Grand Master Jhoon Rhee speaks to SMDC/ARSTRAT Soldiers for Asian Pacific Heritage Month
May 12, 2008
By DJ Montoya
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. Aca,!" The sounds of solid boards breaking under the skillful techniques of martial arts, the lovely hands of hula telling a story, and the wisdom of oriental philosophy in daily life were all key ingredients of the 2008 U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Observance in the Building 3 Training Rooms on May 8.
Brig. Gen. John Seward, deputy commanding general for SMDC/ARSTRAT Operations, said, Aca,!A"Today as we celebrate Asian/Pacific Americans in history, we recognize a community of people who bring to our society a rich cultural heritage representing many languages, ethnicities, and religious traditions, regardless of their profession or vocations. Asian/Pacific Americans have made great contributions and have added immeasurably to the prosperity and vitality of our society.Aca,!A?
Sgt. Regina Sierra from the Legal Office began the program by reading a Presidential Proclamation designating the month of May as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
Afterward, Soldiers from the 1st Space Brigade, dressed in traditional martial art attire, "kicked-off" the festivities with an explosive demonstration of human strength and skill. Sgt. Raymond L. Morad gave the audience a sample of Okinawain Kempo Karate technique while Maj. Sang B. Lee showcased his skills in Tae Kwon Do.
Not to be outdone, Seward donned a black belt over his ACUs and demonstrated his own martial art skills by breaking two boards before a crowd of more than 200 Soldiers, civilians and contractors in attendance.
Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm a lot older than these guys, and I was hoping to go before them,Aca,!A? said Seward.
Following SewardAca,!a,,cs successful thrusts, Lee and Morad also performed several board breaking feats utilizing hands and kicks.
After the exhibition, several Hawaiian dances and one from New Zealand were performed by the group Na KamaliAca,!a,,ci OAca,!a,,cHawaiAca,!a,,ci lead by Jeanalynn Kama.
The highlight of the program came when Seward introduced the guest speaker and his personal friend, Grand Master Jhoon Rhee.
Aca,!A"The theme for this year is Aca,!EoeLeadership, diversity, harmony Aca,!" gateway to successAca,!a,,c and Grand Master Jhoon Rhee lives that theme,Aca,!A? Seward said.
Aca,!A"As a leader he has been the chief guide of the practice of Tae Kwon Do in America. You will also notice he has been a leader in many different civic activities outside the martial arts area honoring teachers, promoting physical fitness, and sharing a birthday celebration for his adopted country the United States. In all his dealings, he treats all others with respect and in doing so he creates harmony within himself as well as with others.Aca,!A?
Known as the father of American Tae Kwon Do, Rhee introduced himself with a multimedia presentation chronicling his immigration to America in the mid-1950s through today.
Aca,!A"One of the most beautiful universal values of modern days, particularly in America, is diversity,Aca,!A? said Rhee.
Aca,!A"Diversity is not a problem ideology. Diversity is simply a demographic factor in life that defines us as a universal people. Take for instance a rainbow, which is one of the most beautiful masterpieces of GodAca,!a,,cs creation. It is composed of all of the different colors coming together in a certain arrangement - in harmony - becoming one of the most beautiful things.Aca,!A?
Rhee explained that by substituting different races, nationalities, creeds, and religions coming together and shaping ideas, you can thereby create what he termed Aca,!Eoea universal human rainbow society.Aca,!a,,c
Aca,!A"I know we can do that. And so I really think that America has the mission and strength to realize that dream. We can make a society where everybody can be happy with every breath of life.Aca,!A?
A world-renowned 10th degree black belt, Rhee provided a condensed version of martial arts as a philosophy.
Aca,!A"What is Tae Kwon Do' I defined the Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do System through the Aca,!EoeLead By Example Action Philosophy.Aca,!a,,c A picture is worth a thousand words; an action is worth a thousand pictures. After 5,000 years of written human history, our Founding Fathers made a huge difference during the past 200 years by giving the world their own action philosophy.
Aca,!A"Our Founding Fathers not only talked about the freedom system but they actually realized it. Today we enjoy the fruits of their efforts. Let us not forget the value of their wisdom and courage.Aca,!A?
He also touched upon the universal purpose of life by saying, Aca,!A"The universal purpose of life is HAPPINESS. When I am truthful, my heart becomes beautiful; when my heart becomes beautiful, people love me; when people love me; I am Happy. Therefore, when one is truthful, being beautiful and being loved is automatic. Therefore, universal human values are Truth, Beauty and Love.Aca,!A?
Upon completion of RheeAca,!a,,cs presentation, Commander of the 1st Space Brigade, Col. Timothy Coffin said, Aca,!A"You put many of us to shame with the knowledge of our own country and our founding fathers.Aca,!A?
Aca,!A"One of the pieces that you brought out here is that it all starts with each of us in what we do, in our own hearts, in the way that we do our business day to day, and in the way others approach us. As long as are working from the basis that we are doing the right thing I think weAca,!a,,cve got a lot of hope for where we take the world in leadership. I thank you for opening up and showing the way.Aca,!A?
In addition to the presentations, sample ethnic food was provided locally by Rumbi Island Grill.