The HeirHRDWLA Staff
Grandmaster Taejoon Lee
The study of Hwa Rang Do is rooted deep in Tradition, Culture, and Philosophy.
“It is a way for the individual to understand their human potential and their connection to nature. The key to the Universe lies dormant within the self, waiting to awaken through self-discovery. This is Hwa Rang Do.”
– Grandmaster Taejoon Lee (U.L.)
An 8th Degree Black Sash in Hwa Rang Do, Taejoon Lee is the modern bearer of an ancient tradition of Hwarang Knights, who helped unify the Korean peninsula in 668 A.D. Master Lee is the eldest son of the arts founder, Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee, who integrated the martial techniques and warrior spirit of the Hwarang into a unique martial art system in the 1960s.
Grandmaster Taejoon Lee is one of the worlds finest martial artists, in a style that spans an unusually broad skill-set of striking, kicking, joint locking, throwing, grappling, and wielding weapons. His speed, precision, power, and encyclopedic knowledge of body mechanics converge into a beautiful yet lethal blur of movement, which can only be appreciated by seeing him in action. [View videos of Master Taejoon Lee online] Not surprisingly, his talents have been recognized by industry press, which has featured him in nearly two dozen articles including two covers of Black Belt magazine (Worlds Leading Martial Arts Journal). He has trained many members of the Elite U.S. Military & Law Enforcement, and has performed celebrated demonstrations in the United States, Asia, Latin America, and Europe.
In addition to being a warrior, Master Lee is a teacher. Born into the dojang, he received his Black Belt at the tender age of seven, and since that time, he has been training students in Hwa Rang Do. Notwithstanding his youth, he operated clubs and schools during middle school and high school, as well as at various Southern California universities while he earned his bachelor”s degree in philosophy at the University of Southern California. In 1994, he opened his current dojang (academy) as the West Coast Headquarters of the World Hwa Rang Do Association (WHRDA), in West Los Angeles, California.
To understand what Master Lee teaches, it is important to recognize that Hwa Rang Dos purpose is not to manufacture unruly brawlers brimming with ego. Instead, the goal is to guide individuals to achieve physical, mental, and spiritual balance that allows their full potential to flourish, in the service of humankind. Accordingly, when Master Lee is teaching physical technique, he is simultaneously delving into the emotional and psychological. Without wasting words, Master Lee guides his students through a trying physical journey that leads to spiritual self-knowledge, about ones fears and how to conquer them.
Master Lees ability to teach in this fullest sense comes not only from decades of teaching experience but his own remarkable personal story. Born in Korea, into a warrior lineage, Master Lee early on internalized the impossibly high standards set by his father, the legendary Founder of Hwa Rang Do. Immigrating to the United States at the age of nine, he had to confront an alien culture, language, and value system with its own set of prejudices and assumptions. As a young man, he worked with adult survivors of child abuse at a mental hospital, where he fathomed the depths of human cruelty. And as the Vice President of the World Hwa Rang Do Association and the designated heir to the Hwa Rang Do mantle, he has had to lead a worldwide organization dedicated to preserving a traditional martial way that runs counter to the modern culture of consumerism and indulgence.
Film & Media
To expand Hwa Rang Do”s exposure and influence, Master Lee has leveraged the popular media and has personally appeared or starred in various films, including “The Finest Hour” (starring Rob Lowe) “American Chinatown,” and “KK Family List.” He has also trained countless executives, doctors, lawyers, and educators who are in a position of leadership but who themselves seek guidance on matters of the self. He has even authored a detailed book on Hwa Rang Do philosophy and technique, Hwa Rang Do: Defend, Take Down, and Submit (Black Belt 2005).
In some ways, Master Lee is an anachronism, with values, roles, and convictions born of some century long past. That said, he is always striving towards the future, especially to train tomorrows leaders who understand that great social and political decisions can be made only by those who have trained beyond their self-imposed limitations, who have been fiercely tested, and who have overcome.