Are the Sulsa Dark Knights of Hwarangdo real?

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by Obake, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    Greetings Mappers, :)

    I'm trying to gather information about ninja'esque martial arts and historical figures for a pretty cool comic book. I did some research and stumbled upon an article which mentioned a Korean martial art called Am Ja, and I was wondering how it relates to the Lin Kuei art of An Chi, and also how it relates to Ninjutsu. The article also mentioned the Sulsa, or dark knights. Is this a real thing?
  2. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no solid evidence to support the existence of the Sulsa. The only 'reliable' source of information is Joo Bang Lee et al, the founders of the modern-day style called Hwarang-do. There is an important consideration here: Koreans are a very proud people who suffered an identity crisis during and (especially) after the Japanese occupation, which means they have a tendency to re-name foreign cultural assets in an attempt to pass them off as being Korean inventions, sometimes with slight alterations (example: ITF Taekwondo and Shotokan Karate). They outright make up a lot of stuff for the same reason. The veracity of statements made by Hwarang-do practitioners in relation to the Sulsa should come under particular scrutiny, as their martial art is probably not even remotely similar to the one that existed during the Three Kingdoms Period (due to the ban on practising native martial arts during the occupation).
  3. kuntaoer

    kuntaoer Valued Member

    You can look into the history of Michael Echanis who was a US military practitioner of Hwarangdo. He was allegedly taught the sulsa aspects of hwarangdo by Joo Bang Lee back in the 70s before he got out of the military and started freelancing.. He was instrumental in the adoptation of Hwarangdo concepts into the us military combatives practice of the time.. Echanis was killed in 1979 while working with the Nicaraguan Strongman Somoza when the aircraft that was being used to leave the country was blown out of the sky with a loss of life of Echanis and a few others of his merry band of anti communist fighters
  4. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    Thank you so much, Van Zandt and Kuntaoer, for that useful information. :)
  5. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I have yet to see any credible evidence of a codified Korean martial art with origins before the Japanese occupation that continues through it.

    The folk wrestling of ssireum may be an exception, but frankly I don't trust any other claims. I am always happy to learn however :)

  6. Obake

    Obake Valued Member

    I'm interested in learning too. :)

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