Testimonials from Genova, Italy Part 2

Letters from Students and Instructors of Grandmaster Taejoon Lee’s European Tour of Seminars, Instructions, and Mentoring in 2016.


MARCO REPETTO (Open Seminar)

It’s not easy at all to understand all of Kuk Sa Nim’s messages, I think there is a lot more behind what he tells us. Being there at the seminars in Genoa and staying close to Kuk Sa Nim all day made me feel things I never felt before. The first thing that amazed me was Kuk Sa Nim’s immense humility in what he does, especially when he relates with the audience. I tried to pay most attention to how he built the self defence lesson: piece by piece he has put together a great lesson with a lot of techniques; he was able to keep everyone’s attention and he made all of them have fun.

Based on what I’ve seen I think it’s possible to improve a lot but it’s really necessary to change something in my mind (I’m talking about the self defence and Tae Soo Do courses).

Hwarang forever!


SAMUELE TARDITO (Mentoring – Open Seminar – Instructor)

Hwarang Sabumnim,

It was intense, at least for me, because he almost right away made me face myself, and after that he shared his perception.

I was expecting something different, a lot more step by step and even more philosophical; also without this formality, I’ve had many Mentorings in my life and with the Grand Master was very different, not worse or better, but very practical. You can feel and perceive that he’s a person who has had thousands of experiences, so he will surely have the answer you need. This is a reply directly from my heart; I’ve written it straight away with the words that came to my mind.

I thank him infinitely! This almost intimate contact was one tile, one more brick for my internal growth. Thanks to you too for giving us this opportunity.

Hwarang forever


SIMONE NEGRO (Mentoring – Open Seminar – Instructor)

Hwarang Sabumnim!

I apologize for the delay. Incredibly right. It’s extraordinary the simplicity that he used to show me that the simplest solution is often the best one. I mean, that the cause of the problem and the reason why I can’t solve it is how I SEE the problem or how I think about it. As in “The last samurai”: “No mind”. I really should have gotten it before. I’ll have a lot to work on.

I thank Grand Master Taejoon Lee for his advices.


MARCO REPETTO (Mentoring – Instructor)

Hwarang Sabumnim,

In the following text I’ll try to explain the thoughts I’ve reached these days.

Starting with the mentoring with the Grand Master, I could notice how beautiful it is to spend sometime with the Grand Master in a cheerful way without too many worries (he said it many times, at least on the Lake Maggiore, that is good to let down your guard to better understand and to go deeper into things, which also I always find it difficult to do, at least with him). What he says really goes deep inside the people; it’s hard not to agree with him, all of his speeches really make sense and he is able to effectively transmit what he senses and what he feels.

The hard part is to be able to catch everything that he wants to give us: eventhough he was usually very clear, I’m sure I’ve lost something that was “between the lines”. Concerning the time spent with him, it was great; I both had fun, and understood how much I’ve always been pushing on the wrong directions, until now.

Speaking with the Grand Master on the Lake Maggiore and in the journey to get there, I had the chance to ask him about some things, and he made me realize that many solutions for my problems were right under my nose and I couldn’t’ see them because I never wanted to see them. He told me many times that I’m isolating myself and he is so right about that… He is completely right!

…and he made me realize that many solutions for my problems were right under my nose and I couldn’t’ see them because I never wanted to see them.

I had the possibility to put myself on the line and try to test my attention and precision in the things I do without having a direct experience on what should have been done (taking care of Kuk Sa Nim, trying to translate English/Italian and vice versa, trying to ask things and speaking to him developing a conversation etc.). Surely, on the lake, as he himself said before, he wanted to completely relax, but I’ve tried to stay always aware and concentrated to do my best.

I’m thinking a lot about what Kuk Sa Nim has told me of my way of teaching, and here too… how can you argue with that? As he said “I’m at an age when I have to run a lot, strong and fast, without thinking too much about balance” but for certain my way of spreading Hwa Rang Do will change a lot.

I’m very honoured and happy to have spent some time close to Kuk Sa Nim, and I’m very sorry I couldn’t do more.

Hwarang Forever!




Hwarang Sabumnim,

The time spent with Grand Master Taejoon Lee was useful to clarify many things about the practice; I appreciated his ability and availability to give clear information on how to move and how to teach.

I was pleasantly surprised when he proposed a suitable procedure for those who want practice, to move forward efficiently without spending much time, and to link the techniques so that they make sense, in respect to the student to motivate him/her to proceed.

I like the idea of a “school” that he proposed, but I see many obstacles to make it in a non-american culture. Bronze/gold certificates are now taking over in the educational path, even in Universities and in Italy, so the proposal of educational packets might be a successful challenge on a business plan. I don’t dare thinking of the financial implications, I’ll let the accountant speak on that.

In the last few days I could verify how our cognitive process is different, the Grandmaster asks for the individual thought, here it would be unpleasant to speak without specifying the cultural context we are referring to, and also it would be incorrect to mix together Philosophy and Religion because they have different instruments and research fields, but beyond the ocean the empirical thought dominates and I think Grandmaster Taejoon Lee has one of his own, which is a work in progress to the truth.

Of course to apply all the suggested changes will need a great effort, at least for me, and if I was a Tae Soo Do student I would be happy to understand and act with a clear goal, but as part of the instructor group I must work as a mirror and this causes me problems because it requires, other than remembering the techniques, also to do it overturned. We’ll see if I’ll be able to over take also this obstacle with practice.

We’ll see how it’s possible to treasure what happened these days. Surely, the Grandmaster’s passage brings everything into question and he wants to remove what is useless;

We’ll see how it’s possible to treasure what happened these days. Surely, the Grandmaster’s passage brings everything into question and he wants to remove what is useless; please allow me one quote, according to the logical principle of Occam’s razor, the only courses and instructors that will be able to stay active are the ones that can go straight.

I think that the biggest teaching I’ve received is to go straight to the goal.

Hwarang forever,


GOLINELLI ENRICA (Parent – Open Seminar)

Hwarang Giuseppe, we thank you for the email, Federico had a lot of fun, it was a wonderful experience and we thank you for this opportunity and for your teaching.


NADIA STEGANI (Mentoring – Open Seminar – Instructor)

Hwarang Kuk Sa Nim,

As I already personally told you I’m very sorry I didn’t fully take part of the two weeks when you were here. However, those times when I participated were of great inspiration, and what surprised me many times is the completeness with which we discussed of the “easiest” topics, that in spite of their simplicity they were really enlightening.

I would really like to thank you for what you’ve told me in the mentoring: I probably already knew that I have to learn to trust myself more and to be more sure of what I do, but listening to you saying “believe in yourself” was very significant, and it gave me new energy to keep on going in everything I do.

…but listening to you saying “believe in yourself” was very significant, and it gave me new energy to keep on going in everything I do.

I really hope to see you again soon, and I thank you for everything!

Hwarang forever


ANDREA COPPOLA (Open Seminar – Instructor)

Hwarang Sir,

Thank you for your time and for your immense energy, to be with you was an extraordinary experience. I remember when I first started that I was looking at the pictures and I thought: maybe one day Kuk Sa Nim will come to the Dojang.

I was terrified by this idea… there, it has happened, it seems incredible, such a strange training, it feels like time has flown away. I sensed the tension around even if you said to stay calm, well… it’s not easy, at the end it has been almost two weeks, I can only imagine how tiring it must be such a task, thank you.

I found remarkable the lessons on how to manage the prospects and how to develop their growth. What stroke me the most is that you gave us extremely simple advices, but with great results, we must learn to think in a different way.

To teach is really a great thing, but it needs solid foundations, honesty, strength, understanding, attention, I felt like a prospect myself in some moments. Now I can’t wait to start the new year of study for my class and I want to increase the number of students following your directives and suggestions.

Thank you for helping me in my private life, I’m reflecting, I’m thinking hard about what you said, putting into practice some of your advices, little by little, always going straight on and I see in front of me excellent opportunities.

Thank you for helping me in my private life, I’m reflecting, I’m thinking hard about what you said, putting into practice some of your advices, little by little, always going straight on and I see in front of me excellent opportunities. It’s hard, but deep down a warrior does not have an easy way.

I wish you a good continuation for your European journey, good health and happiness.

Hwarang forever!


Testimonials from Genova, Italy Part 1

Letters from Students and Instructors of Grandmaster Taejoon Lee’s European Tour of Seminars, Instructions, and Mentoring in 2016.



ARIKA MALARBY (Mentoring – Open Seminar – Instructor)

It’s incredible how many things can be taught by a person like Kuk Sa Nim, only in two weeks.
It’s not easy at all to express in a few words the experience we lived in these days. He “planted” many “seeds” in our minds, and now we have to nurture them, water them, so that they can grow luxuriant, letting them change our way of seeing and feeling things, and finally open our eyes to find our truth and our purpose in life.

In the seminars I’ve attended in Chianni, I could appreciate Kuk Sa Nim’s technical and philosophical teachings. I didn’t know what to expect before those two days, and my mind was busy with university and exams, which are now part of my life for the last five years and they’ve taken almost full control of my mind. Those two days have been a turning point, they gave me energy, and I found God’s warmth again, which I had left out recently.

Those two days have been a turning point, they gave me energy, and I found God’s warmth again, which I had left out recently.

The philosophical seminar made me understand how big is Kuk Sa Nim’s knowledge, and how much he has suffered in his life. I couldn’t hold back tears with all the emotions he shared with us, and for the depth of his thoughts and his reflections, on the past and on the Hwarang warriors’ stories, which inspire our Martial Art.

It was a whole different thing to listen to the Grand Master’s words closely, for almost two weeks, to see him everyday and being overwhelmed by his knowledge and experience. The more I listened, the more I wanted to hear, his voice and his teachings. A fair balance between reprimand and encouragement, as we will have to learn to do, in our turn, with the students we are going to teach.

He has the ability to bring out extremely deep concepts, practical and vital, from one single technique, aware of every single word he speaks. One of the problems that are deeply rooted in me is the capability to express with words, to “translate” my thoughts so that others can understand, without continuously filtering my mind, and without rethinking each word I say. This is something I’ve been carrying for a long time, and it often caused me frustration with myself. It was even worse before I left for my volunteering journey to India. I’ve tried to get better, also because it created many problems in university exams, having bigger difficulties when I’m speaking to someone who makes me feel uneasy, such as professors, and also when there is an audience.

Kuk Sa Nim helped me to realize what were the mistakes and the causes that aroused this phenomenon and tried to help me fix them with some interesting hints, which I was never able to catch before. I’ll have much work to do to integrate these corrections in my personality.

“Don’t second guess yourself” it’s something he often said to me and that I will keep on repeating to myself, so that I don’t forget all the teachings he shared with me to change and improve this aspect of myself.

Another essential point of his teachings was Love. As a Christian I’ve always heard about Love, I’ve read it in the Bible, and I’ve always tried to follow it. His testimony of faith inspired me; it renewed and warmed my heart amidst the world today, which is trying in many possible ways to shut it in a box, to make it indifferent and fill it with hatred.

I fully agree with the fact that every person needs love whether they admit it or not, and the most important task for a believer is to share with others the Love that God gives us, with which He keeps “our cup full” so that we can always give, without necessarily needing to receive. With no fear of being the one who takes the first step, without being afraid of other’s judgement, because “if we do what is right, what is true to us, than we don’t need anyone else’s support or encouragement”. This is a great life lesson, hard to put into practice for someone who is used to always hiding behind others’ actions, but we must force ourselves to think with our own mind and by first finding our own truth, which will lead to the discovery of the Truth; and after knowing the Truth, we must take action.

With no fear of being the one who takes the first step, without being afraid of other’s judgement, because “if we do what is right, what is true to us, than we don’t need anyone else’s support or encouragement”.

It has been an immensely emotional experience to be so close to the Grand Master and assimilate all these things: I never thought that I would have the honor to sit next to him and help with the translation (including some reproaching for my insecurity). I got almost “addicted” to his words and his voice, and also because of that I’m happy to have joined the Cyber Dojang where I’ll be able to watch the countless videos of his lessons, and so to continue growing and learning.

So I thank Kuk Sa Nim, for his patience and his reflections, for the strength that he owns, to face this journey, despite being in foreign countries, with no fixed home, all this for Hwa Rang Do and for us; to make sure that the principles of this Martial Art spread out in the world and can be helpful for as many people as possible.

I hope he knows that where there is Hwa Rang Do he can always find a family, and that we will be able to show this to him, as he is showing it to us.

Furthermore, I thank Sa Bum Nim Giuseppe, because without him, none of this would have been possible, and thanks to him, I have joined this big family. I have great respect and admiration for him. He has an enormous passion for Hwa Rang Do and he transmits it to all his students.

I also thank Natascia, Sa Bum Nim’s wife, who was the one that introduced me to Hwa Rang Do. At last I thank God, for guiding me on this path and because if it wasn’t for Him I wouldn’t even exist.

Hwarang forever!



SARA GIOVINAZZO (Mentoring – Open Seminar)

Hwarang Sa Bum Nim,

I’m sorry that I’ve had the operation during the first week of Grandmaster Lee’s visit to Genoa. I would have liked to participate in the training, but because of my health issue, I was inconvenienced of losing a week, gaining only half of the lessons, and also money.

However, since Sunday I had the possibility to see him and listen to his reflections “more closely” even if i wasn’t very lucid. So for me, it’s very hard to give a clear feedback. I wanted to ask more personal questions, but I wasn’t alone so I didn’t feel very comfortable to ask. I would have preferred to inquire about the subject he discussed in Chianni, which made me think and reflect (in a good way).

After the mentoring, I came up with this first conclusion, awareness comes especially from knowledge of things and the World (through studying). With the GM we talked about religion and I simply realized that I never studied and that I knew nothing, that until now, I only drew conclusions and beliefs for my own advantage, not considering the world in a religious perspective, ever.

With the GM we talked about religion and I simply realized that I never studied and that I knew nothing, that until now, I only drew conclusions and beliefs for my own advantage, not considering the world in a religious perspective, ever.

It has been really embarrassing to realize how ignorant I was.

I was impressed by the GM’s ability to get immediately to the “heart” of the matter and to understand the depth of our questions. I believe He’s a great teacher, because of his capability of explaining in a logical and concrete way also the most abstract matter.

I think that just one meeting is not enough for someone of his calibre, but i know that the few things i heard from his mouth, both in Chianni during the seminars and the championships ( including the various practical and technical suggestions) and during the mentoring, were very helpful for me, so much so that he encouraged me to change some aspects of my life and my free time right away.

He surely isn’t a person (if we can call him that) that you can meet and know everyday, and as far as I’m concerned, my daily martial practice, acquire much more value and validity.

I still have many questions, and for that reason, as He suggested, I prefer to find the answers continuing to fully seek, study and live. Now I need to absorb what I heard, and treasure it in my daily life.

Thank you Sa Bum Nim for the opportunity,



STEFANO RAVERA (Mentoring – Open Seminar)

Hwarang Sabumnim,

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 is 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.

We have to realize the huge privilege of being a part of the Hwa Rang Do Family: the Grandmaster, such as all of the instructors, are following us closely, personally, and they are interested in making sure that each one of us express the best we have to offer to the world and become a better man, a true warrior. “Bettering the world, one person at a time”…!

The Grandmaster assigned me a hard task, surely the hardest in my life. He wants me to do it quickly, and then he wants to be informed of developments. No chatters, no privolities, I must get busy and act. I’m not saying that I’ll be able to do it tomorrow, but I need to let the Grandmaster’s words and reflections change me inside and break down the thick walls that I felt forced to build during my many past years. However, I’m sure of one thing: I will do 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, and allowing them to experience 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, and allowing them to experience it.

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

Thank you and Hwarang forever!



Hwarang Sabumnim,

Unfortunately, I could only attend the self defense seminar.

More than Kuk Sa Nim’s presence, which I wasn’t able to fully appreciate in the little time I’ve had available, I liked the way that you and we welcomed him, participating, showing warmth and unity, interest, trying to transmit what strikes us about Hwa Rang Do and what keeps us united in the practice. I appreciate Kuk Sa Nim’s humanity and the values that he spreads, in addition to his strictness.

I think that the best summary that He has left us is to underline that this practice is not only about fighting, but it’s a way to improve ourselves through fighting, aiming to become better people, also giving a meaning to the seeking of this improvement.

You are my instructor, so I thank you for your dedication in the organization and for making KSN’s visit possible.

Hwarang forever,



Hwarang Sabumnim!

It was a wonderful experience which added new techniques and causes for reflection to all the considerations taken from the self defense classes of the past few years. I hope there will be more opportunities like this to increase both the technical and philosophical aspects of our Martial Art.

Hwarang forever!


NIVES PAROSI (Open Seminar)

We thank Grand Master Taejoon Lee because when Beatrice met him, she started to understand that every human action has to be thoughtful; that it is in ourselves and we must seek the ethics which lead our behavior, that growth means to constantly change to get better and that Hwa Rang Do represents the tool and the way to travel this path. Grand Master Taejon Lee proved to her that nowadays, especially in our violent society, which is always more lacking of values, there are still principles of honor and intellectual honesty that have to be searched for in ourselves before than in someone else’s words.

Beggi Family



Hwarang Sabumnim!

I’ve already tried to explain to my relatives and friends what I felt and what I still feel after spending some time with Kuksanim, but it’s really hard!

There are no words to explain the emotional hodgepodge I’m feeling… I feel different, and I’ve changed the way to see the world and to see myself… I have to immensely thank Kuksanim and Hwa Rang Do for my growth and I have to thank especially you Sabumnim! For the opportunity that you gave me and for the fact that now Hwa Rang Do is a family to me.


ALESSIA SCUTO (Mentoring – Mother of Burattini Family)

Hwarang Sabumnim, in the days before the meeting, I’ve thought of many questions that I could have asked to the Grand Master, but when the time came I only felt the need to ask for help. I perceived the clear and irrational sensation that I could receive that help. What came out of the talk deeply upset me at first and it caused great anguish within me. It takes courage to look at how you really are and realize how far you are from what you had wanted to be. I want to start from here, with this awareness, to walk and fill this gap.

Hwarang forever!



MAURO BURATTINI (Mentoring – Father of Burattini family)

Hwarang Sabumnim,

After 3 days, the meeting with the Grand Master knocked me out… his words and his gaze gave me answers that maybe I didn’t want to hear… But the change that is growing in me, is struggling to metabolize the truth.

I realize that all of my fears, are not a fault, but they’re “HUMAN” and only through the will of listening and working hard to a solution can help me to better understand the relationship with my sons. Until a short time ago, I wasn’t good TOWARDS MYSELF AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME but since I’ve been practicing Hwa Rang Do, I’m paying the consequences of what I am, with no reductions, but I’m learning to give value to something more than what fits my perception and what has apparently satisfied me.

Until a short time ago, I wasn’t good TOWARDS MYSELF AND THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE ME but since I’ve been practicing Hwa Rang Do, I’m paying the consequences of what I am, with no reductions, but I’m learning to give value to something more than what fits my perception and what has apparently satisfied me.

I thank you infinitely for the opportunities you’re always giving us, and the motivations that you try to transmit to us. I don’t know how far and where I will go, but I know for sure that I won’t stop in for of anything.

My director in Publirama used to say, “the fish always stinks from the Head”, and at the moment Hwa Rang Do’s Head is bright and clear even if it’s hard to follow.

I’m sorry for the strange words but I hope you’ll understand the meaning.. I want you to know that we now realize that Alessia and I have been protecting our love from everything and everyone, but mainly from ourselves… The Grand Master is an incredible person and I never met in my whole life anyone like him.

Thank you,

Hwarang forever


ELENIA MALARBY (Mentoring – Open Seminar)

The seminar and the mentoring have been very interesting. At the seminar I learned a lot of things and also I had fun with my friends. The mentoring has been truly inspiring: I understand how to behave my self with other people at school, but also outside. Now, I am not afraid of thoughts or opinions, about me, of my friends; and for this I thank Kuk Sa Nim. Indeed I thank him for all these things, for the help he gave to me and to my family.

Thank you.




It was really a great and deep experience: Grandmaster Taejoon Lee gave us lots of input and encouragement both to us, as parents, and to our daughters.

I’m really thankful because he put into words what I used to think, but never been able to say it in the right way. He also helped me to see things not only in my way but in 360° way.

On behalf of my husband Tullio: he says that he’s always been proud of his daughters and his family, but never more so than in the moment when Grandmaster said to his daughters: “If not you, whatelse could he be proud of?” because that’s exactly how he feels!

I think Grandmaster is a very positive and humble person and he is teaching to the Tae Soo Do and Hwa Rang Do students to be positive, humble, respectful and observant.

Thanks for sharing with us his wisdom.

Hwarang forever!
Mei yi and Tullio



I learned a lot from mentoring. Thanks for the advice: I understand my goal and how to proceed in practice. These days in class and at lunch I found many answers to my questions and why I appreciated his wisdom having already appreciated his impressive martial arts skills.

Thanks again for everything you did and I pray to God to protect him with the mantle of His love.

Hwarang forever.



LYSIA MALARBY (Mentoring – Open Seminar)

I’m really glad I got to attend the mentoring, I thought it was inspiring. I was able to acknowledge how pointless my “shyness/overthinking” issues were and to look at them from another perspective.

It did renew my will to fight for myself as well, in some ways: as it’s been a few months since I trained properly (due to me not managing to keep up with my schedule), perhaps I forgot how it feels to be sparring with someone. Thinking of applying that mental approach to other tasks that I up until now thought as difficult, really triggered something in my way of handling certain situations. I still think, for me, it’s going to take some time to actually become the person I’d like to be, but I reckon I can now try and improve myself in a better and faster way. I also found the discussion relating to the family to be very interesting and I’d like to thank Grandmaster Taejoon Lee for giving us this occasion. I really am happier and more proud than ever before to have Hwa Rang Do become part of my life.

Hwarang Forever,
Lysia Malarby





We have attended the seminar on bullying together with our three daughters and so we had the opportunity to listen and get to know a very capable person: Grandmaster Taejoon Lee.

The best thing for us was to realize that the person of which we had read and heard a lot about, and who seemed so distant, almost unapproachable, really existed and he came to know us and to let us know him!

After the amazing experience we had in Chianni, these seminars were a further unforgettable opportunity to get our family close, Giorgia in particular who is now purple belt, to this fantastic discipline, which by the way, helped very much our daughter to trust herself and try to give the best that she can in everything she does.

A sincere thanks to the instructors and to the Grand Master for his willingness!

Chiara and Alessandro Bastia


DAVIDE PIZZO (Open Seminar – Instructor)

I knew that the visit of Kuk Sa Nim, Grandmaster Taejoon Lee, to Genova would be an extraordinary experience. I also knew that I would learn a lot, but never thought that it would change my way of thinking so deeply.

The fundamental change refers to the way I now approach to the idea of “change”.

In the past, I have always focused on the problems and difficulties of changing and never on its benefits and how to achieve them. In other words, I always saw the glass half empty. “Disguising laziness with humility” is one of the quotes that Kuk Sa Nim told us when he first arrived in Genova. That quote opened up my mind.

In other words, I always saw the glass half empty. “Disguising laziness with humility” is one of the quotes that Kuk Sa Nim told us when he first arrived in Genova. That quote opened up my mind.

I immediately had the feeling that what Kuk Sa Nim was saying was the truth. I realized that everytime Kuk Sa Nim taught us how to manage something differently than what I was used to, I had to make an extra effort not to argue with useless excuses and justifications.

Then, I decided to change my approach. Kuk Sa Nim came to Genova with the purpose of helping us and would have been stupid on my part if I had missed this opportunity. Eventually, I began to listen and think before I spoke.

Kuk Sa Nim explained in detail how to manage the Tae Soo Do class; how to follow the student from the very beginning of entering the Dojang, inquiring information, until to the black belt exam.

For every procedure and every step, we must always know why and understand the reason thoroughly instead of following them blindly.

Thanks to Kuk Sa Nim I realized that formulating the right questions is fundamental in order to achieve our goals, to know the truth. I also realized that it is much more advantageous trying to understand how to make things work rather than focusing on what would not work.

I am now very enthusiastic and looking forward to September when the classes will start again. There will be much hard work to be done, but Kuk Sa Nim gave us the tools to work in a smarter and more efficient manner in order to reach our goals.

Hwarang forever!



Grazia Gamberale (Parent – Open Seminar)

Dear Mr. Catania, I apologize for the late answer, but we had some problems at home. Riccardo found the activity very interesting and instructive. He was happy to meet a person of such a high rank in this Art who has learnt to love. I personally have to say that it was very educational also for us as parents, regardless of the fact that we think all of your events are beautiful.

I thank you again and again for the opportunity you gave. I give you my best regards.

Grazia Gamberale.


Kristina Qose (Open Seminar)


On Saturday we had the chance to have an experience that is undoubtedly to be relived.

I finally could have an idea of what is Kuk Sa Nim is like and I must tell he’s just as I expected. He is a personality that really intrigues me. In regards to the seminar, it was very interesting and well organized. I liked it because we tried many exercises we never saw before, but especially because there were a lot of us, and that gave me, as usual, the possibility to confront myself with others and also to see again many familiar faces.

The only other thing I would have liked to do was to go have lunch all together (with the other Tae Soo Do students) just to have a chat and get to know each other better, although Sun Bae Siria was a great company. But, I know that it was up to us to have organized that.

I finish by saying that my feedback is definitely positive!



Renato Repetto (Open Seminar)

It has been very strange and unusual to spend two hours working out with those who are my son’s companions; it was as strange as it was special. Only at the end, when I thought of it in tranquillity, I realized that in those two hours I didn’t think of anything else but what I was doing in that moment, training and it made me feel incredibly good. The Korean Grandmaster seems to be a very special person, even if he’s not my Grand Master (not being a student).

I respect and admire very much his job and his way of life.


Maria Corti (Open Seminar)

It was a very unusual experience, I had fun and I felt that I was giving myself a challenge.
I realized I was very clumsy in doing the exercises, but I was amazed at how Kuk Sa Nim helped me, being very kind and calm.

Even if I don’t know English at all, It surprised me how he could make people understand going inside of them, teaching in a way that goes beyond simple words.


Harmony = Grandmother


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

End-Dependancy (Five Stones)


Each month the Teuk Gong Team (TGT), our instructors and assistant instructors, gather for dinner to share ideas and develop greater bonds. In February, Antonio Goodwin hosted the dinner at his home in Ladera Heights. The adults were in the living room, conversing about our school and students, while the juniors ranging from 7years old to 11 were in Dominic’s room, Antonio’s son.

After a short while I decided to go check on the children and what I saw was truly the sign of our times. There were five kids in total and each was doing their own thing: reading a book, playing on a Gameboy, watching a movie on a portable DVD player, playing with an iphone, etc. None of them were speaking, playing, or engaged with each other.

I could not believe what I saw. I had to do something. I said, “What are you guys doing? Put that stuff down and follow me.” I proceeded to walk outside as the kids followed, puzzled and somewhat reluctant. I walked over to a small patch of dirt field (which was not easy to find) and went hunting for rocks. I found one that was the size of a marble and raised it up, “I want you guys to find rocks about this size.” The kids were even more puzzled, but soon they were laughing and excited to find a rock that fit the profile.

“Master Lee, like this one? Is this it?” Each one of them came over to show me what they’d found. After collecting a handful of rocks, I picked the best ones and we all went inside. I had them all sit in a circle and I taught them Korean jacks, “Gong-gi.” It’s similar to American Jacks, but a bit more difficult, requiring greater hand/eye coordination. After I demonstrated what needed to be done and how to keep score, I had each of them try. It took some effort, but soon they were getting the hang of it. They were having a blast, laughing, talking – engaged in each other’s performance. I belted, “This is playing. Keep it up and if you have any questions, come get me.” With that, I went back into the living room.

In the living room, I found some of the adults on their laptops, surfing the web, checking email, etc.
The laughter and the excitement continued to escalate in Dominic’s room and it soon overwhelmed the chatter in the living room. Some of them came back out to notify me that they passed another level with intense excitement in their voices. I was very delighted, yet perplexed what our children are becoming and where our society is heading.

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and better by providing faster and more efficient means of doing our work, giving us more time for the real valuable things in our lives like family, relationships, and self-development, right? I mean that is what’s promised to us: faster, easier, better.

Then, if they have so much more time to do other things, why can’t my students maintain regular attendance of only twice per week? 20 years ago, students attended a minimum of three Hwa Rang Do classes (there was no Tae Soo Do) per week and most came every day. We had classes daily for both children and adults. Ah, but now they are doing things that are more meaningful – like what I ask you? Do they have more enriching relationships? Do they maintain greater familial bonds? Have they acquired higher consciousness?

In Korea there is a contest to see how fast people can text messages. There’s also an epidemic of children not knowing how to spell words properly because everything is shortened and abbreviated. I think that’s the same here. I have students working in corporate America who spend most of their time at work online – chatting, social networking, surfing the web – that has nothing to do with their work, but they still get paid the same or more. They are finishing their tasks sooner due to technology, so they have more time, but is that time being used for something meaningful? They spend it being distracted, because thanks to the same technology, being distracted is now that much easier and that much more interesting. Instead of twiddling their thumbs or spinning their pens, they spend their spare time on YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. We must reconsider, rethink, and reorganize how we manage our workforce, and how we are spending our lives.

A while back Yahoo Magazine did a comparison between using the Internet or the Yellowpages for finding items for purchase. Almost at every instance the Yellowpages was faster, but now the Yellowpages has become a dinosaur. When you are searching online, there are so many other distractions that you might have intended on buying some table settings and come out having bought a car.

With all of our advancements in technology we cannot seem to create anything that lasts. The History Channel recently aired a documentary answering the question of what the world would be like after human beings. One of the things that stood out for me is that the world’s ecosystem would be fine without any human beings and that in a matter of 500 to 1,000 years, all records of our existence would have been erased completely from the face of the earth, except for some ancient monuments like the Pyramids of Egypt or the Stonehenge.

Do you not think that with our technology we cannot come up with anything that lasts more than a few years or find a cure for cancer, AIDS? Even if we could, do you think we would?

Everything is fast and quick and replaceable with upgrades – new and improved is the motto. Just recently I lost a phone charger and went to Best Buy, the all-in-one electronic store which is shutting down all its competition. They had all kinds of chargers but nothing worked for my phone. Finally, the salesman after digging through stacks of boxes found one that would work. I belted, “Why couldn’t they just have one adaptor that fits all?” Of course I knew the answer, but I needed to vent.

The salesman replied, “They couldn’t make money that way.” It irritates me that the newly released movies come out on dvd format first, a few days before the Blue-Ray. A couple of times I was suckered into it and bought the dvd because I could not find the Blue-Ray. I do not watch TV, and only see films of my choice. After I purchased the dvd, the next week I went in, and behold, I saw it on Blue-Ray. Now I own the VHS tape, the dvd, the high HD version, the Blue-Ray disc, and let’s not forget the extended version, the unrated version, and the director’s cut. I wonder what other versions they’re going to come out with next? Recycling the same content over and over again in different formats, newer, improved, faster, smaller, and I am just as guilty as any other consumer, but of course nothing lasts. One of my students who is in marketing told me that there is actually a term for this. It’s called “Chaos Marketing.”

Back in the 80s when the pager was the thing, I remember how I hated seeing these guys in suits with two and three pagers on their belts, accompanied by a key chain that would out do any janitor (definitely overcompensation for some other deficit). Then it moved to hand phones and now the same is true.

I really don’t get too many calls on my hand phone. Just from my immediate family and in case of emergencies. Recently, I was very ill and couldn’t think straight and lost my phone for the first time. I am the guy that had the first cell phone (not hand phone because there’s no way to fit it in one hand) that was the size of a small brief case. For about three days I was completely lost and all day in the back of my mind, I was thinking about my phone. It consumed me. Finally, I found my phone in my bathrobe pocket. I checked what messages and texts I missed and there were only a few and nothing that was earth shattering. I felt so relieved, whole again. I had to sit back and think about this for a bit.

How insane is that?

It’s getting out of control. This type of thinking has infiltrated every part of our lives where each individual thinks of only their own pleasure, their own personal gain, regardless of others. Or if they do care about others and global social events, then they’re too busy, too occupied with following someone else’s life or spending time enhancing their profile and sharing their party pictures with the rest of the world that they have no time for their loved ones, their self development, real social issues, and their spirit. The distractions have become their lives; being constantly connected to the media 24/7 like an umbilical cord connected directly to corporate America, the 1% has constant access to your mind and pockets. It is the Matrix.

I had a student, a graduate of Harvard Law School, who loved gadgetry and technology. He once said that if the world lost power and we had to revert to manual mechanisms that he would come to my dojang. I pride on myself that I am self-reliant and resilient. That is the foundation of Hwa Rang Do’s training, but lately I also have been caught up in this dependency on technology; a physiological, emotional, and psychological dependency that affects my self-being, our society, our humanity. Unbelievable.

So, when I saw those children in a room together, all attached to their own gadgetry and not socializing with each other and playing like kids should, it affected me to my core. And, imagine – only five rocks that cost me nothing brought the greatest joy and unity to these children.

All things, good and bad, are necessary and can be useful. As Hwarang and warrior/scholars we must learn self-control and utilize those things around us as well as all aspects of our ‘self’ to maximize our lives and the lives of others. However, we cannot become dependent. We must be our own masters. At this rate, if the world did run out of power, the Amish would reign and we would once again be dependent on something, someone other than ourselves.

Let’s think for moment: Who does this dependency serve? Who does this advancement in technology really serve? Does it serve us, the people, the common folk? Or, does it serve the wealthy and the powerful? The disbursement of wealth across the globe is getting worse each day as the percentage of the people possessing the majority of the wealth is getting smaller day by day. Big conglomerates, big corporations, multi-billionaires, governments don’t care about common misfortune caused by disasters, war, or other tragedies. To them, every situation is an opportunity for greater economic/territorial gains, and ultimately a means of greater control.

Look at the absurdity of our existence. Water is a natural resource, but they put it in a bottle and sell it and we buy it: For what? The cleanliness and purity? So that we can live longer and healthier? Water is almost 8 times more expensive than gasoline. We pay over $1 for a 16oz bottle of water and there are 128 oz in a gallon and at most we only pay $3 for a gallon of gasoline. Why don’t we just drink tap water? Because we have a collective notion that the water is somehow impure or contaminated. This is not Mexico, and yes I know because I have experienced Montezuma’s revenge. And who created the pollution that contaminated the drinking source in the first place? Of course, it’s the big companies in the pursuit of increasing dividends and governments all in the name of saving tax-payers money. Do you get the picture? They cannot lose. They will continue to make money and take advantage of every opportunity to make more money by continuing to create dependencies and creating new markets, new frontiers to exploit. The real world is not enough so now we have the world wide web and virtual worlds to exploit. What will they do next after they pollute the air to the point where it’s not safe to breathe? They will sell us bottles of filtered air or oxygen of course (this is happening already).

When has faster, quicker, easier been better? The pyramids of Egypt have lasted for 5000 years and will continue for thousands more. In the past, if it did not last and was not durable, then it was not valuable. The martial arts industry has also been impacted by this type of thinking. You cannot build a fortress out of marshmallows. Strength in training, self-discipline and self-reliance are what create strength of mind, body and spirit. There are martial art organizations that market gun and knife disarmament as their primary method of attracting the public for self-defense. And it seems to be working. One of the main keywords in Google search is now ‘Krav Maga,’ – not martial arts, karate, kungfu or even MMA. Yes, they are doing a great job marketing their product. However, what they are selling is something that bears consideration. Even the most experienced martial artists who have consistently trained for decades are reluctant to disarm a weapon in a real scenario. More important than the physical techniques is their ability to maintain calm and think clearly to create opportunity for escape. But, even then it’s risky and only should be attempted as a last resort. A case in point: I was invited to Fort Benning, Ranger School to meet and instruct some of the most elite law enforcement and military personnel from Mexico, Central, and South America. There I had the privilege of having a discussion over dinner with the people in charge of creating and instructing the Army combative for the entire US Army Corp.

They told me a story. The Rangers were performing a military exercise within the small town near the Fort. At the time some of the Rangers were learning a special hand-to-hand combative system created by some Hapkido master. One of the Rangers in the exercise was approached by the town policeman, who at gun-point told the Ranger to drop his weapon, which the Ranger did. Thinking that this was part of the exercise, the Ranger sought this opportunity to practice his handgun disarmament technique on the police officer. Unbeknownst to him, the policeman was not part of the exercise and as the Ranger attempted to disarm, the policeman shot and killed the Ranger. Sure, weapon disarmament is a viable option and there are proper techniques to increase the odds of success. However, learn it easy and quick in a few months or in a seminar, and chances are as the military men say, “you learn just enough to get yourself killed.”

The companies hit a jackpot when we all logged on. In the computer age, it has become a given, an accepted standard, the norm, for things to become out-dated in a matter of six months to a year. Everything must be upgraded. How fantastic is that? It’s a never-ending market of continual consumption – a created dependency and continual supply of new and improved products that will offer greater performance and enjoyment. Sound familiar? This is how drug dealers push the newest drug on the market. Get you hooked and then offer better highs.

And schools are becoming pushers for the pharmaceutical companies. This is another topic for another time, healthcare in the United States. However, I did want to bring attention about what the schools are doing to our children. I laughed when nursery schools were banning musical chairs because it was too competitive. “Why should only one kid win and 20 others lose?” Last time I checked we were a capitalist society and the nature of capitalism is competition. Now, they are not even keeping score playing regular sports like baseball, soccer, basketball, and football. That’s just plain silly and I am not laughing anymore.

The nature of children is attention deficit and hyperactive. They are full of energy and have very little attention span. It is not a disorder, but the norm. Jim Thorpe, a Native American, who was named the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century by the Associated Press and a gold medalist in the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, was challenged to mimic everything that a two year old child did physically for an entire day. The 2 year old won and laid Jim Thorpe out, exhausted. This 2 year old was your average child, not one with a hyperactive disorder. Of course, some kids may need more attention than others, but by no means do children in their formative years have a disorder – they’re just being kids, curious about the world and eager to participate.

So, since technology has helped us to do work in less time, then parents should have more time to spend with their children, their family, hence improving focus, channeling energy and aggression, and enhance both their intrapersonal and interpersonal development, right? Wrong, very wrong. We have become a society of people who feel entitled to everything good life has to offer, without any sense of accountability and self-sacrifice. We blame everything wrong on others and take credit for everything good, however trite and ridiculous it may be.

The schools, the classrooms are overcrowded as government continues to cut funding toward our educational system, which is a short-sightedness that I predict will have dire consequences in the future. But, who cares right, as long as I am living well now, what does it matter? It matters a lot if you feel you are part of humanity, which we all are whether you like it or not, but I guess that’s one of the problems: we are more connected than ever with each other, but we feel less humane. Our sense of community has been diminishing city by city, town by town. In the 3rd and 4th grade, one of my favorite parts of the day was walking over to my friend’s house and walking to school together. Not in a small midwestern town, but in the heart of Los Angeles County – Downey, CA. There’s something awfully wrong when we can’t allow our kids to play in the streets, walk to school, or be out of a parent’s sight and ears for any length of time.

When a child in school has problem focusing on his work, not paying attention, talks too much with others, and forgets what he/she was told to do (all things that all kids do, some more/some less), the teacher sends the potential problem child to get an evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete then the parents are brought in to discuss options and this is how it’s said to the parents, “If your child has problem seeing, would you not get your child glasses to see better?”

“Sure,” the parent replies.

“Well, then by medicating your child, he/she will be better focused, which will increase his/her grades and enhance his/her chances to get into a good college for a better life,” school counselor. What parent would not want to help their child by increasing their chances of doing better in school so that they can get ahead in life? However, this isn’t a pair of glasses. It’s chemicals which are altering the child’s mind from normal development in the most rapidly growing stage of the child’s life. I am not a scientist or an MD so I will not attempt to get into the negative physiological affects of medicating children with mind-altering drugs in their formative years, but what I will address is something that is even more sinister.

I had a female student who has been medicated since elementary school. She is now in her late 30s and she cannot function without the drugs. When posed by me with the hard decision of giving up the drugs and rediscovering herself through hard self-examination and martial discipline, she chose to quit training and continue to take the drugs. This was after 3 grueling years of Tae Soo Do training, and embarking on the Hwa Rang Do way for the rest of her life. What’s more disturbing, she is also medicating her child who’s only 8 years old.

Ah, you say, that she doesn’t fit the timeline. She started taking the drugs in the early 80s. I think that just goes to show how long this has been practiced and how much more rampant it is today. I just had an 18 year old come up to me at my last seminar in Minneapolis in March of this year, saying, “I have been on all types of medication since I was 5 years old and after joining Tae Soo Do, I decided to quit taking the drugs to find out who I really am and see what’s really wrong with me.

Well, it’s been two years now and I have never felt better in my entire life and I am beginning to truly get to know who I am.” All we are doing is creating a pattern of dependency for the rest of lives and once again, who does that really serve?

How can we blame our kids for not being able to learn? That’s all they do, is learn from the world around them and by following, mimicking the actions of others. If a child does not learn or did not learn, then we have failed as parents, as teachers, as a society. I thought that cats were un-teachable. I was proven wrong. Recently, in a variety show, I saw a man who had cats doing what trick dogs do; jumping through hoops, walking on wire, going across parallel bars, all on command. I was blown away. I don’t know if you have ever tried to teach your cat to sit or come on command, but I have. I had both dogs and cats as pets and believe me dogs are far easier to teach than cats. I have never successfully taught a cat to do anything on command, but just let them do what they want, including petting them. So, when I saw this man having all these cats obey him and follow his every command, I realized that it was me and not the cats. So, if he can teach cats, then we can teach our children; don’t you think?

I don’t mean to demean our children or even humanity by comparing them to our pets, but only to illustrate how absurd it is for us to give up on our children and resort to drugging them to be more compliant. These cats were only getting tasty bits of food for reward and no drugs to induce compliance. I remind my students that our greatest weapon, greatest tool is our mind, which is undeniably unique only to the human race and it is this that we must cultivate. Furthermore, the greatest advancements in our culture, society, sciences, arts, and everything in between have been accomplished by people who thought outside the norm, the status-quo, and challenged conventional thinking.

It is not enough that my country of birth, South Korea, has risen from the ashes of war and poverty to one of the economic powerhouses in the world in less than 50 years, which now enjoys the luxury of giving their children plastic surgery as a high school graduation gift, making girls look very similar to each other. You marry a girl because they look so fine and end up having a child that looks nothing like the mother. Of course, I am being facetious, but it’s not far from the truth. Now, in my homeland, the United States of America, we drug our children for compliance; appease the children by removing competitive spirit; appease the masses by submersion in distractions; drug the elderly to keep them around a little longer to medicate them a little longer; and drug the rest of us for being sad or depressed at times, which of course is not acceptable; and lets not forget being “Politically Correct” which in effect is a gag order, preventing anyone from speaking their mind; oh and did I mention that we are a military state where the government can arrest and detain any civilian indefinitely?

I don’t know if the rest of the world is blind or just silent, maybe appeased and drugged already by the media and technology, but the few who are in power and possess the wealth are blocking entry into the club and continue to expand their market at exponential rates, thanks to technology and globalization. Is this a new phenomenon in our human history? Of course not! It has always been here as we continually struggle for power, territory, control and influence. However, the difference now is that due to our technologies, it is easier and faster to globalize and expand for companies and for nations. I am not interested in blaming the people in power or organizations of power for doing what they’re meant to do – survive, thrive, and conquer. I’d be doing the same thing I have been advocating not to do. But, hopefully they will act responsibly and wisely, which I know is a lot to ask.

In self-defense one of the most important things is awareness. To be focused on what’s immediately in front, but being completely aware of your surroundings. That also applies here. I am pleading to the world, to our community, to my students to be informed and aware. Furthermore, in our training we learn that we cannot control anything outside of the self and the only thing we have control over is the self. We learn that we are only as strong as our weakest self. Therefore, we learn to be extremely self-critical, seek out our weaknesses and fears to overcome them, increasing our self-control, then and only then can we help others. As I have said earlier, we are all affected, including me. In the same way we can live life or be victims of life, we also have a choice here. We can choose to self-regulate ourselves and control our addictive nature or we can choose to fall victim to our own ignorance.

I am not advocating complete abstinence. I have never advocated abstinence in anything as I feel that is not the solution – going to one extreme has the tendency to build repressed potential energy to swing to the other extreme. To me, as in Hwa Rang Do and as an umyangian, the answer lies in balance and self-control: being in sync with the rhythm of the internal self and the external world, with the material and the immaterial, with the microcosm and the macrocosm. Then, hopefully we can be in harmony with nature and the universe.

A few months ago, my family purchased a cabin in Big Bear, as one of my passions is snowboarding. Our family, Hwarangdo family, and my nephews spent the weekend for the first time at the cabin. Being a skateboarder during the founding years when skateboarding took off with the invention of polyurethane wheels some thirty plus years ago, I enjoy playing ‘Skate’. One of my instructors, Joey Klein, one visiting black sash, Brett Spoehr, my 9 year old nephew Jeffrey Kim and I played PlayStation3 together until 4am (would have gone longer if I wasn’t going boarding in the morning) and had the best time ever. The game brought together and bonded a group ranging in age from 9 to 40+. How great is that? As a matter of fact, Joey and Brett could not contain themselves and broke out into a contagious laughing fit. Soon, we were all laughing so much our bellies ached the next day and managed to keep our Hwa Rang Do Founder, Dr. Joo Bang Lee, up all night. Even he did not come down and shut us up, as he knew how special it was to have his martial sons and grandchild enjoying each other’s company.

I believe there’s a time and place for everything. It is up to us to utilize all the things life has to offer, all our faculties, all our God given gifts to get the most out of life by doing and experiencing all that we can live a full life.

This is one of the best eras in all of history. We have so much information, knowledge, and technology to unify and join all races, nations, and people of all ethnic backgrounds, offering the means of living a better life than ever before. It is my hope that corporations, conglomerates, and nations utilize their powers to bring greater unity and racial harmony so that we can move forward by expanding our individual and collective consciousness to really live life focused on the important, valuable things – our relationships, humanity, and our relationship with the infinite. Not continually treating the human race as infantile children, controlling us with repressive fear tactics and increasing dependencies, but rather liberating ourselves from the confines and limitations of material goods, base emotions and greed.

This discourse started with my wanting to talk about kids being attached to technological gadgetry rather than being attached to each other, and ended up with me spilling my frustrations with our current society. I am not done and I have much more to say. I hope one day to follow it up with a book. However, I hope this has at least sparked some thought and will motivate you to take action.


With love and compassion and the belief that we can change the world – one person at a time,

Hwarang Forever,
Grandmaster Taejoon Lee
A Humble Servant to Humanity