A typical class begins with a few minutes in concentration position to calm students and prepare them to focus on training. Students sit in lotus position with their backs straight and eyes closed. Their hands come together in a circle at their Dan Jun, which is the center of the energy field in Eastern thought. The Dan Jun is two inches above the belly button. Students concentrate on breathing in slowly for five counts and out slowly for five counts.
Next, the warmup gets students loosened up and ready for training. Warmup is important for injury prevention and consists of some cardiovascular work; strengthening muscles through abdominal work, pushups, and similar isotonic exercises; and both dynamic and static stretching.
Most of the class will use some parts of the Korean language. For warm-ups especially, we count in Korean. It's useful to know at least to ten:
1: Hana, 2: Tul, 3: Set, 4: Net, 5: Tasot, 6: Yosot, 7: Ilgop, 8: Yodolp, 9: Ahop, 10: Yol
Don't sweat it for your first class! You'll catch on.
The main part of the class is used learning and practicing basics, techniques, joint manipulations, long forms, and weapons. Each belt level has a different curriculum, increasing in complexity as the student advances in rank.
In addition to belt material, we also practice application of technique through three main programs. In point sparring, opponents use punches, kicks, and throws to score. When points are scored, the center judge will stop the round and return the opponents to the center of the ring. This program is a kickboxing-style program and is practiced throughout Tae Soo Do. The Hwa Rang Do sparring program builds on the basic kickboxing by adding in more target areas, ground submissions, and continuous combat called Yongtoogi.
Another program is our grappling program called Gotoogi. Beginner students will first practice position grappling to understand how the body moves and are run similar to a wrestling match in which the first to gain points through various positions and transitions wins. For submission grappling, we take the fundamentals of position grappling and build off of it to include throws and takedowns, and submissions through joint manipulations and chokes.
The third program is a weapon fighting program that covers two areas: sword fighting (Gumtoogi) and stick fighting (Bongtoogi). Points are scored by striking in fives areas on the body: the head, the wrist, the throat, the sides of the waists, and the outside of the thighs. Technique is also reinforced, and points are not scored unless proper control and technique is shown.
The final part of class is saying the Hwa Rang Do Meng Sae. This is our code of ethics and is very important to Hwa Rang Do, and it distinguishes Hwa Rang Do from some other martial arts. Respect is very important in Hwa Rang Do, so the Meng Sae is followed by a Korean "thank you" to the instructors or senior students.