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1st New Zealand Tong-il Moo Do Festival, September 27, 2014
The first ever Tong-il Moo Do (TIMD) Festival in New Zealand was held on the 27th of September 2014 at Te Unga Waka Marae, Auckland. Its manifestation represents the blossoming of a seed carefully planted and grown, by the many people who believed in its goodness and endeavored to bring results despite its difficulty. It was conceived by Master Almer Namata; sponsored by Mr Gerald Trass, Team Owner of Trass Family Motorsport, along with Youth Federation for World Peace (YWFP); and was aided by Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) for its inception. The event was also graced by several important figures: Dr Venus Agustin, President of TIMD for South East Asia and Oceania, and Vice President of World Tong-il Moo Do Federation (WTMF) International; Rev In Soung Kwun, Chairman of WTMF Oceania Region, Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and FFWPU Regional Director for Oceania; Rev Julius Gicole, Rev Soon Teck Lim, Rev Jong Deog Yoo and Master Seti Suafa, who are FFWPU National Leaders for New Zealand, Australia, Vanuatu and Samoa respectively; and last but not least, Rev Greg Stone, Secretary General for UPF Oceania.

The day of the festival began with a morning presentation on TIMD by Dr Venus Agustin at Parnell Peace Embassy. He explained that TIMD is more than just a martial arts; it is a way of life for the practitioners to discipline themselves and develop their characters to become a better person, who are able to live their lives for the sake of others. He also shared his humble beginnings and how TIMD through International Peace Leadership College (IPLC) in the Philippines had changed his life dramatically for the better. He implores all practitioners to keep on practicing TIMD in hope and belief that it is capable of transforming us to become leaders who can perform their duties well and protect the people around them. The festival itself started in the afternoon at Te Unga Waka Marae. It was opened in prayer by Mr Takashi Sawada, Chairman of YFWP New Zealand and hosted by Sahbumnim Robert Shelley. A bright atmosphere filled the newly renovated Marae; and the many practitioners and volunteers who helped to prepare and decorate the event, created an atmosphere truly fitting to be described as a festival.



In this first ever TIMD martial arts festival in New Zealand, successive performances of many features of TIMD were displayed to the finest through the dedications of its members, which won the heart and applause of the distinguished guests and audience. Words would fail to describe fully: the beauty of the Form of Peace, the power and crispness of the higher belts’ performance, the unity of all members executing basic techniques and forms; along with the remarkable efforts put in by the younger ones, that never failed to bring an unavoidable mixture of laughter and admiration whenever everyone present witnessed these little ones executing martial arts movements succinctly.

The performances were interceded by messages from TIMD masters and other distinguished guests; all of whom agreed on the importance and benefits that TIMD can offer as a martial arts. Rev Julius Gicole welcomed everyone in his message as the Chairman of WTMF New Zealand, and he emphasized on TIMD’s internal cores that would benefit all practitioners regardless of their background. This point was then carried on by Sahbumnim Geoffrey Prentice; as he introduced the founder of TIMD, Rev Sun Myung Moon, who sought for a substantial representation of the core values of the Divine Principle, in order to enable people to access and cultivate their spiritual natures through martial arts. He also brought everyone’s attention to the fact that we can never predict what will happen in our lives. This requires us to always be prepared for the unexpected, even life-and-death situations; something that TIMD can provide as part of the goal that Rev Julius Gicole welcoming the audience with his message Sahbumnim Geoffrey sharing his heartfelt reflection of TIMD’s background Mr Gerald Trass explaining the motivations behind his support for TIMD Rev Kwun expressing his gratitude towards the parents of practitioners Rev Moon envisioned, along with the joys and happiness it can bring about through the preparedness and maturity of characters it seeks to develop in its participants.



The performances were interceded by messages from TIMD masters and other distinguished guests; all of whom agreed on the importance and benefits that TIMD can offer as a martial arts. Rev Julius Gicole welcomed everyone in his message as the Chairman of WTMF New Zealand, and he emphasized on TIMD’s internal cores that would benefit all practitioners regardless of their background. This point was then carried on by Sahbumnim Geoffrey Prentice; as he introduced the founder of TIMD, Rev Sun Myung Moon, who sought for a substantial representation of the core values of the Divine Principle, in order to enable people to access and cultivate their spiritual natures through martial arts. He also brought everyone’s attention to the fact that we can never predict what will happen in our lives. This requires us to always be prepared for the unexpected, even life-and-death situations; something that TIMD can provide as part of the goal that Rev Julius Gicole welcoming the audience with his message Sahbumnim Geoffrey sharing his heartfelt reflection of TIMD’s background Mr Gerald Trass explaining the motivations behind his support for TIMD Rev Kwun expressing his gratitude towards the parents of practitioners Rev Moon envisioned, along with the joys and happiness it can bring about through the preparedness and maturity of characters it seeks to develop in its participants.



The next speaker was Mr Gerald Trass, the main sponsor for the Festival, who believed that TIMD is capable of drawing out a human being’s original nature. It is mainly for this reason that he gave Master Almer Namata, the current sole instructor of TIMD in New Zealand; the support he needs to invite and teach people, young and old, together to expand their capacities as human beings and overcome their physical limitations. Rev In Soung Kwun, stood up soon after to applaud the efforts of the participants and to highlight the tenets of TIMD that exalt the values of filial piety and loyalty towards our own parents. He is especially grateful for the supports that the parents have given for their children in TIMD, and hopes that these bonds will only grow stronger, through TIMD as one of its platforms.

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After that, Dr Venus Agustin took the central stage and explained in greater details of how TIMD has shaped his entire life; how it picked him up from a tight spot and enabled him to become someone flexible enough to excel in many areas; including becoming a family man, earning a doctorate, and assuming great responsibility because of the discipline and leadership training he received from TIMD. In this way, he Master Venus emphasizing on TIMD’s profound benefits on any individual Master Paul honoring the teachings he received from TIMD White Belt and Yellow Belt practitioners together with Rev Julius Gicole and Mrs Jasmin Gicole (middle) pointed out TIMD is indeed more than just a martial arts; it is a way of life that he would like to encourage practitioners and guests alike to adopt in their lives. This was echoed strongly by Master Paul Sitapa, who was a TIMD Black Belt member before becoming the Head Coach of South Peace Taekwondo in New Zealand. He was unreserved in praise of TIMD’s values and ideals which he carried through with him, even though he decided to practice Taekwondo later on. He imparted TIMD teachings to his students, including Ms Ruth Dean who eventually received gold medal in a prestigious Taekwondo competition in Australia.

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In a significant appreciation of TIMD participants, the Festival held an awarding ceremony which includes all participants, not excluding the special awards given to outstanding members. In this way, Master Almer expressed his belief that all participants are champions in their own rights because of all the efforts they had put in, in order to develop their own selves. The special awards are: Best Male Fighter – Rundall Ferrer, Best Female Fighter – Temura Shelley, Best in Form (South Auckland Chapter) – Mavis Chin and Jacqueline Shelley, Best in Form (Central Auckland Chapter) – Jeoung Gicole, and last but not least; a special award for the hard-working mothers, given to Matapa Shelley and Susan Katamat.

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To conclude the Festival, Master Seti Suafa engaged the audience by sharing the meaning of the Korean words Tong-il (unity) and Moo Do (martial arts) that TIMD are named after. He continued by requesting the audience to show their appreciations to all the martial arts practitioners, black belt masters and the parents who have shouldered the discipline of martial arts through all their supports for TIMD in this occasion. All who were involved could not help but be overwhelmed with gratefulness to the many important guests, speakers and audience who had spent their time and energy to make this event successful.

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Though the Festival came to a resounding completion, the event itself went on through a dinner banquet for the distinguished guests at Parnell Peace Embassy. The jovial ambience from the Festival radiated inside the Embassy, bringing about cheerful songs that reverberated through the ones who were present that evening. Though time went on, the bright atmosphere filled with laughter and joy kept everyone to their feet in the Embassy, unwilling to leave a room bursting with so much positivity and goodness. Still, Rev Julius Gicole had to bring the day to an end by inviting everyone to join him in a closing prayer, with all the good wishes that such a day may manifest itself again in the future; a day where people can appreciate martial arts and still be closely involved in the core values that forms it in the first place; one that values the blossoming of individual characters, to the point where a gathering of those who had worked hard for it truly represents a utopia, no matter how small it may be.

In commemoration of this first ever TIMD Festival in New Zealand and Oceania, a special awarding ceremony was held at Parnell Peace Embassy on the following Sunday; given to the many Oceania leaders gathered in New Zealand as new Honorary Black Belt recipients in order to bequeath upon them the authority to expand TIMD in their respective countries and region. Rev In Soung Kwun was given an Honorary 5th Degree Black Belt and was appointed as the Chairman of TIMD Oceania. Rev Julius Gicole, Rev Soon Teck Lim and Rev Jong Deog Yoo were all appointed as Chairman of TIMD New Zealand, Australia and Vanuatu respectively and received Honorary 3rd Degree Black Belts. Mr Gerald Trass was appointed as Adviser of TIMD New Zealand, while Rev Greg Stone and Master Seti Suafa were appointed as Adviser of TIMD Oceania; both Mr Trass and Rev Stone receiving Honorary 3rd Degree Black Belts, with the exception of Master Seti who received (not Honorary) 4th Degree Black Belt.

As the event comes to its finality, we hope that this seed that has been nurtured and grown will serve as a foundation for TIMD to spread its wings in both New Zealand and Oceania. May the many inspirations gained through this Festival enable the participants to improve themselves further, not just for their own sake, but more importantly for the family they come from, the society they live in and the nation whom they will serve one day; for indeed Tong-il Moo Do is not just a martial arts; it is a way of life.