“How Grandmaster Helped me to find my way back to my Father”

Testimonial By a Humbled Student

wallpaper-father-and-son-at-beach

I already knew that mentoring with Kuk Sa Nim would have been a deep experience, but the ability of the Grandmaster to know where to focus his attention and transmit his words really surprised me.

The knowledge, the depth, the experience of this man are prodigious. The many subjects we encountered in our conversation went from quantum physics to philosophy, with absolute simplicity. I only had to bring out the reason of my interior resentment, that is the absence of a relationship with my father, whom was never a father, to obtain from him a detailed analysis and the direction to overtake rage and fears, and to free myself from my own conditioning.

I only had to bring out the reason of my interior resentment, that is the absence of a relationship with my father, whom was never a father, to obtain from him a detailed analysis and the direction to overtake rage and fears, and to free myself from my own conditioning.

I felt necessary to let the GrandMaster know of the burden I had been carrying for many years. A real setback in my life: the total lack of any relationship with my father. That was a decision I had to make fifteen years earlier, after having realized throughout the previous years that he did not care about me at all. He did not want any fruitful communication with me; there had never been any exchange of love or transmission of life experience or know-how in the manner of a father-to-son relationship. I had tried many times to speak to him and draw his attention on me, but was never successful. I had also tried to write him a letter, the most important letter of my life, in which I made a point about us, explaining his typical behaviors and again tried to tell him of his faults. When he received the letter, he just sent it back with the postman…

I was left with no choice but to quit on my father, in order to protect me and leave him to the life he wanted, without me.

The Grandmaster came directly to the point, his words cutting on my conscience like a sharp sword: I had to forgive my father; go to him and tell him I loved him. I also had to do it quickly, being my father 76 years old: in case of any troubles with his health, shouldn’t I succeed in letting him know in due time, a permanent shadow on my soul would have crippled me for the rest of my life.

I tried to explain how hard that task was after so many years, but I didn’t need to: He knew it already. He said that a warrior must always be ready to take on heavy duties without never stepping backwards. He ordered me to do it, so that I should have done it even if I hadn’t agreed. He said that I had to do it not because my father deserved it, but because I deserved to be set free from my burden, from my self-imposed anguish.

At the end of our time together, I was definitely much shaken by His words and on the verge of crying. He came and gave me a warm hug and in that very moment I somehow felt his strength passing on to me. I knew He was right!

At the end of our time together, I was definitely much shaken by His words and on the verge of crying. He came and gave me a warm hug and in that very moment I somehow felt his strength passing on to me. I knew He was right!

We have to realize the huge privilege of being a part of the Hwa Rang Do Family: the Grand Master, such as all of the instructors, are following our growth personally, and they are interested in making sure that each one of us express the best that we can be and become a better man, a better warrior. “Empowering the world, one person at a time!”

Grandmaster Taejoon Lee gave me the hardest assignment of my life. He wants me to do it quickly, and then he wants to be informed of the developments. No chatters, no excuses, no blame, I just have to get busy and act. I’m not saying that I’ll be able to do it tomorrow, but I need to let Grandmaster Lee’s words and reflections change me from the inside and break down the thick walls that I felt I was forced to build in these many years. However, I’m sure of one thing: I know I’ll do it, I must.

He’s right: nothing in the world is more powerful than “Love”, and if we have even one single hope in one billion to make someone think and maybe change, we can only do it relying on that “Love” that we all have within us. All we need is the strength to express it.

He’s right: nothing in the world is more powerful than “Love”, and if we have even one single hope in one billion to make someone think and maybe change, we can only do it relying on that “Love” that we all have within us. All we need is the strength to express it.

“In almost fifty years I learnt more than four thousands way to hurt someone, but true greatness is in not using them and believing in Love”. I have no other words, but immense admiration and deep gratitude, to define our Grandmaster. I’ll try to be worthy of his teachings and to transform the great inspiration I received from him into reality.

Thank you and Hwarang forever!

My update:

It took me a few days to think over Grandmaster’s words and I was ready to accomplish my task, the hardest ever in my life, but still the most necessary.

I waited for the right time in which I could find my father at home, and I advised the Grandmaster that the following Sunday I would go and meet him. Kuk Sa Nim told me to go there and speak freely with no expectations whatsoever, in order not to be let down in case of possible negative reactions. He told me to let my words come right from my heart.

I felt very confident because of this wonderful direct communication with my Grandmaster and all the strength he was able to pass on to me!

The day came and I went to meet my father. He appeared to be in full possession of his intellectual capabilities but did not recognize me for at least half a minute.. for sure, by showing up before him I had put him way outside his comfort zone..!

I greeted him and told him I was at the end of a path and I just wanted to let him know I loved him.

He replied he had been waiting for that all these many years..

A thought came across my mind, that he would have waited until death if I hadn’t decided to come over and meet him. As far as I could remember, he always preferred deciding not to decide… Then, I remembered Grandmaster’s words to love with no expectations and to stay in the positive. So, I quickly I let go of that negative thought and focused on dwelling in the positive.

We then spoke for about 10 minutes. He asked me of my work and I asked him of his retirement. We exchanged our cellphone numbers and everything let me think we would be in touch again soon.

I had succeeded in forgiving him and started a new chapter of a father & son relationship, which I have longed for all of my life. And, finally it’ll have a chance to be good since I promised myself that I won’t bring up anything of our past and his faults – never, ever again.

I had succeeded in forgiving him and started a new chapter of a father & son relationship, which I have longed for all of my life. And, finally it’ll have a chance to be good since I promised myself that I won’t bring up anything of our past and his faults – never, ever again.

All in all, that is the essence of forgiveness. You do not forget (you never could!), you just go through it and expand.

I left him with some time to fully understand the reasons of my visit and after one week my father called me on the phone to invite me for lunch at his place. He would introduce me to the woman he lives with and to her family.

We spoke for more than twenty minutes; he was friendly and I got along well. I can now say that all conditions for the beginning of a new and finally fruitful communication are set.

I entirely owe this victory to the words and wisdom of Grandmaster Taejoon Lee. He taught me that with the necessary humility and determination and most of all with a kind, compassionate heart every goal can be achieved. Never retreat!

Thank You, Sir.
Hwarang forever and everywhere!

Yours faithfully,

Harmony = Grandmother

Grandma&Me

Hello Everyone;

First, Happy New Year of the Sheep! Suppose to be the year of luck & fortune. I wish you all the very best in the new Year.

I have been absent for a while and thought I would restart my blogging by sharing with you my eulogy for my grandmother at her funeral in 2001. She is the mother of the Founder of Hwa Rang Do®, Dr. Joo Bang Lee. I think this is very appropriate to my current state-of-mind, my state-of-being.

“With the passing of our grandmother, I have no more grandparents. I feel extremely sad and a great emptiness overwhelms me like never before. Maybe I am a little older now and understand more deeply the value of what grandparents mean. I know that she is reunited with grandfather and I should not feel this way. However, I cannot help to think about all that she was and all that I should have done.

Har Ma Ni (Korean for grandmother), harmony in English means a pleasing combination of elements in a whole. Harmani was just that. She complimented everyone and everything. I have never met a more selfless, gentle, kind and generous person. It amazed me how she was able to communicate with Americans who probably never heard Korean in their entire life, by speaking Korean to them and with a few gestures they all understood her (now I understand that to be her energy, her intention; words are meaningless). Sometimes I thought she was psychic.

Whenever her grandchildren would visit her, she would give us something from the little that she had. When I was younger, it was sometimes annoying, but as I grew older I appreciated her generosity. To give, whether she was wealthy or poor, hungry or full, happy or sad.

Her greetings hello or goodbye was, “Did you eat?” and with that she would pull something out of her fridge and offer it to us. When I was younger, I use to fight with her and say that it was okay (as most people who know me, I have had a terrible appetite all my life; but it shouldn’t matter) and she would not take no for an answer, but now I will miss her carving the few apples she had left to feed her grandchildren. Even while she was in the hospital, helpless, fighting for her life, nearly comatose, when I came to visit her, she would mumble, “Did you eat?” I do not think that our generation can truly understand why she did that. We can never understand the struggles of her life when she was young fleeing for her and her family’s life from North to South Korea during the war; when food was scarce and every night she would go to bed hungry, and every morning would wake worrying how she would feed her seven children. I am sure she would have offered a piece of her own body to feed her children if she could. But today, we are all spoiled and we take the basic necessities of life for granted.

She was able to see the good in all of us no matter how bad we were. She was always happy to see us and she never complained about her condition and everyone else always came first.

I try to live my life without regrets, but I do regret, very much. In the recent years before she passed away, being her eldest grandson, her greetings to me was, “When are you going to get married?” And I promised her that she will see my wife before she goes to see grandfather, but because of my stubbornness and self-righteousness, I could not. We are all stubborn, self-righteous, and selfish, but she showed us that there is no room for any of that; not within the family and for her, the world. She was a true Christian. (Grandmother, have not married yet so you didn’t miss anything)

I regret not visiting her very much, but in my own mind, I had these great plans of making a lot of money and giving her all the things she ever wanted and more. I was once again self-righteous and full of myself. I should have done more for her. I am very sad today because it took her death to make me realize that I should cherish and love my family today and everyday by showing them how much I love them and not when I am ready to.

I thank my grandmother for raising and educating such outstanding children, my parents, with the traditional values of honor, respect for elders, and selfless devotion to one’s children and family and these noble traditions, I shall try to emulate for the rest of my life, not only to my family, but to all my friends and students.

Lastly, when my grandfather passed away, I felt my uncles, aunts, cousins all drift apart. It is my hope that Harmani’s passing will bring about greater harmony between all of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. (Of course this not manifest. How can harmony exist without harmani)

On behalf of all her grandchildren, I pray that God will give good care for my grandmother and we thank all of you for being present today to wish her farewell.”

She is my reference of serenity, calmness and true courage.
I will not promise,
I will not plan,
I will not strive,
I will not try,
I will be…

I miss you grandmother…

Grandmaster Taejoon Lee

A Hwarang’s Reflections on his Journey Toward Happiness

This might be hard to stomach for some people:

“Nobody needs you. Seriously, you’re not that important.”

Often we are stressed and burdened heavily with the idea that without us, our family, our loved ones, our business will collapse. The truth of the matter is all things and all people are replaceable. When you’re gone your family, your children, your spouse, your business, they will all continue on; maybe not the way you intended on, but they will all go on without you. So, be blessed with today while you are here and do your best to be happy, help others, and not worry about what people will do without you. This is also one of the hardest things because we must destroy the ego. We build our self worth and value, defining ourselves by how many people depend and need us. But, once again the truth is nobody needs us, they’d rather we’d hang around, but whether they live or die, be happy or sad does not depend on us – it depends on the individual’s self-determination.

The magnitude of one’s suffering and pain created from their guilt and burden to perpetuate the family was evident and clear to me when one of my students broke down in tears in utter helplessness when he said, “I hate my parents. I want to die, but I can’t because I have to take care of my parents.” These sentiments, maybe not so harsh, yet just as real are felt by many first born sons, especially Asian. This got me thinking deeply about my own personal state of being. I never want my burden to family become the source of my pain and misery. However, recently I have discovered that at the core of my being, I am the same with misery and sadness, knowing that I will never satisfy my parents’ expectations.

Many opt to blaming their parents for this and become miserable adults with suicidal tendencies. I choose not to follow that path. it is not the parents fault for wanting their child to do their best and have a better life. So, I do not blame my parents and have accepted them and love them as they are. I wouldn’t expect anything less from them than to want what’s best for me. However, I can change how I perceive my duty to family.

Rather saying that I must take care of my family, I have to go to work, I have to care for my children, say I choose to do so. Changing it from something that you must, presupposing that you rather not do it, to a choice gives you back your power as well as changing it from something negative to something that’s positive. Being positive also takes practice and remember negative attracts more negative and positive attracts more positive. Life is not a magnet, life is life!

Let me make it clear. This is not to say do not care and help others, just to make yourself happy. That is definitely not the path to happiness. There’s nothing more noble or gratifying than to help others selflessly. What I am talking about here is rid oneself of guilt and inner pain for not being able to fulfill their duty or burden. First the individual has to be happy with himself/herself and be at their optimal in order to better serve their family and loved ones. Just don’t beat yourself up worrying about what they will do without you and just get busy and do your best, because in the end the worrying is not going to solve anything, but only through action.

This is hardest for me to stomach as I have to accept that Hwa Rang Do will exist with or without me. So, I choose to accept my legacy and do my best so that it will thrive even more so without me.

P.S.: When I was younger my need to carry my burden and fulfill my expectations fueled and motivated me to always strive. However, in my mid-life that same thing, which has been the source of my motivation has become the sinking Titanic that’s pulling me under to the depths with it. So, now I realize the source of my unhappiness and I choose to cut myself off from the sinking Titanic and liberate myself. Although it has not been easy, I am in the process of building another ship, one made from hope, reconciliation, and acceptance.

With love, peace, honor, and humility,

Grandmaster Taejoon Lee