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How to rebuild Tae Kwon Do

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,

I have kept the faith…II Timothy 4:7

What do you mean? Rebuild Tae Kwon Do? I didn’t know it was broken! This might be the reaction you get if you make this statement to most people. But, alas…. Tae Kwon Do is in need of rebuilding and NOW is the time to do it! Let me explain….

People often wonder why I have turned to mission work and created the World Christian Tae Kwon Do Mission. There is a very distinct connection in my Christian mission and rebuilding the spirit of Tae Kwon Do. I have had more than 60 years to ponder the many aspects of Tae Kwon Do. And, if you know me, you realize that my mind is in constant state of contemplating big ideas and questioning reasons “why.” I have experienced Tae Kwon Do in the past, in the present, and now I am looking for answers for the future. What I see is this… There is a great need to rebuild the spiritual part of Tae Kwon Do if it is to survive.

If you are reading this then you must have your own strong feelings for Tae Kwon Do. Let me help you understand. In the past, for half a century, most of the focus has been on the physical aspect of Tae Kwon Do. As a result, most practitioners have lost sight of the mental and spiritual elements. It is time for us to put the physical in the past and begin to focus on a spiritual reawakening. Many martial arts schools are troubled by a lack of students and are struggling to stay alive. Yet they keep maintaining a physical level, disregarding the timely importance of recapturing a spiritual state.

These are difficult times. We are told in II Timothy 3:1-4 “that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” You only have to look at the daily news to see that these things are true. Egos run rampant causing so much pain and suffering in our world. People say you have to love yourself before you can love others. That is the opposite of truth. It is in loving others first that you truly find love for yourself. Why does this happen? People are moving away from the truth. They change in their relationships, their hearts go down, they fight within themselves, they follow the social circles, and they allow their relationship with God to falter. The church also suffers these same symptoms. People, and churches, get caught up in schemes to increase their money. They fall away from the truths that once sustained them. In their weakened spiritual state, they turn to things of this world, forgetting that there is a higher existence after this world.

II Timothy 4:2-6

2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.

Interestingly, Tae Kwon Do schools have fallen into the trap of money-making rather than spirit-making. They limit their classes to 45 minutes. Rather than a workout every day, they only provide 2 times a week. They follow the students rather than the students following the instructors. They design after-school programs which are often like baby-sitting services. These things are the symptoms. The leaders are the problem.

I have seen these signs growing in intensity over the past several years. I have made a commitment to create a new spiritual awakening and lead other Tae Kwon Do instructors to an understanding of what our mission needs to be. We can only rebuild Tae Kwon Do through the spiritual part. While we continue to teach the physical part, we must aim for higher goals. It is like a rocket leaving the earth’s atmosphere. The first stage gets it off the ground and must be the strongest in order to fight the force of gravity. With Tae Kwon Do, our first stage must be to fight the things that keep our students down. Pulling them up quickly and giving them hope. Loving them first and understanding their needs. Showing them the compassion that we are taught in the Fruit of the Spirit, “Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control” (Galatians 5:22-23)

Through Tae Kwon Do we can offer our students a life-changing opportunity to renew and build their spirit, opening up their hearts to receive an even greater gift. We can help them learn to fight the battle of ego that can destroy lives and leave their hearts empty. We can help them learn to fight their inner stresses and rise above their physical existence to a higher plane. And all this can occur with a reawakening of the spirit.

So, this brings me back to my first point. We must rebuild the spiritual part of Tae Kwon Do if it is to survive. When I first began going on mission trips and presenting Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, I was learning some very important lessons myself. I discovered what a wonderful tool I had that could not only open up hearts for Christian mission, but could also have profound spiritual elevations for the ones who experienced the missions as Tae Kwon Do students. As the World Christian Tae Kwon Do Mission grew, I realized that there are places all around the world that are in need of spiritual renewal. With about 80 million practitioners of Tae Kwon Do in the world, I could see the possibilities. When I put in the title “World” I had no idea that it would truly grow to this level. In fact, we have been contacted by so many places in the world, it is hard to recall them all. We respond to each inquiry with an invitation to come to Nashville or for me to travel to them to teach them how to rebuild the spiritual level of Tae Kwon Do. And I know that it is God’s plan for this to happen. Growth in the spirit of Tae Kwon Do has a direct link to spiritual growth in Christian faith.

I will be traveling to Guinea, Africa on October 22nd-29th to teach instructors of the Guinean Tae Kwon Do Federation how to rebuild spiritual Tae Kwon Do. We have also created an alliance with Dr. Alberto Eduardo Rizzo of Argentina for the same reason. And many more countries have made contact with us.

The world is in dire need of a spiritual rebirth. The time is NOW and we must answer the call. I know that not all my students feel that they can join in this mission, but my invitation always stands. I hope you will join us one day. It may just be the best way you can rebuild your spirit too.

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. II Timothy 4:7-8

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