Grace Martial Arts Fellowship began in 1990, went online with a website in 1995 and began publishing newsletters to the Christian martial arts community in 1998.
Because of the quality of information found in those early newsletter articles and the fact they are no longer available online, we’ve decided to re-publish many of them in the coming weeks and months. Our hope is that a new generation of Christian martial artists will be blessed by the wisdom of those who were on the path before them.
Welcome to the October GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
THOUGHTS FROM THE MASTER
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Jesus Christ
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” The Apostle Paul
The following are questions and answers about developing a Martial Arts Outreach Program. We appreciate Master Ron Shively of “Karate for Christ” sharing his wisdom with us.
- What are some of the reasons as to why people study the Martial Arts? By and large, the main reason why almost each and every one of us ever begins, or develops an interest in the martial arts is because we have somehow lost control of our lives. When a boy, a girl, a man, or a woman walks into a karate school or dojo for the first time they may have several reasons as to why they are there:
- They’re having trouble at school, on the job, in the home, their neighborhood, etc.
- A friend, neighbor, or loved one may have been recently physically attacked or molested
- They’re having trouble with an abusive spouse or relative
- Their kids want to start taking lessons
- They were watching TV
- They were at the movies
- They want to lose weight
- They feel the need for more discipline in their lives
- They like the “philosophy” of the martial arts, etc.
As they look around in their own homes, their workplace, at school, on the street, in their community, they have become afraid. But, unlike so many others who choose to stay behind locked doors, who choose to ignore what is happening around them, they have made a choice. A viable choice to become responsible. To take back their lives, a piece at a time if necessary.
- What do you feel is the main reason as to why the martial arts are so popular today? As I stated earlier (and it will bear repeating), people who are tired of being the proverbial “door mat” are looking to the martial arts for answers. No one in their right mind would allow another individual, another human being to abuse or mistreat them at length without feeling some shame or humiliation for their lack of effort at correcting the situation. Society has reached a level of intolerance, or critical mass as it were, with regards to the violence in our streets and homes throughout America. All of our laws and codes of conduct, our social experiments and institutions of higher learning cannot grasp the simple idea that in order for there to be peace in our land there must be a change in the way in which we value life as a whole.It cannot be over stated, over rated, or belabored enough that mankind needs to re-learn, or un-learn his ideas and opinions he has for himself, and his fellow human beings. Only when we as human beings begin to learn to see one another as how God, our Father in Heaven sees us, only then will the need for the study of martial arts be outdated and at an end.
- So then, is Fear the main reason as to why there is such an interest in the Martial Arts? In Physics there is a common saying, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. We accept this statement not just an opinion, but as an established, proven fact of life. Fear is not an action, but is the result of an act. It’s that natural part in each of us to react to some thing that is out of the ordinary. That is somehow different from our daily routine.
- What then is a Martial Art? It is an organized method of self- protection. It is where someone has developed their own physical and mental responses to specifically “react” a certain way to a dangerous situation. But, it is not limited to the physical skills of self-defense: blocking, punching, kicking, joint locking, or throwing. Any type of avoidance of something you deem as a threat to your person is considered to belong to the same category. Ignoring a slanderous remark, or the ability to walk away from a possibly violent altercation is just as viable, if not more valuable than any well practiced combative maneuver.
Next Month: Philosophy, Religion and why some Christian leaders are opposed to the Martial Arts
Warm-up exercises from Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan
Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) uses the full range of body movements during training, so the warm-up exercises are designed to prepare the body to move fully and easily. The stretches begin with the head and neck and continue through the entire body to the legs and feet. The exercises begin with the student standing with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, hips and buttocks rotated back and under the body slightly.
These are “examples” of Tang Soo Do warm-ups. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. The Tang Soo Do warm-up portion of your workout will take between 20 and 40 minutes (depending on age and condition), so you will not be able to do every exercise at every workout. The number of exercises available for each part of the body also offers a variety to keep the warm-up portion of your workout interesting and challenging.
- Head and Neck Exercises
- ▪ Move head down and up slowly … head should movedown until chin touches chest – head should move up until back of head touches neck … do this five-to-ten times.
- ▪ Move head side to side slowly … head should move toward right shoulder, then left shoulder. The side of your chin should touch your neck when you reach the end of your stretch. Do not stretch until it hurts … do this five-to-ten times.
- ▪ Rotate head in both directions slowly … begin by moving head down until chin touches chest … keep chin down as you move your head to your right shoulder … move your head up as you continue to rotate from your right shoulder until the back of your head touches your neck … move your head toward your left shoulder … keep chin down as you move your head to your left shoulder … move your head from your left shoulder to your chest … keep your chin down as you move. Repeat this motion in the opposite direction … do this five-to-ten times.
- Finger and Wrist Exercises
- ▪ Stretch your fingers slowly … place your hands in front ofyou with your arms outstretched at shoulder height … place hands and fingers together … use your right fingers to push your left fingers back as far as they will go comfortably … use your left fingers to push your right finers back as far as they will go comfortably … do this five-to-ten times.
- ▪ Stretch your wrists slowly … move your arms in front of your body about 12-15 inches in front of your chest … keep your hands open with fingers pointed out … move your hands up slowly while pointing your fingers to the ground … move your fingers to the point where you feel the wrist stretch … when you move your hands as far up as you can, point your fingers to the sky and move your hands down slowly … feel the stretch in your wrists … When you move your hands as far down as you can, point your fingers to the sky and repeat the movement … do this five-to-ten times. You can also perform the same wrist stretch from front to side … point fingers of your left hand toward fingers of your right hand … feel the stretch in your wrists … move your hands and arms away from each other until you go as far as you can comfortably … point your fingers away from each other and move your hands and arms toward each other in the middle … feel the stretch in your wrists … do this five-to- ten times.
- Shoulder Exercises
- ▪ Lift your shoulders upward slowly … make a fist witheach hand as you lift your shoulder as high as you can comfortably … move your fingers from a fist into a knife hand as you lower your shoulders as low as you can comfortably … feel the stretch in your shoulders … do this five-to-ten times.
- ▪ Lift your arms forward and backward slowly … stretch your shoulders comfortably as you move your arms forward, then backward fully … feel the stretch .. do this five-to-ten times.
- Elbow Exercises
▪ Begin with your hands in front of your face with fingers
facing each other about six inches apart … move your hands down and away from each other as each hand rotates until your palms face upward comfortably … this will cause your elbows to face the sky … feel the stretch in your elbows … reverse the movement so that your hands return to the front forward position … without stopping, move your hands and arms outward so the palms of your hands face up and your elbows face down … feel the stretch in your elbows … do this five-to- ten times.
▪ Make a fist with each hand and move your hands in front of elbows out and even with each shoulder … move fists outward until you reach full extension … keep arms at shoulder height … return fists to beginning position (#1) … move fists outward and to the side like a back fist … return fists to beginning position (#2) … perform #1 and #2 as a complete movement … do this five-to-ten times …
5. Arm Exercises
- ▪ Begin with arms at side … make a fist with each hand …swing right arm up above head, then move left arm up above head as right arm swings down and slightly behind hips … repeat this motion so that arms are swinging in opposite directions … feel the stretch in your arms and shoulders … do this five-to-ten times.
- ▪ Begin with arms and hands down and about 12 inches from your hips … swing arms up and across your chest until your left hand touches your right shoulder and your right hand touches your left shoulder … swing arms out and behind your body until fingers from both hands touch behind your back … do this five-to-ten times.
6. Next Month: Lower-body warm-up exercises from Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan
Please send your Training Tips to Mark McGee.
MARTIAL ARTS AND STYLES
Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan
Tang Soo Do has a long Martial Arts history. It is a combination of the ancient Korean art of Soo Bahk Do (60%), northern Chinese Tang Kung Fu (30%) and southern Chinese Kung Fu (10%). Tang Soo Do is both a hard and soft style: hardness from Soo Bahk Do and softness from Kung Fu.
Grandmaster Hwang Kee mastered the Korean arts of Soo Bahk and Tae Kyun in his 20’s. He traveled to northern China in 1936 and studied the Tang method of Kung Fu for several years. Grandmaster Kee combined the best methods of Soo Bahk, Tae Kyun and Tang into a new art he called Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan; which translates as “a brotherhood and school of stopping inner and outer conflict and developing virtue according to the way of the worthy hand.” Grandmaster Kee returned to Korea in 1945 to teach his new art of Tang Soo Do. He established his world headquarters in Seoul. Grandmaster Kee’s son, Master H.C. Hwang, is head of the organization in the United States.
Tang Soo Do is not a sport. It is a martial art that is concerned with theory, form, and aesthetics. It is not essentially competitive, but has great combat applications. It is a classical martial art with the purpose of developing every aspect of one’s self. The purpose is to create a mature personality, totally integrating the intellect, body, emotions, and spirit. The integration helps to create a person who is free from inner conflict and who can deal with the world in a mature, intelligent, forthright and virtuous manner.
Tang Soo Do is known for its powerful kicking techniques. About 60% of the training time is kicking. About 40% is hand techniques. Tang Soo Do practioners also train in the areas of combination drills, forms, one-step sparring, three-step sparring, free sparring, self defense and weapons. Some schools also include a variety of Kung Fu training along with Tang Soo Do.
Tang Soo Do is one of the few Martial Arts that uses the color of Midnight Blue for its Dan rankings. The idea of Midnight Blue is that it is the color of the evening sky. It is a goal that a plant strives to reach yet may never attain. Midnight Blue symbolizes infinity and perfection. Perfection is the quest of the practioner of Tang Soo Do. They are not satisfied with anything less. They continually strive to improve. (Some Tang Soo Do schools now use the color Black for Dan levels.)
Moo Duk Kwan is the Style. The word “moo” means martial art. The word “duk” means a feeling of affection tempered with respect. The word “kwan” means school. Tang Soo Do is the Art. Tang Soo Do is sometimes translated as the “Art of the Knife Hand.” The word “tang” comes from the Tang method of Chinese martial arts. The word “soo” (which also means hand or fist in Chinese), comes from the ancient Korean martial art of Soo Bahk Do. The word “do” means way of life. The “style” of Moo Duk Kwan is known around the world today in three martial “arts”: Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do and Tae Kwon Do.
Next Month: Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts
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