Unification News for April 1997
Inauguration of Martial Arts Federation Packs a Punch for Peace
by Michael Leone and Dan Fefferman-Washington, DC
The Martial Arts Federation for World Peace held its Inaugural World Convention in Washington DC March 23-27, drawing together more that 400 leading martial artists from 83 nations to discuss how their disciplines can cooperate to provide moral leadership and contribute to the establishment of world peace.
MAFWP Founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, told the delegates, "The tradition of martial arts has much in common with the path of the spiritual warrior to which [Mrs. Moon and I] have dedicated ourselves. The purpose of religion, after all, is to inspire and discipline the body to obey the mind, centering on God. Is this not strikingly similar to the tradition of martial arts, to train its students in the physical and spiritual principles of self-defense based on the highest moral standards?"
Some of the convention's highlights included:
* Meetings at which participants shared their vision and experience on 1) the potential of martial arts as a college curriculum 2) martial arts as a tool for building human character and 3) the common ground among the various martial arts.
* A plenary session in which keynote speaker and famed martial artist Bob Wall challenged his colleagues to use their positions as teacher to inspire a movement of moral revival.
* Three separate addresses by Rev. Moon, including his two most recent official public speeches and an inspiring spontaneous closing talk.
* A series of lectures entitled "True Character and Family Life Education" presented as a model which martial artists can use in their own capacity as teachers to "instill good character and build healthy families that lead to true fulfillment and prosperity."
* An organizing session to lay the groundwork for the MAFWP's ongoing activities.
* An remarkable grand public exhibition of martial arts demonstrations attended by the mayor of Washington DC and featuring nearly 200 martial artists, representing nearly every style imaginable-from the spiritual grace of Tai Chi to the brick-breaking power of Kung Fu to the august ceremony ritual sword drill.
From our viewpoint, one of the most impressive things about the conference was the way that the martial artists, many of them holding the rank of Grandmaster, responded to Rev. Moon. Being trained in the martial arts discipline, these men and women showed Rev. Moon a high degree of respect as a spiritual teacher. They listened attentively to his speeches-three of them over a four-day conference. Many of the participants commented about how impressed they were with Rev. Moon.
"He is one gutsy guy. That's my kind of spirituality!" commented plenary session chairman Stephen Hayes, a 10th degree Senior Master in the Japanese Ninja tradition who has served as a body guard for such notables as the Dalai Lama and Bishop Desmond Tutu.
Daily program The following is a day-by-day summary of the convention highlights.
Sunday-Participants arrive, and we have our opening dinner. The convention's organizing chairman, Mr. Duk Sun Myung, gives welcoming remarks.
Monday-Rev. moon addresses the group after breakfast, giving his "Principle View of the Providence of Restoration" speech. All speeches are translated into six languages simultaneously through headphones. The rest of the day consists of the excellent True Character Education lectures by the International Education Foundation. Based on Unification Thought, these are based on the curriculum now being taught in thousands of high schools throughout the Soviet Union and soon in China. One man tells us these lectures can save his country. Several more request slides and workbooks. Our hats are off to Dr. Seuk and the IEF staff for developing these excellent, professional- quality presentations.
Tuesday-The IEF lectures conclude and the participants get a tour of the Capital and the Washington Times. Important new contacts and connections are made among the martial artists. Rev. Moon holds a special luncheon for the Grandmasters. In the evening, the participants are treated to a stunning performance by the students of the Kirov Academy of Ballet. Anticipation builds for the convention's climatic conclusion on Wednesday.
Wednesday-This is the Big Day. At the Head Table sits a virtual Who's Who of martial arts. Bob Wall-who is a champion of champions, movie star and "The Voice of Karate"-presents the keynote address. He gives an inspiring talk on the Martial Arts and Moral Values. Stephen Hayes introduces the Founder's address. He speaks from his heart about Rev. Moon's character and tells the stories of how Father met Gorbachev and Kim Il Sung, confronting and forgiving the very man whose regime had tortured and imprisoned him 40 years earlier.
Father gives his "In Search of the Origin of the Universe" speech. Afterward, Mr. Hayes responds: "You see, I told you he was a gutsy guy!" Father receives an enthusiastic standing ovation from the martial artists.
The Conference continues with break-out sessions:
Committee I. "The Potential of Martial Arts as a College Curriculum." The Chairman is Dr. Jerry Beasley, a master-level black belt, well known martial arts writer and a pioneer in establishing martial arts curricula at the college level. He is joined by Millsaps College professor, Dr. Stephen Black, and the founder of the Southern California T'ai Chi Chu'an Center, Master Daniel Lee.
Committee II. "Martial Arts as an Educational Tool for Building Human Character." The Chairman is Master Scott Woods, a well known Karate champion who runs a successful string of martial arts school in Northern California which emphasize character-building rather than tournament competition. Master Woods presented Rev. and Mrs. Moon with Honorary Black Belts for their contribution to the martial arts. Joining him was martial arts publisher John Graden, Washington Redskins linebacker Ken Harvey, and Aikido Grandmaster Gaku Homma, who is the founder of the Nippon Kan Culture Center in Denver.
Committee III. "Common Ground Among the Various Martial Arts." This was led by Master George Alexander, known as "The World Pioneer of Shorin Ryu Karate." Joining him are Hapkido Grandmaster Jin Pal Kim, seven-time National Karate Champion Daniel Lane, and Shaolin Grandmaster Alan Lee.
The committee meetings were the very valuable for the participants, enabling them to meet and exchange views with other martial artists from various disciplines from throughout the world. "I never realized so many martial artists were concerned about using martial arts for moral education," one participant commented. "This is by far the greatest inter-disciplinary gathering I have ever attended or heard about," said another.
Following the committee meetings, the participants heard a luncheon talk by Dr. Joon Ho Seuk, the Founder of the Tongil Moo Do martial art and president of the International Educational Foundation. Dr. Seuk gave an inspiring vision of the role of the martial arts in the 21st Century, based on Rev. Moon's teachings.
Following this, the closing Plenary Session summarized what was accomplished in each Committee and throughout the conference. Reporting on this was Dr. Tom Ward, representing the University of Bridgeport, which has expressed interest in establishing a Martial Arts program as part of its academic curriculum.
Next on the agenda was the organizational meeting, led by the convention's Organizing Chairman, Mr. Myung. This session worked on establishing the formal structure for the ongoing work of the Martial Arts Federation for World Peace.
Our farewell dinner featured and inspiring talk-again emphasizing the theme of moral values in the martial arts- by the noted martial arts father and son team, Michael DePasquale (Senior and Junior).
Finally, came the Grand Finale-an evening of martial arts demonstrations the likes of may never have seen before. This evening was opened to a broader audience, and a standing-room only crowd of more than 1500 people filled the Hilton's Grand Ballroom for the event.
Joining Rev. Moon on stage to open the festivities was none other than Washington DC Mayor Marion Barry. He publicly congratulated Rev. and Mrs. Moon not only for their work with the martial arts, but for the various other Federations for World Peace as well. And he specifically mentioned his anticipation of the 3.6 million couples Blessing which will center on DC's RFK Stadium this November.
Included in the demonstrations were
* An example of the power of "Chi" movement by Grandmaster Alan Lee
* Dramatic board and brick breaking demonstrations by a variety of experts that had the audience on the edge of their seats. (Some of us had to close our eyes at some of these death-defying feats.)
* Examples of martial arts katas, or forms, from a variety of disciplines, demonstrating the impressive variety of martial arts styles.
* Sparring and self-defense demonstrations of many varieties.
Although the program went on until about 10:00 pm, the evening was far from over. Rev. Moon was so enthused at the results of the conference that he consented to give one final talk to the participants.
This time, he spoke completely from his heart, with no text or prepared notes. The participants thus had a chance to see not just the "formal Rev. Moon" of the conference, but the true Father that all of us members know and love.
Father was absolutely "intoxicated" (his own word) and gave over two hours of excitement to the group. He spoke about the relationship between martial arts and the religious discipline of uniting mind and body. He challenged the group to go to new levels of dedication in the moral and spiritual realms. He spoke of God, true love and absolute sex. He testified to the Blessing and invited them all to participate. Finally he declared that he is ready to support the Martial Arts Federation for World Peace with a generous amount of matching funds.
The traditional victory cake was then cut. Mr. Hayes and Mr. Myung presented Father with a beautiful diamond-shaped clear trophy in gratitude for his support of the Inaugural World Convention of the MAFWP. Each participant received a miniature version of the trophy as a memento to take home.
Thus, it is no exaggeration to say the Inaugural Convention of the Martial Arts Federation for World Peace was a huge success. Rev. Moon has great hopes for the Federation as an ongoing project into the next millennium. It will be our challenge to help him realize this goal by empowering the martial artists of the world to unite with his vision for the Martial Arts and World Peace.
As special note of appreciation goes out to Mr. Dong Moon Joo and the Washington Times Foundation, inc., without whose support none of this could have taken place, and to Mr. Duk Sun Myung, whose vision and dedication, inspired by Rev. Moon, made this conference a reality. Finally a very special honorable mention goes to Betsy Hunter Jack LaValley, Marty Moran and the other staff members who put it many 20- hour days to produce this unprecedented event "from scratch" in less than two months.
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