We all currently live in unique and transformative times. History has evolved through the means of many powerful forces and individual contributions to give us our current status quo. However, without much effort it is easy for anyone to see that there are significant imbalances in the world around us regardless of ones “political” affiliation. From the utterly corrupt governments around the world that ensnare its people with debt and violence, to the various corporate and banking cartels that game the system to grab the vast majority of wealth from humanity, and to the environmental catastrophes that are collapsing the health of us, our food, our nature, our planet – we live in a time that is desperate for virtuous leadership.
That combination of words “virtuous leadership” is an important one that we hope you can understand. You see, Hwa Rang Do is an 1800 year old legacy that has embraced this term and the call to action that stands behind committing to this path. While the world around us is filled with corruption and vice, there are still many who seek beauty and truth, which are always the creative forces producing goodness and prosperity in the world. We certainly do not claim a monopoly on this, as we are firm believers that each individual human has the capacity for both virtuous and corruptible action, yet, as an organization that has gone through its own ebb and flow of history we always return to our name “Hwa Rang Do” (Way of the Flowering Knights) for guidance and insight.
- “Hwa,” the flower, represents a natural beauty that cannot be forced or contrived.
- “Rang,” the concept of Knighthood (manhood), represents a complete ability and strength to act upon moral convictions.
- “Do,” the way, represents the journey that those committed to this balanced ideal will take over their lifetimes.
The combination of these 3 simple characters is always at our heart, and there is a promise in this name that inspires important possibilities. In the distance past of ancient Korea, the noble youth of the society that became Hwarang studied all aspects of life to master the deepest potential of their mind and body. Not only were comprehensive combatives integral to forging their strength and character, but the study of science, philosophy, music, and the arts were an obvious necessity as well. Also, because they were so dedicated in these educational pursuits, their capacity for both insight and action was considerable. The Hwarang led their society in terms of both culture and defense, which ended up as a 1000 year long civilization that produced many great achievements.
However, once the Chosun Dynasty took control of Korea’s history, the Hwarang were no longer involved in society. They existed and passed on their knowledge in a master to disciple relationship until 1960 when Dr. Joo Bang Lee brought the Hwarang back into the public forum. While history has evolved much throughout those times, our overall vision still resonates with our name, and even in this modern world, our goal of searching for beauty and having the strength to act in upright manners continues to be our front lines.