The Words of the Nitro Family
On the weekend of November 29 - 30, 2008, Tong Il Moo Do chapters from Clifton and Elizabeth, New Jersey; Queens, Tarrytown, Barrytown, and Hudson Valley, New York; and Philadelphia held a National Training and Promotion Test at the Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown. There were 60 participants coming from the Queens Chapter, led by Master Larry Benaloga; the Clifton Chapter, led by Master Nathaniel Nitro; the Philadelphia Chapter and the Hudson Valley Chapter, led by Master Isagani Purganan; and the UTS Club, led by Masaaki Yoshiga, UTS club coordinator. A few more came and joined in the afternoon session.
The event started on Saturday evening with a meeting of all the instructors and coordinators from each chapter. Master Gerry Servito (one of the first Black Belts of Grand Master Joon Ho Seuk), who serves as one of our advisors, joined us for our meeting. The meeting started with reports from different chapters: How many students do we have? How do we keep our students? And how do we serve the community? Based on the reports, we determined to learn from our own experiences and overcome all difficulties by perseverance; whatever hindrances we encounter, we should never hesitate to move forward. In this mind-set, everyone was united in heart.
We also watched the I-Peace TV video of the recent Peace King tournament, which was held in South Korea. Everyone was so inspired watching the video, especially the part where all the Tong Il Moo Do participants from all over the world performed in front of our True Parents and leaders from all over the world for an hour.
The following day, starting at 5:45am, Master Syler, a Tangsoo-do master instructor, taught all the instructors and adult participants about Brazilian Jujitsu’s grappling and ground techniques for about two hours. Everybody learned and practiced properly applying the techniques without harming one’s opponent but rather rendering that person unconscious. Master Syler summarized all he had learned in his sixteen years of training in two hours through his systematic technique, which he acquired from his masters.
Then after breakfast, we had our first lecture on the philosophy of martial arts given by Master Gerry Servito. Master Servito, a lecturer and educator in Unification Thought, gave a wonderful lecture. He said, “Respect and loyalty cannot be taught; they have to be earned.” He also emphasized the concept of the three great blessings. Taking quotes from great leaders and martial arts grand masters, he explained why it is so important to win the trust of your students, your teachers, your children, and your parents. He emphasized the importance of the traditional way of teaching the do (the way). All the elements necessary in training are to be treated with great respect: the garments, like holy robes and the dojang, like a temple or church.
The lecture was very interactive. Students asked questions and gave examples based on their own experience. The problem of the age gap (ages from 7 to 19 years old) was an issue, but it didn’t affect the quality of the lecture. Master Syler, who was listening, gave his insight as well. The highlight of the lecture was that Master Syler gave a vivid testimony of his experiences in a recent tournament in South Korea.
After the lectures, we had our first training under the guidance of Master Vincent Belmonte: punches, kicks, rolls, and applications of circular techniques.
At 4 pm, the promotion test was conducted. Nineteen participants took part the test. There were three brown belts awarded, three blue belts with a stripe, three blue belts, two green belts with a stripe, seven green belts, and one yellow belt with a stripe. The event concluded with the awarding of a plaque signed by Hyun Jin Moon to three master instructors for their dedication and longtime service to Tong-Il Moo-do. The recipients were Senior Master Kensaku Takahashi, Master Ichinori Tsumagari, and Master Vincent Belmonte.
All the participants left for home with inspiring memories and a new spirit of determination to train more.