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 July-August 2002
Welcome to the GMAF Newsletter! We pray it will encourage you in your Martial Arts and Outreach for Christ.
Thoughts from the Master
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”
The Apostle Paul
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”
“Bendito el Dios y Padre del Señor nuestro Jesucristo, el cual nos bendijo con toda bendición espiritual en lugares celestiales en Cristo: Según nos escogió en él antes de la fundación del mundo, para que fuésemos santos y sin mancha delante de él en amor; Habiéndonos predestinado para ser adoptados hijos por Jesucristo á sí mismo, según el puro afecto de suvoluntad, Para alabanza de la gloria de su gracia, con la cual nos hizo aceptos en el Amado: En el cual tenemos redención por su sangre, la remisión de pecados por las riquezas de su gracia, Que sobreabundó en nosotros en toda sabiduría é inteligencia; Descubriéndonos el misterio de su voluntad, según su beneplácito, que se había propuesto en sí mismo, De reunir todas las cosas en Cristo, en la dispensación del cumplimiento de los tiempos, así las que están en los cielos, como las que están en la tierra: En él digo, en quien asimismo tuvimos suerte, habiendo sido predestinados conforme al propósito del que hace todas las cosas según el consejo de su voluntad, Para que seamos para alabanza de su gloria, nosotros que antes esperamos en Cristo.”
“Béni soit Dieu, le Père de notre Seigneur Jésus Christ, qui nous a bénis de toute sortes de bénédictions spirituelles dans les lieux célestes en Christ! En lui Dieu nous a élus avant la fondation du monde, pour que nous soyons saints et irrépréhensibles devant lui, nous ayant prédestinés dans son amour à être ses enfants d’adoption par Jésus Christ, selon le bon plaisir de sa volonté, à la louange de la gloire de sa grâce qu’il nous a accordée en son bien-aimé. En lui nous avons la rédemption par son sang, la rémission des péchés, selon la richesse de sa grâce, que Dieu a répandue abondamment sur nous par toute espèce de sagesse et d’intelligence, nous faisant connaître le mystère de sa volonté, selon le bienveillant dessein qu’il avait formé en lui- même, pour le mettre à exécution lorsque les temps seraient accomplis, de réunir toutes choses en Christ, celles qui sont dans les cieux et celles qui sont sur la terre. En lui nous sommes aussi devenus héritiers, ayant été prédestinés suivant la résolution de celui qui opère toutes choses d’après le conseil de sa volonté, afin que nous servions à la louange de sa gloire, nous qui d’avance avons espéré en Christ.”
No matter what version or language, the truth is Christians are blessed. We are a special people uniquely loved and blessed by God.
“The Ultimate Self Defense”
In the world of Martial Arts(Karate, Kung fu, etc.) the “ultimate” self- defense would be one considered 100% effective against the most deadly attack, and applicable to any person using it. But no amount of proficiency in any of these fighting arts would serve as a defense against the most deadly attack of all. This assault destroys the very inward being of man. The Bible calls it sin. Why is it so dangerous?
1. IT ATTACKS EVERYONE
ROM. 3:23 – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” ROM. 3:10 – “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
2. ITS BLOW IS MORTAL
ROM. 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death…”
PSALM 9:17 – “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” – The result is death, not only physically, but spiritually and eternally.
3. YOU ARE DEFENSELESS
ROMANS 3:20 – “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” – Religion and good works cannot solve the problem of your sin.
BUT THE ULTIMATE SELF-DEFENSE HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVIDED FOR YOU:
ROM. 5:8 – “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
ROM. 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Jesus, the Son of God, took that mortal blow for you and me. He paid the price for sin, having never sinned Himself. Now He offers His righteousness to you in place of your sin. What a trade!
II Cor. 5:21 – “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” This is the great love God has for you! So, what do you do?
APPLY THIS ULTIMATE SELF-DEFENSE: TALK TO GOD…
1. REPENT OF YOUR SIN AND ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOU.
ACTS 3:19 – “Repent(turn from sin to God) ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…”
ROM. 10:13 – “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
2. BELIEVE AND RECEIVE.
John 1:12 -“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become
the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”
Rom. 10:9 – “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
3. MAKE THIS DECISION TODAY.
HEBREWS 3:15 – “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
JOHN 3:36 – “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Win this victory over sin and death today and take this step. Accept Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Saviour. Make Him your Master.
“A Thought and an Ego Check”
Master Joseph Lumpkin
(Karate for Christ International)
Let me begin by saying that I alone am responsible for anything you read here and all hate mail or plaudits should be sent by return e-mail. No other member or advisor should be help responsible.
I have been personally disturbed at the growth in numbers of those who are claiming the title of Soke. I have also been taken aback by the number of 9th and 10th dans that are younger than 40 years of age. I believe we stand to lose credibility by letting our pride cloud our vision. Christian Martial arts should reflect the best of the arts, of the people, and of the Lord. Our standards should be kept high. Let me take a moment to bring into focus some wisdom from my 30 years of training, and from the greater seats of wisdom that Karl Marx and Mark Barlow offer. (These are men who run national systems that are recognized with whom I have voiced my concerns).
1) To be a Soke / founder you must have a system that has made an impact and has a following. This is not one school in your own town. It is a growing, expanding, usable system.
2) The system must be unique. To take an established system and change the names of a few or even all of the techniques does not constitute and new system. It constitutes plagiarism
3) If you paid someone to recognize your system you have just thrown your money away. Some rubber stamp does not make you a Soke. Anyone who would sell you a sokeship is himself invalid in the MA community or is at least considered to be VERY much out of line. I believe that to be established as a founder you should seek the approval of 3 or more established heads.
4) Sokeship is a big responsibility. It is not some badge of honor. It is a pain in the ….neck and has attached to it the responsibility of the direction of a system with the welfare of hundreds of students at stake. If you want a title, call yourself “grand poobah” and don’t play with the welfare of students. They are learning your style to protect, defend, and improve. If it can not be used for that or you cannot teach to that level, you are endangering lives.
5) There is a difference between rank and Sokeship. Just because you are a founder does not make you a 10th dan. Most reputable organizations use one of two main requirements for rank. Some require about 2- 3 years for the lower ranks, 3 – 4 years between mid ranks, and 4 – 5 years between higher ranks and all of these are minimums. Some require as many years between dans as the rank itself. This means that it would take 2 to 3 years to get a 2nd dan, 3 to 4 years to get a 3rd dan, 4 to 5 years to get a 4th dan… So if you reached your 1st degree at the age of 16, which is the youngest many schools would give a shodan, you would be 18 at 2nd, 21 at 3rd, 25 at 4th, 30 at 5th, 36 at 6th, 43 at 7th, 51 at 8th, 60 at 9th, 70 at 10th using the strictest rankings. Using the other common systems it would take to age 19 for 2nd, 22 for 3rd, 26 for 4th, 30 for 5th, 34 for 6th, 38 for 7th, 42 for 8th, 47 for 9th, 52 for 10th, and again I repeat, this is an absolute minimum. (I believe the time should increase between ranks as rank increases.) Now, these are approximations and may vary by a few years (but I can’t see them being off any much). Based on these stats, it does not take a mathematician to see that to claim a rank of 9th or 10th dan at the age of 25 or even 35 is incorrect. Soke / founder means you have the highest rank in the system but that rank does not have to be the highest available. As far as the style goes, sokeship makes rank a non-issue. Other requirements for sokeship should be: Stability, the wisdom that comes with age, 36 to 40 years of age absolute minimum, Black belts in at least 2 styles, at least a 6th dan in any one style. A unique and applicable system, a documented system, a number of schools teaching the style…
6) If you have a calling on your life, that calling, be it teacher, pastor, or caregiver will always trump your rank. The moment you begin to believe that your rank is an issue, you have lost sight of your true calling. I am sure there are some who are called to be strictly in the MA ministry. I believe I am, but my calling to pastor Karate for Christ will always come above what rank I happen to have. Look at sokeship in a Christian art as servant-hood. The only time rank becomes an issue is when you make it one. We drag with us the burdens of those under us. We are called to minister, not lord over anyone. We are called to be gracious, slow to anger, compassionate, wise, and well balanced. We are called to have the strength of a man, the heart of a woman, and the mind of Christ. We are called to be helpers and counselors. I had rather be called teacher a thousand times than “Soke” once. The power of the position is in the ability to teach and lead. That is where lives are changed because it is there we can introduce others to Christ.
I am calling on our members to examine motives and abilities. Stay away from those who would blind you with flattery. Do not “buy into” the Sokeship for money trick. The people who would take your money and give you a paper are NOT legitimate. They themselves are charlatans.
Do not hold council with fools. You yourself may become one.
Work for the Lord. Treat those under you as if they were your brothers and sisters.
You are no more than the least one of them.
Rank is sometimes equivalent to scars, breaks, and arthritis. (Certainly, in my case it is equivalent to stiffness, and loss of memory.)
Remember that we were better technicians at the age of 28 than at 38 or 48, so it is obvious that rank and strength or speed are not equal.
Here are the common requirements for anyone who seeks sokeship. These requirements were taken from various secular web sites. Shouldn’t our requirements be at least as strict?
1. One must be of high character and morals with no criminal records. Any letters of character reference from a high ranking Police Officer from your home town, Priest, Pastor or Minister may be submitted along with the application but is not required.
2. One must have at least a grade of Godan, 5th Dan / Degree Black belt or it’s equivalent. A copy of all certification (All prior grades as well) must be supplied for examination.
3. Must have at least twenty (20) years in the Black Belt grade or it’s equivalent.
4. Must hold at least one additional Godan, 5th Degree Black Belt grade or it’s equivalent in another art.
5. Must hold at least two additional Black Belt grades in different arts, systems or ways then the above.
2….Must have documented proof of 20 years or more in the martial arts. .. ( This means active study under high ranking instructor (s) )
3….Must be free from criminal record. ( * serious record )
4….Must have “earned through study” the rank of master ( 5th dan or equal ) in a valid martial art system with traceable lineage.
5….Must have also earned ( * not honorary or cross ranks !) the blackbelt rank in at least two ( 2 ) other valid martial arts. ( or equal !)
6….Must supply complete resume.
7….Must supply list of references to support claims.
8….Must agree to assist in background investigation of martial arts background.
9….Must agree to formally demonstrate / present new art before the board of examiners.
10….Must agree to be placed on two-year probationary period.
11….Must agree to accept the rank issued by the WHC board of directors.
12….Must agree to only advertise ranks and arts registered with the WHC, Inc. ( * note : WHC members are not permitted to break their arts into sun- branches and issue separate ranks in these sub-branches. )
13….Must agree to only advertise grandmaster status in the art one earned a master ranking in (* note : The only way one can create a new branch / version of a martial art is by first mastering an existing art, then, using additional techniques, ideas, concepts found in the other two additional arts where blackbelts were earned, the person can then create a modified version of the art first mastered. )
Taking God’s Grace to the World!
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