IM JEON MU TWAE
Courage to Never Retreat in the Face of the Enemy
Now more than ever we need to reflect, understand, and exercise our Fourth Code. Our ancient leaders, king, and sage were all wise to establish a warrior code which can stand as a foundation for the cultivation and development of perfect warriors. Before any physical training, formation of troops, devising of battle plans, the Hwarang O Kae was written and laid down by a Sage Won Kwang Bopsa. He wrote down five simple, eloquent, yet powerful codes to follow for the perfection of a person desiring to serve and protect the king, the people, and the land by exemplifying what is good, honorable, and noble, the highest value being one of self-sacrifice.
Of course, on the battlefield the enemy is clear and not to retreat in the face of such threat is necessary in order to be victorious. However, it is even more relevant today as a modern Hwarang who is not a soldier fighting rival tribes wanting of bloodshed, but a civilian living in relatively peaceful communities of developed nations dealing with the daily rigors of life. The enemies are unseen, not apparent or obvious, but hidden and subversive. When you know who and what is the enemy, you know how to guard, protect yourself, and what to defend against, but when you neither recognize nor see the enemy, you are unguarded and vulnerable for attack. When you are aware that there is a threat, then you are more alert and sleep with one-eye open, but it is when you think you are safe, living in comfort, that you leave yourself open for attack.
As a Hwarang, we train daily for a fight that might never come and if we can avoid any violent physical altercations during our entire lifetime, then we have lived well. It is not so that we can fight that we train, but to always improve and better the gift of human life, honoring God. As it is for the idea of perfection – that it is impossible to be perfect as all human are flawed and with sin, but we must pursue it always as it is the striving for perfection which is noble and is the Hwarang’s Path. Then, we must always be alert, never complacent; always strive for betterment, never settle; always be vigilant, never negligent; always be sharp, never dull! If you are serious, then this is what it means to be a Hwarang; if you’re not a weekend warrior and Hwa Rang Do is not a hobby, but a way of life and if you say it is, then you must live it daily.
As it is written:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.
It has always been and will always be that the way of evil is our enemy who uses fear to control and destroy our lives and it is as a Hwarang that we must exemplify the way of courage, strength, and honor against all opposing forces. Whether you are convicted with the Truth or living in uncertainty, the one thing as a Hwarang that you must understand, and practice is the overcoming of fear, hardships, and suffering. It is never our way to run, hide, or surrender to the enemy.
Before one can choose the right course of action, one must first have a clear mind and you can’t have a clear mind when you are under duress by fear. You become a prisoner, a powerless slave to an overpowering master unable to think, frozen with fright, stricken with panic to survive, the walls close in and darkness befalls, with no hope or light, life is no more, we all become prisoners behind self-imposed bars, staring out our windows counting the days chalking on our cement walls.
Hence, more than ever we must love one another; more than ever we must be courageous to stand with and for our brothers, sisters, and neighbors against divisions caused by hatred and self-centeredness from the tyranny of mob rule orchestrated by dark forces fueling the evils of ignorance, fear, victimhood, and self-righteousness. But rather, we must bring together and unify by exemplifying wisdom, empowerment, compassion, selflessness, and forgiveness. This is the Hwarang Way!
We will never surrender to fear and the ways of evil. We must march onward not because we are sure of victory, but because we are courageous to face our death.
The strength of humanity and of the Hwarang is our ability to adapt. In this new digital information age, we have developed and implemented many plans to maximize the technologies and resources available to continue, sustain, and thrive in the new global world.
Dojoonim and your Leaders of Hwa Rang Do are committed to face the challenges of the darkness of this world and we pray that God will grant us the wisdom, strength, and courage to prevail!
Hwarang Forever and God Bless,
Grandmaster Taejooon Lee
President / WHRDA