Chang Moo Kwan: The Source

The Philosophy of the Masters

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Chang Moo Kwan Events

San Pedro In Photos




The Philosophy of the Masters



     This section came to fruition when many students desired to reach deeper and broader into Eastern ideas, philosophies and martial traditions; furthermore, many students want to find ways to apply incorporate what they have learned into their lives and martial arts training.  Arguably, I have one of the largest, rarest martial arts book collections in existence.  As of today I have close to 2000 books dealing with martial arts and Eastern philosophy.  I say these not to be boastful, but to point out that my resources are almost endless.  Over the next few years I will pull from many books that many visitors will have never heard of.  It is my intention to put enough bibliographical information so that the reader can find the book though a search engine.  In many cases I have found out useful information on author once shadowed in obscurity by simply typing their name into my favorite search engine.  Again, for more information on any one book, feel free to contact me via the guest book or email.  Most of my acquisitions have been uncovered from 1000's of hours in used book stores.

    This is an open forum.  My vision is to have those interested to share their thoughts with those of use that really want and care about what they are thinking. feeling, and applying.  I will review any thoughts and commentary in the guest book and copy and paste it into this section.  Any given ?saying, thought, axiom, or annotation relating to martial arts and Easter thought will be added.?  I will add it to the commentary section of ?The Philosophy of the Masters? I will give the contributor credit with whatever information I have on them.  Please share your thoughts.  It would be great if contributors could relate to their martial arts experience; and also draw some real life applications. Please see below for some of the submissions so far. 

     All the philosophy which follows is submitted by myself, Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman, and I will coment on it intially on my selection.  My perspective is just that, my thoughts.  Following this comments found in the "Guest book" will be cut an pasted into thee section for which they apply.   You may comment on any quote at any time.  I reserve the right to edit.  I would embrace those who write of how the philosophies apply to their study or teaching in the martial arts or, in fact, their lives.  I would prefer not to see in a flat out disagreement: just give your view right or wrong answer.

1. Find a philosophy which is meaningful to you in the following pages...

2. Comment about it in a positive way in our "guest book" section.  (One Tab Above here)

3. Tell us a little bit about you and where you are coming from...

4. Don't be argumentative, disagreeable, or reference anyone specifically: reflect, take ownership, and express it.

5. I will cut and paste it into the selection you respond to.

6. I am sending out the day's philosophy to many students, and then posting the idea in the pages which follow.  If you leave you e-mail address in the guest book I will add you to the list.


Note:  The photos which divide up the text, are from all the wonderful travels which Chang Moo Kwan allowed me to partake.  The photos and art work on the side are my own and/or from my life and travels.

A cover shot of the books are alpha sorted in the "Visual Bibliography."  I will also endeavor to write a bit about the author underneath the book.  This is not meant to be all conclusive, but enough to pay respects to the author and whet the appetite of the visitor. (GMJRW)




Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman



One arrow, one life     

(Kyudo meditation)


Kushner, Kenneth “One Arrow, One Life,” Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo, Japan, 2000.


     When a Kyudo master set flight to an arrow, the arrow leaving the string is not the end; in fact, the true beginning is when the arrow reaches the target.  Here the essence is realized.  Here the beginning.  It is said of a Kyudo Master that they will address each arrow set free as the last arrow in their quill.  This is the way we should live our lives. (GMJRW)

   Master George Fullerton is a 7th dan black belt.  He is one of the key students of Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee.  Upon Supreme Grandmasters return to training in the early 2000’s, Master Fullerton attended many meetings, private and group classes, and is currently my head instructor.  He is also a contributor and a freelance correspondent for “Taekwondo Times.” magazine.


     Master Fullerton offers… "One arrow, one life" For me this quote has the following meaning: for the Kyudo practitioner and most martial arts students, this quote is not always readily understood. With dedicated training and perseverance; however, it becomes clearer. You can put everything into your goals and efforts in order to succeed or be successful in life. Take the one opportunity of a life time and hope you succeed or; prepare, train and compete as if it were your last arrow in the quill. The arrow leaving the string is not the end, but the beginning is when the arrow reaches the target. As you train, study, and develop, your essence is realized. You master the kick, or form or finally break that elusive stack of bricks. When you become a Black Belt you are truly beginning, starting anew. Draw new strength, understanding, curiosity, and use each step as you would each arrow and set each effort as the last arrow in your quill. Living your life in this manner philosophically will give your endeavors a sense of direction and purpose. The martial arts are truly a way of life.  "Do", meaning path or way of life... as students we should strive to follow the path which becomes our way of life. (MGF)





Movement is non movement


Non movement is movement


(Buddhist saying)


Funokoshi, Gichin  “Karate-Do:  My Way of Life”  Kodansha International, Tokyo, Japan 1975


     This very terse but powerful idea reminds us to not take action sometimes carries more consequences then taking action.  (GMJRW)

     Chang Moo Kwan Master David Johns of San Pedro, California comments in our guest book: "Zen is a wise master and we still use their philosophies today. I think a 20th century version of that is a quote from John Wooden the great Basketball coach of UCLA he would tell his basketball players. "Don't mistake activity for success". I like this saying because it reminds me of our students who think just because they are throwing a punch a making a kick that they are doing it correctly or successfully. The student needs to understand that success is when the punch, Kick, is thrown correctly. Then once the punch and kick are done correctly the mental thoughts have to be in place also.  (M DJ)

1983 The Great Wall of China.  It is "great" and to stand upon its spine is humbling.






jinsei wa kore kara da



To fall seven times,

to rise eight times,

life starts from now

(Daruma Buddhism)


Mitose, James M.  What is Self Defense? (Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu), Prof. James M. Mitose, Hawaii, USA , 1953.


     Meditating on this very deep, short idea reminds us that we must rise when taken down, by ourselves, other or life’s adversities.  More significantly, to rise eight you must start from a fallen position…this the hardest idea to grasp.  In many Japanese homes and restaurrants you will see a red egg-shapped figurine with generally one eye painted in black and the other blank.  When both eyes are painted black, the home or nbusiness has reached a level of success.  The design of this "Daruma toy is fall proof, always risiing to its original posture no matter how many times it is pushed over.  (GMJRW)




Bunbu Itchi


Pen and Sword in Accord 

 (Miyamoto Musashi)


Musashi, Miyamoto. "A Book of Five Rings."   The Overlook Press, Woodstock, New York, 1974.

     In the West we have heard over and over "The pen is mightier than the sword."  The reality facing feudal Japan was one where, although the Classics both Chinese and Japanese were acknowledged and revered, and those deeply familiar with their teachings were deemed scholars, there was in inescapable violence which permeated life. There needed to be a quantifiable balance. A Ronin, master-less samurai Miyamoto Musashi, was to change the way warfare was to be waged. He broke the rules, he drew two swords, and, after steeping his spirit in violence and destruction, he quietly retired to a remote place and spent his days brushing calligraphy and writing poetry. Perhaps his self-imposed hermitage was a way to atone for a youthful life of sword, and the pen and brush brought his life to balance.  (GMJRW)


     Master David Johns of San Pedro runs several YMCA and Boys and Girls Club schools. For over a decade he has worked to redirect the "at risk" youths down a better path. He comments:  The pen can create just as much harm as the sword. A pen can ruin a career just as the words of a mean spirited person can. We read and hear about bullying in school and how many young adults end their lives because they do not know how to handle the things that have been written and said to them. Our laws are changing and the Government is trying to figure out what to do about these people who have created other people to kill themselves over what was written and said against someone. I agree with the point of the balance of the pen and the sword just like the Yen & Yang we all need balance but life is easier and less stressful the closer to the fulcrum we stay and not at the extreme ends. (MDJ)


     Once again Mr. Cosmo Magliozzi, from Arizona, is kind enough to contribute his ideas. "Relating to "Pen and sword in accord" my thoughts are the pen is more of my tool these days; however, the sword is for when I'm stuck with a dilemma and helps me make a sound decision." Here is a great example of Mr. Magliozzi finding balance "like two wheels of a cart" and implementing them into his life. Thanks again Magliozzi. (KCM)

1985  Tiananmen Squared, Beijing, China.  The square is always crowded, the middle of a weekday and people everywhere.

A Gung Fu man employs his

Mind as a mirror,

It Grasps nothing,

And it refuses nothing;

It receives,

But does not keep.


(Bruce Lee, 1967)





Lee, Bruce. "The Tao of Gung Fu:" A Study of the Way of the Chinese Martial Art. Self Published by Bruce Lee, 1967.





     Never heard this before, few have? Of the over two thousand martial arts books in my library, this is the rarest. I picked up in a book store in Phoenix, Arizona in 1992. It is a short 13 page, hand stapled book in the form of a research paper complete with lettered footnotes. The outside cover has a circled C 1967 and “By Bruce Lee.” I have never seen another copy. I believe it is Bruce Lees Washington State term paper. On the back is a advertisement for his second book Chinese Gung Fu: The Physical Art of Self Defense” Indeed this book is rare, and a window to Bruce Lees mindset shortly before he became eclectic and famous.


     It is difficult decipher the deep mean of the above quote. Here, Bruce Lee is addressing the lofty conceptualization of "No-mindedness."  He is urging us to "loosen" our mind to make it agile and free. He suggests we adapt our minds to "non-graspingingness which constitutes no-mindedness." As a veteran of over 150 altercations in my life, as one who has engaged in real life battles, I believe I know where Bruce Lee is coming from. His mind is calm but not without emotion, calm without complacency. In this state, the mind can operate freely, free form without a second guessing mind, or a mind that is indifferent to instantaneous adaptability. There is no pre-formed plan, just a cleared, completely open, flexible mind to proactively join with dynamic, instant circumstances unencumbered and effortlessly.   (GMJRW)

1983 Atop Mt Fuji, Japan.  As far a climbs go, Fuji-San is up there.  The Tori gate at the top seems as though a gateway to heaven.

Before all else,

Make your mind straight and true.

(Funakoshi, Gichin)



Funikoshi, Gichin. “Karate Jutsu: The Original Teachings of Master Funakoshi.” Kodansha International, 2001.



   This very simple quote by Master Gichin Funakoshi is so simple, yet so difficult to implement. One of our upper black belts Cosmo Maggliossi wrote me “This is what I tell myself when I walk out my front door. Master Funakoshi requested Gotho Shinpei, a master at calligraphy, to write these words in stark black ink, most likely before the Second World War. This tells us how important it is, to one of the greatest martial artists of the 20th century, and the founder of Shotokan.


     If our mind is pure, the all that flows from us is pure and truthful. We need to be willing to make this simple mantra a priority. Like a stream which flows from deep within the mountain, our mind set must begin in a pure state, thee all that flow from it will be pure, honest. If a single spring of sulpher comes in contact with the crystal clear mountain stream, from that point on the purity is compromised. What flows from our inner self works the same way?  (GMJRW)





(Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman)



When asked once what the most important attributes of a great fighter were, I offered Creativity, Flexibility and Awareness as my answer.  Strength can only get you so far. With out strategy there is only force meets force. A veteran of many "real life" encounters, I know this for a fact.  A fighter must enter a fight with no preconceive plan, no set techniques, nothing in stone.  The violent uncontrolled encounter follows no real pattern and entirely unpredictable and dynamic.  What works in the studio in controlled space is useful:  it gives the student their tool box and arsenal.  The space, angles, and physical, mental, emotional environment are all very volatile and random.  Here, in this few life altering, violent seconds Creativity, flexibility, and awareness of mind, body, emotions and spirit rule. (GMJRW)


     Cosmo Magliozzi, 3rd dan black belt from Arizona, comments on ?creativity.?   ?Creativity allows us to be flexible which induces awareness in our surroundings.? Here Mr. Magliozzi builds a relationship between all three principles. The way he meditatively puts together the three principles is thought provoking. He   picked up on one concept I delivered on at length when I wrote this axiom: all three are inseparable, and I am not sure any one of the three could stand alone in application. The test, of course, is to plug in the creativity, flexibility, and awareness into Mr. Magliozzi?s ?Creativity allows us to be flexible which induces awareness in our surroundings? and see if it works. How about ?awareness allows us to be flexible which induces Creativity in our surroundings? or ?flexibility allows us to be creative which induces awareness in our surroundings.? Thanks Mr. Magliozzi.  (KCM)


Master David Johns saw a slightly different perspective.  He writes: Grandmaster Wiedenman, I have taken your challenge and looked at all three of the quotes from Kyuzo Mifune, Bruce Lee and yourself.  I am commenting on Kyuzo Mifune but it may be more towards your statement of ?Creativity, Flexibility and Awareness.?  I have heard you say these three words a lot over the past 20 years.  It is one of my favorite axioms which I have discussed with my students.  As I have pondered these words and looked at the above quotes I have considered the thoughts of other great world, local and business leaders both alive and passed.  Every great leader has to have acquired a great education to allow creativity and flexibility.  Education can be formal or informal, but they have to be educated.  Education is what gives a leader the creativity when needed.  Each must be flexible to allow the creativity to flow. I am going to use the Dojang to illustrate this example. In the Dojang we teach our students straightforward forms. We teach predictable straightforward techniques. After we teach our students these moves, we instruct them the reality of a real life altercation.


Techniques as we teach or students will not protect them. The student must be able to view deeply the basic forms and understand each instructs the how to combine mind, body and spirit into the movements which they painstakingly repeat.  The forms and techniques program one?s body and psyche how to react and eventually become proactive.  You must take the techniques as a series of tools.  In defending oneself, one quickly figures out which tools to use, how and when. 

How do you decide on which tool to use? You decide by sizing up a situation and are aware of the environment. You must be flexible and creative in stopping the aggressor. Bruce Lee of ?no mindedness?, open and free allows for being aware and not closed.  It allows us to act freely and not let our opponent command our motions.  As Kyuzo stated, ?a player in face of emergency has to change his position and act or avert a danger in accordance with the requirement of time and place give.? You have to be aware of the danger first. You can only be as creative as you are flexible depending on the time and place. The more flexibility the more creative a person can represent and celebrate.

Another example comes to mind.  When a student enters class, I think I have a pre planned class. I know what I want to work on. As I warm the class up I am looking over my students and watching them, assessing where they are at today. How is there energy level?  Is the class warm or cold?    Are the students talkative or disciplined?  I have to be aware of what my students feelings are, and then I will change my class to make the class the best my students are ready for today. I have to be flexible to change with my students, and I have to be creative to keep my students wanting to learn. (MDJ)





“Gentleness often controls sturdiness” 


(Kyuzo Mifune)





     Mifune, Kyuzo Canon of Judo “Principle and Technique”.  Seibundo-Shinkosha Publishing Co., 1956.



     This is taken for a very rare book that, as far as I know, has never been reprinted:  Canon of Judo by Kyuzo Mifune, 1956:  that was the year that I was born, and this book, the cover actually is made from a Judo Gi rough surface and all, definitely a classic.  The photos contained in this textbook, show a man, Kyuzo Mifune, 10th Dan--well into his 70’s at the time--effortlessly tossing his opponents with ease.   One interpretation of the Ju in Judo is “tenderness.”  Kyuzo Mifune writes:  Judo shows free mental attitude created by gentle and elastic capability, physical and mental, which enables a player in face of emergency to change his position and act or avert a danger in accordance with the requirement of time and place give.” (Page 28 of Canon of Judo)


     I urge my visitors to reread Bruce Lee’s quotation in this section and then my own regarding “Flexibility, Creativity and Awareness.”  There is overwhelming commonality here.  It is often quote “it takes a lot of strength to be gentle.”   Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King define enlightened gentleness.  Their impact and their messages are divine and unshakeable.   In a maelstrom of definitive severity, what will prevail the oak or willow?  (GMJRW)

1986 Malaysia, Panang:  OK, It is a tourist spot.  The snake temple is a sacred place where pit viper from the surrounding territory are loured it be the smell of burning incense and food.  The floor and the shore is covered with them.  For  small fee you can hold one...or if you are lucky three.  They just kept piling them on.  When the photo was shot and I did not have the luxury of looking behind me.  Now, after 30 years, I see the bewilderment of the Indian faces behind me.  The only instruction I was given was "they wont strike if you do not squeeze them."


Yari no hayshi ni

Iru toki wa

Kotate wa onoga

Korkoro wa onoga

Kokoro tozo shire



When Surrounded

By a forest

Of spears

Know that you must use

Your own mind as a shield.






Ken no hayashi o

Michibiku ni

Kotate wa teki no

Kokoro tozo shire



Confronted by a

Forest of swords,

Guide the attacks:

Know that you must use the

Minds of your opponent as a shield.



Morihei Ueshiba




Ueshiba, Morihei.  The Essence of Aikido:  The Spiritual Teachings of Morihei Ueshiba.  (Complied by John Stevens) Kodansha International, Tokyo, 1993.



     It was considered noble for any martial artist to study ancient writings both Japanese and Chinese.  "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu was one of the texts which was, by nature of the craft, compulsory.  The above two "Doka" are resonate of some of the seminal thoughts in Sun Tzu's classic text on war.  Master Ueshiba is arguable the loftiest spiritually and philosophically of all the modern the martial artists.  Much of his work leaves one's head spinning.  I have read many of his books, and have walked away bewildered but better for it...he make one think...and like his art itself, this meditation is hard work...spiritually.  You cannot approach Master Ueshiba's writings without relinquishing some control to his art his beloved Aikido, his words and thoughts will take what you know and redirect it.


     When meditating on the above Doka, strip them down.  The first deals with a spear and the second a sword.  Both are weapons of destruction, useless however is not wielded by a person capable of brandishing each weapons to its fullest physical, mental and spiritual potential; moreover, one must be capable of maximizing their purpose.  The sword is more intimate than the spear.  The spear can be hurled and temporarily disconnected from the person who hurls it, or at the very least, it keep the opponent at a safe distance, beyond the reach of the opponents sword.  The sword is more intimate.  It cannot be thrown, and brings two adversaries at vulnerable closeness.  There is no advantage.  Each and every time a strike is dealt and realizes its purpose, their is a transference of energy directly from victor to vanquished.  The two are physically connected.


Addressing a "forest" of  spears 'opposition are urged to use our "own mind" and a shield...


Addressing a "forest" of swords we are challenged to use the opponent's "minds" as a shield.


Against the spears our offense is "one mind," our own.  Against the swords we are one mind summoning the collective consciousness of many for our defense. 


The spears "surround" us and the "swords" confront us.


Here are two very prominante states of confrontation, and a siege.  Here are two very prevalent conditions of life...being confrontation and being besieged: mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally.  (GMJRW)




1985 Taiwan, Taipei The Confucian Temple, th smell of incese and the feel of spirits from many centuries of faith and reverence.




Ever Comes

Out of



(Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman)




     I have taught everything from women's self defense to a prominent woman's guild to Girl Scout Troop 6; from Indian Guides to Rotary Clubs, I always emphasise this point which you would think is common sense.  To the trained black belt this should be second nature.  This simple statement is a true as any...unless you believe in ghosts. 


      Every assailant has positioned himself to take advantage of the victims situation, sometimes methodically planning sometimes opportunistically, but the predator is always in our cognisant frame of reference for a period of time before all hell breaks loose.  (Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman)