Hwa Rang Do Founder

Dr. Joo Bang Lee

Hwa Rang chivalry endured throughout the Silla and Koryo dynasties and was the driving force that unified the Korean peninsula and formed the basis for the modern state of Korea. In 1392, General Sung Kye Yi overthrew the Koryo Dynasty and established the Yi Dynasty. The prevailing religion of the time was Confucianism, which forced the Buddhist monks to seek refuge in the mountains. As a result, the Hwa Rang Do culture {Society of the Hwa Rang - Flowering Manhood or Flowering Knights} disappeared for 600 years. The secrets of their martial art were passed from one monk to one disciple {generation by generation} in secrecy. In the 1940's, the last monk, Suahm Dosa {aka Suahm Sunsa}, began teaching his only two disciples at the So Gwang Sa Temple in North Korea. These lone disciples were Joo Bang Lee and his brother Joo Sang Lee. Suahm Dosa was a friend of the Lee's father, who asked him to train his sons in his martial art.

In 1960, Dr. Joo Bang Lee created and founded his own martial art system {combining the spirit and philosophy of the Hwa Rang with his martial arts knowledge) and named it HWA RANG DO {translated to mean "The Way of the Flowering Manhood". Do - represents "the way" or the "martial art"}.

In 1962, the Lee Brother's founded the Korean Martial Arts Association {Han Kuk Mu Sul Hwe - shortened name Kuk Sul Hwe).

Due to various conflicts within the leadership of the Korean Martial Arts Association it was disbanded in 1966 and its original members started their own respective organizations.

In 1967, at the request of President Park, HWA RANG DO Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee organized the unification of the Korean martial arts and directed the Unified Korean Martial Arts Exposition on May 27, 1968 at the Jang Chung Sports Arena in Seoul. These martial arts included HWA RANG DO, Kuk Sool Kwan, Song Mu Kwan Hapkido, Shin Mu Kwan Hapkido, Bi Sool, Ki Hap Do, Ki Do, Yu Sool, Yu Kwan Sool.

At this time, Master Yong Sool Choi {Founder of Hapkido} conferred to Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee the rank of 8th Dan degree Black Belt - the highest position in Hapkido.

Since it was difficult for all martial art organization leaders to agree on methods of administration, this organization was also disbanded shortly after the exposition.

Following the dissolution, HWA RANG DO Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee concentrated his efforts solely on the development of HWA RANG DO and the Korean Hwa Rang Do Association, to the exclusion of all other martial arts.

In 1968, Head Grandmaster Joo Sang Lee introduced HWA RANG DO to the United States of America. In 1972, Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee immigrated to America and founded the World Hwa Rang Do Association - based in Downey, California.

In 1990, Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee developed a subsidiary martial sport of HWA RANG DO and named it TAE SOO DO. It was a means of exposing HWA RANG DO to the vast majority of people who were not experienced in martial arts training as a form of recreation and self defense.

When Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee created HWA RANG DO as a martial arts instructional business, he also divided the curriculum into the dichotomies of moo-sul {martial art} and in-sul {healing art}. If one has the ability to cause injury or worse, then he/she must also have the ability to heal. Founder Dr. Lee is a licensed doctor of Oriental Medicine and he insists that all advanced practitioners of HWA RANG DO learn the healing arts as well as the combative aspects.

Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee created the categories of instruction named WAE GONG {internal power}, NAE GONG {external power}, MOO GI GONG {weapon power}, SHIN GONG {mental power}.

Today, Founder Dr. Joo Bang Lee presides over the World Hwa Rang Do Association, Hwa Rang Do World Headquarters in Downey, California {USA}.