The Words of the Seuk Family

Joon Ho Seuk takes Unificationism and Won Hwa Do inside the Soviet Union

Alan Smith and Kensaku Takahashi
February 1990

Dr. Seuk gives an inspiring explanation of Unificationism and the Won Hwa Do philosophy.

The introduction of Unificationism and Father's name to the young people of the USSR through the teaching and training of Won Hwa Do was a truly historic event. We planned the first promotion test for early December of 1989. Dr. Joon Ho Seuk, President of the International Won Hwa Do Association, and Chief Instructor Kensaku Takahashi departed from New York City on the evening of December 5, 1989, to arrive the next day at noon at the Helsinki Ail port in Finland.

Their external purpose was to introduce the techniques and philosophy of Won Hwa Do to Soviet Russia, as well as to nurture the seeds of Won Hwa Do already planted there. Their internal purpose was to prepare a spiritual foundation for the advent of our True Parents and Hyo Jin Nim in the communist world.

A foundation for Won Hwa Do in the USSR began in the summer of 1989 when three people, Gordon Baillie, Samuli Kinnunen, and Alan Smith travelled to Estonia to give a demonstration of the style and explain its guiding philosophy to the Karate Association there. Many people were very inspired and wanted to learn more. One such was a former USSR Karate champion named Igor, who is a teacher in Tallinn.

Martial arts began in the Soviet Union in 1979, but by 1984 it was no longer allowed to be part of the officially recognized sports. The reason was that it was not consistent with building the "communist man." Martial arts continued, however, in private homes. Then in the beginning of 1989 it was officially recognized once more, so the timing was just right for Won Hwa Do's historic mission to begin.

Home Place of Won Hwa Do It was then planned that the head instructor of Won Hwa Do in Europe, Tadao Kawahara, would go to Estonia to teach Won Hwa Do and to expand its foundation. Tadao returned, very inspired and with exciting news. During his stay there, he had given demonstrations to a Kung-fu club and to two Karate clubs. The members and instructors of these clubs all wanted to learn Won Hwa Do, and one Karate club instructor named Uku Tamara wanted to change his club over to a Won Hwa Do club. Interesting, the name of Uku's club was the "Home Place." Now it is called the Won Hwa Do Club Home Place.

Upon meeting Dr. Seuk and Kensaku Takahashi during this recent trip to Estonia, Uku said that Won Hwa Do is what he has been "looking for and waiting for." An official Estonia Won Hwa Do Association was registered in Russia and Uku Tamara is the president of it. He has been studying martial arts for sixteen years and is about 40 years old. He is not a Unification Church member, but he is a very pure person, allowing no smoking or drinking participants to be a part of his school. He is very inspired about the philosophy and technique of Won Hwa Do. He feels that Won Hwa Do is technically superior to the other martial arts and also feels that there is a certain beauty to it that the others lack.

What is most impressive about Won Hwa Do is the philosophy behind it, Unificationism. As a system of moral and ethical education, the Way of Harmony gives clear direction and purpose in life and is unbeatable in building character and spiritual growth. It is especially appealing to the vigor and idealism of young people. Most of the aspiring Won Hwa Do students in the Soviet bloc had already had a great deal of training in other martial arts, so they made rapid progress.

Travelling first to Finland at the request of the Finnish Won Hwa Do chapter, Dr. Seuk and Kensaku Takahashi spent one day attending a seminar on the martial arts. Alan Smith, the national leader of Finland, met them at the Helsinki Airport and they were whisked into a meeting with 70 East Europeans (mostly students).

The audience was a mixture of students of various kinds of martial arts -- Judo, Taekwondo, Kung-Fu, Jujitsu, Kick-boxing, and so on. Dr. Seuk gave a speech about the philosophy of martial arts and Mr. Takahashi gave some pointers about teaching. The students were so inspired about Unificationism that even after three hours of introduction plus question and answer time, the discussion was still going strong and the proprietors of the meeting room were frantically signaling them that they had to leave. People simply forgot about time as Dr. Seuk explained about Father's founding of Won Hwa Do and the depth of its philosophy as well its potential and ability to unite and restore the martial arts.

He made the point that a meeting like this had never happened before because of the rivalry and antagonism that has existed between the different styles and that it was a meeting that the Finnish participants could therefore be very proud of.

Dr. Joon Ho Seuk, president of the International Won Hwa Do Association, is pictured with the new Won Hwa Do instructors.


After visiting the Church Headquarters in Helsinki, Dr. Seuk and Mr. Takahashi flew to Leningrad. Surprisingly, customs officials did not check their bags. The Russian system of travel requires official vouchers to show where one is going and it is all handled by Intourist, the Soviet travel agency. Intourist has frequently been alleged in the past to be manned solely by KGB agents. While the itinerary was highly controlled by Intourist, they were also remarkably efficient and made travelling very convenient.

Their hotel porter introduced them to the flourishing black market of the USSR by offering to exchange 10 rubles to the dollar. (Official rates are 6 rubles to the dollar, but the black market fetches much more.) Everyone wanted foreign currency, not rubles. It was difficult to procure a taxi to travel about Leningrad, but once they explained via gestures that they were martial artists, the taxi drivers seemed remarkably compliant and only charged about two dollars for a 40-minute drive.

While sightseeing in Leningrad (formerly St. Petersburg), where the glorious Russian Orthodox churches of Tsarist Russia are now all museums, they were guided by a woman graduate of Leningrad University. The guide explained that the socialist system had failed and that nowhere in the world was there to be found a system of either pure capitalism or pure socialism. The Russians now feel that they need a new ideal.

They did a special prayer condition at the University of Leningrad. Leningrad is the most European of Russian cities, the former capital of Russia. During World War II, it was besieged for 900 days by the German army. During the siege 17,000 people were killed by air bombs and 650,000 died of starvation because the city's food supplies were cut off.

The visit to Leningrad University showed the truth of the assertion that the USSR is a superpower in military might and a Third World country in every other way. The old building, ancient blackboards erased with rags, the crippled and few desks at this major university, showed that the USSR's economy is foundering.

First Public Lecture to Soviets

The next part of the tour was Tallinn in the Baltic republic of Estonia, where Dr. Seuk and Mr. Takahashi were greeted by Tadao Kawahara and myself. There was to be a training session on the evening of December 8. During the training, Dr. Seuk spoke to the students, explaining the meaning of the first form (a series of coordinated movements) which is the form of the Four Position Foundation. This is the basis of the Won Ha Do philosophy, and the movements have a deep internal meaning. Knowing this underlying principle is an important aspect of the promotion test. The students had to remember the Korean name for the first form, "Sawi Gidae Eui Hyung." The students had hours' worth of questions. They were especially interested in the moral and ethical aspects of martial arts, how to teach them and what attitude to have. It was obvious that they were prepared to receive the Di- vine Principle.

Dr. Seuk was inspired to give them the basics of the Principle of Creation. Relating Unificationism to Won Hwa Do, he explained hyung sang and sung sang, the Three Blessings and the four position foundation. Probably for the first time in history, the Divine Principle was taught publicly in the USSR! This moment will go down in history as one of the most spiritually significant events of this miraculous era.

After a training session the next day, we were invited to the local Karate championships of the Estonia Karate Association. There were about 400 participants. We were treated as special guests and Dr. Seuk was introduced to all the heads of martial arts in Estonia. The officials requested a demonstration of Won Hwa Do, and so Mr. Takahashi and Mr. Kawahara performed the "Eye of the Tiger," an exciting event of Won Hwa Do put to music. Next, Samuli Kinnunen and Mr. Kawahara demonstrated self-defense techniques. They were greeted with enthusiastic applause every time Samuli was thrown on the hard floor!

Dr. Seuk was asked to speak and he gave an inspiring explanation of the Won Hwa Do philosophy. He testified that the founder of Won Hwa Do and of Unificationism was Dr. Sun Myung Moon and spoke about the necessity for a spiritual revolution to take place within the minds and hearts of people. He spoke of how Unificationism espouses true love and living for others as a way to harmonize East and West, regardless of race, nationality, or ethnic origin. He also called for a revival of the original spirit of martial arts as a means of spiritual growth, as devised by the Buddhist monks of China. He said that the hope of the USSR and the world are the young people, who can fight against injustice and for freedom. These words rang out with particular clarity and strength among the freedom-aspiring people of Estonia, one of the more restive of the Baltic Republics long before glasnost.

Dr. Seuk spoke of how the fundamental disunity of mind and body in the individual is what leads to disunity and strife in families, societies, nations, and in the world. To a solemn audience, he articulated that the ideas of Unificationism could help develop mind-body unity, a stepping stone to world peace.

The audience was markedly attentive. There was none of the shuffling, moving about, goofing around or mocking attitudes so prevalent in American audiences at almost any kind of event. The students sat motionlessly erect and were very still, listening absorbedly to every word. Dr. Seuk outlined Unificationism as the right direction and hope for the freedom of this country and the ultimate freedom of the entire world. Everyone applauded and afterwards many instructors approached him and begged him to come to their dojangs and guide their young students. Four hundred people living under communist rule had received Father's name and principles as the founder of Unificationism.

There were no trophies at the tournament; prizes were Bruce Lee posters. (Dr. Seuk and Mr. Takahashi were asked to autograph these posters.) This was another illustration of the humble poverty of the Soviet Union. Sports news writers wrote about Won Hwa Do and that evening the Won Hwa Do dignitaries were taken to an Estonian restaurant and given a glimpse of the hearty Estonian culture -- two and three hour dinners accompanied by dancing and singing!

Participants of the Unificationism Seminar held in Estonia.

Soviet Citizens Memorize the Four Position Foundation

The next day was the promotion test. With a temperature of minus 20 degrees, it was good to be indoors most of the time! Nine students participated in this first promotion test. Some had been training four years; others up to sixteen years. They all displayed a very good standard, internally and externally, which was inspiring to the Won Hwa Do instructors. Each applicant for promotion had to be able to explain the meaning of Sawi Gidae Eui Hyung, the first form, and to pronounce it in Korean. One of the contestants was a female martial arts champion of all Russia. To hear her and the others shouting out aspects of the Divine Principle in the original Korean with such solemnity and strength was a deeply moving moment. This is the first time in history that Soviet citizens have uttered these words about mind and body unity, unity between husband and wife, and the Four Position Foundation. It was amazing and inspiring to the instructors that the students remembered the Korean words and were able to explain their meaning so clearly and seriously and it was a spiritually significant moment for the nation of Russia.

After the test, Dr. Seuk gave them some further guidance and direction, especially thanking Uku, Igor, and Rainer for their contribution to martial arts in their country. Dr. Seuk presented them all with gifts. It was a very joyful and warm moment.

The schedule was so full that there was very little time for sightseeing except when travelling to and from events. The lowly way of life was obvious, however because of the empty shops and long queues for what little goods there were. One person told the participants that the worst thing was not the lack of material goods but the feeling of hopelessness. Living in such a system, makes it difficult to trust other people. Living in such a world either turns a person into a saint or a criminal and in the last year there has been a huge increase in criminal activities.

Igor, who is a teacher, told them that the young people he is teaching have really lost direction. Girls are becoming more aggressive and boys are becoming more feminine. Dr. Seuk explained how Won Hwa Do could help by giving boys a stronger spirit and help the girls to release their aggressions by practicing in the dojang.

Later that day another demonstration was held in a school hall. About 250 people came for what was to be a very exciting evening.

Besides the exciting external events, a second public Unificationism lecture in the USSR was given by Dr. Seuk. As they listened to his words that true love was the only way to unify the world, of the necessity for a spiritual revolution from selfishness to unselfishness in the minds and hearts of people, and of living for the sake of others, the inspired audience broke into applause. Father's name and words of life were proclaimed for the second time in the oppressive atmosphere of the Soviet empire.

Mr. Takahashi displayed a series of breaking techniques with fist and heel and a blind-folded jumping side kick to break two pieces of thick wood. The Won Hwa Do instructors were a little worried beforehand that the wood was too fresh and hard, but Mr. Takahashi broke each piece with skill and speed. Samuli amazed the audience by breaking a baseball bat with a shin kick. Later he was given the name "Iron Man." Mr. Takahashi and Mr. Kawahara performed "Eye of the Tiger" to music. Some of the new Won Hwa Do students displayed self-defense techniques.

Dr. Seuk concluded the evening with an explanation of Won Hwa Do's goal, to unify the martial arts; and its purpose, which is to develop a person's character and spirit. He said that the basic principles of heart and love should be the center of all our activities. Many people gathered afterwards for autographs and one person wanted to check Samuli's shin!

New Won Hwa Do Schools

Rainer invited them to visit his school that evening. Rainer has a Karate school in a city whose people work on the state-owned, collective farms. It was a jaunt of two hours, but when they arrived, they were greeted by 200 waiting bright faces. It was the first time that they had ever met a Korean, a Japanese, or an Australian, so they were very eager for autographs. They gave a small example of their style of Karate. Enthusiastically, Mr. Takahashi, Mr. Kawahara, and Samuli reciprocated with a Won Hwa Do demonstration.

Then Dr. Seuk gathered all the students around him. Speaking in a very warm and parental manner, he explained filial piety and practicing respect towards others in one's daily life as qualities that can be developed through martial arts training.

Later they shared a meal together and Uku presented the Won Hwa Do representatives with gifts of appreciation for their visit. Rainer also decided to change his school to a Won Hwa Do school.

Three Karate dojangs decided to change over to Won Hwa Do schools and 300 students are now studying Won Hwa Do, many of them police patrol officers. When Father heard the report from this historic trip, he was very inspired and now wants to send 100 black belts to communist countries.

With no sleep at all, Dr. Seuk and Mr. Takahashi continued on to Moscow. One of Dr. Seuk's goals was to introduce the "World Student Service Corps" project to university professors and students and to find students who could participate in the project in Guatemala. His vision was for American and Soviet students to work side by side in serving others. He also hoped to begin CARP at Moscow University and has a vision for a Unificationism teaching tour of Russia someday.

Although they wanted to do some sightseeing in the famous capital, they were not allowed into Red Square. A special congressional meeting on the economy was going on in the Kremlin, so security was tight and the entire area was cordoned off by guards.

They saw the museum of the Tsars, which, with some allowances made for communist revisionism, graphically depicted the oppression under the Tsars.

Everywhere they looked they saw long lines for everything, including liquor and the one brand of ice cream made in the Soviet Union. In the stores, cash registers of ancient vintage are the order of the day -- when there are cash registers. Many receipts for items are simply written out by hand.

There are two Korean restaurants in Moscow. They visited one and although the quality of the food was terrible, Dr. Seuk was able to witness to the Korean patrons of the restaurant and to get the names and telephone numbers of other Koreans living in Moscow. He distributed CARP pens, which made them very happy. Everywhere they went, he witnessed to people about Father and their mission there.

The subways are so deep in Moscow that one has to take a breathlessly fast elevator ride to get down to them! However, the United States and particularly New York could learn a lesson from the USSR in this: the subways are clean, cheap, and decorated with statutes and art so ornate, they resemble museums.

Red Square

Dr. Seuk announced that they would go to Red Square at night. Mr. Takahashi secretly wondered if the next stop would be a gulag in Siberia, for he had seen how tight the security was. However, the night they went, Red Square was beautifully lit up and open to the public. Dr. Seuk stopped twice in front of Lenin's tomb and uttered a deep prayer. He also paced Red Square for many minutes, praying to make a condition for Father and Hyo Jin Nim to come there.

They were impressed by the soldiers guarding Lenin's tomb. Even in the subzero degree weather, they never moved, but stood facing each other all through the long cold night, relentlessly dedicated. We must be at least this dedicated.

Later, Dr. Seuk explained in more detail the purpose of the trip. Won Hwa Do, based on Unificationism, is a natural witnessing tool, but it is secondary to the internal purpose of presenting Father's thought and name to the people of the communist world.

We all felt the support of spirit world strongly throughout the trip and felt that Russia can be restored more quickly than the United States, so hungry is it for a new ideology.

Upon their departure, it was discovered that Dr. Seuk had misplaced his customs declaration ticket given to him by Intourist, and for a few moments they feared they would not be allowed to leave the Soviet Union! Spirit world worked once again, and they were released without question. The officials neither searched their bags by hand nor even put the bags through the metal detector! They departed from Russia, leaving behind a historic legacy and a foundation for True Parents and Hyo Jin Nim to be received in the communist world. 

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