Adapted from an article by Dr. Mark Cheng, Senior RKC Photo by Rick Hustead
In this never-before-seen Korean martial arts video footage from the Black Belt archive, hwa rang do grandmaster Taejoon Lee, author of the Korean martial arts book Hwa Rang Do: Defend, Take Down, Submit, demonstrates the visually impressive spinning leg-scissor takedown and submission technique.
Born out of the martial and medical wisdom of Korea’s ancient Hwarang knighthood and organized into a modern system by Black Belt Hall of Fame member Dr. Joo Bang Lee in the mid-20th century, hwa rang do encompasses the full gamut of combat techniques.
KOREAN MARTIAL ARTS VIDEO Taejoon Lee Demonstrates the Spinning Leg-Scissor Takedown and Submission
While other arts showcase their power primarily with punches and kicks, HRD practitioners soar through the air with whirlwind hand and foot strikes, as well as grounded locks, throws and grappling moves that demonstrate the utmost finesse.
A Brief History of the Art’s Evolution as Told by Taejoon Lee
Taejoon Lee, the eldest of Joo Bang Lee’s children and heir apparent to the system, sheds light on the historical evolution of the art: “When hwa rang do first came to the United States, everyone wanted to learn how to punch and kick. The flashier moves brought in more students, so my father adjusted the curriculum and ranking system from his original Korean teaching structure to fit our new home.”
“Back then, grappling wasn’t very popular,” he continues. “People who were interested in martial arts wanted effective techniques that looked good, too. With a kick, you can generally get an idea of its power without having to feel it, but a submission technique requires experience for you to appreciate it.
“Ground grappling, by and large, isn’t as visually exciting as percussive techniques are. Just look at the way the rules have changed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Because spectators demanded more visual excitement, the promoters restart the fights [in a] standing position if there’s too little action on the ground.”
How Dr. Joo Bang Lee’s Art Brought Flair to Its Demonstrations
Viewing footage of HRD training and demonstrations held in Korea during the 1960s, it’s easy to see that Joo Bang Lee was right on the money. Between demonstrations of their breaking and weapons prowess, practitioners can be seen performing a plethora of joint manipulations, throws, takedowns, ground-grappling moves and submission techniques.
Taking Korean Martial Arts Into the Future
Continuing with his father’s mission to make HRD a viable and well-rounded system that meets the needs of its environment, Taejoon Lee has developed a new system for training students to survive nonlethal encounters — which, no matter what some might argue, make up the majority of self-defense situations.
The three-step process combines the joint manipulations, takedowns and throws of HRD into a defend–take-down–submit format that’s an effective alternative to knockdown–and–drag-out combat.