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.
THOUGHTS FROM THE MASTER
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
“Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”
The Apostle Paul
This month, we continue a journey into the mind and heart of one of the 20th Century’s great martial artists and Christian brothers. His name was John Chung Li. Master Li was a Kung-Fu Grand Master from Hong Kong, China. He taught an ancient martial art and health care science known as Yon Ch’uan and Hwa-Yu T’ai-Chi Ch’uan (formerly known as Liu Ha Pa Fa). Grand Master Li moved to the United States in 1969 to share Christ and the health care benefits of Hwa-Yu with the American people. He often publicly announced his love and appreciation for the United States for liberating Hong Kong from Japanese occupation during World War II. Master Li taught in Boston, Chicago, New York and Florida until his death in 1982. He taught hundreds of university students around the country, including those from Yale, Harvard, MIT, and Boston University. Grand Master Li also traveled and taught in Europe.
Grand Master Li shared Christ as a natural part of his T’ai-Chi instruction. He taught the Bible to his students in Boston’s Chinatown. He spoke publicly about the joys of knowing Jesus Christ. Fortunately for all of us, Grand Master Li gave his writings to Master Robert Xavier who is Legacy Holder of the Hwa-Yu and Yon Ch’uan Systems. Master Xavier has been kind and generous in sharing Li’s writings with us.
Grand Master Li had a deep love for Jesus Christ. He was humbled by God’s Love for him. Master Li called his writings about God’s Word “Honey Drops.” He believed God’s Words were sweet to taste.
The following are excerpts from “Honey Drops.”
Ephesians 2: 6,7,8 – “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.” The more I recognize my Lord’s preciousness, the more I know the value of my Lord’s works. Thus, I can see my Lord’s noble, glory and holiness, then I will surprise that my Lord died for such a worthless sinner such as me on the cross.
Galatians 2:20 – “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” To love is always to give us the best. He loved us and gave Himself for us.
II Corinthians 1:20 – “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” What is faith? Faith is towards my Lord to kneel down before my Lord first to say ‘Yes’ and afterwards look upon Him and to say ‘I want it, Amen.’ Whatever my Lord says. I have kneeled down to say ‘Yes.’ Afterwards at once I look upon Him and say
‘Lord, I desire strongly with sincerity, I want.’ The determination of faith: (1) I trust God, who is worthy to trust and rely upon, and what He promises is true in every word, which is the meaning to kneel down before Him. (2) I have expressed my attitude that I need Him very much – thirsty for Him, inclination to Him, need Him very much – this is the meaning of looking upon Him.
Romans 8:31-39 – “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Lord, you are the only one who has power to control all things, no one thing is not in your hand, and what shall your lover worry about! Without your approval, who can do any harm to me! Without your approval, who can offend! You help me, who is able to against me! It is sufficient to have you, my Lord.”
John Chung Li, Honey Drops
“Taiso” Exercise for Limbering (by Master Robert Xavier)
- Foot circles – balance yourself on one leg and “twist” the ankles, first to the left then reverse it
- Knee circles – with feet close together and hands on thighs, circle your two knees in one direction, then reverse the direction
- Hamstring stretch – with both hands on belt or hips, feet apart, bend forward while keeping both feet flat, toes slightly inward. Do not do this with a “jerky” action
- Squatting leg stretch – for new people, the easiest way to get into this position is to first bend at the knees in a squatting position, then place one leg out to the side. Alternate body weight from one side to the other without moving feet out of place. Some systems flatten the support foot. We prefer not to because of possible knee injury.
- Back and leg stretch – reach and hold ankle or foot and lower head to knee. Hold for a few seconds. Repeat each side.
- Hold both ankles – bring head (slowly) as close to floor or mat as possible. If this is easy to do, try the chin to floor.
- Hold feet – bring head down to feet. Hold a few seconds. Don’t force.
- Separate feet and touch the floor on opposite side with opposite hand.(Right hand to left foot and reverse) Gradually bring your feet together until you can perform “I”.
- Touch the floor – if this is easy, grab ankles and bring head to knees.
- Hip circles – both directions (like a hula).
- Trunk twists – right arm moves in blocking motion toward left thenleft repeats.
- Wall leg stretch – (do this with a partner for balance and safety) Standwith your back against the wall. Your partner slowly lifts your right leg straight up. Tell your partner to stop when you’ve gone far enough. Don’t force to the point of pain or injury. Repeat with left leg.
MARTIAL ARTS AND STYLES
Dr. William Durbin has kindly allowed us to reprint an article about Okinawa Te for the GMAF Newsletter. Dr. Durbin is a dear Christian brother and one of the world’s leading experts on Okinawa’s ancient martial arts. We pray this is a blessing to you.
“Okinawa is an island that is located somewhere between China and the large island of Japan. It is part of the Ryukyu archipelago, which were settled by people from Japan and possibly from China. However, most Paleolithic evidence does suggest a Japanese descent for most of the people of Okinawa.
The people on the island would almost assuredly have brought with them whatever fighting art their ancestors had developed. Fighting arts have existed almost as long as people. When the first person began organizing successful combat techniques, the first fighting art came into existence. When and where this was, is unknown, though it probably happened in several different places simultaneously. We have ancient evidence of fighting arts in Egypt, China and India.
In Okinawa, it is believed that the indigenous fighting art was simply called Te. While Te can be translated ‘hand’, in the connotation of the arts of combat, it is most appropriately rendered ‘skill.’ This is because the techniques of combat, when properly mastered, insured the safety of the family, clan, and nation. This was the skill necessary for survival.
Te became a true martial art under the influence of two sources. The original influence was from what is considered the first true martial art; Shorinji Kempo, Shaolinssu Chuanfa. It would have been sometime during or after the sixth century, when Bodhidharma lived and taught at the Shaolin temple, that this influence would have occurred. Probably during the tenth century, and absolutely during the great Buddhist revival of the twelfth century, Shaolinssu Chuanfa would have been influential in Okinawa.
Also during the twelfth century, the great Japanese Bushi, Tametomo Minamoto, escaped from his exile on Oshima Island, where he was placed after being defeated by the Taira. He traveled to Okinawa where he gathered to himself many of his warriors, so that they could train for a comeback. While there Tametomo married an Okinawan woman of royal descent, who bore him a son, who was named Shunten.
During the stay on the island, the Minamoto Bushi trained their Okinawan friends in their Bujutsu, martial arts. It is also believed that Tametomo left a guardian for his son, when he journeyed back to Japan where he died in battle against the Taira.
After Shunten grew up, he organized a group of warriors and became the first emporer of Okinawa. It is said that he established a martial tradition which was passed on to each and every member of the royalty. To honor the Bushi from Japan who shared their art with them, the Okinawan royalty called the art generically, Bushi Te. Some of the families had their own special name for their particular family art. This will be addressed later.
In the meantime, the royalty kept close contact with the Chinese envoys, learning martial arts from monks, military attaches, and others who came to the island. A group, known as ‘the thirty six famlies’, came to Okinawa, establishing a permanent Chinese settlement for diplomatic purposes.
Among these people were representatives of many styles of martial arts, many derived from the original Shorinji Kempo. This was in the fourteenth century. The Okinawan royalty learned everything they possibly could from these martial arts sources, developing their Bushi Te to the most sophisticated level possible.”
Dr. William Durbin, Shodai Soke of Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei, Hombu Dojo, Frankfort, Kentucky
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