After training under Dr. Lee, he took charge of a Hwa Rang Do school in La Habra, Ca. as the head instructor. Unfortunately, Echanis was far too tough on his students in the La Habra school. He was unable to shed the intensity of a combatant.
For the civilian world, he was far too intense, but for the military he was perfect. Dr. Joo Bang Lee encouraged Echanis to return to the US military and to bring what he had learned from Hwa Rang Do with him.
He became a hand-to-hand combat instructor for the US Special Forces responsible for training Green Berets, Navy Seals and other elite military groups.
While working as a contract employee for the CIA, Echanis began working for the Nicaraguan president, Anastacio Somoza during the 1970"s. He trained the Nicaraguan military and was very close to Somoza.
At some point, his relationship with Somoza soured and it is believed that Somoza was responsible for the assassination of Michael Echanis.
In September of 1978, Michael Echanis was killed while riding in a helicopter in Nicaragua along with his colleague and Hwa Rang Do Black Sash Charles Sanders and other members of the Nicaraguan armed forces. The helicopter was brought down by a bomb, which was placed on board the aircraft.
Before his death, Echanis with the help of Dr. Joo Bang Lee, authored three military hand-to-hand combat books based on Hwa Rang Do. During a time in the 80"s, these books were actually outlawed by the US government and deemed too dangerous for the general public.
Michael Echanis is buried at St. John"s Catholic Cemetery in Ontario, Oregon.