HWA RANG DO® TAE SOO DO®
The current state of affairs within the martial art community, is one in which the actions, circumstances, and situations that define our reputations are creating a negative perspective in how our community is viewed, and more importantly how it will survive. This perspective is not an obvious one for most people, however, its impact is deeply felt within the hearts of those individuals that are connected to the traditional way of the martial arts. The reasons and goals of the majority of martial art practitioners are focused on mainly two ideologies. One, the quest for learning multitudes of techniques, and two, the desire for personal wealth.
From within either one (or both) of these frameworks, there is not an obvious reason or motivation that creates a sense of anything wrong. In fact, for all apparent purposes, these perspectives, and the results that they create, are simply the natural progression of the evolution of martial arts and we will be better off than we are today. What is wrong with learning as many techniques as possible from multiple martial arts, when they will benefit your personal skill level? What is wrong with following popular trends in order create more stability for your school, and gain more financial success?
In the here and now, the popular trends and actions that are occurring do not seem to have an immediate negative impact to the individual that commits them. On the local level, trends such as studying multiple martial arts, claims about being master/instructor of multiple arts, teaching under multiple martial art names, the creation of new organizations that simply sell degrees, and the creation of a “new and improved art,” all have the pretense of being bigger and better than what the previous and past circumstances or arts could offer. However, with this assumption that true growth is occurring, the old traditional martial arts and their Way are left by the wayside.
As the original and traditional arts are left behind, the quality of there name has also vanished. Now, martial art names such as Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Kung Fu, etc. are generic terms that no longer refer to a specific martial art identity. These arts cannot control the quality of their practitioners, instructors, and schools, and now these art names are used at whim and often change as much as the wind by the people who use them. The martial art name (for most arts) no longer has any meaning for itself, or to its practitioners. There are exceptions to this current state of affairs, for those instructors and schools that have followed the traditional way of martial arts even though their fellow art brothers and sisters have departed. Yet, the majority has taken a different step, and the obviousness of this fact can be seen on the internet.
Everywhere you look, you will find the seemingly endless amount of “new arts,” “new organizations,” “new histories,” and of course the countless who have completely mixed everything they can find in a blender. If these trends continue, then the entire martial art community will will totally lose its integrity, and there will be nothing left for the future generations of practitioners except to become gangsters of fighting techniques.
Each and every specific martial art is a unique phenomena. They all contain specific techniques, specific concepts, specific philosophies, specific histories, specific uniforms, specific symbols, and specific rules, hence they all have the suffix of “Do” or the Way. There are so many different aspects that are combined to define a martial art it is hard to list all of them. Even so, the spirit of each martial art has a Way that is definable, just as different sports are distinguishable from one another. Can soccer, basketball, football, baseball, volleyball, etc. be mixed, yet their true spirit is still maintained? Each involves a ball. . . Or can a coach of football truly teach and direct a volleyball team?
Maybe for a new “eclectic” sport this is possible, however, the absurdity of this is simply obvious. If an individual wishes to actually participate in one of these sports, he/she must follow those specific guidelines that define that one sport’s identity. You cannot play baseball with the rules and field of golf.
A martial art is in some respects similar to sports, however, each art is unique from the others within the martial art community. A martial art is not only a conglomeration of fighting skills, it is an art that has a specific Way that is different from all other arts. If you are only concerned with fighting skills you are no different than a street fighter. There is nothing inherently wrong with being concerned with fighting techniques only, however, the important factor is whether this is done under the pretense of a “Martial Art.” A martial art has a Way, and this Way involves many more aspects than the just the vocabulary of its martial skills. If you are a martial artist, then you must have concern for the other aspects that define your one true art such as the history, philosophy, concepts, theory, rules and regulations. The martial skills are just one of the many aspects that define the true spirit of each unique martial art.
With this in mind, the following philosophies are presented to show the public Hwa Rang Do’s ® spirit. The development of one’s character is the most important goal of a Hwa Rang Do ® practitioner. Therefore, within this art there are rules and principles that we follow to develop stronger character. These are found within the Hwa Rang Do ® Meng Sae, which is composed of five rules that were the ancient Hwarang’s code of ethics and our founder, Dr. Joo Bang Lee’s philosophy that contains nine principles of human morality. The following philosophy is given from the teaching ways of our Hwa Rang Do ® founder, and it is our hope that these moral principles will once again return to the rest of the martial art community.
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