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 GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
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. Mr. Li was a Kung-Fu Grand Master from Hong Kong, China. He taught an ancient martial art and health care science known as 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. 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 the Lineage Holder of the Hwa Yu and Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts 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.”
Colossians 3:1-2 — “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, not on things on the earth, For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” I am thinking about my Lord with rest and calmness; thinking of the other with confusion and lost in amazement.
John 5:5-6 — “And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” I am comfortable with my Lord and there is peaceful in all things; if I be not good with my Lord, there will be a lot of trouble and worry; To communicate with the Lord, makes every thing prosperous; if I do not communicate with the Lord, there will be unprosperous as an adverse wind; if I do not make good with the Lord, I will meet a lot of disturbance; if I am not good towards the Lord, my conduct becomes awful. I cannot do anything without my Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:9 — “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.” The Lord’s attention is not taken care of my feeling, but my inclination; because feeling is like the waves to move about, but inclination is like anchor to stay always unmoveable. The Lord pays attention to my inclination to see whether to love Him firmly or not, whether to please Him or not. Because the person’s character is the inclination; What kind of inclination is what kind of human’s character. My inclination is firmly to want my Lord, as the anchor which does not care the waves how to move around.
1 John 4:19 — “We love him, because he first loved us.” Beloved, since I met you on the cross, you snatched me tightly, and did not let me go away from you! Although I am not good, not loyal for you to live alone, but you still snatch me tightly, and do not let me off! My God, your love is burning in me! to let you enjoy the echo of your love! Lord, I love you, how can I be able to love you! but your love in me to love you!
John Chung Li
MARTIAL ARTS AND STYLES
Dr. William Durbin has kindly allowed us to reprint his 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.
“The truth, at this time in history, is that the common people of Okinawa did not learn martial arts, unless they could convince one of the Chinese martial artists to teach them, which did happen, but rarely. Those commoners who did learn Chinese Kempo called their art Karate, which translates, when written in this original way, ‘Tang hand,’ which actually meant, the Chinese skill.
The royalty kept their martial art a secret at all times, never sharing their deeper mysteries with anyone. This was to be true until modern times. What helped ensure the air of secrecy was the Japanese invasion of 1609. During the invasion, the Okinawan royalty gave a good accounting of themselves, but due to the stealth maneuver, where the main body of the Satsuma invaders kept the Okinawan warriors busy, while a smaller force landed on the other side of the island, advanced on the capital, and took the emperor captive, they were defeated.
The Okinawan warriors immediately gave up, since their main duty was to protect the emperor. Once the Satsuma settled in, the royalty kept secret their real martial ability. In fact they acted like they had little to no real skill. Eventually, once the Okinawan royalty realized that their lives would not be too disrupted by their invaders, they actually made friends with the Samurai.
The Satsuma Samurai even shared their martial arts with some of the Okinawan royalty, to the point where we have records of Sokon Matsumura and Yasutsune Itosu being graded in the system of Jigen Ryu. It has been said that Matsumura actually held a Menkyo Kaiden in this Ryu.
As modern researchers started to trace the history of Karate, they first found the fact that Okinawa Te was used by Shigeru Nakamura as the name for his martial art prior to World War II, before he changed the name to Okinawan Kempo after the war. He had been a student under educator Yasutsune Itosu, as well as, Choyu and Choki Motobu, learning Choyu’s Bushi Te and Choki’s Kempo Karate.
Nakamura believed that it would be best for Okinawan martial arts to not be divided into different Ryu, but rather stay a comprehensive system involving the skills of the whole island, a sentiment shared by Gichin Funakoshi. Nakamura originally established his organization using the name of the original Okinawan martial art, Te.”
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