A Spiritual Journey

The Power
The Way
A Spiritual Journey
by Nodan
c. 2011 Lighthouse Productions
All rights reserved
Revised March 2015
Warning !
The breaking demonstrations
in this book can be dangerous
and should not be attempted
without the supervision of
a qualified instructor!
Chapter 1 Who is Nodan? . . . 1
Chapter 2 Quan Li and Sensei . . . 10
Chapter 3 This is My Religion . . . 19
Chapter 4 Following The Way . . . 25
Chapter 5 The Purging Fire . . . 33
Chapter 6 Do You Love Me? . . . 45
Chapter 7 The True Way . . . 52
Appendix . . . 58
Chapter 1
Who is Nodan?
It was early in 1974, and the horror film, The Exorcist, had
just opened in a theatre near my downtown office. Intrigued
by the sensational public and media reactions to the movie, I
went with three colleagues to see what all the commotion was
about. As a psychologist, I did not believe in a metaphysical
spirit world. I assumed that the phenomenon of “demon
possession” was an extreme form of mental illness. What
traditional religions and primitive cultures had attributed to
evil spirits, modern medicine was now treating with antipsychotic drugs.
Even so, The Exorcist left me with an uneasy feeling. The
terrifying array of supernatural manifestations portrayed in
the film were shocking, and went beyond anything I had ever
experienced working with paranoid schizophrenic patients in
a psychiatric hospital. Some people in the audience giggled
and laughed their way through the movie, too frightened to
consider that any of it could be real.
The movie was actually based on a well-documented
exorcism, and William Peter Blatty, the author of the novel
that inspired the film, had read the detailed diary of the
Catholic priests who had conducted the exorcism in 1949.
The exorcism had lasted for a grueling six weeks, during
which time the child, a thirteen year old boy, blasphemed and
displayed superhuman strength.1
We live within the context of our life experiences. I was
1. Thomas B. Allen, Possessed, iUniverse.com Inc., c. 1994, 2000
(Allen provides an excellent account of the1949 exorcism,
which includes the 26 pages of “The Exorcist Diary.”)
raised in the church and was familiar with the stories about
how Jesus had confronted and defeated demonic spirits. But,
after studying modern biblical scholarship as an adult, I had
concluded that Jesus may have been one of history’s great
ethical teachers, but nothing more. For me, the Bible was a
collection of legends and myths that had been inspired by
man’s search for a higher meaning to life.
While I enjoyed working as a psychologist, my true
passion was karate. I first became aware of karate’s existence
in the early 1960s when I saw an advertisement in a weight
lifting magazine. I was familiar with Western style boxing
and wrestling, but karate seemed to be especially well-suited
for street self-defense. I was abused as a young child and had
grown up with feelings of insecurity and intense rage. Adding
to my sense of vulnerability was the fact that I was always
one of the smallest boys in my class through the 8th grade. To
compensate for these inadequacies, I became obsessed with
heavy weight lifting during my high school years. My goal
was to become so strong that no one could ever physically
abuse me again.
In the early 1960s there were no karate schools near my
home town and, after high school, I attended a college near a
large city. Soon I enrolled in a traditional Okinawan karate
school. I became so captivated by the mysterious art that I
traveled nearly an hour and a half each way by bus and
subway to attend classes. These were rigidly structured with a
strong emphasis on repetitions of the basic techniques. There
was no free sparring or self-defense training.
From the beginning, I did not believe that the free-style
sparring practiced in the 1960s was realistic. For me, karate
was an exercise in survival, not a competitive sport. My
interest was in learning how to apply the techniques to real
street situations, and I began to work out with Tex Barnes, a
college classmate, who had trained in a style of combat
jujitsu. Tex showed me wrist locks and joint holds that were
effective against close quarter knife and gun hold ups, and a
sophisticated combat maneuver that used a head feint and
angle stepping to disarm and counter attack a gunman from
more than six feet away. We also practiced defending against
knife and club attacks, and the kinds of grabs and holds street
criminals were likely to use. Although karate continued to be
my art of choice, this early jujitsu training was the most
important influence in my future approach to the martial arts.
Not surprisingly, Tex Barnes went on to become a high
ranking jujitsu master.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, I trained hard and
familiarized myself with a variety of martial arts. Along the
way I taught self-defense and karate, and promoted seven
students to black belt. By the end of the decade, after fifteen
years of training and study, I felt I had reached the upper
limits of my physical ability as a karateka. I had read stories
about old masters who possessed superhuman strength and
began to search for an “enlightenment” experience that could
take me beyond my natural limitations. My ambition was to
become a great martial arts master. In due time, I met my last
two teachers, Quan Li and Sensei.
Quan Li was a brilliant karate teacher who taught me five
striking principles that enabled me to double my striking
power. But Sensei possessed superhuman strength that went
beyond form and technique. Training with him took me on a
spiritual journey that led to the “dark side” and supernatural
power. I experienced a profound kundalini awakening- an
energy infusion and possession by the Martial Spirit, a
demonic entity of enormous ferocity and power. Indeed, the
breaking demonstrations seen in my videos are mere child’s
play when compared to the strength that can be accessed from
the spirit realms. Sensei was the most powerful martial artist
I had ever seen.
Telling the Story
I always knew I would tell this story one day as a warning
to fellow martial artists against seeking “enlightenment” and
supernatural strength through their martial arts. I also knew
that the identities of the persons connected with the events
chronicled in this book would have to be protected.
Understandably, some of them would not want their names
associated with the incredible things that are about to be
described herein.
To remain anonymous myself, I created the “Nodan”
character as a disguise. As a make-believe karate master, “no
dan” holds no black belt (dan) rank, and his buffoonish
persona serves as a parody for my misguided quest to become
a great master. Today, I take comfort that humility can find a
refuge in anonymity.
In 2004, I bought a video camera and began the process of
staging and filming a series of board breaks to showcase the
extraordinary power in Quan Li’s “one strike” techniques.
My intentions were to use the demonstrations as a backdrop
to warn fellow martial artists about the dangers of seeking
supernatural power. As a disguise, I used a long beard and a
mustache, and donned a pair of Harry Potter eye glasses. To
change my voice I developed a soft, high pitched tone with a
non-descript accent. Applying and removing the sticky spirit
gum adhesive that attached the beard and mustache was
always annoying, and the explosive nature of the karate
techniques caused the beard and mustache to require constant
The Nodan character was inspired by Chiun from
the movie, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins.
After the filming was completed, I purchased my first
computer and signed up for a video editing class at the adult
evening program at the high school. I was in my late fifties
and soon discovered that I had no aptitude for it. After the ten
week course ended, I had to pay the instructor to come to my
house to finish my first dvd.
The critics rightly savaged my film, calling it cheesy and
pointing to the awful acting and poor production values. They
recognized the power in the techniques but failed to see the
intended parody. Adding further insult, Nodan’s anonymity
generated speculation and false information about him on the
internet. One website went so far as to post bogus photos of
the “real” Nodan!
Disheartened by my failure to communicate my warning, I
concluded that Nodan and his message were dead. It wasn’t
until 2009 that I finally discovered YouTube, which offered
another venue for getting my message out. This time, I hired
a professional videographer to help edit a series of karate
videos for the nodankarate channel on YouTube.
The Five Principles
Quan Li’s striking method is based on a set of precepts
which I have quantified and named “The Five Principles.”
These are physical techniques that have nothing to do with the
supernatural power that I would later experience through the
Martial Spirit.
To provide visual evidence for the extraordinary strength in
Master Li’s striking method, I performed a series of unspaced, suspended board breaks. I did this while in my late
fifties, in order to show the advantages of good technique
over sheer athletic prowess.
The human body has 206 bones, 187 joints, and more than
640 skeletal muscles. Li’s striking method maximizes
leverage through precision bone alignments and a highly
refined firing sequence of all the major muscle groups in the
body. I lifted heavy weights for seven years and practiced
karate for fifteen years before training with Quan Li, but I
could never have performed the breaking demonstrations seen
in my videos without intensive makiwara practice, and a high
level of proficiency in Li’s five striking principles.
5 Board Break with Reverse Punch
5 Board Break with Circular Palm Strike
Un-spaced, suspended breaking requires a
significant body weight transfer and enough
speed to overtake the movement of the bag.
5 Board Break with Elbow Strike
Five board stacks are 3¾ inches thick and can
support a 650 lb (295 kg) barbell placed across
the centerline running parallel with the grain.
4 Board Break with Bent Wrist Strike
This was my most difficult and dangerous breaking
technique. Nerve damage can occur if the hands are
not well-conditioned beforehand on the makiwara.
7 Board Left and Right Hand Downward Breaks
7 boards will support a 910 lb. (413.6 kg.) barbell.
For serious practitioners of karate, I have explained Li’s
principles in my book, Karate Jutsu: The Five Principles, and
in my dvd, “Nodan Karate: The Five Principles.” This book
and DVD are a free pdf download with no registration or
requirements at nodankarate.org.
Chapter 2
Quan Li and Sensei
Before continuing with this story, I want to make three
important clarifications. First, although the names of the
people described in this book have been changed to conceal
their identities, I have not altered any of the facts. I have
relied on the written notes that I recorded at the time of the
events described, and on the recollections of my wife and
others. I am not an accomplished writer, but I have tried hard
to convey this story without exaggeration, prejudice, or guile.
Second , my understanding of the events detailed herein do
not necessarily represent the opinions held by the other
persons who are portrayed in this book. After all, we each
have our own perceptions of reality. Let each reader be
convinced in his own mind.
Third, I do not profit financially from the nodankarate
channel on YouTube, or from my books and dvd, which are
a free download at my website, nodankarate.org.
Quan Li
Quan Li was already an expert in karate when I first met
him in 1980. He had heard that I knew the complete Shotokan
kata system, and he came to me hoping to learn some of the
more advanced forms. But, as we trained together it became
apparent to both of us that his karate was far better to mine. I
was baffled by the “heaviness” of his blocks, and by the
unusual power in his strikes. For some curious reason, the
superiority of Quan Li’s technique was not apparent to the
other three karateka who were working out with us. I was the
only one who was impressed.
Quan tried to explain to me how I was using muscle power
while he was leveraging his strength through “proper bone
alignment.” Although I did not understand his explanations at
the time, the differences in our techniques was astonishing.
Quan Li was the best karateka I had ever seen. By the end of
our workout, I had concluded that I would have to relearn all
the fundamentals of my art if I was to ever approach Li’s
level of expertise. Quan graciously agreed to teach me his
basics, and I exchanged my well-worn black belt for the white
belt of a beginner. The teacher had become the student.
Meeting Sensei
After studying for awhile with Quan, I wanted to meet his
former karate teacher, whom he always referred to as
“Sensei.” Quan was in awe of this man’s exceptional abilities
and had told me amazing stories about him. He arranged for
us to meet with the master, who was now teaching classes in
traditional Japanese weapons (kobudo), and in Morihei
Ueshiba’s throwing art, aikido. Quan warned me, however,
that Sensei no longer taught karate because he believed the
ferocious striking art no longer fit in a civilized society.
When I met Sensei I knew he was everything Quan had
said about him. His presence was different from that of other
men, and when he performed his techniques a powerful
energy flowed through him. Quan Li had shown me the
superiority of bone alignment over muscle strength, but
Sensei had a power that transcended this physical realm.
I had met a true master, and now I knew what kind of
martial artist I wanted to become. I asked Sensei if he would
give us private instruction in his karate-do, but he would only
agree to meet with us occasionally to give us a few pointers.
Then he expressed his skepticism as to where it would lead
and concluded by telling us, “You’d have to be a saint to find
The Way through karate today.”
Sensei’s skepticism did not stop us from going back to see
him several months later. After his last class, he invited Quan
and me onto the mat. As we kneeled before him, he looked at
me and said, “Jay, everything you know is wrong.” I was a
psychologist with several university degrees, but somehow I
knew he was referring to more than just my knowledge of the
martial arts.
At one point during this first training session together,
Sensei moved behind me and instructed me not to look back
until I could “feel” his extended fist close to the back of my
head. I waited until I could sense him almost touching me.
When I turned to look, Sensei was standing ten feet away. I
tried again. This time I was certain that he was some distance
away because I could not sense anything close to me. As I
turned to look, the side of my face lightly grazed his extended
fist. Somehow, he was able to extend and withdraw his ki
(vital energy) at will.
Next, Sensei stood in front of me in a relaxed front stance
with his arms hanging loosely at his sides. He said, “Attack
me.” I remember pausing and wondering if he was serious,
but Sensei just stood there with a strange stare emanating
from his eyes. I shifted into a front fighting stance and
cautiously looked for an opening. There was none. It was as
if he was empty and had every possible attack covered. Quan
later confessed that watching this episode unfold had “scared
the hell out him,” because he didn’t know how I was going to
react. Sensei had used the sword attitude known as Happo
Biraki (open on all eight sides), and the twofold gaze of
perception and sight to preemptively thwart any attack I may
have been considering.
Finally, Sensei had each of us perform a beginner kata for
him. Afterwards, he said to us, “It’s not that it’s wrong… it’s
just not right.” It was not until after I experienced the Martial
Spirit for myself that I understood what he meant by this. On
our drive home from Sensei’s dojo, Quan revealed that Sensei
had taken him aside and commented, “Jay’s a strong man but
his karate’s not good.”
After this first teaching session with Sensei, I was more
motivated than ever to continue my training. I intensified my
home workouts, and Quan and I continued to meet with
Sensei every few months to have him critique our progress in
karate. Quan proved to be as good a teacher as he was a
martial artist. He taught proactively, performing every
repetition, step for step, right along with me. For my part, I
was a determined student, hanging on his every word and
imitating his every move. I did not have Quan Li’s exceptional natural ability or his genius for understanding the
techniques. I had to be shown each step of the way, and then
practice, practice, practice until the movements became part
of me.
Master Quan Li
After training with Quan Li for nearly two years, I made a
momentous decision. To better access Sensei’s spiritual
wisdom, I joined his school and traveled an hour and a half
each way to attend his classes. Quan and I continued to train
together in karate, but studying with Sensei added a whole
new perspective to my understanding of the martial arts.
Over time, I began to grasp the deeper spiritual nature of
Sensei’s art. For him, a true sensei was an “enlightened”
teacher, and he scoffed at the casual use of the title by
Western practitioners of the arts. The dojo (training hall) was
the “way-room” where the departed spirits of the masters
meet with the followers of The Way. Pictures of these past
masters were displayed on the kamiza wall at the front of the
dojo. The kamiza was a “wall of honor” and the “altar of
god.” At the beginning and end of each workout, Sensei
would lead the class through a ceremonial bow before it. The
kneeling bow included sitting meditation (zazen), which was
intended to empty the mind, making it more receptive to the
Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645)
According to Quan Li, Sensei was a master of Miyamoto
Musashi’s two swords style (Niten Ichi-ryu), in which the
long and short swords are wielded simultaneously, one in
each hand. Musashi’s classic guide to strategy, A Book of Five
Rings, was the philosophical basis for Sensei’s teaching.
During his lifetime Musashi killed most of his opponents
in more than sixty duels. After concluding that he was invincible, he retired to a cave and began an earnest search for
enlightenment, which culminated in his now famous treatise
on strategy. Besides his swordsmanship, Musashi was known
for being an accomplished artist, sculptor, and calligrapher.
Musashi self portrait, circa 1640
Musashi’s ink drawings of Hotei and a cormorant
Gichen Funakoshi (1868-1957)
This famous Okinawan master introduced
karate to Japan in the 1920s. His Shotokan
style greatly influenced Sensei’s karate-do.
Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969)
Sensei stopped teaching his karate-do in the 1970s in
favor of Ueshiba’s aikido, a throwing art designed to
inflict as little damage as possible to the aggressor.
Although a master of Musashi’s two swords style, in
his classes Sensei taught a traditional style of kendo.
Quan Li’s Dojo
Quan Li’s kamiza displays samurai swords, sai
and tonfa, certificates, and pictures of masters.
Zazen (sitting meditation)
Ceremonial bow before the kamiza
Chapter 3
This is My Religion
Today, few people are aware of the religious roots of the
Asian martial arts. In the 1976 documentary film, “Way of
The Sword,” the Japanese karate master, Gogen “The Cat”
Yamaguchi, can be seen kneeling before his crystal ball
summoning the martial spirits. Master Yamaguchi was a 10th
degree black belt and a Shinto priest. The film’s commentator
translates the Goju-ryu master’s words:
“In my crystal ball, I conjure up spirits of past and future. I talk
to the samurai warriors of old and to the fighters who are yet to
come, and the secrets they tell me I pass on through my karate
Gogen Yamaguchi (1901-1969)
2. “Way of The Sword,” c. 1976, distributed by Coe Film Associates,
#65 E 96th Street, New York, N.Y. 10128
Sensei and the Martial Spirit
While the dojo served as the focal point for Sensei’s
spiritual connection with his martial art, astrology and the
I Ching (Book of Changes) were also important to his occult
practice. I Ching is a Chinese divination system, and I once
observed Sensei having a reading done by an expert in that
esoteric art. Referring to his martial art, Sensei once commented to Quan Li, “This is my religion.”
During his classes, Sensei often received a revelation
about a technique, which he believed was a gift from the
Martial Spirit. Once, I asked him how he had acquired his
great martial arts ability and extraordinary physical prowess,
and he told me about the life-changing visitation he received
from the Martial Spirit in the late 1960s. During that time in
his life he had become sick and believed he was about to die.
He had been earnestly seeking the “truth” through his karatedo, and he made a commitment to continue training until he
either reached enlightenment or died trying.
Sensei’s breakthrough came as he was training alone in his
dojo, practicing the Heian Godan kata. As he turned and
started down the middle with the double arm block, a
tremendous power entered into his body and he heard an
audible voice asking, “Do you want it to stop?” He recalled
that he had only a split second to decide or the miraculous
power would be gone. He chose to accept it and became
“Sensei,” the most powerful martial artist I have ever seen.
After this profound spiritual experience, Sensei believed
he had become invincible. He could now see beyond the kata
and uncover any weaknesses in the techniques. Years later he
acknowledged that it took him some time to learn what to do
with the “entirely new energy” that he received from the
Martial Spirit on “that fateful day.”
In his younger days, Sensei gave demonstrations where he
bent steel bars and broke bricks and rocks with his bare
hands. Quan told me that Sensei had once confided to him, “I
love my strength.” On another occasion Quan recalls Sensei
telling him, “Once you have the Martial Spirit no one will
ever fight you,” and, “If I hit you, you should be dead before
you hit the floor.” In the 1960s, Sensei trained with the
legendary Mas Oyama, the founder of the Kyokushinkai style
of karate. Oyama was considered by many to be the most
powerful karateka of his generation, and he was renowned for
his awesome physical abilities. Sensei once told me that
Oyama also had the Martial Spirit, and that he and the
famous karate master were about equal in strength.
Masutatsu “Mas” Oyama (1923-1994)
Mas Oyama became famous for fighting bulls
with his bare hands and for breaking a variety
of objects, such as boards, bricks, and stones.
A Terrifying Incident
Quan told me about a terrifying incident that happened
years earlier when he was training at Sensei’s former karate
dojo. During class one night, a fight broke out in front of the
tavern down the road, and the loud commotion sent Sensei
and his students running into the street to see what was
happening. In front of the barroom they could see a gang of
thugs beating a man who was lying on the ground.
Immediately, Sensei went running toward them with his
fist raised in the air and roaring like a lion. Not only did the
gang scatter and run for their lives, but according to Quan,
Sensei’s ferocious kiai yell terrified him and his fellow
students as well!
Sensei also had remarkable psychic abilities and could
perceive things that others couldn’t see. For example, one
evening during class he stopped abruptly and said he could
feel the presence of Mike Dunn, a former student who had
moved away from the area more than a year earlier. To our
astonishment, in less than a minute, Mike Dunn came walking
through the dojo door.
Zen Master and Samurai
Although Sensei never referred to himself as such, I saw
him as a self-styled Zen master who blended Buddhist and
Taoist philosophies into his martial arts. Sensei viewed
himself as a modern day samurai, and his belief in
reincarnation was an important part of his philosophical
world view. Once he told me that he had been allowed to
remember who he was in a previous life, and that this had
caused him much sorrow. Another time he showed Quan Li a
picture of a 19th century samurai warrior that he claimed was
a photograph of himself that had been taken during his former
19th century samurai warriors
For Sensei, the ultimate goal of the martial arts was to
destroy the ego so that the illusions of this physical world
would disappear. One time, while discussing this subject, he
stopped and said to us, “Let me see if I can think with ego.”
He paused, as if trying to think of something to say, and then
shook his head declaring, “No, I can’t do it.” To this day,
I don’t know if he was serious or just challenging our conventional ways of thinking.
Following in the Zen tradition, Sensei made many
provocative statements, and Jesus and Christianity were the
frequent targets of his sarcastic wit. When Pope John Paul II
was nearly killed by an assassin in 1981, Sensei exclaimed,
“He ought to be shot!” Another time, referring to the New
Testament’s account of Jesus feeding a multitude of people
with only two fish and five loaves of bread, Sensei quipped,
“That boy should have been a baker.” Then he added, “That
boy screwed up and he’s out there running around looking for
a way to come back and do it all over again.” His disdain for
the Judeo-Christian tradition was frequently on display, and
he made pronouncements like, “The Bible is all lies,” and,
“There’s no such thing as the devil. You create your own
But the most shocking thing I ever heard him say
concerned his comparison of the power of Jesus Christ to the
power of the martial arts at their highest level. On several
occasions he told us, “Boys, if you think the power of the
martial arts is something, grab a hold of Jesus Christ. There’s
a power that’ll knock you right on your ass!” How startling it
was to hear these words from Sensei, who spoke them with
the authority of someone who had firsthand knowledge of the
fact. Considering all the negative things he often said about
Jesus, this statement made no sense to us at all.
Years later I went back and visited Sensei to ask him why
he told us such an amazing thing about Jesus. The question
took him by surprise and he gave me a sheepish, somewhat
embarrassed look. Then he claimed to have no memory of
ever having said it. But after a moment of reflection, Sensei
confessed that several other people had told him that he often
said things that he later didn’t remember saying.
Chapter 4
Following The Way
For the traditional Asian martial arts, “The Way” signifies
a path that embraces a way of life intended to lead its
practitioners to cosmic consciousness, or enlightenment. The
Japanese word used to designate The Way is “do,” and
Sensei’s karate-do, aikido, and kobudo were each an
expression of his budo (martial way). For traditional martial
artists, meditation practice is fundamental to The Way, and I
spent many hours practicing to focus and expand my mind.
Following Quan’s example, I built a dojo in my home. On
the wall of honor (kamiza), I mounted a portrait of the karate
master, Gichen Funakoshi. The goal of training was to reach
enlightenment, and to reach that level of higher consciousness, the ego must be completely destroyed.
According to Quan, practicing Sensei’s karate-do workout
would gradually burn away the ego. Each week, Quan and I
trained together for three to four hours. At the heart of the
workout ritual was the practice of the kata, and we performed
many repetitions of the basic beginner forms. These we
practiced at various tempos, from slow motion to full speed.
Performing the kata in slow motion enables one to feel the
essence of every movement.
After a while we began to experience unusual phenomena
during our training. While practicing full power three-step
sparring, a strange dynamic prevented our arms from making
hard physical contact, even as our punches were being
powerfully blocked. One night the dojo was filled with such
tremendous energy that the floor literally vibrated beneath us.
On two separate occasions, we split the rigid 2x4 makiwara
striking post at its base, such was the power being generated
during the karate-so workout.
As we trained, the strength I was experiencing was exhilarating and steeled my determination to reach further and
further beyond the physical limits of my power. During the
week I often practiced the karate-do workout for three to four
hours a day on my own. What I could not see at that time
was that the training was actually inflating my ego with the
pride of becoming more and more powerful. Ironically, what
was intended to destroy the ego was, in fact, deceptively
building it up.
Li leads his students through the kata portion
of Sensei’s five part karate-do workout ritual.
The Invisible Man
One night as Quan and I were training, the energy in the
dojo was exceptionally strong. After we finished our workout
I asked my wife, Kay, to come into the room to see if she
could sense anything unusual. She entered the dojo and could
feel a strange energy emanating from the right side of the
kamiza. Following the energy with her out-stretched arms,
she moved slowly toward the corner of the room and
stopped. Then, using both hands she traced the outline of an
invisible “person” standing in the corner. When Kay realized
what she had just done, she became spooked and hurried out
the door.
We had a black and white cat named Sylvester, and shortly
after Kay’s encounter with the spirit he appeared in the
doorway to make his nightly inspection of the dojo. Quan
and I watched to see if the cat would be aware of the ghostly
presence in the corner.
Sylvester began his customary walk along the back wall of
the dojo. Suddenly, he veered off and went straight to the spot
where Kay had just encountered the spirit. He sat down and
stared at the invisible figure. After a short time, he stood up
and nonchalantly walked out of the room.
Later that evening, Kay recalled that the spirit she
encountered in the dojo was about five feet tall. Ironically,
this just happened to coincide with the height of the
diminutive karate master, Gichen Funakoshi, whose picture
graced my kamiza wall. I do not know whether or not it was
Funakoshi’s ghost in the dojo that night, but I believe it was
associated with the martial spirits we would soon encounter
during a remarkable Ouija Board séance.
The Séance
One evening, a former student and his wife came to visit
us. Gary and Deedee brought with them a Ouija Board, a
device used to channel messages from the spirit world. The
board displays the letters of the alphabet, the numbers 0-9,
and the words “yes” and “no.” A wooden or plastic platform
(planchette) is used to indicate the numbers and letters as they
are being channeled from the spirits.
Before being marketed as a game, the ‘spirit board’
was used by Spiritualists in their religious practices.
Quan and I had just finished our evening workout, and we
all decided to take the board into the dojo to ask it some
questions. We lit several candles, turned off the lights, and
placed the board on the floor. Then, with pen and paper in
hand, we began. Deedee and Kay placed their fingers lightly
on the planchette and we asked our first question, “Is Master
Funakoshi’s spirit in this dojo?”
The planchette began to move, pausing briefly over each
of ten letters on the board’s alphabet. I wrote down the letters
and, to our amazement, the message spelled out the words,
“Only for two.”
We asked, “Which two is he here for?”
The answer was, “For true believers.” Quan and I knew
that the spirit was referring to us.
Quan asked, “Is Master Ueshiba here?”
“All are here if you learn the truth. The truth is in this
Someone asked, “Are we following the right path?”
The spirit gave us an inconclusive answer; “Many have
trained… few will develop the gift given by . . .”
We persisted, “Given by whom?
“It must start from within.” At this point, Kay became
unnerved by the channeling experience and stopped using the
planchette, but Deedee was able to continue on her own.
One of us asked, “Who is speaking to us?” The spirit’s
reply was poetic, but enigmatic; “Like the sky, all is open.
The sword moves with wisdom.”
Quan asked, “Does Master Funakoshi live in the flesh?”
“I, you, he.” Kay gasped and exclaimed that Funakoshi’s
picture on the kamiza wall had just become three-dimensional
and had projected itself out towards her. Quan recalled that
Sensei had once told him, “he does that sometimes.” Kay had
seen enough and left the room declaring, “I’m out of here!”
The four of us continued; “Will Jay and Quan become
“All will be known when each level is attained.”
Quan was eager to inquire about his own training and
asked, “What kata level should Quan be training?”
Quan pursued another line of questioning; “Was Quan a
samurai in a previous life?
The spirit answered, “The tree bears fruit… only the
beginning is looked upon… know not more than are given…
seek only what is in the heart. All masters believe.”
We each understood that something extraordinary was
happening. Deedee knew almost nothing about the martial
arts or the Zen-like answers she was channeling. At certain
times I watched her eyes to see if she could be choosing the
letters, but she wasn’t even looking down as the planchette
glided effortlessly across the board. As we progressed further
into the séance, the planchette’s movements became increasingly rapid, until I could barely record the letters as fast as
Quan and Gary called them out.
Quan wanted to know if he would ever teach classes again
and asked, “Is Quan destined to teach in the future?”
“Giving is receiving the ki.” This answer was puzzling to
Deedee, and when she saw it written out she asked why “key”
was spelled “ki?” Deedee had no knowledge of this Japanese
word for energy.
One of us asked, “What is the ki?”
The reply was, “Look to yourself.”
We asked, “Can we improve this dojo for you?”
The spirit answered, “Falling leave.”
I asked, “Will I ever teach again?”
The spirit gave me a prophetic answer; “You will grow
through giving to the teachings.”
Quan then asked, “Will karate-do die with Sensei?” We
received a vague and incomplete answer; “Like the seasons
winter sleeps. Slowly spring comes. Have...” The planchette
suddenly stopped moving. We persisted, “Can you finish this
“Greed is given to all. I give to two with much to learn.”
With that, the spirits stopped communicating and the
séance was over.
For me, contacting these martial spirits reinforced my
conviction that I was following the right path toward
enlightenment, and the experience inspired me to search
deeper into the mysteries of the spirit world.
Kay saw Funakoshi’s picture become threedimensional and project itself towards her.
The Medium
After our Ouija board séance, Quan told me about an old
Spiritualist minister named Bertha, who gave psychic readings. In practice, mediums summon up a spirit who takes over
in a form of “benign” possession. An important role of the
medium is to see into the future, and I went to Bertha a
number of times hoping to gain additional insight into the
spirit world.
Bertha lived in an old house in a poor section of town. On
my first visit, she led me through her house and into a gloomy
kitchen. There, she informed me that a five hundred year old
Native American spirit guide had been assigned to act as her
psychic gatekeeper. We sat down opposite each other and
Bertha reached across the table and took hold of both my
hands. She closed her eyes and paused briefly… then she
began to speak in tongues.
After this, she opened her eyes and said, “Now as I
come into close contact with you…” Immediately, information began to be channeled through her Indian guide.
Occasionally, Bertha would shake her head disapprovingly
and speak out, “No, not you,” to spirits that she didn’t want
coming through. I got the impression there were a number of
departed souls, not all of them necessarily connected to me,
who were trying to get messages through this gateway from
the other side.
Bertha was able to give details about my family that she
could not have known beforehand, and I have no doubt that
she was in contact with the spirit realm. Surprisingly, she
never revealed any specific information that was particularly
useful to me. She did, however, reinforce my belief that a
spirit world separate from this material one did, in fact, exist.
In hindsight, I realize that I had no way of knowing for
certain who Bertha was communicating with, or whether all
the information being channeled was accurate. People lie and
deceive while living in this world, so what would prevent
them from giving false information in the next? This also
applies to Ouija Board messages, and helps to explain the
Bible’s prohibition against using occult practices.
At the end of my first visit with Bertha, I told her about
our Ouija Board experience. She became irritated and
explained that Spiritualists had invented the spirit board in the
1800s to be used in their religious practices. Then, she
denounced Parker Brothers for trivializing its significance by
marketing it as a parlor game, which she believed put an
uninformed public at risk. Ironically, the case of demonic
possession that inspired the movie, The Exorcist, began
shortly after the 13 year old boy’s Aunt Harriet, herself a
practicing Spiritualist, had introduced him to a Ouija Board!
Chapter 5
The Purging Fire
After five years of training in Quan’s karate, and three
years in Sensei’s kobudo and aikido, my martial arts had been
transformed. Along the way I had immersed myself in Zen
philosophy, practiced deep meditation, and used the occult in
my pursuit of enlightenment. Sensei had told us that “power”
could come from either the “dark side” or from the light, and
that all we had to do was ask for it and expect to receive it. He
claimed that his power came from “God,” although he never
identified which “god.” Anyway, if it was that simple, why
didn’t any of Sensei’s students possess his special kind of
power? Why didn’t Quan Li, who was himself a master?
Damien Wilson was a relative of one of our neighbors, and
he heard that I practiced karate. He asked if he could train
with me sometime. Damien had never studied a martial art, so
I took him to Quan’s dojo one evening to try our karate.
During the drive to Quan Li’s, Damien told me how he had
grown up with the occult and that he was very psychic. He
claimed that he experienced astral projection (soul travel)
while sleeping, and that he could take thoughts out of
people’s heads. Then he made the following astounding
assertions: First, he claimed to know where Sensei’s power
came from. Second, he confidently informed me, “Now that
I’m going to be training with you, you’re going to see the real
power of the martial arts.”
By the end of the workout, however, Quan and I agreed
that Damien was one of the weakest and most uncoordinated
men we had ever seen attempt to learn a martial art. To
us, his grandiose claims seemed delusional.
A Demonic Exchange
After this Damien wanted to meet Sensei, and I arranged
for him to accompany me to a class. Ordinarily, Sensei was
quite friendly towards visitors and would sit with them and
give explanations as a senior student took over the class. But
with Damien, I doubt there was even one word exchanged
between the two men during the entire evening. Remarkably,
they sat on opposite sides of the visitor’s bench and completely ignored one another.
After class, Sensei talked with Quan and me as Damien
looked on. Sensei was telling us about the total commitment
it would take to make the final breakthrough to enlightenment. He said that we had to want it more than anything in
the world and expect it to happen.
Then suddenly, Sensei pointed at me and declared, “Jay,
you’re going to get this, and when you do you’re going to
come back at me, ‘You ___ ___ son of a bitch!’” I was
completely dumbfounded, but several weeks later these
prophetic words would come true.
On our drive home from class, Damien expressed his deep
satisfaction with his visit with Sensei and smugly said, “Me
and Sensei have an understanding.” Say what? Now I was
totally baffled by the events of that evening.
Damien went with me one more time to train at Quan’s
dojo, and during the workout I witnessed a truly amazing
thing. I watched as Damien walked over to Quan and stood
face-to-face with him. In a flash, Quan pointed his finger
directly in Damien’s face and told him sternly, “That’s not
going to work!” Damien displayed no reaction and slowly
moved away.
At the first opportunity, I took Quan aside and asked him
what that bizarre incident with Damien had been about. He
answered, “Oh, he was trying to go right down into my one
point.” Remarkably, when I asked him about the incident
again several weeks later, Quan had no memory of it ever
Next, I paired off with another karateka, John Bauer, to
practice three-step sparring. As we bowed to each other
before engaging, John suddenly sprang backwards as if he’d
just seen a ghost. Several weeks later he admitted that he had
been startled by my “piercing black eyes.”
Later in the workout, Quan and I engaged in the same
three-step exercise. But, after our first pass Quan stopped and
exclaimed, “Jay, you’re killing my arms!” He rolled up his
sleeves and exposed large swollen welts on both his forearms.
This was shocking, because we had been practicing this same
sparring exercise together with full power punches and blocks
for nearly five years, and neither of us had ever suffered so
much as a minor bruise. At this point, I could not imagine
what could have caused these bizarre occurrences with John
and Quan.
That evening became even stranger after I returned home.
As I lay in bed that night, I became aware of an eerie
“presence” in my lower back. It was a cool energy about the
size of a softball, and it moved slowly up and down my spine.
I tried to convince myself this was only an illusion, but the
weird sensation was too real to be imagined.
By the next morning, the strange “presence” had disappeared, and I had repressed all memory of the incomprehensible events that had happened during the previous evening.
I was unaware that the Martial Spirit had been transferred
from Sensei to Damien to me, or that Kay and I were about to
be engulfed in a storm of demonic activity.
Sanbon Kumite (Three-Step Sparring)
Each step features a strike and blocking technique.
Twenty years later, I must wear arm pads to
protect against Yakov’s full powered blocks.
The Gathering Storm
Two weeks passed, and I had to interrupt my training
routine to visit out-of-state relatives. For me, the timing of
this trip was especially inconvenient, because I had a growing
conviction that I was getting close to a major breakthrough in
my pursuit of enlightenment. Sensei’s enigmatic words about
my “getting it” had made a deep impression on me, and Quan
had recently presented me with an honorary Godan rank (5th
degree black belt). In Quan Li’s karate organization, the 5th
degree signified that the karateka had reached the highest
level of physical performance in his art. This also reinforced
my belief that I was very close to reaching my goal. After five
days of being away, I was relieved to have Kay pick me up at
the airport.
On the drive back to our house, Kay began to tell me about
the frightening events that had happened to her during my
absence. While channel surfing on the television she had
come across a program, in which a televangelist was teaching
about the Bible’s prohibitions against idolatry. She heard him
say that whenever you bow down before an idol or insignificant picture, there will be a demonic spirit behind it. The
preacher went on to describe the power that one can get from
bowing down before images, and Kay couldn’t help thinking
about the unusual strength that Quan and I experienced during
our workouts. She wondered if she should remove the
pictures that were hanging on the dojo wall upstairs.
At the thought of taking the pictures down, Kay felt a
negative energy begin to swirl around her head. Unnerved
and afraid, she telephoned one of my former students and
asked him to come to the house and take the pictures down.
When Wayne entered the dojo, he could feel a strange
energy in the room. He began to slowly step through a kata
and Kay heard him exclaim, “Whoa… I can feel it!” He took
the pictures down, placed them on the floor, and left.
The next morning, Kay began to feel angry at being intimidated in her own home. She decided that it was not enough to
take the pictures down- she wanted them out of her house. As
she mustered her courage and started up the stairs to remove
them, the malevolent energy that had swirled around her head
the day before returned with a fury. It buzzed around her like
a swarm of angry bees.
Kay had never been an outwardly religious person, but she
had her own special relationship with God since she was a
little girl. She prayed for protection and could feel a defensive
shield surround her. She hurried up the stairs and into the
dojo, grabbed the pictures up from the floor, and then took
them out to the garage.
After telling me these things, Kay said that she understood
how important the dojo was to me, and that she hoped I
wouldn’t be too upset that she had removed the pictures. But,
I wasn’t upset at all. What was so obvious to her was still
hidden from me. I was unaware of the strong spiritual attachment I had to my martial art.
By the time we arrived home it was late, and I was tired
from traveling. I insisted to Kay that the pictures were not so
important to me, and that I would deal with that situation the
next day.
Kundalini Fire
The next morning I woke up late. As I sat up in bed and
peered into the dresser mirror across the room, an amazing
thing happened. The eyes in the face reflected back at me
were not my eyes! They were black and piercing, and had an
alien intelligence of their own. Perplexed, I climbed out of
bed and approached the dresser. Staring at my reflection in
the mirror, I shook my head and said, “No, that’s not me.”
I suspected that the answer to this unsettling situation
might be found in my dojo across the hall. I went in and
assumed a front fighting stance facing the mirror on the closet
door. Those same two piercing black eyes stared back at me.
Without thinking, I found myself beckoning to them and
demanding, “Okay, show me the kundalini fire.” At once, the
strange bundle of cool energy that I had experienced several
weeks earlier manifested itself again at the base of my spine.
With a sudden rush, it rose up and began to radiate throughout my body, intensifying as it moved upwards toward my
head. The strength I felt was both thrilling and terrifying, and
an overwhelming sense of dread swept over me.
In horror, I watched my reflection in the mirror change as
Sensei’s face superimposed itself over my own, and then
morphed into a demon of enormous ferocity and power.
Because I was seeing its reflection in the mirror, the
monstrous, holographic-like image appeared to leap out at me
with a thunderous roar, as if from some otherworldly realm.
It felt like being in a three-dimensional horror movie, except
this was no fantasy. This was really happening.
Panic stricken, I stepped back and emphatically declared,
“If this is what it is, I don’t want it.” My eyes had been
opened, and I saw for the first time that Sensei’s incredible
physical power was demonic. With this stunning realization,
the grotesque vision faded and the alien energy receded back
into my lower spine, only to be followed by a seamless
transition into a realm of indescribable emptiness; a blackness
where the only reality was my conscious mind.
I knew I was in the outer darkness of hell and separated
from all that was good. In my blind pursuit of enlightenment,
I had embraced Miyamoto Musashi’s void, where consciousness does not exist and spirit is nothingness.3 But now, to my
shock and dismay, I did exist in a disembodied state, caught
3. Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings, The Overlook Press,
c. 1974, p. 95
in an eternal “now” beyond time and space. With me was the
complete record of everything I had done in my thirty-eight
years on this earth. I could see with perfect clarity, as if a veil
had been removed from my eyes, every self-centered word,
thought, and deed I had ever committed. I saw how I had been
living out of pride and self-interest. Mercifully, this ghastly
out-of-body spectacle soon faded away.
Stunned, I began to think about what I should do. I had no
intentions of telling anyone, especially my wife, because who
could ever believe it? I was a trained psychologist and had
just experienced phenomena associated with paranoid schizophrenia, a psychotic form of severe mental illness. Indeed, if
someone else had told me this story, I would have considered
them to be certifiably insane.
Kundalini Fire
Kundalini fire is an indwelling corporeal energy
coiled at the base of the spine. When awakened,
the energy spirals upward to the crown chakra.
The situation was too confusing to comprehend. Kay’s
earlier experience of removing the portraits of the masters
seemed to suggest that these freakish happenings were
somehow related to my bowing down before the kamiza. In
desperation, I went shopping in search of replacements for
the pictures of the masters. I settled on a mirror for the
centerpiece, unaware that I would now be bowing down
before myself. On either side of the mirror, I decided to place
my original black belt certificate and the honorary Godan
rank I had recently received from Quan Li.
I returned home and mounted the mirror and certificates.
Then, I discovered another portrait of Master Funakoshi in the
dojo closet, which I proceeded to tear into strips and discard
into the bathroom trash basket. Satisfied I had taken positive
action, I went downstairs to dinner, hoping that my world
might now return to normal.
Later that evening, Kay went upstairs to take a bath.
Afterwards, as she was washing out the bathtub, a hateful
male voice threatened her in a low-pitched growl saying, “I
could get you.” Then the malevolent spirit described in
graphic detail how it would violate her with the most heinous
sexual abuses imaginable. Kay was shocked by the filth and
vulgarity of the threats. Inexplicably, she reached into the
bathroom trash basket and pulled out a strip of paper from
Funakoshi’s torn and discarded picture. Two piercing black
eyes glared back at her. Terrified, she dropped it back into the
basket and hurried downstairs to tell me.
At first, I was too confounded for words. Kay knew
nothing about my earlier encounter with the Martial Spirit or
of my tearing up Funakoshi’s picture into strips and
discarding them into the bathroom trash. I now had
confirmation from Kay that we had become the unwitting
participants in a very different kind of reality.
I went up the stairs and stood outside the bathroom
doorway. Peering into the room, I felt dead silence. Then it
finally dawned on me and I saw the connection… the evil
spirit that had just threatened Kay was from the same
demonic realm as the monstrous Martial Spirit that had
morphed out of me earlier that morning. My heart sank. This
was something I did not know how to fight. Sensei had told
us on a number of occasions, “The highest level of the martial
arts is controlled insanity.” I felt like I was there.
The Purging Fire
As I continued staring through the bathroom doorway and
pondering my predicament, the thought occurred to me that
nothing purges like fire. I pulled out the torn strips of
Funakoshi’s picture from the trash and hurried downstairs. I
lit a fire in the living room fireplace and burned them.
I went back upstairs to the dojo to look for other things
that could be burned. I took down my two rank certificates
hanging on the kamiza wall and began searching through the
dojo closet. I found a prized personal letter from Sensei and
two books written by Master Funakoshi. I took these items
down to the living room and began feeding them to the fire.
As Funakoshi’s paperback autobiography was consumed,
it gave off a loud and angry hissing sound. The second book
was Funakoshi’s master text, Karate-do Kyohan. On the
front cover was the photograph of a 14th century wooden
statue of Kongorikishi, a fierce Hindu warrior god and a
guardian of the Buddha. Kongorikishi is the most powerful
deity of the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon, and his ferocious
“spirit released” visage was eerily reminiscent of the demonic
face of the Martial Spirit that had appeared to me earlier that
Kongorikishi on the cover of The Master Text.
The Master Text was too thick to burn all at once, so I
separated its outer hard cover from the interior pages of text.
It was only afterwards that I realized the amount of strength it
took to tear the well-constructed book apart with such ease.
I placed the book cover over the fireplace logs and began
tearing off segments of the text and feeding them to the
flames. As I placed the last section into the fire, an incredible
thing happened. The pages began to slowly turn, as if by
some invisible hand. There was a pause, and a single page
was presented before my eyes. It was the one page in the
book that displayed a series of old photographs of Master
Funakoshi in various kata poses.4 The pictures seemed to be
calling out to me, “Do you really want to give up this
beautiful art that has become such an important part of
your life?” For the first time, I was confronted with the depth
of my spiritual attachment to my karate.
As the last few pages of the book were being consumed,
Kay suddenly jumped up off the couch and pointed to an
astonishing image inside the fireplace. It was the ferocious
face of Kongorikishi, just as he appeared on the jacket cover
of Funakoshi’s book. Somehow, the demon had seared its
raging figure onto the fireplace brick! The uncanny likeness
could have passed for the work of a skilled charcoal sketch
By now, I had come to the realization that getting free
from these demonic spirits was going to cost me more than a
few karate books, certificates, and portraits of the masters.
4. Gichen Funakoshi, Karate-do Kyohan, Kodansha America, Inc.,
c. 1973, p. 34
Chapter 6
Do You Love Me?
Although I was raised in the church, the message of God’s
love, as revealed in Jesus, had never become a reality for me.
As an adult, I had come to the conclusion that Jesus may have
been one of history’s great ethical teachers, but nothing more.
But, now faced with the inescapable fact that both kay and I
had experienced the metaphysical “dark side,” I could not
help but to wonder, “Could Jesus be more than just another
enlightened teacher?”
In my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus sitting in the chair across
from me. In a non-judgmental way he was asking me, “Do
you love me more than these?”
My heart sank into my stomach. I had trained for twenty
years and had developed tremendous power in my karate.
Sensei’s karate-do workout had become my sacred rite, and
now Jesus was asking me to give it all up for him? To live
without the martial arts was unthinkable… but, could I keep
my karate and live with Sensei’s “controlled insanity?”
I wasn’t ready to give up my art, and I continued to burn
items that had been associated with my past training. This
included my original black belt, whose well-worn edges had
turned white- a coveted sign of my many years of dedicated
training. I cut the emblematic length of black cloth into small
pieces and fed them to the fire.
But, my mind kept going back to the time when Quan and
I presented Sensei with a small token of our appreciation, a
brass plaque with the kanji symbol for “hope.” I remembered
how Sensei had taken the plaque in both hands and mournfully opined, “I have no hope.” At the time, I couldn’t under-
stand his melancholy response. After all, Sensei had a
successful dojo, a live-in female disciple who attended to his
every need, and a student following that acknowledged him as
a great martial arts master. I could not help but ask myself,
could Sensei have exchanged his soul for the power of the
Martial Spirit?
For me, training in the martial arts had become synonymous with practicing Sensei’s karate-do workout, and I knew
that choosing Jesus would mean never practicing that sacred
rite again. I was aware that Jesus had warned his followers,
“Whoever does not take up his execution-stake and follow me
is not worthy of me.”5 I understood that changing my
allegiance from the martial way to Jesus would require a
radical psychological adjustment on my part. This would be
the hardest decision of my life. Finally, after much agonizing
and soul searching, I made my choice. I chose Jesus.
The soul of a samurai is in his hara, and ritual suicide is
carried out through disembowelment with a dagger. As I said
yes to Jesus, I could feel myself being “gutted” as my life
force drained out onto the floor. In an instant, everything I
had ever hoped to become was lost. I became an empty shell.
A crushing despair overwhelmed me.
But moments later, a truly miraculous thing happened. An
incredibly warm and wonderful spirit of love poured into me
from above. It filled the emptiness with a profound sense of
peace- a rapturous, heavenly peace that cannot be expressed
in words- a peace that passes all understanding. I realized
that the peace I had previously experienced while practicing
Sensei’s karate-do workout was, in reality, a “dead” peace,
because it had come from my detachment from the anxieties
of life. But now, I was infused with a “living” peace. Now, I
5. Matthew 10:38
understood what Jesus had meant when he told his followers,
“Whosoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.”6
I don’t know how long I remained in that sublime state of
bliss. At some point, I went into the kitchen to make a cup of
hot tea as Kay watched the last embers of fire burn themselves out. Suddenly, she came running into the kitchen
exclaiming, “Jay, you got to come see this!” I followed her
back into the living room where she pointed to the fireplace.
To my astonishment, the ferocious image of Kongorikishi on
our fireplace brick had been transformed into a tortured,
pathetic looking face. For Kay and me, this was a dramatic
sign that the Martial Spirit had finally been defeated.
Demonic Infestation
The Martial Spirit that had entered into me had been
expelled, but over the next ten days Kay and I would gain a
new level of awareness of the “dark side” of the spirit realm.
Unexplainable phenomena, such as our house lights flickering
on and off and the toilets mysteriously flushing, caused us to
realize that the demonic infestation in our home would need
further purging.
There were strange vibrations coming from our bedroom
and from the dojo, which we had quickly converted back into
a bedroom. We had a renter who lived on the third floor
above the dojo, and he confirmed that strange vibrations were
coming from the wall in his room located above the former
kamiza wall.
Kay kept feeling a negative energy whenever she was in
our bedroom. After several days, I remembered that a wicker
chair in a corner of the room had once been used in my karate
6. Matthew 10:39
school ten years earlier. We now more fully understood that
demonic energy could infect physical objects, and I gathered
up a number of items that had been associated with my past
training and took them to the town dump. This included a
substantial amount of furniture and equipment, dating back
some twenty years.
On one occasion, Kay felt her foot pulled out from under
her as she started down the stairway. She took a frightening
tumble, but landed softly and sustained no injuries. We
believe a guardian angel cushioned her fall.
As each day passed, more contaminated items and
demonic manifestations continued to appear, often accompanied by the strong smell of urine and sulfur. These included
several bizarre incidents involving our cat. Our home had
been infested, and we were feeling unsettled and not sleeping
well. I had a friend, a kung fu colleague, who had become the
assistant pastor at a local church. He offered to remember us
in his prayers.
After a week, he called in the morning and asked how we
had slept that previous night. Had anything changed? Yes,
the atmosphere in our house had indeed changed. The malaise
that we had been feeling for the past ten days was gone, and
our home felt normal again. Then, Pastor Jerry informed us
that he and the deacons at his church had prayed for our
complete deliverance from all the demonic presence in our
home. For us, this was a powerful testimony to the power of
Kundalini Awakening
For Sensei, “The Way” had been through kata training,
which he often described as “moving Zen.” Kata was his
“yoga path” to cosmic consciousness and truth. Ultimately,
all yoga styles are based on kundalini awakening.7 Although
this term is not used in martial arts circles, Sensei had an
intimate knowledge of it. A dominant characteristic of
kundalini awakening is energy infusion or possession,8 and
both Sensei and I experienced this phenomenon when we
were filled with the Martial Spirit.
The literature on the kundalini awakening reveals that the
lives of many of its adepts are dominated by mental and
physical illnesses, depression, and dysfunctional relationships. Sensei had told us that the highest level of the martial
arts was “controlled insanity,” and Gopi Krishna, who wrote
the first and one of the most influential kundalini autobiographies, described his own battle with insanity during his
years of kundalini awakening:
“It was variable for many years, painful, obsessive, even fantasmic.
I have passed through almost all the stages of different
mediumistic, psychotic, and other types of mind; for some time I
was hovered between sanity and insanity.”9
Sensei’s possession by the Martial Spirit had tragic
consequences for his life, which became plagued by physical
illness, despair, and broken relationships with his family and
friends. In spite of his awesome physical prowess and the
adoration of his students, Sensei lived an unhappy life. By his
own admission, he died without hope.
7. Hans Ulrich Rieker, The Yoga of Light: Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
Seabury Press, c. 1971, p. 101
8. Tal Brooke, Riders of the Cosmic Circuit” Rajneesh, Sai Baba,
Muktananda… Gods of the New Age, Lion, c. 1986, p. 610
9. Gopi Krishna, The Awakening of Kundalini, E.P. Dutton,
c. 1975, p. 124
Why Me and Not Quan Li?
During our last workout together, I watched as the Martial
Spirit was prevented from entering into Quan Li. I was the
demon’s second choice, because Quan’s dynamic personality
and superior technique would have made him the ideal person
to carry on Sensei’s karate-do. So, why was I the one who
received the Martial Spirit?
I believe the answer lies, at least in part, in our different
motivations for training. I became obsessed with becoming a
great master with paranormal powers like Sensei. But Quan
never aspired to become like Sensei. Rather, he was
motivated by his love for the art, and he trained to perfect his
form and to gain a deeper understanding of the techniques.
When people ask me if I am opposed to bowing down
before the kamiza, I tell them this is a matter of personal
conscience. I no longer do it, but neither do I have the
wisdom to judge the motivations or intentions of others. I do
not assume that any of the people or things described in this
book were inherently evil.
Many of the physical aspects of yoga practice are good for
developing strength and flexibility, and karate is excellent for
exercise and self-defense. My warning is to those who would
use these disciplines as a spiritual path to enlightenment and
supernatural powers. At the very least, practitioners should be
aware of the potential dangers associated with these arts.
This concludes my self-imposed obligation to tell this
story. The demonic can be given too little or too much
attention, and I have left out a number of details because I
do not want to give the “dark side” any more notoriety
than is necessary. Hopefully, I have given enough information to effectively communicate my message. Unfortunately, today’s proliferation of occult themes through
books, movies, and video games is causing many young
people to think that the spirit realms are only a fantasy. But
this could not be further from the truth.
We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, and
our consciousness continues after death. Heaven and hell,
angels and demons, and Jesus’ death and resurrection all have
a metaphysical reality that transcends our world of time and
space. The most profound part of my experience was the
spiritual connection I made with Jesus. It was in those
moments of sublime peace that the reality of his spirit of
love penetrated my soul, and I knew that he was real.
In 2004, I wrote this poem describing my encounter with
the Martial Spirit, the outer darkness, and Jesus (Jeshua)
Chapter 7
The True Way
At the heart of the Messianic faith is the story of Jesus,
who is portrayed throughout the New Testament as Israel’s
promised Messiah. That Jesus was both human and divine is a
paradox that cannot be resolved through logic and reason. It is
a metaphysical truth that can only be apprehended through
experience and faith.
Shortly before leaving this world, Jesus gave one new
commandment to his followers. It was a command that would
enable them to overcome the harsh persecutions of the Roman
Empire and spread the Gospel (Good News) to the world:
“I am giving you a new command. Continue on loving each other
in the same way that I have loved you. Everyone will know that
you are my disciples if you love one another.”10
Jesus affirmed the centrality of love when he was tested by
one of the experts in the Jewish law, a Pharisee, who asked
him which was the greatest of all the commandments? Jesus
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all
your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest of
the commandments. And the second is like it: you shall love your
neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these
two commandments.”11
10. John 13:34
11. Matthew 22:37-40
The Apostle Paul, whose first century missionary journeys
were a major factor in the spread of the early Messianic faith
to the non-Jewish world, captures the essence of this love in a
letter written to the church in Corinth:
I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels;
but if I lack love, I have become merely
blaring brass or a cymbal clanging.
I may have the gift of prophecy,
I may fathom all mysteries, know all things,
have all faith- enough to move mountains;
but if I lack love, I am nothing.
I may give away everything that I own,
I may even hand over my body to be burned
but if I lack love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful,
not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,
and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not gloat over other people’s sins,
but takes its delight in the truth.
Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.12
For Jesus, actions and motives were more important than
the abstractions of belief. He was not a systematic theologian,
a dogmatist, or a moralist. He emphasized that we must trust
God and practice loving our neighbors as ourselves, and he
12. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7 (CJB)
warned that, “to whom much is given much is required.”13
In the Sermon on the Mount,14 he proclaims that the Law
and the Prophets can be summed up in the saying, “Do unto
others as you would have others do unto you.” He teaches us
to love our enemies and to be peace-makers, to be forgiving
and merciful, and not to pass judgment on others. He advises
that we keep a humble spirit and be generous and caring
toward the poor and needy.
At the close of his sermon, Jesus makes the stunning
pronouncement that many of his followers who call him
‘Lord,’ and who prophesy, and cast out demons, and do great
works in his name will be rejected by him in the end, because
they did not live by his teachings. Motives mattered to Jesus,
and he knew that a number of his so called “followers” would
act out of self-interest, not out of love.
Today, much of modern culture promotes a value system
that is contrary to these ethical teachings of Jesus, and the
Apostle Paul’s critique of life lived out of self-interest and
worldly pursuit seems as timely today as it was in first
century Rome:
“It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and
indecency; involvement with the occult and with drugs; in
feuding, fighting, becoming jealous and getting angry; in
selfish ambition, factionalism, intrigue and envy; drunkenness, orgies and things like these… But, the fruit of the Spirit
is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
humility, self-control.”15
13. Luke 12:48
14. Mathew 5-7
15. Galatians 5:19b-22 (CJB)
The Arrow of Time
Time is like a river, because it moves in one direction and
never stands still. In physics, this is referred to as the “arrow
of time.” Jesus tells us to be perfect, just as his Father in
heaven is perfect.16 He understands that every mistake we
make, whether unintentional or not, carries with it the
irreversible consequences of cause and effect.
But, none of us are perfect. We are all guilty, and the
arrow of time makes it impossible for us to go back and undo
our past mistakes. We can learn from them, but we will die
with their consequences. Ultimately, only God can heal the
damage that we do and bring good out of evil. This is why
Jesus is portrayed in the scriptures as the sacrificial lamb of
God, who takes away the sins of the world.17
God created us to love Him and to love one another. For
this to have any real meaning, we were given the gift of free
will. We may choose to love or not, and we were given this
physical world of opposites so that we would have real
choices. In the next life, the people who love God will
continue moving toward Him. Those who reject God will
journey into the darkness with like-minded souls. How we
live in this life matters, and the choice is ours as to what kind
of person we want to be.
The True Way
In spite of my rejection of him, Jesus loved me enough to
deliver me from the Martial Spirit and spiritual darkness.
Jesus loves all people at all times and calls every soul to him16. Matthew 5:48
17. John 1:29
self when he declares:
“I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No
one comes to the Father but through me.”17
Jesus is love, and love is The Way. Only love transcends
all science, all philosophies, and all religious ideologies.
Pursue love, because in the end, everything else becomes
meaningless- a chasing after the wind.
Peace be with you,
17. John 14:6
My wife, Kay, wrote the following testimony concerning
her relationship with Jesus:
“As a child, I had always loved G-d. Even though my family
was not religious, I prayed and was proud of being a Jew.
But, until I asked the Messiah into my life, I never really knew
G-d’s love for me. He had answered my prayer in such a
clear way that there was no doubt. G-d worked such miracles
in my life that he gave me no choice but to believe in him! I
know so clearly now, that until you let Jesus come into your
life, he can’t show you his love, and peace, and joy. G-d
can’t work through us until we are open to his promises.
Only then can he weave his miracles through our life through
Jesus Christ.”
The following prayer can be a first step in establishing a
connection with God, through Jesus and his spirit of love.
Dear God
I admit I am a sinner and need your forgiveness;
I trust that Jesus the Messiah died in my place
paying the penalty for the consequences of my
mistakes. I am willing to turn from my sin and invite
Jesus and his spirit of love into my life. I commit
myself to you and ask that you help me become the
kind of person you want me to be. Thank you for
loving me. In Jesus name,
Suggested Readings
Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don’t Have
Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Crossway, c. 2004
Gerald L. Schroeder, God According to God,
Harper Collins, c. 2009
George Ritchie, Return from Tomorrow,
Revell Books, c. 1978
Howard Storm, My Descent into Death,
Doubleday, c. 2005
Don Piper, 90 Minutes in Heaven,
Revell, c. 2004
Mary C. Neal, To Heaven and Back,
WaterBrook Press, c. 2010
I recommend I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an
Atheist to believers and skeptics alike. It provides a wellreasoned non-biblical response to the new atheism which is
based on “scientism,” a materialistic philosophy that denies
metaphysical realities because they cannot be demonstrated
empirically using the scientific method.
“Geisler and Turek present the crucial information needed to
avoid being swept away by the onslaughts of secular
ideologies that cast science, philosophy, and biblical studies
as enemies of the Christian faith.” (William A. Dembski,
author, The Design Revolution)
Gerald L. Schroeder’s books, Genesis and the Big Bang
(1990), The Science of God (1997), The Hidden Face of
God (2001), and God According to God (2009) provide
insights into the interface between biblical wisdom, the
natural sciences, and quantum physics.
“A remarkable book. The Science as well as the meaning of
this universe and of life are discussed with insight, rigor, and
depth.” (Charles H. Townes, winner of the Nobel Prize in
I believe the following books describing the near death
experience (NDE) are authentic accounts of people who
“died” and traveled to spirit worlds. They offer profound
insights into what can happen to us when we die.
Return from tomorrow
My Descent into Death
90 Minutes in Heaven
To Heaven and Back