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.
GMAF NEWSLETTER AUGUST 2000
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.”
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Apostle Paul
” A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”
Restore the Joy by Sensei Mark McGee
Almost three decades of pastoring and counseling Christians have given me the opportunity to see deep into the hearts of God’s people at many stages of their lives. Most new believers have a great joy in their hearts because of the salvation God gives them in Christ. That joy continues for a time, but often lessens as the young Christian battles daily with the world, their flesh and the Devil. The battle wears on them. Sin scars them; sometimes hardens them.
King David experienced many joys in his life. He also experienced heartache. David sinned against God and man, so the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to confront David about his sin. David’s reaction was what it should have been.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according
unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.” Psalm 51:1-4
Some Christians react to confrontation of their sin by denying it. Others get angry with the person who confronts them. Some hide. Some want to die.
God confronts His children because He loves them. It’s not because He wants to embarass or punish us. He wants us to acknowledge our sin and change our behavior. We have a great advocate on our behalf. His Name is Jesus. Christ died so we do not have to die. Christ exposed sin so we do not have to hide. Christ poured out His righteous anger on sin so we do not have to be angry. Christ finished the payment for sin so we do not have to deny it. We believe and receive. We believe in the power of Christ’s Sacrifice and receive Christ’s Life.
Every child of God has experienced the terror of sin in their lives. We all have said with David:
“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.” Psalm 51:8
Sin in a Christian’s life steals their joy and gladness. They feel as if their bones are broken. They feel deep pain inside their bodies. They feel a million miles away from God. They want the pain to stop. They want the joy of their salvation restored.
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:12
That is the prayer of our hearts when we face the sin in our lives. We want to feel like we did when salvation was new and fresh. We want God to restore that feeling; we want Him to restore the joy we had once with Him. We need Him to uphold us with His Spirit.
The result of that desire and prayer is that God will restore us to the joy we had before. He will uphold us with His Spirit. God’s ministry of restoring our joy has many benefits. We are happy again. We are productive. We are back on the path. We are also ready to minister to others in a deeper way.
“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Psalm 51:12-13
It’s wonderful to see how things change for Christians who acknowledge their sin to God and are restored to joy. They serve God and others with renewed vigor and vitality. They are able to share with the lost in a new and powerful way – “and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
That is one of our primary goals as Christian martial artists. We want to see sinners converted to Christ. The joyful servant will bear more fruit than one who has lost their joy because of sin in their lives. An amazing truth about sharing Christ from a joyful heart is that the ministry of sharing multiplies our joy.
“O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” Psalm 51:15
What’s The Matter LORD? “You Are Karl”
Part One by Pastor Karl Marx
“Well here I am, at the computer again. This time what I have to share may be of use to other folks as well as it is for me. I have thought something was missing in my career for many years now. To tell the truth I just found out my problem has something to do with Pride. What Pride? I’ve thought that was in the past, I don’t have any of that stuff anymore! Ha! Pride, and a liar to boot. Let me begin back in the days of old. I had the impression that to be worth something, a person had to be a somebody.
My dad Twain P. Marx had been a somebody, He was ranked third in the World, in the early 1920’s as a professional boxer. My Uncle Paul C. Marx was one of the best boxers that ever graduated from LSU in Baton Rouge Louisiana. My cousin Donald Marx became a Doctor of Chiropractor, and his brother Paul is a Lawyer, all earned the hard way. I am so proud of them. As for me, well I never felt worthy of much, I had been left behind in a boarding School in Lake Charles Louisiana, at about 10 or 11 years of age, I think? By my mom and step-dad, I felt abandoned, hurt and angry. They had no other choice, we moved so often I had a very difficult time keeping up in school.
I made up my mind then that I would become a “Big Shot” as we used to say back then. No one would ever leave me again. Ha! Was I ever in for a rude awaking. My goal in life was to become a very important man one-day. To that end I made myself into the man I wanted to be. But Not what the Media respected. Like the song goes, “I can’t get no satisfaction” Ha!
It is my little opinion that Martial Arts need a new vision. It is apparent to any open-eyed individual that the ranking system builds too much pride, and puffed up egos. I see many Christian Martial arts instructors getting caught up in the occult aspect of what I myself have been guilty off. Pastor, Martial Art teachers are not exempt from this danger, and many are crossing over the line into the “Pride Side.” Most of these well meaning persons, in attempting to keep out of the occult part of martial art training without very much real knowledge and skill, make up something of their own. In doing this, they look into an oriental dictionary and find an appropriate Christian translation. Then they name their style something like Ohai-Do. Which according to them means The Way of the Lord. Of course these names are bogus, I don’t know what or if there is such an oriental term.
Then come the Associations. Next in line is the promotions. This starts out innocent enough, but who really had or has the authority to make such high rank promotions? How many years has Christian Martial Arts been organized? Is there really anyone truly qualified to promote someone with less than 25 years experience in these Arts to 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th 9th and even 10th degree? My question is why do we have to have all these titles, and high ranks? My excuse was that since the World appreciates this kind of hero worship, that IF I were to become FAMOUS, God could use me as a tool in getting young and old alike to desire to hear what I had to say about Jesus Christ.
So I trained hard, and my students trained hard. Keichu-Do students won many titles, State, Regional, National, World, and even Junior Olympic Gold and Silver Medals in competition. My being the First American to be promoted to the rank of 10th Dan, by an Organization outside of my own, can be challenged, there are after all, a lot of diploma mills out there. And is my own really legitimate? I question that myself sometimes. I don’t want any bogus rank. But I was promoted to 10th Dan way back in the Early 70’s, that is a fact. But again SO WHAT? Who really gives a hoot? Does that fact make me any better than any one else? Of course not. So why did I spend so much time fretting over the stupid thing? WAAA! I didn’t get recognized at this event or that convention. Wow! What a wimp!
The World didn’t even recognize Jesus Christ; for crying out loud, so who the heck do I think I AM? But not having the good since God gave me to use properly I didn’t let my Creator do what he wanted to do. The problem was that I did it the easy way. I became the first Cajun from Louisiana to form a self-defense system. Then I claimed what I actually believe; to be the first American to start his own style without having studied and earned a black belt from an Oriental Karate martial art. I later studied and became a black Belt in Judo.
I accomplished a great deal of feats that no one has yet reached, yet I was ignored by the black belt magazine publishing Hall Of Fame, in 1979. They left that year blank even though many of my friends and students, including public politics were with me. The whole story is not necessary, however I should have won. Ha! but they left the slot open and chose no one, rather than give it to me. Here I am the first American to have done what I did and Bruce Lee is the best thing since Jesus Christ in the Martial art world. Keichu-Do has been around publicly for 40 years this year 2000. Our 40th anniversary and do I get a story in Black Belt magazine. NAAAA!
My story is not about what I should have been, but how I hindered God’s blessings in my life. I was so busy striving for fame and glory that I completely missed my chance to allow God to do His will for me. Yes I did earn the right to be better recognized by my peers, however my attempting to help myself instead of letting God caused a backlash.
I do not wish to expound on my few little accomplishments. The reason why is simple, my own egocentrical pride is what I think has been holding back the Blessings God wanted to give me all this time. God has informed us in the Bible that if we obey His commands, He will lift us up to our peers and honor us in the eyes of man, not because of what we do but by His Grace and mercy, through Christ Jesus. My wanting to be honored by my fellow man was selfish, and as I Narcissistically looked at my, so-called feats at least in MY own eyes, I became more of a fool. Again the Bible warned me, not to be wise in my own eyes, to think of others as better than myself, Ha! My vanity would not allow me to do that until recently. Just this month of July in the year 2000 The Holy Spirit showed me what was going on in my life and ministry. I am learning that to receive all that God has to offer we need to step back, let go and let God do his will in us.
The more we try to help the Lord the more we interfere, and interrupt, His plans. Just like a football game, when the coach sends in a play if the captain or quarterback doesn’t respond correctly the plan may go bad. As martial artist we have to give up all the hype, and high rank, pride, and ego stuff. Most of us are just making a fool of ourselves anyway, Masters and Grandmasters, Soke’s (founders) Ha! It actually takes around 25 years to really master most styles, very few true masters of a traditional style would ever consider starting their own. That is paramount to being a traitor. Where do we get off creating our own style when it takes a life time to just learn the one we started with.
You can’t blame me for doing that because I never studied or received a black belt in Karate. The problem appears to again be the old ego, and pride brothers. “The higher the rank, the bigger the head, the bigger the head, the smaller the brain.” (KWM) Unfortunately most of the so-called Masters and Grandmasters, as well as the Soke’s are a bunch of wanab’s. Many are too egotistical to learn a real Martial art, so they fumble up a conception of their own. Where is the integrity? Honor, Loyalty? Of the Bushido code of old? With this trend of unfaithfulness already in advance there is a group of highly intelligent Business minded individual who take advantage of the unsuspecting lesser knowledgeable, in the marketing and business area of their field. These super businessmen could care less about Martial Artist being loyal to their instructors, and style heads.
The truth is these businessmen appear to be stealing the money from rightful individuals. Shame on you fellows and you know who you are. While you profess to teach others how to retain their students, and you do give great business advice, you also want the dojo owners to give you incredible fees for your service. I have no problem with you making a living. However stay the heck out of my business. You are infringing on my right to make a living by telling the World and my students that They don’t need to pay me for the right to teach my family Art.
I do agree that there are a bunch of creeps, who take advantage of their students, however I am not one. I resent your implication that ALL of us are pseudo masters. I’m 64 years young and have been in the self-defense field all my life. From the day I was born my dad had me punching like a boxer, which he was, earlier in his life. I am willing to meet anyone of you in the ring to prove beyond a doubt in your mind that I am not a pseudo anything. Win, lose, or draw, I can guarantee, that you will never forget that you were in a real fight. Am I bragging? No! Just stating the Facts. Nothing personal! It’s just another job to me.
Most of this Martial Art stuff is just a big ego builder anyway. Statements like “we will build your self-esteem, and self-confidence, are nothing but promises you can’t keep. You can’t make someone brave, or teach them courage, you teach them techniques that IF they work in a real situation fight or attack, then your student will feel good about his/her success. Other wise they will most often wonder if they could really defend themselves. A lot of students want to believe and regardless of whether they can or cannot really defend themselves, they never the less believe they can, and in many cases get their butt’s kicked in a fight. Most of the real fighters are not afraid to fight, it is not important if they win or lose, it’s the fight that really matters. The thrill of danger, the chance to prove you got it! Man that’s the high, the adventure, and a high adrenaline rush that is better than any substance abuse. I don’t fight anymore because my life style has changed since I became a Christian. However my being a Christian and a Pastor, does not mean that now I forgot how to fight or that I lost the ability to defend myself.
I know I’m ranting, and raving, here, however I only wish to make my point clear. I don’t like some desk jockey black belt salesman spouting off at the mouth, accusing me and other legitimate martial arts instructors of all being pseudo masters because we have a franchised system. It’s OK for our students to Pay you large sums of money to tell them how to teach and manage their dojo. Ha! Anyone with a lick of business since is taught by his or her Sensei how to do that.
Your rotten propaganda cost people like me a hundred thousand dollars a year. Don’t build you house on another man’s foundation, is a warning from the Bible. I used to have connections with the COMPANY! But my Boss is MUCH bigger than all the companies put together. I work for Almighty God, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. I’ll stay out of your business; just YOU stay out of mine. OK! ENOUGH of that! My situation is that I wish to make it known that we are all guilty of teaching PRIDE to our students. Not a good kind of pride of accomplishments for a job well done, but a Pride of ” since I am higher in rank than someone I have the right to make them do pushups whenever I want. I’m a higher rank so others have to bow to me type of rotten attitude pride, and ego.”
[We will publish the next part of Pastor Marx’s article in an upcoming GMAF Newsletter.]
“We play a relay race. Team of 4 or so. 1st they run to the 1st kick pad and do 10 front snap kicks with each leg. Then they run to the next kicking pad and do 10 down (ax) kicks with each leg. Then they run back and tack the next team mate and then he starts. We also play “Simon Says” using stances and blocks. Push-ups are used when they mess up.
We have all students line up in 1 line in sitting stance. The person at the end of the line crawls through each students legs and then rejoins line at the front. We save the largest kid for last (my 12 yr old son). When he goes throug he can’t get under the little 5 yr olds legs and the all end up in a pile laughing. This is a good sitting stance practice.
I need some more games. Anyone have any games maybe in a circle?”
“We had a game similar to David’s, but in a horse stance, and the last person in line army craws under the legs, not to touch the sides, and to not use thier feet. They must use all upper arm strength to do this. It does work on the muscles for a horse stance.
We also would play stance drills in the dark, all lined up side by side, and then shut off the lights. We then would move, on instructor’s count, moving foward in that stance, and see who could end up straighter. If you ended leaning in one direction, in the end, that meant your other side was just a little weaker, but could be worked on.
We also sometimes did stump the student, which wasn’t a game outside karate teachings, but worked as a game as well. Students site down, instructor call on a kid, and says, do such and such, form or self defense set, and they do it. If the student doesn’t know it, they sit in a hot seat, waiting to do it again. In the mean time, the kid that went first, calls on someone, and chooses something for them to do. Of course, the requirement had to be something on their belt level or below. The game goes till everyone can get it done, best to do it first. Sometimes, if a student is laughing at the stumped student, they are chosen to do something, to see if they really know their stuff even more.
Sometimes too, not as games, but for fun, we’d allow kids to tumble on the mats, such as simple techniques, such as cartwheels, tuck rolls, shoulder rolls, and simular ones. Kids also loved having the long jump competition, and the high jump competition as well.”
“Once you get new students in the door, how do you keep them there?”
“Being honest with them and sincere. I try to make them feel important to the class, not just another person in line. I try to give them individual attention. Learn their name quickly and the names of their family and friends that come with them. Show them that you are consistent with your beliefs. Never try to appear “better” or “smarter” than anyone just because you are the instructor. Let them see that you are “real”, not someone who thinks they are something because of the color of cloth they wear around their waist. ”
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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