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 GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
THOUGHTS FROM THE MASTER
“I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.” Jesus Christ
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” The Apostle Paul
We are pleased to bring you the first installment of the testimony of Dr. Karl Marx, Grand Master of Keichu-Do Karate of Santa Maria, California. We made contact with Dr. Marx recently with the help of Master Ron Shively. We’ve had some wonderful e-mail conversations with Dr. Marx and appreciate his fellowship in Christ.
[Dr. Marx passed into the presence of the Lord he loved so much in 2013]
“Not being a professional writer, or even an amateur correspondent, I have a great lack of ability writing what is in my heart. So dear reader who ever you are, please have patience, and understanding in reading my words. The purpose of this undertaking is first and foremost to give God the glory and to praise His Holy name. Having HOPE is not easy when there appears to be nothing but doom and gloom or dread ahead. Having no goals to look forward to is a terrible position to be in. I would like to share with you, how the power of God pulled me through a life of many unpleasant situations.
All my life, in my own mind at least, there was very little joy or real lasting happiness. My mother divorced my father when I was about three years of age, and remarried when I was five. For some reason I am unable to remember much of my childhood. My Grandmother was terribly tough on my mother when mom was a little girl. Grandma might even have been what we call today abusive. According to my mom, her mother didn’t like her very much. The story is that my little old granny might have been something of a wild filly, when she was a young thing. It appears that my mom might not have been a blessed event when she was born subsequently bringing down the wrath of my grandmother, for messing up her plans and life.
Hum! like they say in Louisiana, “when you play you got to pay” Anyway it seems by my mother’s account, she feels that she was too tough on me when I was a child. If I was abused, it must have been really well done because I can not remember ever getting a whipping except twice. I do remember hard times back in the 40’s because of the war, and meeting my biological father Twain Pierce Marx for the first time. That was a rush for me at eight years old. He had been rated the number three boxer in the World at one time early in his life. He used to teach me all he could about boxing, and take me to what was back then like six flags over Texas in Port Arthur. I remember falling out of my seat on the roller coaster, my legs were not long enough to touch the floor, and somehow the force of the drop caused me to slip out of the safety bar holding us in and almost dropping 100 feet to my possible death. His strong right hand caught me by my pants and belt and pulled me back up. Thank God! for HIS strong right hand.
I remember going back to that same place a year or two later with my step-dad Haywood Williams. I lost my wallet on the bumper car rides, and me and dad were trapped, second from the top on the Ferris wheel, with a terrible rain and wind storm coming in on us, a lot of people on the ground and many like us in the air panicked. But God was with us and no one was injured except for being frightened, cold and wet;’ another example of God’s Blessed Hope. I never liked going to any fairs after that. The ones I did go to, I became sick on the rides.
Today, December the 7th, 1997, I was married to Kathleen, God’s wonderful gift to me, and I write now, only as a witness to Gods great mercy and abundant Grace. I have been faithful to my Lord God by being celibate for the past 7 years. Seven is God’s number of completion. Being faithful to God can be very rewarding. In my case keeping myself pure made me feel like a virgin again.
When I met my wife we kept our relationship purely platonic, no sensuous kissing, just a genteel little peck on the cheek or lips. We didn’t do any long body hugging, or petting. We seldom allowed ourselves to be really alone but kept ourselves accountable. It can be done, guys! I proved that myself. If I can do it God’s Way, anybody can. I was after all one of the World’s worst scoundrels before I came to know Christ as my Savior. God really Blessed me for my faithfulness with a wonderful marriage. After the reception my wife Kathleen and I drove to Santa Barbara to eat at the Casaba but my reservations were not on the book so we just walked around the corner and went to a movie, “Flubber,” and had hot dogs and popcorn for dinner. HA! We had a great time though. Just my little Munchkin Kathy and I, together.
Talk about a fun time honeymoon, It is something I will cherish in my depleted memory bank forever. God is so good. Never in my wildest dreams did I actually think I would be so Blessed. 1997 has really been a bumper crop for me. In one year from the 1996 United States Karate Alliance World Championship to December 7th 1997, here is how God has Blessed me. Not because I earned it, by being faithful, or doing any good things, but by Grace, His Amazing Grace. I had always wanted certain honors out of my fleshly pride and selfish ego. But I never received them after 36 years of coveting them. Then when I gave up on wanting Things, and just wanted to serve God, as His servant my life changed. The things I had coveted meant nothing to me. God was first in my life. Then HE BLESSED me.”
MARTIAL ARTS AND STYLES
Dr. William Durbin has kindly allowed us to reprint his article about Okinawa Te for the GMAF Newsletter. This is a continuation from past newsletters. Please see previous newsletters for the first parts of this article. 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.
“In the evolution of the Okinawan martial arts historical tradition, there developed a tendency to name the styles after the city in which they were practiced. Thus there are those who talk about Shuri Te, Tomari Te, and Naha Te, yet in the actual history of the Okinawan martial arts, this was probably never done. Rather the Okinawans probably only said Te. To help people understand the country where Te came from, we have in modern time added Okinawa to the term, thus Okinawa Te. To refer to a city of origin, we have used the above appellations. There are the other names of Bushi Te and Karate, used by the royalty and the common man, warrior skill and Chinese skill. The modern designation for the Okinawan martial art, is called Karate, this time written ’empty hand’, yet not referring to a hand empty of a weapon, but rather a heart empty of hate. The use of Kara, meaning, empty; has always been a philosophical designation, rather than a practical one.
There is a world of difference between modern Karate, whether Jutsu or Do, and Okinawa Te. Keep in mind that the first use of Te in reference to a true martial art, would have been the Bushi Te of the Okinawan warriors, this was thus the first Okinawa Te.
This martial art was taught without prearranged Kata, but rather through the medium known today as Odorite, literally the dancing hand, but actually referring to a method of free style Kata. Grappling was an essential aspect of this art, in that the Okinawan warriors not only had to have death dealing skills when dealing with hardened criminals and pirates, but also control techniques for disagreements which happen between people and intoxicated individuals. It must be remembered that the Okinawan warriors were more of a police force than a standing army.
Bunkai is the most important principle of Okinawa Te and the secret of its practioner’s ability to go from devastating striking techniques to gentle grappling skills, and back again, if necessary. An Okinawan warrior could literally start with a simple and gentle control technique, immediately blend into a withering strike, then back to a gentle control, in one fluid movement. This was due to the training one received in Bunkai. Keep in mind, however, that the warriors always emphasized the Ikken Hissatsu, one blow certain death skill, for those times when it was needed.
Another aspect of tradional Okinawa Te is weapons training, which involved not only training how to fight with the many different weapons of the time, but also tool weapons which were important when the Okinawan warriors could no longer carry their weapons during the Satsuma occupation, and even advanced weapons training, which is little known today, though still taught in some Ryu.
The most unusual aspect of Te weapon training, is where the defender starts empty handed and must take the weapon away from an attacker and use the weapon effectively. This form of training is considered the most advanced form of Te training and relies strongly on superior grappling skills developed during empty hand practice.
Te training also used a type of Embu, two man form training, that still was free style, though practiced in a soft, fluid manner to avoid injury between the practioners. Most of the Te training was very relaxed, looking also like Tai Chi or the traditioal dances of Okinawa, but with an emphasis on Kime and I, focus and will power.
Ki trainig is also an important part of Okinawa Te training, though even today, those few masters who preserve the original Bushi Te of the past, try to keep that part of the training a secret. Ki training in the Te manner is very similar to that used in Aikido, though with a greater emphasis on focused movement, once again emphasizing Kime.
Finally, as mentioned above, each royal family had their own name for their family martial art. The only one to come down to modern times is Goten Te, the name of the Motobu family martial art. This is kept alive today by the last living student of Choyu Motobu, Seikichi Uehara. While Choyu did share aspects of his art with other Okinawan martial artists, the only person to learn the whole system was Uehara.
Modern Karate is the evolved martial art which is based on Okinawa Te. While many styles of Karate have become only sport systems, there are a few which maintain the tradition of the combat effective, self defense art of ancient Okinawa Te.”
About the Author: Dr. William Durbin has been training in the martial arts since 1970. He has earned black belt ranks in most major styles of Japanese and Okinawa martial arts. Master Durbin has researched the history of the ancient martial arts and tries to preserve the most ancient methods of training in his Kiyojute Ryu Kempo Bugei of which he is the internationally recognized Soke.
Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost A Cent
1) THE GIFT OF LISTENING… But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.
2) THE GIFT OF AFFECTION…
Be generous with appropriate hugs,
kisses, pats on the back and handholds.
Let these small actions demonstrate the
love you have for family and friends.
3) THE GIFT OF LAUGHTER…
Share articles and funny stories.
Your gift will say, “I love to laugh with you.”
4) THE GIFT OF A WRITTEN NOTE…
It can be a simple
“Thanks for the help” note or a full sonnet.
A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.
5) THE GIFT OF A COMPLIMENT…
A simple and sincere,
“You look great in red,” “You did a super job” or “That was a wonderful meal” can make someone’s day.
6) THE GIFT OF A FAVOR… Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
7) THE GIFT OF SOLITUDE…
There are times when we want nothing better
than to be left alone.
Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of
solitude to others.
8) THE GIFT OF A CHEERFUL DISPOSITION…
The easiest way to feel good is
to extend a kind word to someone,
really it’s not that hard to say,
Hello or Thank You.
Thanks to Lorne Weber for sending us this wonderful insight.
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
[Join our Grace Martial Arts Facebook Community!]