2021 Digital Championships and Seminar Recap
On Sunday July 11, 2021 the WHRDA hosted a special day of seminars and global celebration of Italy’s 20th Anniversary. While there is normally a global gathering in-person each year for a world championship tournament and a week-long training conference, this year we coordinated world time zones to connect via zoom due to the continued COVID restrictions.
The majority of participants were able to join in with their peers from their local Academies & Clubs, as most dojang locations were able to setup a big screen TV experience for the event. Everyone else connected from home, from cabins, or even from summer vacation settings, and the couple hundred participants moved through a quality online event experience.
Grandmaster Taejoon Lee (Kuksanim), started off the training sessions with a detailed approach to the striking arts. The movement of striking in combat requires a precise sense of distance and timing, however, the details of these techniques start with foundation based on stance and footwork.
Whether you are in a sport point fighting arena, full contact ring, or self-defense on the street, the concept of being in the right place at the right time and NOT being in the wrong place at the wrong time stem from the ability to move where you need at a moment’s notice.
Often times, people will focus on the end of the technique – the hit of the hand or foot to the opponent, however, the delivery of the strike happens long before one hits the mark. Staying on the balls of the feet, knees bent, good posture, with a solid protected defense is essential for one’s start, and then through proper execution of balanced kinetic energy from the ground up, a strike will find its way toward its mark.
Kuksanim, with cat like prowess, demonstrated movement in-and-out, side-to-side, with clean lines and angles helping all participants increase their mobility which will get them in better position to attack or counter. Along with the movement training, he also covered important ideas like ducking and slipping strikes for defensive purposes, plus of course using all of these skills to lead into the various strikes.
Basics like jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks were covered with an emphasis of using the full body for maximum effect, and he also delved into Hwa Rang Do’s signature style of roll blocks, traps, and combination concepts. Putting everything together in terms of whole-body movement leading into the powerful vibration striking and combinations certainly demonstrates the vast amount of possibilities that the art contains.
Dr. Joo Bang Lee (Dojoonim), the Founder of Hwa Rang Do®, next led a very interesting session on the knowledge framework related to East Asian Healing as well as Kiap Chagi exercises to increase internal energy.
While most other martial arts only focus on technical combatives, Hwa Rang Do® is based on the Um Yang philosophy balancing all natural phenomenon, which also has an entire collection of healing skills to discover and put into practice.
Especially in this day and age where big pharma and government mandates attempt to rule the landscape of health, we must all remember that there is much that can be done individually to secure and take responsibility for our own well-being. Proper diet, proper exercise, and proper rest combined with a positive mental health focus will take care of at least 80% of the chronic conditions and ailments that afflict most people today.
Poor health also creates such a more significant response to anything that stresses our system (COVID or otherwise), so it was nice for all of seminar participants to learn more about the dynamics of balancing the systems of our health from this Hwa Rang Do® and East Asian medical perspective.
Additionally, waking up our potential and increasing our energy is another essential part of heath and combat. One must have a strong physical base to be a warrior martial artist, so Dojoonim next covered the topics of Kiap Chagi exercises which are Ki Gong (Chi Gong in Chinese) breathing and movement patterns that enhance one’s internal energy systems throughout the body.
As one goes through these unique breathing exercises body temperature, mental focus, and overall energy is greatly strengthened! In fact, these exercises done on a consistent basis can do wonders alone in reducing the negative feelings of laziness and apathy. Unless you have poor health, doing the Kiap Chagi exercises, will truly revitalize your total health as your internal energy is activated by the intensity of the practices.
Every year the WHRDA takes the time to recognize all of the outstanding students, instructors, and supporters of Hwa Rang Do® that jump into the front lines of teaching & school management. The exceptional leadership & motivation for excellence that these recipients put into action is wonderful, and your dedication is amazing and deeply appreciated!
We also announced the winners for the 1st ever digital tournament! Even though travel to compete in person wasn’t possible, participants were able to upload video performances of the following divisions: Open Hand Forms, Weapon Forms, Self-Defense, and Demonstrations.
This event was also noteworthy as Kuksanim was able to take the time to judge all events and performers, which also included direct feedback from a Grandmaster to all who competed.
Prior to the motivational speeches from Kuksanim & Dojoonim, the online event featured a special recognition for the Italian’s 20th Anniversary. Chief Instructor Marco Mattiucci began instruction in Rome two decades ago, and connected with a great team who became leaders in their own right, spreading Hwa Rang Do® to dozens of locations that have positively affected thousands of students.
The enthusiastic spirit of the Italian contingency and their outstanding dedication is quite simply remarkable. The students are always training at an intense level, however, their kind attitude and air of respect is always shining brightly.
Please view the following highlight videos:
Kuksanim's Dedication to the Italian Instructors & Students:
Hwa Rang Do® Italy 20th Anniversary Tribute
A big thank you to all who participated in our first ever digital tournament, seminar, and celebration event! It was wonderful to see one another in a large group setting, and despite the difficulty of the times the brotherhood of our camaraderie is strong.
Best wishes in the coming year of training, and we look forward to returning to an in-person event next summer (with a likely location of Italy). Make sure to train hard, as we will also be continuing the digital tournament format as another opportunity to perform and evolve our skills.