Grace Martial Arts Fellowship Newsletters 1998-4

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 narrow path before them.



Welcome to the December GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.


“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’ But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus Christ

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” The Apostle Paul


The following is a continuation of questions and answers about developing a Martial Arts Outreach Program. We appreciate Master Ron Shively of “Karate for Christ” sharing his wisdom with us.

1. Why then are most of the Martial Arts that are practiced today in the U.S. derived from Asia?

Asian styles or Eastern methods of martial arts aren’t too much different than Western methods of boxing or wrestling. The only difference being is that we usually perceive arts like boxing and wrestling more in the line of sports and entertainment. We rarely see the infamous history that is behind such physical arts in the west. The main reason as to why many of the Asian/Eastern Martial Arts are so popular here in the U.S. today is due in part to their discipline, organization, simplicity, as well as their overall effectiveness. Asian systems require countless hours of training and conditioning. Finesse, or skill was and is the desired end result. In comparison, Western types of Martial Arts often times require size, strength, as well as brute force to often decide the outcome of a fight or conflict.

In Biblical comparison, you could use the example of David and Goliath. Compared to his European or African counterpart, the Asian is smaller in stature. Therefore the Asian had to develop a method of fighting that utilized his strengths, rather than focused on his short comings. Leverage, accuracy, focused thought-or intent, as well as an intense study of human anatomy are all a part of the definition for finesse and skill in the Asian martial arts.

2. You mentioned the “infamous” history of sports like Boxing and Wrestling?

Yes. Boxing, as we know it today, was and is the end result of dueling. Or settling a dispute between two people. In Ancient Europe, the ability to fight with just your hands was considered common and oafish. Used only among the lower classes. The aristocrats, or upper class, usually favored the use of weapons such as the foil, the dagger, and the saber and studied the art of Fencing or Sword fighting. Which wasn’t much different than their Japanese counterparts among the Samurai.

In fact, there were two main schools of fencing in Europe for centuries. The Spanish school; which specialized in circular movements, and the Italian school; which stressed linear movements. Both the French and British would later consolidate the two schools into their own individual methods. Resulting in the current styles that are used within the sport of Fencing today. Also, the Brothers of St. Augustine were renowned for their fencing prowess, and trained a number of the great fencing masters of Europe behind their monastic walls. With the development of firearms, the art of dueling was no longer considered an art or sport of the upper class. Senseless murder and death was rampant. About the same time that dueling was outlawed, Boxing (or empty hand fighting) was quickly becoming the more accepted means of settling an argument. However, in this country (the U.S.), organized boxing matches were illegal until the turn of the 20th Century. Of course, one would be utterly inane, or foolish to assume that boxing as an art or sport was not practiced in the U.S. until the 20th Century.

*A side note in reference to the question*
During France’s colonial years in Southeast Asia, a number of Frenchmen studied and learned the different methods of fighting taught there. From this study the art of Savate, or French Foot fighting was developed. Also, many Savate trained men fought on the side of the French Underground during World War II. Today, Savate is still popular in both Europe and Canada. With a small number of exponents here in the U.S.

3. What other types of Western sports have similar combative backgrounds?

The list is endless. Take for example the Summer Olympics, which we hold every four years. The Decathlon is nothing more than an evaluation of an athlete’s or warrior’s combative prowess. Which is exactly what the different track and field events really are.

1. The pole vault and the high jump were designed to aid in scaling and breaching an enemies walls and fortifications.

2. The hammer throw was designed to hurl a heavy or fiery object at a city’s gates to demolish them, or over their walls to start fires. This was before gunpowder and cannons.

3. The discus was designed to knockdown, or injure a soldier in battle dress armor. Especially off of horse back.

4. The javelin throw was obviously used for fighting with a spear over long distances. Whereas the sword and shield were for close quarter fighting. As I said earlier, the list is endless. Many ancient civilizations used different games and sporting events for the training of their warriors to keep their physical skills at their peak. Even non-physical games like Chess are nothing more than mock battlefields where two opposing generals, or players match wits. An important point to remember here is that Chess served as the classroom for many European as well as Asian generals in training their officers battlefield strategy. Often times a good Chess player could advance more quickly through the ranks than a bad player.


Master Kanei Uechi developed a series of warm-up exercises to help his students prepare for the rigors of training in Uechi-ryu Karate. He taught that the purpose of the exercises was to help them limber and stretch, strengthen their bodies, develop coordination and reflexes, and learn beginning self- defense techniques. Many of the exercises are done using dynamic tension and many repetitions.

Uechi-ryu has more than 20 warm-up exercises. We will introduce ten this month and another ten next month. The first ten exercises will develop flexibility, coordination, balance, stamina and strength.

  1. Heel pivot
  • Hands on hips, legs straight, feet together
  • Pivot on right heel and move front of foot to the right as far as possible, then return to straight position
  • Perform exercise four times with right foot, then four times with left foot
  • Repeat full exercise five times

2. Heel lift

  • Hands on hips, legs straight, feet together
  • Lift heel and move foot to outside
  • Return heel to floor
  • Perform exercise four times with right foot, then four times with left foot
  • Repeat full exercise five times

3. Foot circle

  • Hands on hips, legs straight, feet together
  • Bend one leg at knee slightly while raising the other leg until
    thigh is parallel to floor
  • Make four large circles in clockwise direction while stretchingfoot and lower leg
  • Reverse direction and make four circles counterclockwise
  • Perform the exercise again with the other leg
  • Repeat full exercise five times

4. Knee circle

  • Hands on hips, legs straight, feet together … Keep heels on floor throughout exercise
  • Count one – Push knees downward and to the left and follow through in a clockwise circle until legs are straight
  • Counts two, three and four – Bend knees forward and push straight three times
  • Count five – Push knees downward and to the right and follow through in a counter-clockwise circle until legs are straight
  • Counts six, seven and eight – Bend knees forward and push straight three times
  • Repeat full exercise five times

5. Leg lift and turn

  • Hands on hips, keep right leg bent slightly
  • Bend left knee slightly and lift knee waist high
  • Lift lower leg until entire leg is parallel to floor
  • Move body only slightly while moving the extended left leg to the left as far as possible, then returning to front position, lowering the foot then knee to beginning position
  • Repeat exercise with right leg
  • This exercise develops coordination and balance – Use a chair or wall at first to help with balance
  • Repeat full exercise five times

6. Straight leg kicking

  • Hands out slightly from body, feet several inches apart
  • Keep right leg straight as you kick up and to the front
  • Kick to the inside with right leg
  • Repeat exercise with left leg
  • Repeat full exercise five times
  • Do not lean forward while kicking
  • Legs straight, feet together, hands on hips in vertical fist position

7. Waist stretch

  • Fall forward at the waist while relaxing upper body muscles (keep legs straight) … this will stretch thigh and back muscles
  • Scoop with your arms as if picking up something just as you reach the lowest point of the fall
  • Stay in waist-bent position and move arms in and out in two circular motions … keep fists same distance from each other
  • Stand up and twist raised elbows and upper body as far to theright, then left as possible
  • Perform exercise in good posture – chin tucked in and backstraight … don’t tighten stomach muscles during the fall at waist

This exercise develops coordination and balance and stretches and strengthens muscles in stomach, thighs and back

Repeat full exercise five times

8. Body stretching

  • Feet two-to-three feet apart, legs straight, keep hips tucked in during exercise
  • Bend at waist and move both hands to left foot
  • Move hands to right foot and perform large counter-clockwise circle above head and back to left
  • Pull arms to chest and punch doward toward left foot, do motion twice
  • Move hands to right foot and repeat the sequence in opposite direction
  • This exercise will stretch and strengthen muscles of back and legs
  • Repeat full exercise five times

9. Arm thrusting

  • Heels together, toes apart, legs straight
  • Thrust outward from palms upward to palms downward position, keep shoulders down during thrusts
  • Close fists tightly at strike point – pull back to original position, scooping twist fists strongly during return, open hands just before reaching original position
  • Thrust hands out to side – strike with tight fist, twist fists strongly during return, open hands just before reaching original position
  • Thrust hands downward strongly – turn hands to vertical position, parallel to each other, clench fists tightly, twist fists strongly during return, open hands just before reaching original position
  • This exercise will develop a strong thrust from all directions with shoulders down
  • Repeat full exercise five times

10. Neck rotation

  • Legs straight, heels touch
  • Grasp right wrist with left hand, shoulders down (do not raise during exercise)
  • Move head downwards as far as possible, rotate while tensing neck muscles clockwise, return to original position (head raised)
  • Lower head and repeat exercise in counter-clockwise direction
  • Vary speed and tension of exercise
  • This exercise will strengthen and stretch muscles in neck and upper back
  • Repeat full exercise five times


Uechi-ryu Karate Do began with Master Kanbun Uechi. He traveled from Okinawa to China in 1897. He studied Pangai-Noon Kung Fu with Master Chou Tzu-ho at the Central Temple in the Fukien Province from 1897 to 1908. His studies included the physical and self-defense aspects of Pangai-Noon as well as the philosophical and healing (medicinal) aspects. Master Uechi opened his own school in the province of Nansoue in 1908. However, one of his students was attacked viciously and the student responded with a fatal blow. The people of Nansoue blamed Master Uechi for what happened. Master Uechi returned to Okinawa and vowed not to teach or speak of Kung Fu again.

Master Kanbun Uechi married and became a farmer near the town of Naha, Okinawa. Even when it was discovered that he was a Martial Arts Master, Kanbun Uechi refused to teach. He later moved to Japan and eventually agreed to instruct. His first student was Ryuyu Tomoyose in 1924. Kanbun began teaching his son Kanei Uechi in 1930 when Kanei was 19. Kanei studied with his father for ten years before opening his own school in Osaka, Japan. Two years later Kanei moved to Nago, Okinawa. Ryuyu Tomoyose, who had also returned to Okinawa, learned that Kanei was in Nago and worked with other martial artists to build a dojo for Kanei to teach them. Kanei Uechi taught in Futenma from 1945 until his death several years ago. Kanbun Uechi continued to teach Pangai-Noon Kung Fu on Ishima Island until his death 50 years ago (Nov. 25, 1948). Kamei Uechi, Kanbun’s grandson and Kanei’s oldest son, is now head of Worldwide Uechiryu Karate Do.

Pangai-Noon is a half hard-half soft style of Kung Fu. It is a three-animal style: Tiger, Dragon and Crane. Kanbun Uechi taught three forms: Sanchin, Seisan and Sanseirui. He also taught hand conditioning, sparring, arm rubbing and pounding, use of heavy jars (strength training), twisting devices, medicine and resuscitation.

Kanei Uechi changed the name of the Art to Uechi-ryu Karate Do in honor of his father. Kanei added several forms: Kanshiwa, Daini Seisan, Seichin, Seirui and Kanchin. Kanei also introduced Bunkai (form application) for Seisan and Kanshiwa, warm-up exercises (see above), Uechi style free sparring, Uechi body conditioning, ten point kumite and kyu kumite.

Uechi-ryu Karate Do has developed a great following in North America thanks to the efforts of Master George Mattson (9th Dan), a student of Kanei Uechi. It has been my privilege to correspond with Master Mattson for several years and I appreciate his help in learning the history of Uechi-ryu. You may visit Master Mattson’s excellent web site for more information. Master Mattson is President of the Uechi-ryu Karate Association.

Taking God’s Grace to the World!

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Grace Martial Arts © 1990 – 2018


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