Posts Tagged ‘Lee Dong Hee’

I Was Able To Train With And Spar Lee Dong Hee

        This month I was able to train with Lee Dong Hee and spar him. If you do not know he is sort of a Taekwondo YouTube celebrity in his own right. He always uploads interesting videos showing a serious combative nature of martial arts. He is a 5th dan black belt and a former Korean Tiger demo team member. So his days of Taekwon-dancing with sexy Taekwondo girls is far behind him and now his goal is real self defense and combat.

        Here are some videos of our day training. The first video is showing an immovable stance to develop proper tensing of muscles, and proper relaxing of muscles in order to keep your center balanced and learn to use your leg and arms for more powerful strikes.

The second video are clips from our sparring session. I had a great time and Master Lee is a great fighter! He is the type of Taekwondo master to enjoy training with. He has a very down to earth attitude and is easy going. You can simply talk to him and enjoy your time.

Of course we did not to no contact and were play fighting. It was just to go through motions and have fun and work on stuff. This is good training to keep you healthy.

Interview With Master Dong-Hee Lee

 

        When you see a Taekwondo master from Korea demonstrating Taekwondo techniques from poomsae in plausible self defense maneuvers it really motivates the Taekwondo fighter in me. It pumps me up and inspires me to keep developing combat techniques and believing in Taekwondo. Master Dong-Hee Lee is such a master and I found his videos on YouTube recently. I do not believe his channel has many views and he seems to be rarely known. I want to change this and introduce him to my readers so more and more people will see his execution of techniques and fighting concepts and believe that Taekwondo is a fighting art, not simply a sport or performance art. His channel deserves a lot of views so please make sure to check it out and subscribe to his channel.

 


Dong Hee Lee self defense concepts

        I was able to interview master Lee over e-mail. He is a very approachable person and responds to messages and was excited to do this interview. Translation was difficult since I do not speak Korean and he does not speak English fluently yet, but we managed to make it work. I hope you all enjoy it and learn more about this interesting man.

 

Interview:

 

WHITE DRAGON: What’s your name? Where and when were you born? Please introduce yourself.

 

MASTER LEE: Nice to meet you, my name is Dong-hee Lee. I was born in South Korea in 1988. 

 

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get involved in martial arts and how old were you? What made you want to start training? Please list your training history and be as specific as possible. Who were your instructors in the past? Any notable characters?

 

MASTER LEE: I started Taekwondo when I was 5 years old. At that time almost every kid had to go to Taekwondo, even now. I was one of those kids, but unlike the ones who do it because they “have to,” in my case, I started training because I always had envied strength and martial arts. Even now I continue my Taekwondo training and have graduated from Kyunghee University as a Taekwondo major. In other words, I have been training for 23 years in total.
For Taekwondo, I had been taught by a world championship gold medalist teacher (sabum), under his guidance as a sparring athlete for 8 years. Also, I was a poomsae athlete and demonstration performer on the Korean Tigers demo team. 
In between, I’ve also learned Judo and Karate for a bit. After I’ve grown to be an adult I have been trained as an MMA athlete under the guidance of the best Korean Muay Thai athlete, and worldwide Muay Thai fighter Chi-Bin Im. 
Also, I’ve practiced Korea’s traditional martial art (mudo) which is called Hyeondongmu. It is a martial art that incorporates the use of ki.
Not long ago, I had also achieved the instructor certificate for Systema, which is a Russian bodyguard martial art, and Krav Maga as well, which is an Israeli bodyguard martial art. 
The person who taught me Systema in Korea was D.K Yoo (Dae-Kyeong Yoo). he had not only covered Systema but also Boxing. All sorts of Chinese martial arts and weapon martial arts which he had also taught me. 
 
WHITE DRAGON: What are your ranks, certifications or titles in martial arts? Do you have tournament titles?
 
MASTER LEE: When I was a poomsae athlete I had won a lot of gold medals. In 2006 I was nominated by the Korea Taekwondo Association as rank no.1 of poomsae out of all elementary, middle school, high school students, and adult players. 
Before in 2004 I won 1st place in the Korea Open World Poomsae Championship. 
In Taekwondo I am ranked 5th dan under the Kukkiwon and as for Systema and Krav Maga, I have obtained instructor qualifications for both. I also have Kickboxing certification of Muay Thai/K-1 Instructor from WAKO Korea. 
During my time as a martial art athlete, my record for Muay Thai was 3 victory, 1 draw with 2 KO’s out of 4 matches. 

Taekwondo victory after Muay Thai fight.

 

WHITE DRAGON: How long have you owned your school in Korea? Is it your first dojang that you have operated? Where are you located exactly? What classes do you offer?

 

MASTER LEE: I’ve entered Kyung Hee University located in South Korea in 2007 as a Taekwondo major and have graduated this year. The very first Taekwondo major that has been created.
I had made a club on actual combat and had been instructing for a few years and also let my club mates take part in games.
I currently don’t own my own dojang but I’m planning to next year.
If I get to own my dojang I would like to teach mainly adults on actual Taekwondo that can compete against any other martial arts. 

Kickboxing practice

WHITE DRAGON: Have you ever had to use Taekwondo in a real life fight or self defense situation? Have you ever been given a challenge by someone who wanted to fight you? If so how did you deal with it?

 

MASTER LEE: When I was living in South America a few years ago I ran into two black robbers. I chased them away by kicking them in the private spot. But if they had weapons it would have been hard. Luckily for me they didn’t. 
I myself am not of the personality who likes random fighting, so whenever someone tries to provoke me I usually apologize first to avoid a fight. Most situations there is almost no chance for me to get into a fight. People in Korea say that maybe it’s because I have quite a huge physique and my fierce looks. 
When I was a martial art athlete I had a lot of fights myself and most of the time Taekwondo had been a great help. Recently, I had trained a few martial art athletes and had sent them to participate in matches.

WHITE DRAGON: Why were you living in South America?

MASTER LEE: I was in Ecuador doing volunteer work for 2 years. I was teaching Taekwondo to the people there. 
 
WHITE DRAGON: Is taekwondo a dangerous system used for killing?

 

MASTER LEE: All martial arts contain the system for killing and giving great injuries to opponents. It is just as well with Taekwondo. Most people (including taekwondoin) don’t really know it, but deadly skills do exist in Taekwondo. However the purpose for all martial arts are not specifically for killing people, but defending yourself.

 

WHITE DRAGON: What was the Taekwondo scene like in Korea when you were growing up? How is training different today in most dojangs compared to then?

 

MASTER LEE: I feel that children in the recent era are really blessed. They can learn whatever they want. It was different for me when I was a kid. At that time even the internet wasn’t as well developed as it is right now. Nowadays, kids have to learn everything that they can learn. The current dojang of Korea have become more focused on physical education and recreation for kids, but I believe the trend will change to martial arts dojang for adults.
Back in the day most of the dojangs had armed us with strong training and discipline for our body and heart. But nowadays most dojangs don’t train students as it was before.

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the modern state of Taekwondo? Many feel that Taekwondo has lost much of its combative nature these days. Is it true?

MASTER LEE: I think that Taekwondo has lost a lot of its combative nature. To be exact, a lot of its nature has been latent. On the other hand, Taekwondo sparring has been developed a lot and by itself it is very combative and a very effective combat style. However, Taekwondo contains more techniques that need the application of the whole body.
If such skills become revived I believe Taekwondo will be a stronger martial art.

Dong Hee Lee

 
WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion of the ‘taekwondo-dance trend’? The Korean Tigers really promote it and have made it popular all over the world. I would like to know your thoughts on that?

 

MASTER LEE: Adding in dance or other elements to Taekwondo can be said to be as entertainment. It is another trend to the Korean culture itself. I think the Korean Tigers had done a great job in promoting and making Taekwondo famous around the world. It is a bit sad that the actual combat style of Taekwondo couldn’t be introduced, but it is the truth that they have contributed to making the name Taekwondo as well-known as it is now. But for people who don’t really know, they may carry doubt or misunderstandings towards the sport and style itself.
Such traditional taekwondoin must put forth an effort to display this. Tony Jaa is a Thailand action movie star who was cast in the movie “The Protector” and other Muay Thai movies. He has added acrobatic moves to the martial art for movie fight scenes. Even so, nobody will say that Muay Thai is weak in actual combat. This is because Muay Thai has already been recognized for its veracity in many MMA matches. 
As for Taekwondo, its veracity hasn’t been recognized much foreignly, so by the adding of acrobatics, dance moves, and entertainment elements, such as how the Korean Tiger’s display Taekwondo, it easily produces misunderstandings of the martial art. Therefore, I think of it as a cultural aspect of Korea and we have to keep the idea of “taekwondo-dance” in such a light for what it is, but at the same time we have to focus more on the traditional values and martial art (mudo) side of Taekwondo itself.

Practicing for a demo

WHITE DRAGON: What was it like touring with the Korean Tigers? What kinds of performances did you do? How is their martial arts philosophy as a whole compared to you individually? 

MASTER LEE: I was a Korean Tiger member for 4 years. I never did Taekwondo dancing. I focused mainly on kicking such as kyuk pa and poomsae techniques. Their philosophy is just about performance art and not actual martial arts. For me, my philosophy is about martial arts and not the same as theirs. During my time with the K-Tigers I was able to visit several countries such as China, India, Qatar just to name a few. It was a fun experience but I decided I really want true martial arts and to further Taekwondo as a martial art which is different from their focus on performance art. 

WHITE DRAGON: What is your opinion on the International Taekwon-Do Federation?

 

MASTER LEE: I think the International Taekwon-Do Federation itself is a magnificent fraction of Taekwondo. Especially, the fundamentals of ‘sign wave’ is special and remarkable. 

K-Tiger’s promotional photo

WHITE DRAGON: It is said that martial arts change people’s lives. In what was has martial arts training influenced your life? What can it do for other people?

 

MASTER LEE: By strengthening your body and mind it can bring help to one’s livelihood. It gives you confidence and can let you protect yourself and the people around you. Also, it deepens the understanding of other’s pain, since pain accompanies through the process of training in a martial art. Anyhow, I believe through training it secretly influences others and gives out good influence. 

 

WHITE DRAGON: Who are some Taekwondo masters that inspire you? Also, do you have heroes in other styles of martial arts as well?

 

MASTER LEE: I respect all of my teachers who have taught me since I was inspired by all of them. They have taught me different martial arts throughout my life.

 

WHITE DRAGON: What does it take to become an instructor? What qualifications would you suggest? Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own gyms and become full time Taekwondo teachers?

 

MASTER LEE: At first the person must have good skills. There must always be something to teach. They must also have leadership skills in order to forward the things that one wants to teach. Not just that but during the process in transmitting skills the teacher must have a personality that other people can respect. However, I currently don’t operate any dojang so it is hard for me to give any tips to other masters.

 

WHITE DRAGON: How did you get the idea to join YouTube and begin uploading videos? Do you have any specific future plans with YouTube or video production?

 

MASTER LEE: The idea of making filming a video just popped up one day so I uploaded it onto YouTube. I’m planning to keep uploading videos of my skill system of techniques and poomsae interpretations and application, etc. 
In Korea I have already uploaded through blogs and stuff, especially the response on Facebook was really good. 

 

WHITE DRAGON: How important is poomsae practice to you and your philosophy? 

 

MASTER LEE: Poomsae was a gift that was given to me. Through poomsae competitions I could ultimately increase my ego in Korea and throughout the world. However as an aspect of my philosophy it wasn’t important. It only was a great help for training to master techniques and control the body and mind.

 

A focused Lee preparing before a poomsae event back in his high school days.

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you enjoy Olympic Taekwondo sparring?
 
MASTER LEE: After my 8 years as a Taekwondo athlete I don’t especially enjoy it any more. 

Tying a student’s glove for kickboxing training

 

WHITE DRAGON: Do you have any final shout outs, statements, or feelings to express? If so feel free to mention them!
 
MASTER LEE: Thank you for such an opportunity to give me the chance to have such an interview. I’m really grateful for your interest in me.  

*For more information on Master Dong Hee Lee you can visit his YouTube channel:
Be sure to subscribe!
And his Facebook page:

A Korean Actually Showing Good Self Defense Applications Of Movements

        Just when I lost hope that South Koreans would promote Taekwondo as a fighting art and thought, possibly, that Koreans simply think Taekwondo is a form of hip hop dancing and ballet I find a couple of really cool videos. Apparently, this guy’s name is Lee Dong Hee and he is showing some great body mechanics on both himself and his attacker. It reminds me of how Kung Fu masters show the intricacies of joint movements and body postures that enable them to attack certain areas and take a man down. He is using movements from poomsae and I find this very encouraging. We need more and more guys like this to bring the roots of Taekwondo back. It is refreshing these are not simply “how to score points for Olympic Taekwondo sparring” videos.

This is the kind of sabum that I would want.