Special Feature

The Dragon Revealed, Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Documentary on Martial Arts


Series Code: SF

Program Code: SF000049A

00:27 I remember my first introduction
00:28 to the martial arts.
00:31 I was only about four or five years old
00:33 as I watched in amazement
00:35 as a little oriental man
00:36 perform seemingly impossible feats of skill and power.
00:41 A seed was planted that day,
00:43 a seed which grew silently within my heart
00:46 for the next 10 years of my young life.
00:49 I never forgot the exhibition that I had seen that day
00:53 and I dreamed of the possibility
00:54 of doing those things which I had watched
00:56 that little old Asian man demonstrate with such ease.
01:01 But little did I realize
01:02 the darkness into which this path
01:04 I was now following would lead,
01:06 nor the lives that my decision that day
01:09 would influence and forever change.
01:12 Today the martial arts were looked upon as sport,
01:15 as self-defense,
01:17 health, and fitness,
01:18 and often as a form of artistic expression,
01:22 but is this the way it has always been?
01:24 Who are these men and women
01:26 who dedicate their lives to these arts
01:29 and amaze onlookers with their incredible feats
01:32 of almost superhuman strength and speed?
01:35 How are these abilities attained
01:37 and from whence comes the philosophies
01:40 and spiritual teachings which permeate these practices?
01:44 Why do we see such a growing influence
01:46 of eastern philosophy and mystical practices
01:48 within the Christian church
01:50 over the last 10 years?
01:52 Are these practices focused merely on athletic ability?
01:55 Or are they being used to prepare mankind
01:58 for the coming of a World Teacher
02:00 and a 1,000 years of peace?
02:04 Are these eastern mystical arts
02:05 based merely on human talent and ability?
02:08 Or is there something much darker
02:10 and more elusive working behind the saints?
02:16 The first time that I was exposed to martial arts,
02:19 I don't remember where I was,
02:21 but I remember I saw something on television.
02:23 And it was a picture of this little Chinese man
02:28 and he was demonstrating martial arts ability.
02:32 And he took an egg
02:35 and set it on the ground
02:37 and stepped up on to the egg
02:40 and stood there.
02:41 And it was only for, you know, 20 seconds
02:44 but he stood on that egg and then he stepped off.
02:47 And I was a little child
02:49 that's always stayed in my mind,
02:50 you know, when I saw that because I thought, "Wow,"
02:53 you know, that's almost like a miracle,
02:55 you know, that he could do that.
02:56 When I was 12 years old
02:58 my parents went through a separation and the divorce
03:01 and it devastated my life.
03:06 I became very rebellious, I was angry,
03:09 you know, I know that neither one of my parents
03:10 ever intended to hurt me
03:12 but I felt abandoned, I felt rejected,
03:15 I felt like I wasn't worth fighting for.
03:18 And during that time
03:21 I began really searching for some purpose to life
03:24 for some reason to be a man,
03:28 I mean, what is the reason for being here?
03:31 And I remember talking to my mother one day
03:35 about possibly looking for a martial arts school
03:38 because that memory that I've seen that picture
03:41 always stayed in my mind.
03:44 And we found a school
03:45 downtown in the city where I live.
03:49 And we went down there one evening
03:51 after she got off work.
03:53 And I remember to this day that walk,
03:57 we were walking down the street,
03:58 it's a downtown rough part of the town.
04:02 And the dusk was coming in,
04:06 the only lights were the streetlights
04:09 and they were just beginning to glow.
04:12 And while we're walking down there,
04:13 I mean, you can see like the pool hall
04:15 they're turning the lights on their.
04:16 The night life was starting to awaken.
04:19 There is all these old brick buildings
04:21 and warehouses.
04:24 And we're walking down the sidewalk
04:25 and all the shops were closed,
04:26 all the little mom and pop stores,
04:30 and we finally came to this building
04:32 that's old brick building.
04:33 It was probably three stories, maybe four stories tall.
04:37 And I remember when my mom and I were walking up,
04:39 we're looking for this door for a name of a school
04:42 and were expecting that to be,
04:44 you know, like it is today,
04:45 you know, this really elaborate, nice, modern...
04:49 And we found this little doorway,
04:51 I mean, it wasn't even a full door,
04:53 a tiny little wooden door
04:55 and it had the name of the dojo on the door.
04:58 So we opened the door up
05:00 and since we opened the door up,
05:01 we could look up, and we could see a light
05:03 at the top of the narrow staircase.
05:06 And my mom and I started walking up that staircase
05:08 and as we're walking up we could hear the shouts,
05:11 the "Hiyah,"
05:13 the students, you know, yelling.
05:15 We could hear, you know, the instructor,
05:17 you know, commanding the students what to do
05:20 and now I remember feeling my heart begin to quicken.
05:25 And I was like, "I'm finally here,"
05:27 you know, something I've dreamed about,
05:29 you know, forever.
05:31 And we got to the top of the steps
05:33 and we stepped into the studio.
05:36 And here's this man in a white uniform
05:41 with this old black belt,
05:43 I mean, it was just faded with age
05:46 and he is giving these orders to these students.
05:48 And there was the utmost feeling of respect,
05:51 I mean, all these students are doing exactly what he says,
05:54 exactly when he says it.
05:55 And they're doing these forms, these karates,
05:58 you know, punching and blocking
06:00 and the kicks and the yells.
06:04 And I remember trying to take in the whole scene,
06:08 there's calligraphy, you know, Japanese calligraphy,
06:11 an Okinawan calligraphy on the walls.
06:13 And there's pictures of old masters
06:16 and people that have died,
06:18 you know, the founders of the art.
06:20 And we stayed there for probably 35, 40 minutes,
06:24 you know, watching when the instructor got a break,
06:27 he came back over to us
06:28 and he had started talking with my mother and I.
06:30 I had to have my mom's approval,
06:32 you know, to do this.
06:34 And I remember the instructor,
06:37 you know, talking about the classes and the schedule
06:39 and I was getting so excited
06:41 and then we got down to the end of how much does it cost?
06:45 And this was back probably '83, '82 somewhere in there.
06:51 And he tells us the price
06:54 and, you know, I saw my mom's eyes
06:57 and I knew it was too much,
06:58 you know, because we were very limited on her income
07:00 with my mom and dad being separated.
07:03 And, you know, we thanked him,
07:07 told him we would think about it,
07:08 and we walked out of the dojo,
07:10 we walked back down those steps.
07:12 I remember, as we were walking down those steps
07:14 and I stepped out on to the street,
07:17 it was like the wind had been taken out of my sails.
07:19 I thought, you know, here this dream was
07:21 and I thought this was it.
07:23 And now I knew there was no way that we could do it
07:25 because the price was just too much.
07:28 As my mom and I are walking down the street
07:30 and I can sense
07:32 that my mother felt uncomfortable,
07:34 not just about the price
07:35 but more importantly she felt uncomfortable
07:37 about something in the dojo.
07:41 And even though I was so excited
07:44 about participating and becoming part of this,
07:47 I had sensed the same thing
07:49 it was, I was raised as a Christian,
07:53 you know, we went to church every Sabbath
07:57 and yet there was something about what we had witnessed
08:00 about the power,
08:02 and about the violence,
08:04 about the actions of the art,
08:07 they just didn't match.
08:09 And I couldn't put my finger on it
08:10 and it didn't make me feel good so I just dismissed it.
08:14 And I knew my mom couldn't dismiss it.
08:18 So we went home that night
08:21 and I didn't ask her what was on her mind
08:23 and she didn't tell me but I knew.
08:31 A friend of mine,
08:33 their older brother was there at lunch,
08:36 he was a junior or senior,
08:38 he's couple of years ahead of me.
08:39 I was in high school
08:41 and he started telling about this martial arts school
08:44 that he had found, a kung fu school in the area
08:46 and he had been training there for,
08:48 you know, probably a year or two.
08:50 And he was talking about it and I just I asked him,
08:51 I said, "How much does it cost?"
08:53 And he said, you don't believe it,
08:55 he said, it's a dollar a night.
08:57 And I was like, "You're serious?"
08:58 He said, "Yeah."
09:00 And I said, "What kind of school is it?"
09:02 Because I was thinking about my mom's apprehensions
09:04 and he told me he said, "The guy is a Christian."
09:08 He said they will have a Bible verse every night,
09:10 he said we train, we fight,
09:12 but it's a Christian school.
09:14 And it's a dollar every time you come,
09:15 there's no contract.
09:18 And I was so excited,
09:21 it was like all of a sudden my hopes and my dreams revived.
09:25 I went home and told my mom about it
09:27 and she was excited,
09:30 so the following week my best friend and I,
09:33 we decide to go visit this school,
09:34 so we get to the school that evening.
09:36 And I remember walking in the door
09:38 and it was a very different from the Okinawan school,
09:41 the karate dojo we'd went to.
09:43 When we walked in
09:45 this was a very, very old building
09:46 single floor...
09:50 There were all these pictures when I walked in
09:52 and I remember walking past the wall
09:53 all these pictures
09:54 of the higher level students in the school
09:56 from the past, you know, 25 five years.
09:59 There was pictures of the men that had made black belt.
10:01 There'd only been three up to that point
10:04 in over 25 years.
10:07 Pictures of the instructor,
10:08 pictures of military background,
10:11 pictures of just all these intriguing mystical,
10:17 you know, ideas, thoughts of the martial arts.
10:21 So we got there
10:23 and I began training.
10:26 And this school was very unique,
10:27 they based rank on your ability.
10:31 And there were only four ranks,
10:34 you got white, green, brown, and black,
10:36 and you could get a stripe in between
10:39 which meant you're just a little bit ahead
10:41 of the other guys.
10:43 But in the only way to achieve rank was fighting
10:47 and we fought full contact,
10:48 you know, with boxing gloves 12, 14, 16, ounce boxing gloves
10:53 and we also fought what's called empty hand
10:55 or open-hand.
10:56 The thing that really intrigued me
10:57 the most about this school was is...
10:59 Because it was a kung fu school
11:01 the fighting when it was done open-hand
11:03 was based on what's called animal styles.
11:05 So if someone was a tiger stylist
11:08 and if they were good
11:09 when you watch them spar or watch them fight,
11:12 you would see them mimicking,
11:14 you know, the motions of a tiger
11:16 with their hand positions,
11:17 with their blocking, with their stances.
11:20 If someone was a snake style,
11:22 you would see the heads of the snakes
11:25 or the heads of the cobra
11:26 as they were fighting, you would see the techniques.
11:29 And then the instructor,
11:31 his primary style
11:32 although he taught all of them,
11:34 his primary style was praying mantis
11:35 so when they would fight
11:36 you would see the hand positions
11:38 like the praying mantis.
11:39 And the mantis was a close in style,
11:41 it drew its opponent in and crush them on the inside.
11:45 And I was so overwhelmed,
11:48 you know, after that first night
11:49 of seeing all these things
11:51 and the guys, you know, kicking.
11:53 And I looked and I thought, you know, that's power,
11:56 that's not just power but control.
11:58 It's like my life felt so out of control,
12:01 I felt like I didn't have any control over anything
12:05 that was happening to me.
12:06 And this is what I wanted, I thought that's what I want,
12:09 I want to be able to control my circumstances,
12:11 I want to be confident,
12:13 I want to believe in myself,
12:15 I want to know
12:17 that whatever I set my mind to do, I can do.
12:20 When we're there in class, you could tell the order,
12:23 the hierarchy, if you will.
12:25 You know, the white belts were the beginners
12:27 and they listen to the green belts,
12:28 and green belts were terrified of the brown belts,
12:30 the brown belts
12:32 didn't want anything to do with the black belts.
12:33 And there was this pecking order of authority.
12:39 The thing that intrigued me or caught my attention
12:41 that I wanna make green belt to desire that green belt was.
12:45 One night a week at 10 o'clock
12:47 after all the other students had left the school
12:49 those that had made green belt
12:51 were allowed to come in to the school
12:53 and they would shut the door on the training room.
12:56 And they got private instruction
12:57 from the "Sifu, the teacher."
13:01 And no one was allowed to see or to talk about what was,
13:04 you know, taught in there,
13:06 so it was like immediately
13:07 it's like what's behind the curtain,
13:08 I mean, I want that
13:10 and you saw the green belts their ability,
13:11 and you saw what they could do.
13:14 So you wanted to have that ability
13:16 and you realize the only way that they had that ability
13:18 was because of that special training they were getting,
13:20 you know, behind closed doors.
13:23 Well, after I made to green belt,
13:25 you know, I got to go into that first class
13:27 and I remember there was sort of a basic initiation
13:31 when you stepped into the class,
13:33 into that high rank class,
13:34 you lie down on your back on the floor,
13:37 they raised your shirt up,
13:39 and every single one of them would get two slabs
13:42 with an open palm on your belly
13:44 as hard as they felt you were able to handle.
13:47 And nobody was...
13:49 nobody was gonna get seriously injured
13:51 but I can remember I had marks on my stomach
13:53 for, you know, four, five days afterward.
13:56 I mean, it would bring blood to the surface,
13:59 but then you felt like you're part of something
14:00 like you had earned it.
14:03 So I stayed there and I trained for approximately two years.
14:07 We had Bible verse each night,
14:09 you know, they were people
14:10 that gave their hearts to the Lord,
14:12 made professions of faith.
14:15 But then I got to where I was graduating high school
14:18 and my dad offered to put me through college,
14:21 he said, "Eric, if you move down here with me,
14:23 you know, outside Chattanooga,"
14:24 he said, "I'll pay for your college."
14:27 So I moved,
14:28 I hated to leave that school because it meant so much to me
14:31 but that was only school I'd ever trained in,
14:33 I didn't know there was anything else out there.
14:35 And we were told that, you know, we're number one,
14:38 this is the best school,
14:39 there's no other styles that do it like we do.
14:42 And I thought, well, this will give me a chance
14:44 to find out if that's true.
14:46 So when I moved down to Cleveland, Tennessee
14:49 right outside Collegedale,
14:52 I started looking for a school.
14:54 Went through the phone book
14:55 and you can open the phone book up
14:57 and there's all these advertisements,
14:59 you know, the bigger the town is the more schools there are,
15:01 the more dojos and studios.
15:04 And, you know, some of them would list at the top,
15:07 you know, the instructor this is how many,
15:09 you know, degrees of a black belt
15:11 he has, he's a fifth dan, he's a sixth dan, you know.
15:13 And you look at those, you go,
15:15 well, this guy's got a lot of experience.
15:17 And then they would list the different styles
15:20 or arts that they would teach
15:22 and almost all of them said,
15:23 you know, self-defense, self-confidence,
15:26 self-esteem so it really...
15:30 They lured you in,
15:31 they knew what people were lacking.
15:34 I look back now,
15:36 you know, after my conversion
15:37 and I realized
15:39 that all of those things that they offer
15:41 can truly only be found in Jesus Christ,
15:45 it can only be found
15:47 in absolute faith in the Word of God.
15:50 But I wasn't there at that point.
15:53 I'd walked away from the church,
15:55 walked away from God
15:56 when I was 14 years old,
15:58 I got tired,
16:00 I said, "You know, there's no power in this,
16:02 I go to church every week,
16:03 I'm hearing the same verses over and over again,
16:07 but it didn't changed my life."
16:08 You know, I went to church and I heard sermons
16:11 but it didn't help me deal with the problems
16:12 I was having with, you know, girls and with lust
16:15 or it didn't help me with the problems with,
16:17 you know, the guys at school
16:18 that were threatening me
16:20 or, you know, the bullies.
16:21 So in my mind I thought,
16:23 you know, churches must be a good idea
16:26 but it's not helping me in my practical everyday life.
16:29 I can do something else.
16:32 So in a very subtle way,
16:34 the enemy was moving me from one religion into another.
16:38 I began to look for those answers
16:40 in martial arts
16:42 that I wasn't finding in the church.
16:44 And unfortunately,
16:47 the answers were there,
16:49 I mean, I felt like I was getting control,
16:52 I wasn't afraid of the bullies anymore,
16:54 I became very adamant.
16:58 My mouth sometimes would get ahead
17:00 of what my body was able to do
17:01 but there was a pride
17:04 that was growing within me about the abilities
17:07 that I was learning in the martial arts.
17:11 I went to a couple of schools while I was there in Cleveland,
17:14 the first one when I was at college
17:15 was an Asian root school.
17:17 And I trained with them for two and a half years
17:19 while I was there in college
17:22 so I heard about a place,
17:24 a class that was held at the YMCA.
17:26 My dad told me, he said, "Eric, try the YMCA."
17:28 I thought, "Dad, I mean, there's no meaning at the YMCA.
17:30 I mean, that's like kid stuff."
17:32 So I went to the YMCA one night
17:35 and I walked into a class
17:37 that's known as Burmese bando or bando boxing.
17:41 And it's from Burma
17:44 and they had a great influx
17:45 of the influence from the Chinese above
17:48 and from the Okinawans and the Japanese
17:50 so it was like there was a mesh of these oriental ideas
17:54 when it came to combative arts.
17:57 They believe very heavily in full contact,
17:59 they did boxing, they did empty hands,
18:02 and they did animal styles.
18:03 Although they were different animals
18:05 than what I was used to with the kung fu,
18:07 it was similar, it's very easy to adapt.
18:10 I trained with them for five years
18:13 before I made black belt in that style.
18:15 And during that time
18:17 we went to a national kickboxing tournament,
18:20 it's probably the biggest event
18:22 that I'd ever been through personally.
18:23 There were hundreds of people there
18:25 and I remember I was a nervous wreck,
18:26 you know, because I've never fought
18:28 in front of that many people
18:29 and they got spotlights on you
18:31 and as just, you know, it was really nerve wracking.
18:34 But then when you get out there,
18:35 and I remember stepping into the ring
18:37 and I was looking around at all these people
18:39 that were around me
18:41 and they got card girl walking around,
18:43 you know, in a bathing suit holding up a number.
18:45 And I'm thinking, "Is this real?"
18:48 And, you know, there was butterflies in my stomach,
18:50 you know, how am I gonna do,
18:51 you know, all these people are watching.
18:53 And then the other guy, my opponent,
18:55 climbed in the ring on the other side,
18:57 and when I looked at him,
18:58 and our eyes met everything else was gone.
19:01 It was like I didn't see anybody any more,
19:04 I didn't hear anything, the crowd was gone,
19:06 all that mattered was the battle
19:08 that was in front of me.
19:12 When I look back at that at that fight
19:15 it really changed me
19:16 and when I came back,
19:18 I mean, there was a newspaper write up
19:19 about me and the other team members
19:21 from our martial arts studio
19:24 that had made,
19:25 you know, the grade that it had achieved
19:28 and pride was built a little bit more.
19:32 After five years of hard training
19:34 in the Burmese style of bando
19:36 I achieved black belt,
19:38 and my instructors encouraged me
19:40 to begin teaching the art to others,
19:42 but there was something missing,
19:44 something of which I had not attained.
19:47 And shortly thereafter,
19:49 I decided to return to my first school,
19:52 for I wanted to test my skills now
19:54 in the place where I had begun.
19:56 But little did I realize
19:58 the spirit that was influencing my decision
20:01 nor the darkness
20:02 into which this path I was on now led.
20:05 During this time
20:06 I saw the fourth man in the history of our school
20:08 achieve black belt.
20:10 It was the first ceremony of this type
20:12 I had ever before witness,
20:14 and event which inspired me with awe.
20:17 So when I came back to the art,
20:19 you know, I started back where I was as a green belt
20:22 and within six months I made it advanced green,
20:25 you know, within another year and a half
20:27 I'd made brown belt.
20:29 And the instructor knew
20:31 that I wanted to be able to teach,
20:34 I wanted a black belt in this style.
20:36 During that time I got to see
20:38 that advanced brown belt make black belt.
20:40 And it was the first ceremony
20:42 that I'd ever been to like that.
20:45 Candles and it was very intense.
20:49 And I remember the instructor looking at me
20:51 as this other man was being promoted
20:54 and I knew that's gonna be me one day
20:55 I'm gonna make black belt here.
20:58 In 1999, I was the fifth person
21:01 to make black belt in that school.
21:02 Fifth person in almost 30 years
21:05 and it took me 14 years of training to do that.
21:10 You know, while I was training in these arts,
21:13 most of that intense internal training
21:16 came in the high rank class last behind closed doors.
21:19 When we trained in that class,
21:22 there was an idea that was introduced to us
21:24 and that was the idea of something called "Chi".
21:27 Now that term is thrown around even on sitcoms today,
21:30 it's everywhere, it's in health magazines,
21:32 it's in dentist offices.
21:34 But back in the '80s and the '90s
21:37 this was not something that was thrown around
21:40 to just everybody.
21:41 And the way that it was described to us
21:44 by our instructor
21:45 was this chi is something that God put within man,
21:49 it's internal strength,
21:51 it's something that you have to learn
21:53 to pull from within you,
21:55 and to focus it into your techniques,
21:57 whether that be kicking a bag,
21:59 or punching somebody,
22:00 or being able to do 200 pushups without stopping.
22:03 You had to take the strength from within and draw it up
22:07 and put it into whatever you were gonna do.
22:09 And that I knew this is what we need,
22:13 this is the key to why those brown belts
22:16 and those advanced brown belts
22:17 and black belts can do the things that they do.
22:20 And we see nowadays,
22:21 you know, in films,
22:23 Hollywood films as well as documentaries,
22:26 you see men breaking huge,
22:27 you know, 500-pound blocks of ice,
22:30 or breaking solid timber,
22:31 you know, boards,
22:33 not these little pine boards
22:34 with pencils inserted between them
22:36 but real things.
22:38 So we asked about, you know, how do we learn this
22:40 and I can remember the instructor telling us,
22:42 as advanced green belt
22:44 he said, "This type of training is reserved for black belt."
22:49 He said, "I can show you pieces of it,
22:51 how to get you ready for that,
22:53 but you won't really learn
22:55 about how to tap into the chi, until after black."
22:59 But one of the things that we did
23:00 that helped us to bring this power up
23:04 from within us was... It's called pain class.
23:07 And I remember the first night that we did this,
23:09 the instructor had been warming us up to this idea
23:12 as students for a couple of weeks,
23:15 but we got there
23:16 and I would face off with my partner.
23:19 You pick somebody that was equal rank as you.
23:22 We started off with smacking each other in the face,
23:26 and he would smack me and I would smack him
23:29 and it start off with something like that
23:32 and it increased, each smack was harder.
23:36 So he'd smack me a little harder
23:38 and I would smack him a little harder
23:39 and you're looking at each other,
23:40 staring each other right in the eyes,
23:42 and it was harder and harder
23:43 and this went on for five minutes,
23:45 until you keep getting harder.
23:47 And you could see the green belts
23:49 that were nervous,
23:50 they were taking it easy on one another
23:52 and then you see the brown belts,
23:53 well, they were, I mean, just hitting each other hard
23:55 with an open palm.
23:57 And they were feeding off of one another's aggression
24:00 almost like sharks.
24:01 And so we would do the face, and then we would do the arms,
24:05 and then we would do the legs,
24:07 and then we would bring out a board.
24:09 And usually it was a one inch solid oak board
24:13 or hickory board.
24:15 And you would stand there, intense up your body,
24:18 and allow them to strike in the stomach.
24:19 And you had to channel your breathing
24:22 so when you're being hit,
24:23 you breathe out in very intense.
24:26 And our instructor told us that this was the first step
24:29 in learning how to tap into that internal strength
24:34 that was supposedly inside of us.
24:36 Something that happened that night
24:37 that really intrigued me
24:39 and I look back now
24:40 and I understand it more than I did then.
24:42 He did not allow us to fight after we did that class.
24:46 In normal we always fought after high rank class,
24:48 there was no fighting allowed.
24:50 And years later I asked him about that
24:52 and he said, "Because you're too keyed up
24:55 after going through that, you'd hurt each other."
24:58 He said, "You wouldn't hold back."
25:01 So that struck in my mind.
25:04 In the martial arts
25:06 there's a division between styles,
25:07 some styles were called internal,
25:09 some styles were called external styles.
25:11 The external styles are styles that focus
25:14 on really developing the physical body,
25:17 while the internal style
25:19 is focused almost intensely on breathing,
25:22 being able to tap into the chi, into this internal strength.
25:27 Within those styles,
25:28 the Japanese have a term it's called Bushido,
25:31 and all martial arts is based on that term "Bushido,"
25:36 it means the way of the warrior or the warrior spirit.
25:40 It's telling you right off the bat
25:42 it's telling you,
25:43 this is what we're training to become, to become warriors.
25:46 Oh, it's not warriors for God,
25:48 for Jehovah, it's warriors of the flesh.
25:52 Satan delights in war,
25:54 for it excites the worst passions of the soul
25:57 and then sweeps into eternity
25:59 its victims steeped in vice and blood.
26:02 It is his object
26:04 to incite the nations to war against one another,
26:07 for he can thus divert the minds of the people
26:10 from the work of preparation to stand in the day of God.
26:14 Within Christian circles
26:16 many times Christians will ask questions.
26:21 What's wrong with learning how to defend oneself?
26:24 Is there something wrong with our military?
26:26 What about our military?
26:28 What's wrong with them knowing how to defend our country?
26:30 What about law enforcement?
26:32 We have many people
26:33 that, you know, contact our ministry and say,
26:34 "You know, what about the police officers,"
26:36 what if they didn't learn how to fight,
26:37 you know, where would we be?
26:39 There's a distinct difference though
26:41 between military training
26:46 and defending the helpless
26:49 than what is taught in martial arts.
26:52 We've only seen military in our country
26:55 since the 1950s being introduced into martial arts.
26:59 Since the founding of this country
27:00 we've had warriors,
27:02 we have armies,
27:03 and these armies never were trained
27:05 in eastern mystical combative techniques
27:07 or spiritual techniques.
27:09 Only since the 1950s after World War II
27:12 was the martial arts brought back with our soldiers.
27:16 Many of them when they were stationed in the war
27:18 in Okinawa,
27:20 they picked up the idea of the martial arts.
27:23 They saw men
27:24 that, you know, traditionally are smaller in stature,
27:28 smaller in build,
27:29 they saw these little oriental man
27:31 able to do seemingly impossible
27:33 or superhuman feats of strength and speed.
27:37 So when they saw this
27:38 and they brought it back with them,
27:40 we started seeing an influx of Asian masters,
27:44 and first it was the Japanese and the Okinawans
27:47 teaching judo and jujitsu,
27:50 and then it began to develop farther in the '60s
27:53 we started getting more of the eastern mysticism
27:56 with yoga and the hippie movement.
27:59 All along that timeline
28:01 while these arts, these mystical ideas
28:04 and philosophies are being brought into our country,
28:06 the media is picking up and running rampant with it.
28:10 We're seeing martial arts movies,
28:11 you know, I remember, you know, Bruce Lee,
28:13 Enter The Dragon,
28:14 that was like the greatest martial arts movie
28:16 that anyone had ever seen,
28:18 we had The Green Hornet,
28:19 we had David Carradine with kung fu.
28:22 And as we progressed through the '70s and the '80s
28:25 we had Chuck Norris movies.
28:26 So these heroes were being put before the minds
28:30 of our families and our children.
28:32 Even traditional fundamental Christianity
28:35 was now looking at what was once considered
28:37 esoteric and occult power
28:40 as, is this physical?
28:42 Is this a physical thing
28:44 that we've just not learned how to tap into yet?
28:47 So with those movies, I mean, I was intrigued,
28:50 I mean, because we could do these things in real life.
28:53 We always went to the movies to see,
28:55 you know, how they were portraying,
28:56 you know, the arts we were practicing.
28:59 There was one man in particular
29:01 that really set the stage for modern day martial arts,
29:04 his name was Gichin Funakoshi.
29:07 This man was one of the founders
29:09 and fathers of modern day karate.
29:12 And I remember seeing his quote in books,
29:15 on dojo walls,
29:16 and often times when parents take their students
29:19 Johnny and Susie in to sign up for karate,
29:22 this quote is the one that wins them.
29:24 Funakoshi said something,
29:26 he said, "Martial arts is not about winning or losing.
29:30 It's not about competing and defeating your enemy.
29:33 It's about perfection of the character
29:35 of its participants."
29:37 And when you hear that it makes you feel,
29:40 "Wow, that's what I want for my children,
29:42 I want to perfect their character,
29:43 I want them to be self-motivated,
29:45 self-disciplined, self-control,
29:47 I want them to have self-esteem,"
29:49 as I do for my children.
29:51 What they don't realize
29:53 and what most of the instructors
29:54 won't show you
29:55 is the cover of his book,
29:57 his master's textbook on the martial arts
29:59 and when you see the cover of that book
30:01 and the image that is on there,
30:04 you begin to realize the character
30:05 that is actually being developed in the martial arts,
30:08 the war character.
30:10 A few years ago
30:11 when I was looking at that image,
30:13 I thought, "Where did this come from?"
30:14 I mean you don't just pick an image
30:16 that looks blatantly demonic,
30:18 an image of rage and power for no reason.
30:23 And as I researched I found that image,
30:26 it was an image of one of the 12 Asian zodiac gods.
30:30 So it was this image that was being portrayed
30:33 through the punching, the kicking, the fighting,
30:36 continually training in the art of war.
30:39 Martial arts means the art of war,
30:42 martial art.
30:44 So is this the character
30:46 that we wanna develop in our children
30:47 and in our own lives.
30:49 I remember as I was training,
30:51 when I was growing close
30:53 to making black belt a first dan
30:55 in kung fu
30:57 or a black sash as the Chinese would say.
31:01 I was fighting with my greatest competitor
31:03 he was another advanced brown belt
31:06 and that rank took the longest,
31:07 it was over two and a half years
31:08 to go from advanced brown to black belt.
31:11 And we fought every single week,
31:13 this guy outweighed me by close to 120 pounds.
31:17 And through the training
31:20 we had learned how to push through
31:21 no matter what the obstacle was.
31:25 When the day came
31:27 and I was fighting this opponent,
31:29 this other advanced brown belt,
31:32 I remember the instructor stopping the fight,
31:35 it was in the afternoon and looking at me
31:37 and he said, "That's good enough."
31:38 My instructor pulled me to the side
31:40 and he gave me a date,
31:41 he said, "How does May sound?"
31:44 And I knew what he was talking about
31:46 and he just smiled
31:47 and for the next few weeks he didn't even bring it up.
31:50 When that day came,
31:51 I drove up to the school,
31:53 you know, with my wife and children,
31:55 there was gonna be all these alumni of the school,
31:57 older high ranks,
31:59 brown belts, advance brown belts,
32:00 and green belts
32:01 that it had been there from years before
32:04 coming to support
32:05 and to be a part of the ceremony.
32:08 When we got out of the car,
32:10 my instructor, my Sifu, he had one of the high ranks
32:13 come and take my wife and children
32:15 and lead them into the school.
32:17 And he took me separately to a separate room
32:21 outside of the school
32:22 and he sat me down.
32:24 And he told me, he said, "Eric,"
32:25 he said, "I wanna tell you something."
32:27 He said, "You may not understand this now,
32:28 but you will one day."
32:30 He said, "What's about to happen to you,
32:33 what you're about to participate in
32:35 is more like a marriage than a promotion."
32:38 And then he walked out of the room
32:40 and he left me there to think.
32:43 As I came into the school,
32:45 you know, an hour or so later
32:47 after the ceremony was all set up,
32:49 there was a path of candles.
32:52 And the instructor would walk in
32:55 and then the higher ranks,
32:56 the brown belts and advance brown belts
32:59 and then each one of the green belts would walk
33:01 and the brown belts carrying the candles
33:03 setting it down,
33:04 setting as it were a path of fire
33:06 that you walk through to achieve this moment.
33:11 When I came in after and walk down that path,
33:16 I came in the front and the school was full,
33:18 there were hundreds of people there.
33:20 And I sat down in front with my instructor,
33:23 you know, in a lotus position with the cross legs.
33:26 And he sat down there in front of me
33:27 and I sat down.
33:29 And he gave a speech,
33:31 you know, he told about, you know, the achievements
33:33 and the difficulties that I'd overcome.
33:37 As he was doing this
33:39 I looked and there was a traditional Asian teapot
33:42 for the tea ceremony,
33:44 there was also two candles there.
33:47 And he told me, he said, "When we do this ceremony,"
33:50 he said, "You reach up
33:52 and you put the candle out with your finger."
33:53 And afterward we did the tea ceremony,
33:56 the tea ceremony was one teapot
33:59 him pouring and me pouring
34:02 and in us both drinking from the same water.
34:05 And that was very symbolic,
34:07 what it meant was
34:08 is that his teachings were now my teachings,
34:11 his life was now my life,
34:13 his spirit was now my spirit.
34:16 It made us and joined us as one.
34:20 After the ceremony we had a dinner
34:22 and I remember at the dinner,
34:24 I mean, there was all these people,
34:25 all these family members and students there,
34:27 and I was so used to for my upbringing,
34:31 helping other people.
34:32 So I started to go over and help the high ranks,
34:34 the green belts to serve people.
34:36 And I remember the grand master came over to me
34:39 and he touched me on the shoulder
34:40 and he pulled me to the side
34:42 and he said, "You're not part of that group anymore,
34:44 you're not supposed to be serving."
34:46 He said, "Come up here and sit."
34:48 So I went up to the table
34:50 and sat down with the other black belts
34:52 and the grand master sat beside me.
34:55 And he said, "You are to be served."
34:58 And all these green belts begin to bring the food to us.
35:02 And at that point it was like the Lord sent up a red flag
35:06 something's not right about this,
35:08 this is exactly opposite from what God's Word says.
35:12 In Matthew 20, Jesus tells us,
35:15 "You know, that the princes of the gentiles and unbelievers
35:20 exercise authority and dominion over them.
35:23 And they that are great or powerful
35:26 exercise authority upon those that are weak.
35:29 But it shall not be so among you,
35:32 for whosoever will be great among you,
35:36 shall be your servant.
35:38 And whosoever shall be chief among you,
35:41 let him be your minister."
35:44 These thoughts were racing through my mind,
35:46 you know, why am I now being served,
35:48 when I should be the one that is serving?
35:51 And at the same time that spirit of pride
35:53 that had been growing for 14 years within me
35:57 liked the position of being served,
35:59 liked the attention.
36:01 I was now beginning to realize
36:02 that martial arts is not just about fighting in self defense
36:06 but it's budo, it's a way of life.
36:09 The term budo literally means, "The Martial Way".
36:14 Every style,
36:15 you know, especially those in the Okinawan styles,
36:18 the Japanese styles
36:20 the Do, whether it would be jeet kune do
36:22 or karate-do,
36:24 or judo, or aikido means the way.
36:27 After that ceremony
36:29 I went to the school the following week
36:32 and I was taking private instruction at that time
36:35 because I really wanted to make sure
36:36 that I could achieve
36:40 and progress in the arts.
36:42 And my instructor came up to me
36:45 and he asked me a very pointed question,
36:48 and I noticed that something had changed between he and I
36:50 from that ceremony.
36:52 Now instead of him looking down at me,
36:54 it was as though a wall had been taken down
36:58 that kept the student away from the master.
37:01 And he asked me a question.
37:02 He said, "Eric," he said, "What is it that you want
37:05 from the martial arts now?
37:06 Now that you've achieved black belt,
37:08 you know, where do you wanna go?"
37:10 And I told him very plainly, I said, "I want what you have.
37:14 I want the abilities that you have."
37:16 The things that I'd seen him for those 14 years
37:18 do the same magic.
37:20 My instructor encouraged me
37:23 to begin training in other arts.
37:25 My primary focus had been on full contact
37:28 and on the animal styles.
37:30 He began to encourage me
37:31 to train in other arts in Aikido, in Judo,
37:35 in the Okinawan styles.
37:37 In most martial arts styles
37:40 a black belt, or a first degree,
37:42 or a first dan is considered a beginning disciple,
37:46 he's a follower of the way, a follower of the art.
37:49 Again not just the physical techniques
37:52 but the way of life.
37:55 So you begin to follow the master,
37:57 whoever that instructor is, whatever his rank is.
38:01 So as I did this,
38:04 I wanted to be officially a disciple,
38:07 I wanted the title of a disciple.
38:09 And my instructor had told me that to achieve that,
38:13 the training and the focus of training
38:15 had to begin to be purely on chi,
38:19 on the internal strength.
38:21 So all of my focus, all of my attention
38:23 began to be in any art that I was training in,
38:26 how was this art related to chi?
38:28 How can I use this art
38:30 to achieve these supernatural abilities?
38:34 The Shaolin Temple says in their own writings
38:38 that the relationship between a master and his disciple
38:41 is stronger than that of blood.
38:44 So through this practice
38:46 and with me it was five, six days a week,
38:49 I went to church once a week on Sabbath,
38:52 the rest of the time I was training martial arts.
38:54 Whenever I was out with my friends,
38:55 it was about martial arts.
38:57 Everything became martial arts focused.
39:04 As I was being drawn deeper into the martial arts,
39:07 I was being pulled slowly away from the bonds of my family.
39:12 I can remember when it would be my anniversary,
39:16 my wedding anniversary,
39:17 and I would tell my wife let's do it the next day
39:20 because I've got something really important in the arts
39:22 that have to be done that night.
39:24 So we would postpone things
39:27 with my wife and children
39:28 in order that I could put the martial arts first.
39:32 I remember one weekend,
39:34 my wife and I were sitting there talking
39:37 and she told me that she'd had a dream.
39:41 And I've never really,
39:43 you know, given much credit to dreams,
39:44 I mean, they're just dreams.
39:46 My wife was very concerned about this she said, "Eric,"
39:48 she said, "This was from the Lord."
39:50 She said, "I saw the high ranks at your school."
39:56 And she said, "They were all standing in a circle
39:58 with their arm's linked one to another."
40:01 And she said, "Behind them on the outside of the circle
40:06 I saw all the wives
40:07 and the mothers and the children.
40:10 And it was as though the circle was growing tighter
40:14 and the families were being pushed to the outside."
40:18 After my wife shared with me this dream
40:21 and I could tell that it bothered her,
40:22 you know, tremendously.
40:25 I became angry, and I didn't realize it then but I do now
40:29 there was a division of loyalties.
40:32 I felt like she was trying to pull me away from this thing
40:35 that had meant so much to me
40:37 this art that had filled my life
40:40 and I became angry.
40:42 I thought she doesn't understand.
40:44 I began training even harder
40:47 determined not to allow anything
40:49 to stand between me and the dreams of my youth.
40:52 But it was I who did not understand,
40:55 for I had allowed my own selfish desires to come
40:58 between my wife and I.
41:00 If only I had listened in faith,
41:02 and obeyed the Word of the Lord that life giving word
41:06 which is still speaking to each of us today.
41:10 "My son, give me thine heart,
41:12 and let thine eyes observe my ways.
41:16 Husbands, love your wives,
41:18 even as Christ also loved his church,
41:21 and gave himself for her."
41:25 This is the battle that faces every man to love his wife,
41:28 his children, and to love all others above himself.
41:32 In frustration and rebellion, I turned away from the one
41:36 that was calling from my heart not realizing
41:39 that it is only through this surrender
41:41 that victory and freedom are finally won.
41:45 The night which I longed for finally came,
41:48 two of us were to be recognized
41:50 and awarded the title of disciples in kung fu.
41:53 It was a private ceremony, one which only the high ranks
41:57 were permitted to attend.
41:58 And now after training and teaching for 17 years
42:02 on the martial arts, myself and the man
42:05 whom I had first seen awarded the coveted black belt
42:08 were now being honored with the rank
42:10 equivalent of a fifth dan.
42:13 I remember the grand master
42:14 when he walked in to the discipleship ceremony
42:17 myself and that gentleman
42:19 that had made advanced brown belt
42:22 that I'd fought in the beginning,
42:23 both of us made disciple the same night.
42:25 We were the first ones in over 30 years
42:28 to make that rank,
42:29 it was the equivalent of a fifth degree, a fifth dan.
42:33 When the grand master walked in,
42:34 he had this huge staff in his hand
42:37 and there was hair, horse hair coming out of it,
42:40 and there were carvings on the side of it.
42:43 And after the ceremony when everyone was gone,
42:47 you know, we asked him about that,
42:49 you know, where did that come from?
42:50 I'd been there for all these years
42:52 and never seen that even in display.
42:54 And he told me he said, "That staff was used only
42:57 when someone made a disciple."
42:59 I know now that was a shaman staff
43:02 even though this man love the Lord,
43:04 you know, was a professed Christian,
43:07 he was blending light and darkness together.
43:11 After that point we had a private lesson with him
43:14 that week after that ceremony.
43:17 And the grand master told us something
43:21 that I'll never forget,
43:23 he looked at me and the other gentleman there
43:26 and he told us, he said,
43:28 "What you all are learning to do now
43:32 you would be considered wizards,
43:34 if this was done a 100 years ago.
43:37 For the last two and a half years
43:38 myself and the other disciple had trained in ways
43:41 I could have never before imagine.
43:43 We spent hours each day meditating,
43:46 standing in a low horse stance upon balance beams,
43:49 and Shaolin plum flower poles.
43:52 Striving to tap into and harness this mystical power
43:56 called chi through meditation, deep breathing,
44:00 and visualization techniques,
44:02 we were taught to change the temperature of our bodies.
44:05 And through the power of our minds
44:06 to influence and control both our environment
44:09 as well as those with whom we fought.
44:12 To advance in this training, I was required to compromise
44:16 the very clear instructions of the Word of God,
44:19 and with each further step
44:21 I took on this path of disobedience,
44:23 my heart grew harder and my ears more deaf
44:26 to the voice of my Father's love.
44:29 God's Word being removed,
44:31 the foundation of my life began to crumble beneath me,
44:35 and our family and home
44:37 was being swept away in the storm.
44:40 The ties which had bound me
44:41 to my Savior and the covenant with my wife
44:44 slowly had been eroded away.
44:47 During this time after I had made my discipleship,
44:51 my marriage and my family began to become very shaky.
44:56 And I was battling with something inside
44:58 that I couldn't voice to others.
45:02 Everything that I was going through with this fight
45:04 of staying married, fighting for my wife,
45:08 fighting for my children, and then the martial arts
45:11 pulling me the other direction.
45:13 This was harder than any battle that I had ever faced before
45:17 and nothing that the martial arts had taught me,
45:20 gave any hope of freedom or victory in this fight
45:23 against sin.
45:26 In the martial arts they told us
45:28 that everything was okay in moderation,
45:31 there were no absolutes,
45:32 there was no absolute black and white,
45:35 everything had a relative grey.
45:43 The Word of God tells us clearly,
45:45 "That no man can serve two masters."
45:49 And for more than 16 years
45:50 I had attempted to do just that.
45:53 While attending church each week with my family,
45:55 my heart had been slowly drawn away
45:57 from the things of the Lord and my home.
46:00 I had allowed the martial arts
46:02 and the desires of my own carnal heart
46:04 to come between my wife and I.
46:06 And the covenant which I had made to her
46:09 and to my God,
46:11 this was perhaps the greatest battle I had ever faced.
46:14 Through the years of my training in the arts
46:16 and full contact fighting,
46:18 I thought I had prepared myself to face any conflict,
46:23 but now I realized that none of the master's teachings,
46:27 nor the training of the flesh had prepared me for this.
46:31 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
46:34 but against principalities and powers,
46:37 against spiritual wickedness and the heavens,
46:40 against the rulers of the darkness of this world.
46:43 Not only in the church but in our homes
46:46 and even within our own lives does this battle wage.
46:50 The enemy I was now facing
46:52 was within my own heart and mind,
46:55 and I knew not how to free myself
46:58 from my own selfish desires and the flesh,
47:01 nor from the voices I had listened to and obeyed
47:03 for so many years.
47:05 Voices would speak to each of us every day
47:08 through television and movies, through music,
47:11 and the printed page.
47:13 And the voices which had spoken to me
47:15 through the grand masters
47:17 and teachers of the arts which I practiced.
47:20 The Lord promises us that the weapons of our warfare
47:23 are not weak and carnal,
47:25 but they are mighty and full of power
47:28 through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
47:32 The stronghold of lies
47:33 which the devil whispers in our ears,
47:36 casting down imaginations, and every high thing
47:40 which exalts itself against the knowing of God,
47:44 and bringing into captivity every thought
47:47 to the perfect obedience of Christ.
47:50 But how few avail themselves of that victory
47:53 which the Lord Jesus Christ is waiting
47:56 and ready to freely give.
47:58 To be a genuine Christian, truly a disciple
48:02 and follower of the Lord
48:04 means more than just believing in Jesus.
48:07 It means more than just attending church once a week
48:10 and reading a few verses in the morning
48:12 before you rush out into the world.
48:15 The Lord Jehovah Yahweh is not asking
48:19 for 70% of your life,
48:21 to be truly born again cost everything,
48:25 it will cost you your life.
48:28 The martial arts had taught me to look inward to myself
48:31 rather than upward to Christ, to follow my feelings
48:36 rather than the instructions of God's Holy Word.
48:39 And now there was a war taking place,
48:42 a war which began more than 6,000 years ago in heaven.
48:46 And although one seemed to the common eye
48:49 this war rages with intensity
48:51 within every man, woman, and child.
48:54 For there are people struggling in darkness,
48:57 battling with internal foes,
48:59 all around us each and every day.
49:01 There are souls that are starving for the bread
49:04 and the water of life, waiting longing for someone
49:08 who truly believes the words of Christ,
49:11 and who knows His love and great power
49:14 to deliver and to save.
49:16 Now when I needed the Lord the most,
49:18 when I needed clear discernment,
49:21 and to know and to hear His voice,
49:23 I had become both blind and deaf
49:25 to His Spirit's instruction.
49:27 Although I wanted a solution
49:29 to the problems in our marriage,
49:31 I could no longer read and understand the scriptures
49:34 as I once had.
49:36 Light had become darkness to me,
49:38 and evil now appeared as good.
49:40 For the Bible says,
49:42 "Spiritual things can only be spiritually discerned."
49:46 I had spent so many years listening to reading
49:49 and hearing the voice of the serpent
49:51 through the martial arts, my instructors, and the media
49:55 that I could no longer discern
49:56 the voice of my Father in heaven
49:58 as He spoke through His Holy Word.
50:01 For the carnal mind and the flesh
50:03 is enmity against God.
50:05 It is not subject to the law of God
50:07 neither indeed it can be.
50:11 I fought the battle going on in my mind
50:13 for almost six months,
50:15 but I fought it only as I had been taught in the arts
50:18 by the power of my own will and flesh.
50:21 And regardless of the training, no man is a match for Satan
50:25 and his legions of fallen angels
50:27 without Christ.
50:29 In frustration I yielded to the voice of the dragon
50:32 and my own selfish desires for freedom
50:35 and I filed for a divorce.
50:37 I cannot put into words how our family was broken
50:40 when yielding to the carnal desires of one's own heart,
50:44 rather than the Word of God few realize the lives
50:48 their decisions will affect for eternity,
50:51 for the heart is deceitful above all things
50:54 and who can know it.
50:56 I remember so clearly that last day
50:58 when I drove the moving truck to our country home
51:01 to pick up the remaining furniture
51:02 that I was taking with me.
51:04 And as I pulled out of our gravel driveway
51:07 I did not see my wife and small son
51:09 as they stood in the doorway
51:12 crying out to the Lord in heaven
51:14 for His mercy and help,
51:16 nor did I see the six-year old little girl
51:19 running behind my truck crying, "Daddy, Daddy wait.
51:23 Please, don't leave."
51:25 It wasn't until years later that I realized
51:28 what my leaving had done
51:29 to my wife and children's lives.
51:32 My wife Sarah began to fight the fight a faith,
51:35 refusing to believe
51:37 that the Lord would not keep His word,
51:39 she daily claimed His promises repeating out loud,
51:43 "What the Lord have joined together,
51:45 let no man put asunder.
51:48 For with the heart we believe unto righteousness,
51:51 and with our mouth confession is made unto salvation.
51:55 For whosoever believeth on Him shall not be put to shame."
52:00 And while my wife lost herself in the Lord, in her Bible,
52:03 and fasting, and prayer, I plunged even deeper
52:07 into the darkness of the arts
52:09 which had been the dream of my youth.
52:11 Struggling, struggling to silence
52:14 the voice of the Lord in my own guilty conscience.
52:18 I can remember seeing Sarah as she walked up the steps
52:20 to my apartment to drop off our children.
52:23 She looks so thin and fragile
52:26 and yet there was a joy in her eyes
52:28 which I could not understand.
52:30 She had found that
52:32 for which I struggled so hard to apprehend,
52:35 but no matter how far I ran
52:37 and regardless of the entertainment
52:39 and distractions the devil used to occupy my time,
52:43 when I lay down alone at night the silence was deafening.
52:48 "O that thou hadst hearkened unto my commandments.
52:52 For then had thy peace been as a river,
52:55 and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.
52:58 For great peace have they that love my law,
53:02 and nothing shall cause them to stumble and fall."
53:06 As I sought for deeper knowledge and power
53:08 from the martial arts,
53:09 I also began training more heavily
53:11 in the Chinese internal styles
53:14 of tai chi quan, baguazhang, and qigong.
53:18 I remember the weekend
53:19 when an accomplished martial artist
53:21 and close friend of mine invited me
53:23 to attend a training seminar
53:25 which his grand master was holding in a city
53:28 but a few hours from where we live.
53:30 I was excited about the prospect
53:32 of meeting this man,
53:34 a man of his rank and reputation,
53:37 and even more so because he was known for his ability
53:40 in both demonstrating
53:41 and teaching the use of internal strength or chi.
53:45 This man was recognized as a tenth dan
53:48 into two systems of kung fu
53:50 and a master teacher in Chinese qigong
53:53 a system which has as its sole purpose,
53:56 the martial, and medical development
53:58 of chi power and energy.
54:01 After the day's training was over,
54:03 the grand master came and spoke with a small group of students
54:07 from the area he gave instructions
54:09 to the black belts and their pupils
54:11 in regard to their training
54:13 which they quickly left to complete.
54:16 Once alone the grand master addressed me personally
54:19 and although we had never met before he told me
54:22 that it was not by chance that I was there that day.
54:25 For according to an old Chinese proverb,
54:28 "When the student is ready,
54:30 it is then that the master will appear."
54:32 From that day forward I looked for every opportunity
54:36 to train under this man,
54:37 for not only did he have the knowledge to teach me
54:41 but he also had the authority to ensure my progress
54:45 in the ranks above fifth dan.
54:47 Of all that I learned during those years
54:50 one thing stands out in my memory
54:52 to this very day,
54:54 late one night after a hard day of training,
54:57 he began to speak of the riddle of internal energy in chi,
55:02 and how this power was achieved.
55:04 But to my surprise
55:06 instead of telling of ancient Chinese warriors and sages,
55:09 he spoke of the artistic ability
55:12 of many of today's modern musicians
55:15 men such as Clapton, Hendrix, and others.
55:18 He compared the energy which we were taught
55:20 to use in kung fu to that
55:23 which these legends of rock and roll channel
55:25 while playing the most sensual and ungodly music.
55:29 It was then that I was told that to the beginner
55:33 chi is known simply as internal strength,
55:36 while at the intermediate levels
55:38 chi is taught to be breath,
55:40 and at the final level chi is revealed to be spirit.
55:45 And it is this spiritual energy
55:47 which is manifest in a 1,000 different forms.
55:51 To the martial artist it is used for speed and power,
55:54 to the holistic healer
55:55 it is used to channel vibrational energies to heal,
55:59 for the corporate executive and leader
56:01 it is used to influence and manipulate
56:03 those beneath him,
56:05 to the actor it is used to mesmerize their audiences,
56:09 while for the musician
56:10 this spiritual energy is used to inspire
56:13 and to quicken their performance
56:15 and control the minds
56:16 and emotions of their listeners.
56:19 After a few years under his instruction
56:21 I was soon impressed
56:23 that if I was truly going to learn
56:25 what this man had to teach
56:26 I could no longer serve two masters.
56:29 After all it was common for disciples to step out
56:32 from under the covering of their original teacher
56:34 and school and begin teaching on their own.
56:37 And this idea now feeling freedom to learn unhindered
56:42 by divided loyalties,
56:43 I began seeking to understand the hidden thread
56:47 which is woven throughout all the eastern arts.
56:50 My power whose results could be seen
56:52 but whose source remained ever elusive
56:55 and concealed beneath a veil.
56:58 I often made the long six hour drive to the city
57:01 where my new teacher lived and taught.
57:04 And it was on one such visit
57:05 that I went to the grand master's home,
57:08 it was here that I learned the secret
57:10 for which I and disciples around the world
57:13 had fought and trained for so many years.
57:16 As I entered his home I saw that
57:18 which was most unexpected
57:20 instead of images of Shaolin warlords long dead and monks
57:25 in their traditional robes and sashs.
57:27 I saw hanging upon the walls of every room
57:32 tall, life-size tapestries of the Hindu gods and deities.
57:37 Alarms were sounding in my mind,
57:39 echoes of the scripture warnings
57:41 I had been taught as a child,
57:43 echoes which I sought to ignore.
57:46 The grand master asked me that day
57:48 a very puzzling question.
57:51 He said, "If all martial arts begin at Shaolin
57:54 which I knew they did,
57:56 then why do we see such different expressions
57:59 of that one and same art?"
58:01 I was stunned and yet intrigued for this was that very question
58:06 for which I had sought an answer all of these years,
58:09 yet had never been able to put into words.
58:12 How did he know to ask me that question?
58:15 The alarms rang louder in my mind.
58:18 The year was 2007, I'd achieved everything
58:23 that I'd ever dreamed of in the martial arts.
58:27 One night I was teaching a class in the Chinese style
58:29 called baguazhang, it's very much like tai chi
58:33 all the movements are very slow, very precise,
58:37 there's a lot of deep breathing,
58:39 internal meditation, focusing within
58:42 as you do the movements of the form.
58:45 As I was doing this form, I was leading my students
58:49 through the motions in a circle
58:52 and as we circle we would focus on breathing
58:55 in certain hand gestures called mudras,
58:58 then as we completed the circle we would reverse
59:01 and go the opposite way.
59:04 As I was doing this,
59:06 I looked into the eyes of my students,
59:09 I was looking to see
59:11 if they were really tapping into that power
59:14 that the martial arts is supposed to reveal,
59:18 is supposed to impart to you.
59:21 As I looked in their eyes, I noticed
59:23 that almost every one of them was in a trance
59:27 and they were drenched in sweat.
59:31 Not because of the martial arts training,
59:33 I knew that this is not possible
59:36 humanly or physically speaking,
59:38 we had not done anything
59:40 to bring the body to a sweat,
59:43 we had not done anything physical,
59:45 there was no calisthenics.
59:48 At that moment
59:52 my mind was taken above what we were doing.
59:56 And as I was teaching this form,
01:00:01 it was as though I was looking down from above
01:00:03 and I was seeing a design or pattern
01:00:05 that we were forming on the floor of the dojo.
01:00:10 This has never happened to me before,
01:00:12 it was very much like a farmer with crop circles.
01:00:16 When he walks out into his field,
01:00:18 he just sees a mess, but if he sees it from above
01:00:21 from an aerial view, you can see a distinct pattern.
01:00:26 The pattern that I saw was a circle with a dot
01:00:31 right in the center much like a bull's eye.
01:00:34 The thing that I struggled with
01:00:37 was that I had seen the same symbol
01:00:39 in all of the martial arts literature, the writing,
01:00:43 the books of the masters and grand masters.
01:00:46 I went home that night and I went through my library
01:00:50 searching through aikido books, the Japanese styles,
01:00:53 through the kung fu and qigong books,
01:00:56 the Chinese internal styles.
01:00:59 In every style that I looked, I found that same symbol.
01:01:04 And I also found the meaning of that symbol.
01:01:07 The Symbol meant the sun god or the Dao.
01:01:15 I was not sure how to tell my students,
01:01:17 I mean, how do you tell close to a 100 people
01:01:20 that an art that we had been teaching at the school
01:01:24 was actually invoking the spirit of the sun god.
01:01:29 So the next week in my advanced class,
01:01:31 the high rank class,
01:01:33 I told my students
01:01:35 I had a homework project for them.
01:01:37 I wanted them to go home and do research on this symbol.
01:01:41 So I drew the symbol on our chalk board
01:01:44 and I gave them their assignment.
01:01:46 The following week when I came in
01:01:49 it was like dead silence
01:01:51 you could have heard a pin drop.
01:01:53 Each one of those students was very solemn.
01:01:57 I asked them to get up
01:01:58 and present before the class what they had found.
01:02:01 And when I had given them this assignment,
01:02:04 I told them that it didn't matter
01:02:06 where they found their information,
01:02:08 I just wanted to see
01:02:09 what they could find on that symbol.
01:02:12 They looked in history books,
01:02:14 they looked in Aztec and Mayan writings,
01:02:16 they looked in Egyptian hieroglyphics,
01:02:21 they looked in Greek, Roman, they looked in Babylonian,
01:02:26 they also looked in tattoo books,
01:02:28 they looked in books on Wicca and witchcraft.
01:02:32 And each one of them one after another got up
01:02:35 and presented the information they had found.
01:02:38 And all of them regardless of the source
01:02:40 found the same thing, the symbol of the sun god
01:02:43 or the Dao or yin and yang as it is known in the Chinese.
01:02:49 After doing this,
01:02:51 after realizing what the symbol really stood for,
01:02:56 one of my students asked, "What does this mean?
01:03:00 What we're gonna do?
01:03:01 How does this change what we're doing?"
01:03:03 And I told them from that point
01:03:04 on we would no longer be teaching that class,
01:03:06 we would no longer be teaching the art of bagua.
01:03:10 But as I went home that night,
01:03:12 I knew that there was more than what I had just seen.
01:03:17 So I began searching through all of the studies
01:03:19 that I had done, all of my books and literature
01:03:22 on the internal martial arts of tai chi,
01:03:25 and yoga, and qigong, and even the Shaolin arts.
01:03:28 And as I searched, I began to realize
01:03:31 that there was more working within these arts
01:03:33 than I had wanted to believe.
01:03:35 Memories of my mother's apprehension and discernment
01:03:38 when I took that first step on that night so long ago.
01:03:43 Now it was becoming clear that the spiritual forces
01:03:45 which enabled the abilities in the arts I had practiced,
01:03:49 and also wrought in my family's destruction.
01:03:53 But now the Lord was calling me,
01:03:55 "My son, it is time to come home."
01:03:58 He was fighting to set me free from the chains
01:04:01 in which I was bound
01:04:03 and revealing to my wife and children
01:04:05 the power of His unfailing Word.
01:04:08 And as the Lord was reuniting our marriage and family,
01:04:11 He was also restoring sight to my blinded eyes.
01:04:15 Within a week I made the announcement
01:04:17 to my student body
01:04:18 that we were no longer going to be offering or teaching
01:04:21 the internal arts such as tai chi, qigong, bagua,
01:04:25 and even Shaolin kung fu.
01:04:28 Now I was trying to separate
01:04:30 and divide the martial arts physical
01:04:34 from the martial arts spiritual.
01:04:37 This was very difficult, I attempted it
01:04:39 for probably six or seven months.
01:04:47 At the end of seven months,
01:04:50 I realized that you cannot separate
01:04:52 the spiritual roots of martial arts
01:04:54 from their physical practice.
01:04:57 When I made this announcement to my students,
01:05:01 I lost probably 40% of my student body.
01:05:05 It hurt financially, but it also hurt to know
01:05:09 that I have lost students
01:05:11 some of which had been with me for many years.
01:05:14 One night I came home from teaching class,
01:05:17 it was like probably 11:30 almost 12 o'clock.
01:05:21 I walked in the door
01:05:24 and as I walked through the kitchen,
01:05:25 I remember setting down my gym bag, my workout bag,
01:05:28 you know, beside the doorway.
01:05:31 I stepped over to the refrigerator
01:05:33 to get something to drink
01:05:36 as my hand reached out to open the refrigerator door,
01:05:40 the hair on the back of my neck stood on the end,
01:05:43 I felt an enormous presence behind me,
01:05:48 something that terrified me.
01:05:51 After all these years of martial arts
01:05:52 and full contact fighting,
01:05:55 I thought I wasn't afraid of anything.
01:05:58 What this was behind me terrifying me?
01:06:03 I didn't know what to do, it was like in that moment
01:06:07 all these thoughts, all the teachings
01:06:09 of the masters I had read and studied under
01:06:12 went racing through my mind.
01:06:15 Do I fight? Do I run?
01:06:18 But neither one would have done any good, both were futile.
01:06:25 And I was scared to turn around.
01:06:27 I did not even wanna see what this was
01:06:29 that was towering behind me.
01:06:31 It felt like it was 10 or 12 feet tall,
01:06:34 it was enormous.
01:06:39 At that moment I heard a name sounding in my ears,
01:06:46 the name of Jesus Christ and as I heard that name
01:06:51 there was a spark, a spark of hope.
01:06:55 And I thought is it possible that He would save me
01:06:59 even after everything that I've done,
01:07:02 even after the pain and the hurt
01:07:04 that I've caused my family and others,
01:07:07 will He save and deliver me?
01:07:11 In Acts 2, we have been given the promise,
01:07:15 "That whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord,
01:07:18 Adonai, the sovereign king shall be delivered."
01:07:23 I thought can it really be that simple?
01:07:26 Is it possible?
01:07:28 Will He really hear and come to my rescue?
01:07:32 In that moment I fell on my knees,
01:07:35 I looked up, and I cried out
01:07:36 with all that I had within me,
01:07:39 "Jesus, save me, Jesus, Yahshua, save me."
01:07:45 I don't know how long I cried,
01:07:47 tears were rolling down my face.
01:07:50 I could still feel that presence behind me
01:07:52 and I just kept calling on the name of Jesus Christ.
01:07:56 After what seemed like an eternity,
01:07:59 I felt something else enter the room
01:08:02 it was as though a hand grab this thing
01:08:05 that was behind me, this spirit, this demon
01:08:08 that was standing behind me and flung it
01:08:10 out of the room.
01:08:12 I didn't see anything
01:08:14 but it was as though you could feel it,
01:08:15 you know, I was covered in tears
01:08:17 and I was crying out to the Lord.
01:08:20 At that moment I came to know the Lord as my personal savior.
01:08:26 At that moment the Lord had shown Himself
01:08:29 that He was mighty to say.
01:09:10 If yoga has in the last three years really exploded
01:09:13 for Americans, a lot of folks swear by,
01:09:15 some Christians that believe there's actually a real problem
01:09:18 with yoga.
01:09:23 Meditate on this, I will.
01:09:25 I put the force into the movies
01:09:27 in order to try to awaken a certain kind of spirituality.
01:09:34 The spirit that I received from the masters
01:09:37 and I trained under some of the best in the world.
01:09:39 And that spirit was one of violence, it was different.
01:09:43 It's limiting to just label it martial arts.
01:09:46 It's just a way of life.
01:09:47 I believe that from going emotional,
01:09:50 definitely even spiritually.


Revised 2017-07-14