View Full Version : Attn Stranger: Found the Michael D Echanis & HRD posts.

07-23-2001, 05:14 AM
Found the posts on Blade forums you were talking about. Some things fit what I heard, others don't and some parts are new to me.


"This was posted in the Michael D Echanis thread also. Bob Donnelly knows much of the story as well as Bob Dugan. The basic fact is JBL frocked Mike as a Black Belt for the bragging rights and a possible in to the military. The contract with the military was prior to Mike even starting HRD not as the article stated (that is a story in itself) Mike spent little time with Joo Bang Lee. Mike and Chuck were sent to Randy Wanner in La Habra.
Strange that Randy doesn’t appear as a Black Belt on the HRD list when in fact he was JBL’s #1 instructor for a while. Old Black Belt Magazines had Randy Appearing often as the HRD Golden Child.
Why is he off the list? Because he was the first HRD renegade.
What caused this falling out? Money what else. Randy exercised his 14 Amendment rights and freed himself from slavery. The Bang (meant with all the due disrespect). Felt that everyone whom he trained wither they paid cash or in time being the Bangs slave an working for free owed him the rest of their life. I do take a dim view of people who threaten my life and my friend’s lives.
The truth of the matter was this
1. Randy Wanner Taught Mike most of Mikes HWD
2. Mike was a bad ass prior to HWD
3. Funny how Mike was killed in Sept. 1978 and promoted in Nov 1978 no one is that good to go from 1st to 3rd when they are dead.
4. Frocking people to a belt of instructor is a common practice I posted a thread and no one seemed to care. I have seen it done with NO INSTRUCTION.
5. Mike was given the title of Sulsa after maybe 15 hours with the Bang quite impressive.
6. Many now claim to be Mike old cohorts and students most are liars
7. With out Randy Wanner none of the books would have been possible
8. Randy has the captions for the rest of the series O’Hara has the photos.
9. Randy Wanner is one of the best Martial Artist I have had the pleasure to work with.
There is far more to this story that will remain in the dark shroud of mystery, as it should be.
None should distract the Mike and Chuck were Warriors in the purist sense of the word. They went and did and died. Unfortunately a bomb in the plane isn’t a Warrior death.

Bob Taylor

Some days it's not worth chewing through the restraints and escaping"

Rogue, you're an @ss!! Watchman

Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble. It sounds swell when you write about it, but it's hell when you meet it face to face in a dark and lonely place.
Louis L'Amour

BTW, did I mention that Rogue was an @ss? Watchman

[This message was edited by rogue on 07-23-01 at 08:29 PM.]

07-23-2001, 05:14 AM
By the Swallow

Mahone, "My relationship with Echanis". You provoked some very old menories that have been stirring around in my little head, since I fell on to this Thread. It has taken me a few days to sort them out, and I had to dig out my old notebooks. I confess to ambivalence. As Donnelly posted on the his thread, there is the Myth and there is the Reality.
It is never simple to figure out what part is myth and what part is reality. Echanis is more than an enigma, he is a phenomenon. Here we are discussing a man nearly twenty-five years after his rather messy assassination, and it is as if it occurred last month. People collect his books as priceless jems while others consider them the flotsam and jetsam of martial arts detritus. I am afraid that I am to be counted among the latter.

But let me tell you about the phenomenon. I will start with last night. I had dinner last night with Pete Dordal, a 1984 ESI graduate and a very bright and successful Protection Specialist. When he came to ESI, he was a Force Recon Marine; for four years, Dortal was Marine Sniper and special tactics Instructor in all manor of stealth. He was an admirer of Echanis; used his material in instruction, especially in regards to Sentry Takeout (unfortunately, Randy Wanner should have received the credit here, but that is part of the puzzle). During our dinner, the subject of Echanis came up, and I mentioned the discussion going on in this Thread. I, of course, expressed my distain for the phenomenon and the man, and made reference to his "Love of Death" pointing out that he may have acquired it while he served in Vietnam as a Sniper with "29 Confirmed Kills" Ref. Echanis. Dordal looked puzzled, and said, "there is no reference to Echanis being a Sniper." Dordal would know because he made a careful study of Vietnam Snipers both Marine and Army as part of his instuctional syllabus. Then he said, "Was he in Vietnam?" and I said, "well ****, he said he was in Vietnam and that he was a Sniper with 29 confirmed kills." I believed it because it confirmed the reasons that I didn't like him. Then I had to laugh at myself. I never investigated because the myth fit my pre-conceived notions of the man and his persona.

It also fit that he hired out to work for Somosa; I didn't like him for that either, but that is not the point. As for his anti-communism, he would have just as happily worked for the Sandinistas, if the money was better. He was assassinated because he decided to attach his star to a conspiracy by the top Field Commader of the Army, Jose Alegrett to over throw Somosa...the person who paid Echanis' salary. The conspiracy was uncovered, and Somosa had the problem snuffed out....but Somosa got his a few years later in Uruguay when some revolutionaries hit him with a rocket that ripped his armoured limosine to shreds, and the occupant's heads with it.

Well, what does all this prove? Nothing I suppose; nothing has ever been proven much less investigated, but I choose to believe it. It fit the myth of Echanis.

In my opinion, he was not a skilled martial artists, but the myth says he was phenomenonal. The myth says he was a warrior, a Vietnam Vet with a career of 29 kills; the vets say, they never heard of him. The myths say that he was the first Ninja; others think that he was a good publicists. He knew how to get published. Even when he took all the money left in the La Habra school, and disappeared into the night, ending up in Fort Bragg to teach classes in hand to hand combat, stealth and other fun things, Joo Bang Lee welcomed hiim back when he saw the opportunity to reach elite military forces with little known art of Hwa Rang Do. So, with approval from Black Belt in hand, Mike posed with the Grand Master to prove his lineage. Those of us around the Headquarters scatched our collective heads, and shrugged, "it is the same ol', same ol'". Its business.

During this period, I was spending more and more time in Colorado, and the Aspen Academy of Martial Arts. In 1980, I started ESI and never returned to California.

By 1986, my relations with Hwa Rang Do and the Lee Family had deteriorated to point of no return. Coincidentally, it started over an article in Black Belt by Henry Lee, Joo Bang Lee's eldest son, who wrote that Mike Echanis was the first American student of Hwa Rang Do. Now, I took umbrage at this obvious mis-statement of Hwa Rang Do history, and I wrote an open letter to Henry and all the other instructors. Henry responded in typical Little Master form, and I engaged him. It is one of my favorite blood sports. It was probably motivated by ego, jealousy and other cheap shot base human emotions, but it was also a lie.

After Henry suggested that I prove my loyalty to Hwa Rang Do, by appointting his father, Joo Bang Lee, President of ESI, and I suggested that Henry Lee was "a vain glorious pimp" and in the same letter, I wrote uncautiously, "You presumptous ass!" I was no longer held in high esteem in Downey. It was another decade before I became a criminal, and my dastardly acts posted on the Web. I note with irony that after ten years or more of being blacklisted by Black Belt, Joo Bang Lee is on the cover of current issue of Black Belt, and Henry Lee is demonstrating technique on a willing opponent...always the best kind.

So, all the little threads come together here. Odd, I think, but you never know what comes across the path, or which way you will turn until you are faced with a choice. I have made a number of them, and many of them very bad ones. Mahone, I am not going to re-tell my colorful revolutionary days because I published those in Gung Ho in 1984, and left those ideas in their grave more than a quarter century ago. But I just want to make one last comment about Myth and Reality regarding Echanis.

In the case of Echanis, the Myth is great, and the Reality quite another story. Yet, I must admit that the myth of Echanis has inspired a lot of martial artists to pursue their own dream. One cannot deny it, and it is a good thing. So, I understand the feeling of some who see stripping the Myth as cheap and rank.

Myth has driven many of us towards some unattainable dream. I personally participated in it as did others. I fomented other myths regarding my art, Hwa Rang Do. When I wrote the introduction to Joo Bang Lee's "The Ancient Art of Hwa Rang Do", I fostered the myth of the direct lineage descent of the ancient warrior art and the modern creation of Joo Bang Lee. I wanted to believe that myth; it sustained me in a way that no other could. To believe that this ancient knowledge was preserved by hermit monks for hundreds of years gives the art a completeness, a historic connection to something of value, almost holy. But alas, it is a myth, like a lot of other things I have believed in. Should I make fun of it? Cheapen it by pointing out the historic impossibility? Discourage others from believing? Well my friends, I need a little help on that question.

Mahone, thanks for the provocation. Farang
Bob Duggan

[This message has been edited by The Swallow (edited

Rogue, you're an @ss!! Watchman

Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble. It sounds swell when you write about it, but it's hell when you meet it face to face in a dark and lonely place.
Louis L'Amour

BTW, did I mention that Rogue was an @ss? Watchman

07-23-2001, 04:35 PM
Nice work rogue bringing the posts to this forum. I think there are more. I don't know what to make of the HRD saga as a whole.

You'll notice that a lot of the older American de-frocked HRD BB's refer to themselves as "farang". This is a Hmong word for "foreigner". May of these men were involved with the anti-communist resistance movement in Laos. The designation "farang" was applied to them during this struggle and it has stuck due to the strong impression the Hmong made upon these men.

I don't get mad.
I get stabby.

07-23-2001, 06:43 PM
I'm starting to think that HRD is Bangs modified version of Hapkido. To me it's the only thing that makes sense.

Stranger, If you haven't seen Bob Taylor & Randy Wanners tape on disarms check it out. Excellent. It's from TRS but don't hold that against them.

Rogue, you're an @ss!! Watchman

Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble. It sounds swell when you write about it, but it's hell when you meet it face to face in a dark and lonely place.
Louis L'Amour

BTW, did I mention that Rogue was an @ss? Watchman

07-24-2001, 07:25 AM
Thanks rogue, I own the tape series myself. The great things about the tapes are that they don't promote a specific style, and they prove their conclusions under the only conditions that matter- live fire with real guns. I love the part where Wanner gets his earlobe blown off while demonstrating the WRONG way to clear the gun. Talk about dramatically making a point. :eek:

I GUESS that Lee had some early MA training, learned alot of Hapkido, and then learned from his American military students the more commando-like skills (sentry neutralization, camoflauge, stalking, etc.). I always had the impression that the old time American BB's felt like their contribution was not acknowledged so that the faux-history would be preserved. I would suspect that a portion of the HRD curriculum was created outside of Korea. Who knows? :confused:

I don't get mad.
I get stabby.

MonkeySlap Too
07-24-2001, 07:02 PM
As a youngster I always thought HWD always had the coolest uniforms...

The TRS tapes are great. It inspired my basement group to do our own experimenting. Probably the only thing TRS ever did that is worth the money.

I am a big beleiver in luck. The more I work, the more luck I have.