strong protection by federal law, this year I am releasing official Hwa Rang Do® instructional videos and books.† Hwa Rang Do® has been kept secret and this is the first time there are videos available to the public.† With this in mind, it is my goal for all of you that all current Hwa Rang Doists focus on building a strong mentality and good morality during this year to show the public our best.† We are different than other generic arts, and the public will respect us through our dan degree ranks and titles. This is because all certification is done through our masterís committee and to verify this, these certificates have my signature.† If someone says they are Hwa Rang Do® and do not have this certification they are fake, and are stealing our art name and identity.
Hwa Rang Doís® strong mentality and good morality are the cornerstones of our foundation, and are needed to maintain our honor. We also must be vigilant to maintain our identity as a Hwa Rang Doist.† Hwa Rang Do® is our maiden name that connects us all in one family, and we should never forget that our teacher and student relationship is like a parentís and child relationship.† Because our name is not generic like many other martial art names, we must strive to create the highest degree of integrity for our one true family name.† All of our family members now have a very important mission, and that is to best support our one and only governing organization and make it strong like a U.S.A. Federal government and make our name proud throughout the public.
One way for all of us to create a stronger bond between our family, is to make sure we participate in the official Hwa Rang Do® tournaments and seminars and keep in contact. Also keep an eye on our website for the events of this year.† I wish all of you the best of fortune in your endeavors and on passing this wonderful art to the next generations for another 2,000 years.† I look forward to seeing you this year.† Also if anyone has a positive idea for building up our Hwa Rang Do‚ please send to my e-mail address email@example.com.
Dr. Joo Bang Lee
Do Joo Nim† (Owner of Hwa Rang Do®)