“Empowering Our World, One Child At A Time!”
Insightful Education, Martial Art Training, and Leadership Development.
In 2011 the World Hwa Rang Do Association (WHRDA) made the full transition to a humanitarian service organization bringing our original Hwa Rang Do vision to congruent terms with financial operating methods. Hwa Rang Do differentiates itself from other martial arts by developing leaders with a strong sense of social justice. “We want our members to live in a way that their actions meet their intentions. Too many people live a life with good intentions, but don’t have the discipline to take action to see things through,” says Grandmaster Taejoon Lee, President of the WHRDA.
We have never been simple “Karate Schools” that focus on sports and commercial endeavors, however, there are significant organizational steps needed so that our mission on the mats can be implemented in today’s world. Now that the WHRDA is a 501c3 non-profit organization there are significant steps underway to evolve the presence of Hwa Rang Do in order to grow greater impact within our students and local communities.
Specifically, right here in the Twin Cities, Chief Instructor Dylan Sirny has been very committed to inspiring the youth of our community through martial art training. His primary passion and reason for teaching is to help youth develop strength, confidence, and character. Countless kids have taken these essential lessons with them as they mature and head off into the world with tremendous success, and now the Hwa Rang Do Minneapolis Academy is heading-up the development of a program that will be implemented on a global scale.
TLK: Tomorrow’s Leading Knights is the branch of the WHRDA that will be focused on the youth of our future. We have already been testing, researching, and implementing a number of components of the program, and now we are moving to take TLK to the next level of operations.
NEEDS OF THE TIMES:
There are a number of concerning aspects of the current times and society we live in. Besides the inadequacies of existing solutions there are many cultural & parenting changes which have neglected the potential of today’s youth. We consider the following as essential problems that TLK can address:
- Poor student academic capabilities
- Drop out rates, learning gaps
- Rise of ADHD, “learning disabilities,” and ongoing medication epidemic of youth to control behavior
- Lack of human capital and functional skills
- Extreme deterioration of health and obesity epidemic.
So, with this state of the current status quo and the fact that all 5 of these current epidemics are increasing in strength and virulence, it is time for us and our society to start looking for additional paradigms to solve these problems.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking
we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
TLK sees a lot of value in this quote, and begs the question, “If you started from scratch – a completely clean slate without any preconceived notions – what would your education and youth development model look like?” This perspective is extremely serious. As individuals and society we should always be comfortable asking these kinds of questions and then justifying our solutions starting with clear principles and evaluating their status with empirical evidence (real results). Otherwise, we will continue to run the merry-go-round of ourselves and society into the sand with our children and grandchildren paying a heavier price as time goes on.
The model that we envision is based on the following 3 assumptions:
- All of humanity is born as free & sovereign individuals
- All people have tremendous and unique potential
- Education should create useful skills to bring one’s potential to fruition
With these basic assumptions, we see the task of youth education as a process of developing core skills and capabilities needed for a fruitful independent adult life. While this sounds like a reasonable goal of most all parents and teachers, the primacy of this framework is lost on today’s status quo. Because education is beholden to so many special interests and structures these days, the process itself has taken primacy and now the kids are neglected with the poor results of the times. If society “REALLY” focused on the kids and “put them first,” can anyone honestly say we would have the results we have today?
Our plan is to first re-commit to the children individually, also to their specific needs, and then work enthusiastically in fulfilling them! Secondly, we plan to implement a complete and dynamic curriculum that will develop the health, capabilities, and leadership qualities of the kids so that future success will be guaranteed!
The present has some significant challenges, the future has great possibilities, however, there are some essential lessons in our past that uniquely position Hwa Rang Do, and TLK in particular to lead the charge and establish an effective framework.
For those of you who aren’t familiar, Hwa Rang Do originated some 1800 years ago in Korea. There was a small kingdom named Shilla that developed a strong and thorough educational model for the noble youth – the Hwarang. This youth corps studied all aspects of life (science, philosophy, math, music, arts, as well as a vast array of martial & healing techniques). Eventually they became so influential that they led their kingdom to a thriving society, and eventually was the driving force in unifying the Korean peninsula for the first time in history.
Even though Korean civilization has changed in many ways and many times since the ancient period, this Hwarang tradition has been handed down through history in a direct lineage. While it almost disappeared and no longer influenced society the past few hundred years, Dr. Joo Bang Lee (student of 57th generation Hwarang, Suham Dosa) had the vision to revive Hwa Rang Do as a public institution once again starting in 1960. Since that time, Hwa Rang Do has spread across the globe through martial art schools and clubs, with countless students gaining lasting benefits from the unique training methods. As the WHRDA (Hwa Rang Do’s governing body) continues to evolve and reach out further, the need to fit the right opportunities with the right methodology is driving factor for us, however, the pillars of our approach are the same as they were in ancient times.
Coming back to what is the best approach to educate and inspire participants to develop exceptional capabilities in order to best maximize one’s unique human potential, our pillars are:
- Mental – Enhanced development of focus, concentration, and determined intention lead all humans to greater heights.
- Physical – We are physical beings, being fit & healthy is essential to vibrant living.
- Emotional – Being emotionally balanced and confident in oneself is a natural byproduct of strength & success. Training, life experience, and reflection is required for growth.
- Mental – Development of a thorough & expanding knowledge base combined with critical thinking capabilities create tremendous results.
- Physical – Training for health and martial skill, trains the expression of intention into action & external realizations no matter the outlet.
- Emotional – Character that has a base of integrity & virtue, can lead anywhere despite circumstance and environment.
- Vision for Justice – Hold tight to ethical morality in all human interactions.
- Development of Human Capital – Continuing on the path of skill & capability development the individual finds amazing personal results that in turn enhance the community and other enterprises.
- Creative Productivity – One’s potential is unique and only truly known by one’s own conscience, however working for its fulfillment in productive achievement is the calling for everyone.
The overall health of each of these pillars within any one individual obviously has a great degree of variance, possibilities, and outcomes. Please take a moment to think of a nutritious diet. One does not eat only one type of food for a week, and then rotate to another type of food (for instance one week vegetables, one week meat, one week carbs, etc). Taking this further, even if you did mix up a nice diet between food groups; taste and preference and health require diversity between the food groups so we are not eating broccoli, pasta, and apples alone every day for a month. Keeping an ongoing balance between a diverse set of quality food sources and types create our definition of a “nutritious diet.” This is the same with our vision of educational approaches here in the Hwa Rang Do world.
We intend to be vigilant in our diversity, yet also committed to our principles. Our approach will also vary depending on the situation as there are many possibilities for implementing the overall TLK framework for the varying site locations as well as with the individuals who participate. Our existing & potential venues are:
- Programming for Existing HRD Academies and Clubs
- Afterschool Programs at traditional schools & community centers
- Summer Camp Programs
- Community Center Clubs
- Youth “At-risk” Programs
- Half-way House & Juvenal Delinquent Transformation Programs
- Fulltime Academic Charter School
There will be some developmental phases toward getting to all of the possible sites and applications of TLK as we currently only have the first four active from the above list. Along with getting the programs going, there are a number of organizational and funding steps needed to achieve quality operating programs as well. While we will be connecting to each student individually, there is also a great deal of skill needed from the staff to both educate and inspire growth so staff training and operations are also a critical component of our current needs.
FUNDING NEEDS & DEVELOPMENT PLAN:
We obviously have some BIG goals, however “the cause” is the most precious and important we can imagine. Much work has already been done to set the stage for enhanced implementation of TLK, and we have been operating and growing for a handful of years already! Another important update is that we are now an officially approved 501(c)3 tax exempt organization as well! Clearly, very exciting times and opportunities to make an impact in the world with this reorganization!
We also have a 3 Phase Plan to get to our full operational capacity as an international organization with multiple site locations of the above listed categories. Each step along the way will help enhance our own capacities, and then further implementation will follow. We are making good progress through our Phase 1, however, are currently being limited by funding and other resources. Once we can gather some additional strength, then we will be able to step-up to the next level!
Phase 1 Includes:
- Further develop operational standards: Define policies & procedures of all daily operations
- Further document curriculum library: Training, leadership, & activities.
- Develop funding streams & pipelines to support site operations and organizational development.
- Continued testing and evaluations of source afterschool & camp programs: Review status/effectiveness of Minneapolis location
- Add additional staff, training, and support
- Develop technological & personnel methodology for managing multiple sites: Build a foundation to recreate Minneapolis standards on broad scale and review quality control of such sites through licensing and oversight.
- BIG PROJECT #1 – Build Software with CherpOnline to manage and track program & leadership impact as well as provide outstanding portal for student/family HRD education.
- BIG PROJECT #2 – Purchase Site Building to save on much needed expenses and invest in long term future growth.
Phase 2 Includes:
- Expand to additional site locations and specific community membership needs.
- Integrate with WHRDA Instructor Training Programs to educate and inspire staff to fill additional site needs.
- Add Community Center Clubs, Add “At-Risk” Sites, Start Half-way house for juveniles as a productive bridging alternative.
- Enhance funding steams and develop partnerships with other strategically aligned organizations.
Phase 3 Includes:
- Continued development and evaluations of all existing programs to date – ensure quality of all Phase 1 to 2 developments
- Develop a true Hwa Rang Do Academy as a fulltime Charter/Private School
a. Operation assessments & needs
b. Funding pathways and revenue sources
c. Operational licensing
d. Operational Staffing
e. Operational Curriculum
f. Site Construction & facility development
g. Open Academy!
h. Expand locations
HOW YOU CAN HELP!
Getting involved in supporting TLK is super easy! We understand that a lot is going on in your world everyday, so there are a number of ways you can get engaged in our essential mission. There is an old saying from the east, “1 Chopstick is easily broken, however 100 chopsticks bundled together will not break!” This is why we value each and every contribution whether it be time, energy, or finances and will always appreciate the efforts of those who get engaged. Please reach out where it matters to you, and we will be happy to facilitate involvement.
- Financial Support (tax-deductible):
Obviously there are some significant funding needs to get TLK where it needs to be for the significant impact we want to have. Especially in relation to government subsidized youth programs, being competitive in terms of tuition, providing an operation like we have, and growing for our significant future needs is nearly impossible without additional funding partnerships. The key areas of our financial needs are related to the following areas:
a. BIG Project #1 Software Development
b. BIG Project # 2 Purchase Site Building
c. Local Site Operations
d. Additional Staffing
e. Scholarships based on need & merit
- Time & Energy:
This year we have connected with a small group of parents who have had interest in supporting the dojang. This is the beginning of our “parent association” here at the school which includes families involved in TLK as well as our regular traditional martial art classes. This group is going to engage in some fundraising initiatives as well community outreach to promote our efforts & school. There are also some folks who have connections with the corporate world and are going to help track down grants and more significant donations. Let’s help take advantage of charitable write-offs! Individuals & businesses alike ?The Parent Corps is also going to help with organizing and participating in our special events, so that the energy of the staff can be focused on the kids. Please stay tuned for future announcements about how to participate or just connect with our staff if you have some ideas and suggestions that you think can help. We obviously have a great community of people already connected through our school and we are sure there are ideas & resources that we can’t even imagine!
- Spread the Word:
Face-to-face, social media, at work, with friends, with family, wherever you go please don’t hesitate to share your experience and personal growth that takes place at the dojang everyday. Real life testimonials create unfathomable sparks, and the ripples that you spread make a huge impact of support in what we are trying to accomplish.
Or Mail in a Check To:
Tomorrow’s Leading Knights
5415 1/2 Nicollet Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55419
*We will send you a receipt with tax-deductible information upon processing.
**Please make checks out to “Tomorrow’s Leading Knights” – Thank You!!!