In this picture Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee poses with his newly born son
who would later become Grandmaster Taejoon Lee
Prior to the end of World War II, Founder of Hwa Rang Do® Dr. Joo Bang Lee started his training at an early age of only 4 years old, when a Buddhist Monk, Suahm Dosa, accepted the request of his father to teach him and his brother, Joo Sang Lee.
Monk Su-Ahm Dosa was a hermit monk living near So Gwang Temple and happened to be an heir to a particular form of martial art combat skills referred to as um-yang kwon. This was a very secret form of combat that had been passed down from generation to generation. It is a unique fighting methodology that was practiced by the Hwarang Warriors, an ancient Korean warrior class of knights. These knights were considered the greatest corp of warriors in Korean history.
After escaping the communist regime of North Korea during the Korean War, in 1956, his family moved to Seoul, South Korea which was now closer to O-Dae Mountain, where Su-Ahn Dosa had relocated. This allowed Lee and his brother to resume their training with him. Their relationship was more of a father and son relationship which lasted for almost 30 years, from 1942-1969 until Su-Ahm Dosa passed away.
On April 15, 1960, Dr. Joo Bang Lee and his brother Joo Sang Lee created and founded their martial art system and opened their first school. They combined the spirit and philosophy of the ancient Silla Hwarang warriors with the secret combat skills knowledge that was passed to them from Su-Ahm Dosa. They called the art, Hwa Rang Do, which is translated as "The Way of the Flowering Manhood (Knights)."
Monk Su-Ahm Dosa actually didn't want them to open the art to the public but to keep it only within the family. Monk Dosa believed that these combat skills were too dangerous to be taught openly because they would inflict great harm if people with evil minds learned them. Dr. Lee and his brother felt that they could teach the art in an honorable way.
In time, after witnessing how Dr. Lee faced and overcame much adversities and challenges, Su-Ahm Dosa was confident that Dr. Lee possessed the tenacity, fortitude, and loyalty to honor his teachings and preserve it for throughout the generations to come.
In July of 1969, before Su-Ahm Dosa passed away, he named Dr. Lee as his successor.
In 1972, Dr. Joo Bang Lee immigrated to the West, America, to bring global awareness to the art.
In 2001, Dr. Joo Bang Lee was inducted in the Black Belt Magazine Martial Arts Hall of Fame and in 2002, was inducted into the Martial Arts History Museum Hall of Fame and honored during a ceremony in 2012 where he finally formally accepted this recognition, alongside his son and 2012 inductee, Grandmaster Taejoon Lee, the next heir to Hwa Rang Do.