Unification News for May 1997
My Life as a Martial Artist
Just before I joined the Unification Church, my desire was to go to Okinawa, Japan. Before leaving, I met our movement and decided it was more important to put my spiritual life first and trust that God would guide me. To give up my desire for Martial Arts was not an easy thing to do. That time I was nineteen years old. Looking back, I feel very good about my decision to put the public cause over my individual cause.
After five years of fundraising and witnessing missions, I started working in Home Church in the Bronx, New York. The higher purpose to do Martial Arts came when my central figure suggested I do Martial Arts with Dr. Joon Ho Seuk. It just so happened that my leader was from Okinawa, Japan. I began training and teaching in my Home Church area. I was fortunate that our center was only half an hour from True parents' home in Tarrytown, NY. In that period, 1980-83, Father spoke almost every Sunday at Belvedere. Our training hall was located on the same grounds as Belvedere.
After these years in Home Church, Dr. Seuk recruited me to CARP. I began my mission doing Martial Arts demonstrations before Dr. Seuk spoke on Unificationism at many major universities. I was assigned to Berkeley, CA in order to promote my Martial Arts program. I directed a Martial Arts school for six years. During this time, my student, a businessman from Finland, went back and sent me a ticket to visit his school in Helsinki, Finland in 1988. That time I visited Leningrad, Russia and I knew it would be a challenging place to live. In 1992, four years after that visit to Leningrad, my wife and I accepted the mission to work in Russia.
The first couple of years in Russia, I coordinated many DP seminars. I was given permission to focus full-time on the Martial Arts. On the foundation of working with orphans, the director of the Institute of Family and Child asked me to teach there. From the Institute I was able to develop my Martial Arts Federation. We are directly connected to the government's Martial Arts Association.
Our Federation has sponsored fifteen tournaments and many seminars involving different stylists. With the Russian toughness, we have improved as a sport since our beginning in the USA. Our self-defense program comes from the system of Don Harbour, who has merged his style with Tongil Moo Do, embracing the movements of Aikido, Kempo and Jujitsu. Centered on the principle of love and harmony, Mr. Harbour has developed a system which can embrace the average person not interested in tournament-type Martial Arts but wanting to learn self-defense. I am very happy to note that two of my instructors have been blessed by our True Parents and the person I left to be in charge will be blessed this November.
She was able to come from St. Petersburg to attend the Martial Arts Federation for World Peace recently started by True Father. We had 400 leading Martial Artists from 120 nations discuss how they can cooperate to provide moral leadership and contribute to the establishment of world peace. Father spoke three times at the conference. As we all know, True Father never compromises the Principle. In short, the participants were inspired to help this Federation for World Peace. The April '97 Unification News has a more detailed report on this most recent conference.
My personal experience connects to the people I invited. I can't say enough how impressed my guests were by True Father. At our recent Sunday service, John Strother, president of Martial Arts for Healthy Mind and Bodies, spoke about his experience at the conference. He spoke at length about how grateful he was to participate. his program could only benefit from such an excellent conference. He made an approach book with pictures and information from the conference. Mr. Strother has a master's degree in social work and sincerely connects to Father's vision, using Martial Arts for healthy mind and bodies. Martial Arts serve as a positive alternative for our young people.
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