Congratulations to Grandmaster Taejoon Lee for the Extremely Rare Achievement of 8th Dan in Hwa Rang Do...

On May 23rd, 2009 Hwa Rang Do's, Chief Master Taejoon Lee was promoted to 8th Dan Hwa Rang Do® Black Sash and became Grandmaster Taejoon Lee.

This was a historic day for many reasons...

On April 18th, Supreme Grandmaster (Dojoonim) Dr. Joo Bang Lee formally tested, then Chief Master Taejoon Lee to qualify him for his 8th degree Black Sash promotion in Hwa Rang Do®.

Very few people in the world can fathom the dedication, skill, knowledge and time it requires to achieve an 8th Dan title in Hwa Rang Do®. Hwa Rang Do® is the only martial art which has curriculum all the way through 7th Dan, encompasses over 4,000+ techniques and requires a test for promotion to 8th Dan.

Only 3 other people in the world hold an equal or higher rank in Hwa Rang Do®.

Grandmaster Taejoon Lee has proven himself to be one of the world’s finest martial artists, in a style that spans an unusually broad skill-set of striking, joint locking, throwing, grappling, submissions and training in 108 different 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.

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 (World’s 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.

Aside from physical ability, over the 30 years of teaching Hwa Rang Do®, Grandmaster Lee has selflessly given his life to his students, with the goal of self-betterment.  Personal development and spiritual growth is a central focus of training in Hwa Rang Do® and his mentorship has been directly responsible for the extraordinary success of many of his students, which include leaders in corporate America, entrepreneurs, actors, singers, medical and legal professionals, to touch on a few.

In an industry focused on the spectacle of mixed martial arts, the unusual focus on personal development and  important life skills stands out as a powerful testament to the mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as the physical, benefits of martial arts training.

We have no doubt that if Grandmaster Lee had chosen a different profession, he would be a multi-Billionaire conquering the business world because of his unmatched drive, skill and wisdom. Hwa Rang Do, the martial arts world and his students are blessed, more than they realize, to have him.

Marking the 100th Black Sash Test & 50 Year Anniversary...

For this reasons stated above, Grandmaster Lee's students and instructors at the West Coast Hwa Rang Do Academy took it upon themselves to honor Master Lee by completely organizing and funding his 8th Dan ceremony, banquet and celebration.

If this had been up to Grandmaster Lee, this special day would come and pass with not much more than a small private dinner and ceremony. In fact, last year Dojoonim had offered then Chief Master Lee the opportunity to test for his 8th Dan. He respectfully declined the opportunity to test, because he didn't deem it appropriate this early in his life.

Grandmaster Lee had been 7th Dan for the past 13 years and this is only his 3rd Dan promotion in the past 27 years. However, this year marks the 100th Black Sash test and next year marks the 50 year anniversary of Hwa Rang Do® existing, as a modern martial art. To honor this milestone, Grandmaster Lee humbly accepted this historic promotion Dojoonim awarded to his son and heir to the Hwa Rang Do legacy.

Read about Grandmaster Taejoon Lee's 8th Dan ceremony and celebration including exclusive pictures and the surprise gift Grandmaster presented to his father, Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee.

More Comments from Industry Leaders & Students:

"Carrying on the traditions and teachings of those that have come before you is not an easy task. It requires an individual of a humble heart, unyielding dedication and a person who has great respect for his artform. The world is proud to have an individual like yourself, one that continues to make the art available to another generation and for generations to come. On behalf of the Martial Arts History Museum, I wish to congratulate Grandmaster Taejoon Lee for his extraordinary accomplishment and monumental task of 8th Dan."
                                                                                               -- Sifu Michael Matsuda,
                                                                           
President of the Martial Arts History Museum


"Master Lee, congratulations on your rank --and what a great thing that your father is still here, still vital, and taking care of you! I first saw your father when I was 12? 1972 or thereabouts --he was in Salt Lake City and did a performance with swords and board and rice paper (and more). I can't tell you how many people (brother/sister) I nearly killed playing with knives after I saw that. All seriousness aside, what a thing! This aging thing! You and your family are an integral part of the village of senior martial arts people in the world. Let's blow the world's mind in 2010 and do "stuff" that shows what we're really capable of."
                                                                                               -- Tom Callos

                                                                                                    6th Dan Black Belt
                                                                                                    Creator of the Ultimate Black Belt Test


"I have had the opportunity to see Taejoon Lee demonstrate Hwa Rang Do® and was thoroughly impressed by his range of technique, excellence of form and his centered and calm demeanor. Congratulations on his promotion to this exalted rank at such a young age. His talent, dedication and high level of discipline are obviously what qualified him for this promotion. I have had the opportunity to travel the world and train with many of the worlds greatest contemporary martial artists. I have witnessed countless expert demonstrations, and yet have rarely seen anyone demonstrate their art as impressively as Taejoon Lee."
                                                                                               -- Robert H. Mason
                                                                          
Chief Instructor MuDoKai Martial Arts
                                                                                                  President American Mugendo Association


"Mis más sinceras felicitaciones para Chief Master Taejoon Lee, es un gran logro. .......en verdad que emoción recibir esta noticia, no saben como me encantaría estar presente ese día, si tuviera los medios lo haría es algo extraordinario...... FELICITACIONES para él."

[Translated] "My sincere congratulations for Chief Master Taejoon Lee. It's a great achievement. Truthfully, I'm overwhelmed with emotion hearing this news. You don't know how much I would love to be present for that day, if I had the means to, for it is something extraordinary. Please send my most sincere congratulations to him"
                                                                                               -- Carolina Munoz


"Dear Sir, On behalf of the British Wadokai Karate-do Federation, please convey my best respects and heartiest congratulations to Master Taejoon Lee for the fine achievement of his recent promotion to 8th Dan Grand Master. Best regards, respects & wishes." "
                                                                               -- Gary E Swift, 7th Dan Kyoshi, Chief Instructor


"I simply respect everything that Supreme Grandmaster Dr. Joo Bang Lee has accomplished and I even more so give my respect to his son for accomplishing the incredible journey that he has traveled... I wish nothing but the best for the future of Grandmaster Tae Joon Lee for he is a true Flowering Warrior!"
                                                                                               -- Chief Master Robert J. Ott


"I wish to offer my congratulations on your upcoming promotion, sir. Your dedication is quite inspiring! It would be pretty easy to echo the thoughts of my fellow students. Every testimonial (regarding your skill and dedication) I have read recently has been right on the money, sir. I have been quite fortunate to study with many great teachers. In addition to providing thorough and detailed instruction of the curriculum, your particular influence on me has been quite special. When discussing certain issues with my university students (practice habits, life balance, the nature of learning, etc.), I find myself recalling many of your lessons. Truly your mastery of the skill set is amazing. However, I find equally amazing your ability to make lessons/concepts stick. I am also continually impressed with your ability to transform lives through Hwa Rang Do. Thank you, sir, for your continued passion and enthusiasm."
                                 - Matt Pivec, Hwa Rang Do Black Sash


"Congratulations to Master Lee for his outstanding achievement.  My style Chua Fa Ssu Ren’ Martial Arts has curriculum through 6th Degree.  I understand how difficult it is to achieve such a ranking."
                                 - Master Gean Christiansen


"My sincere congratulations to one who is doing what he should be doing and being rewarded for it. May God bless you and keep you humble"
                                           - George Petrotta


"GrandMaster Lee, Fantastic news regarding your successful completion of the 8th Degree promotion test!!! Looking forward to seeing you next month to celebrate--Hwarang!!!"
                                - Col. Richard J. Downie, Ph.D.
                                              Commandant of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and Hwa Rang Do® Black Sash


"My warmest congratulations to Grandmaster Taejoon Lee."
                                - Mark Liverio, Marshall Combatives, Tampa, Fl.


"Master Lee, congratulations! I can only imagine the dedication and discipline it took for you to accomplish this high honor. I look forward to joining your school and following in your footsteps."
                                 -Benjamin W. Nero II


"Congratulations, to the newest Hwa Rang Do Grandmaster Taejoon Lee!!! With love & respect from the entire Cheng family!"
                                 -Sifu Mark Cheng, Editor for Black Belt Magazine


"Congratulations Grandmaster Lee on your promotion. It is well deserved. The road was long and touch, but knowing your spirit, I knew you would make that journey. I know your father is very proud of what you have accomplished and his legacy will live on through you. Give my best to him and the rest of the family."
                                 - Jimm McMurray


"Good morning, Grandmaster Lee! I can only image that this past week have been an incredible moment in your life.  We are in awe with your achievement of 8th Dan and the accomplishments of a lifetime.  We wish the winds bring the best of the world for you henceforth. With much affection.  Hwarang, Sir!"
                                 - Chy-Anh, Luis, and Ba Thanh


"Congratulations master lee. You are an inspiration to us all!"
                                 - Troy Stage


"My son is 9 years old and he's always wanted do get involved in Martial Arts. It's all he's been talking about for years. I showed him your 7th Dan video and some of your other videos on Youtube. He was sooo excited. He asked if you could teach him and I had to explain to him that you live in LA. :) He needs discipline. I need to get him involved while he's still young. Congratulations!"
                                 -Bilquis Sulaiman


"Congratulations Grandmaster! What an honor for you, and an honor for those of us who know you. You are an inspiration to so many, and a good man!! Hwarang!!"
                                 - Kristen Wege


"Hwarang Sir, We would like to congratulateyou for the magnificent result you have achieved for the Hwa Rang Do's 8th Dan exam. We are very proud to have a Master like You Sir......an example for all of us. We can't wait to see you in June during Pisa's eropean seminars and championships. HWARANG FOREVER!"
                                 - Giuseppe and Natascia from Italy