In Korean martial arts video footage recently shot at the Black Belt studios, hwa rang do grandmaster Taejoon Lee — co-author of the Korean martial arts book Hwa Rang Do: Defend, Take Down, Submit — demonstrates what’s known as yongtoogi.
According to Fernando Ceballos, the author of the cover story for Black Belt’s August/September 2014 issue, yongtoogi is stand-up and submission fighting. It’s one of 10 categories of competition — including grappling, sword fighting, stick fighting, empty-hand forms, weapon forms and so on — that take place at the Hwa Rang Do World Championships.
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“This is the world’s only decathlon of martial arts,” says Taejoon Lee, eighth-degree black belt and president of the World Hwa Rang Do Association. “Most martial artists spend months training for one fight or at most one tournament. Yet over 40 percent of our competitors will compete in 10 tournaments over the course of the two days, testing not only their skill in each category but also their endurance. Our advanced students compete in one additional tournament — yongtoogi, our submission-fighting category, which is designed to condition fighters to master hwa rang do’s self-defense formula of defend, take down, quick submit.
“My goal is not really to create champion fighters, although that certainly is fun to watch and is an excellent test of skill. My goal is to help my students develop self-defense skills, which could one day save their lives, without the ego-driven culture of full-contact fighting gyms and, most important, while preserving our martial way.”
For more information on hwa rang do grandmaster Taejoon Lee's latest project, be sure to pick up the August/September 2014 issue of Black Belt, available digitally and at newsstands July 29, 2014.