Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Being a nerd, I wanted to find out more about the meaning of my form. All we have to memorize is this:

Hwa Rang has 29 movements and is named after the Hwarangdo youth group, established in 520 A.D., which was instrumental in uniting the three Kingdoms of Korea, the Silla, Koguryo, and Baek-Je.

A Youth Group? Like my high school youth group at church? Or like Girl Scouts? Or Boy Scouts? Or Hitler Youth?

I looked up more info on TaeKwonDo Tutor (great site), and found that Hwarangdo youth were upper class young men (maybe boys) who were trained in human relations, scholarship, and service. In fact, they had a pretty well-rounded education:

The youth were taught dance, literature, arts, and sciences, and the arts of warfare, chariot, archery, and hand-to-hand combat.

The site compares them to knights-in-training. They had kind of "code of conduct" based on Buddhist and Confucianist principles. Believing strongly in that code helped them eventually unite the three kingdoms--

The zeal of the Hwarang helped Silla become the world's first "Buddha Land" and led to the unification of the three kingdoms of Korea. Buddhist principles were so ingrained in the code of the Hwarang that a large number of monks participated in the Hwarang-Do.

So what was the Hwarang code? Lots of the principles sound like the tenets of Tae Kwon Do:

humanity, justice, courtesy, wisdom, trust, goodness, virtue, loyalty, and courage.

This week one of my students apologized to me about some question she asked. "I'm such a nerd," she said. "Don't say that like it's a bad thing," I replied.


Anonymous said...

I looked at "TKD Tutor" and I think its my favorite website now! There's so much information on there! By the way, I've updated my blog and should be doing so more often now that I'm not so busy. Have a Merry Christmas!!

Amanda said...

According to the book The Koreans by Michael Breen, the Hwarang groups were meant to begin with women (p 80). Several women were chosen but we don't know what they would have been expected to do, because their two leaders, Chunjong and Nammo got into a fight with each other. "Chunjong got her rival drunk and tossed her into the river and was executed for murder."