2nd degree Black Belt – Spiritual Wu Xia


Family with the Grandmaster

Family with the Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé

On August 27th, 2015, our beloved 9 year old son, Reuben, and I, tested in front of the Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé at the North Austin school and earned the 2nd degree Black Belt in Shaolin Do Kung Fu. Together with my wife, Sangeetha and second son, Ittai, as a family, we thank God for making it possible for us to test together and be honored in receiving the double white diamond patches that would go on our black belt.

Wu Xia Patch

Wu Xia Patch

While the test was a mental and physical feat in and of itself, we had to train for a little over 2 years, since August 22nd, 2013 (when we earned our first black belt) before being given the patch as Sin Kwang’s Wu Xia (meaning Warrior).

Shaolin Do Kung Fu Weapons

Shaolin Do Kung Fu Weapons

With the support of my wife (who made sure we were always hydrated and pushing us to practice) and Ittai (who was our cheerleader), Reuben and I put hours into practicing the various long and short forms (Tiger, Crane, Bird, …), self-defense techniques, fighting techniques and weapons (Bo staff, Short stick, Nunchuks, Broadsword, Sai, Kwando, Spears, …) and that training paid off when we passed the test.

Now as I pondered upon what to write for meditation today, I realized I personally do not put in significant amount of time to become a spiritual Wu Xia, training in the defensive techniques of using the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16) or the offensive techniques of using the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God – Ephesians 6:17). This needs to change, if I am to earn the patch of being God’s Spiritual Warrior and earn the praise from God himself, which is “You have fought the good fight (of faith) and kept the faith”.

Points to ponder:
I plan and pray that I will be Jesus’, my Savior’s, Spiritual Wu Xia. What about you?

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (KJV)
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

P.S: For those interested, video links of clips from our 2nd degree Black belt are given below:
Tiger Forms Clips – https://youtu.be/PfqSXcfrd0w
Spear Forms Clips –  https://youtu.be/2PPjCoeGmik

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Desperately Searching for and Seeking God


The morning of August 23rd, 2015 (Sunday), my wife, Sangeetha, and I were in the washroom upstairs, getting ready for the day and had the door shut, so that it would not disturb our 3 and a half year old son, Ittai who was sleeping in the adjoining bedroom. Ittai was not aware that we were in the washroom and when he woke up, he went downstairs looking for us. Unaware that we were upstairs, he starting calling for his mom, me and his brother, Reuben, who had stayed overnight at the Gymnastic team camp. Not finding any of us, he started to cry (possibly out of fear and worry). Hearing his cry, my wife and I ran downstairs and found him vehemently weeping. Sangeetha immediately reached out to him and gave him a hug and it took both us quite an effort to console and comfort Ittai, who kept weeping in our arms. We assured him that we will never leave him alone and even if something was to happen to us, Jesus will never ever leave him alone. After much talk he finally stop crying and was comforted.

Come to think of that incident, later in the day, during our family prayer time, Sangeetha shared with Reuben, how thankful we need to be to God, for family, as there are many children in the world (in war zones, etc.) who have lost their parents and orphaned, with no one to console them when they are crying. This is what came to her mind when she saw Ittai crying. On the other hand, as I pondered over the incident, I realized that we ought to be like Ittai, when it came to our heavenly Father God. We must desperately search for him and seek him while he may be found (Isaiah 55:6). We can also be assured that, Jesus, promised that he will be with us even unto to ends of the age, never leaving us nor forsaking us, no matter how fearful and worrisome the situation is.

Points to ponder:
Until one finds Father God, they must desperately search for him and seek him. The good news is that God the Father is eagerly waiting and looking for all the prodigal sons and daughters to return to him. God would never leave us alone. We will never be orphans in God’s family. Seek and ye shall find (God). In him, you will find true consolation and comfort. Are you desperately searching and seeking God?

Isaiah 55:6 (KJV)
Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Proverbs 8:17 (JKV)
17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early (diligently) shall find me.

On bended knee, your heart guard


Ittai Aidan PaulOur beloved second son, Ittai turned 3 years old today and here is a poem we wrote for him.

Ittai Aidan Paul, today you turn three
and may you this year be, always, on bended knee
before God, your Creator, who loaned you, to us, as a gift
‘As you grow, may Only His Name, we pray, you lift.’

‘Children are a heritage of the LORD’
and our mission is to teach you to perpetually, your heart guard
against the vices and wiles of this world, and its god.
‘May you always, always, always – Love the LORD’

And his creatures, as you would love yourself.
Running to those in need, we pray you compassionately help
and show that Christ Jesus is Lord of your life, as it should be.
‘You are much loved and appreciated, and will always be.’

We love you Ittai (boo). Happy happy birthday.
Mama, Dada and your brother Reuben wish you a blessed birthday and we seek God’s guidance and wisdom in raising you up in the fear of the Lord. Tons of hugs and tons of kisses. 🙂 God bless you richly! You are a heritage of the LORD (his favor to us).

Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Our life you touch


Reuben Abishai PaulAmerica celebrates the third Monday of January, each year, as Martin Luther King, Jr. day, to remember the man who fought for the equality of all men, irrespective of race, touching the lives of many. And today, besides celebrating the birth of this great man, we celebrate the birth of another … our firstborn child, Reuben Abishai Paul, who turned eight. Words failed me as I intended to express my gratitude to God for such a child as this, by whom we (Sangeetha and I and Ittai) are so very blessed  … all I could pen were a few words, as follows …

We love you lots and wish you much
You are so special for all the lives you touch

Today marks a special day;
and for God’s choicest blessings, we pray
on you, our beloved firstborn
who like a beacon of hope arrived, when we were forlorn

The moment we held you in our arms,
we were reinforced of a Great God, full of charms.
An angel from God, to us, you came as a gift
and only Christ’s Name alone, we pray, you lift.

A little of Picasso, Beethoven, Phelps, and Gretzky,
even Comăneci and Bruce Lee, in you we see;
For as an artist, a musician, a swimmer, a hockey player, 
a gymnast and a Shaolin Do Blackbelt, you are a rising star
But most of all, we cherish you for the 
Theophilus, a loving brother, and beloved son, that you are.

We love you lots and wish you much
You are so very special, for our life you touch.

God bless you Reuben … Have a blessed birthday!
Mama and Dada and Ittai

Points to ponder:
People touch our lives in one way or another, like Martin Luther King, Jr., and our beloved Son, but the most important touch in your life is the touch of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 3:3-5). Have you been touched by the Lord, the touch that transforms death to life?

2 Thessalonians 3:3-5 (KJV)
3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

Black Belt Christianity


Reuben and Mano with Grandmaster Sin Kwang TheOur beloved 7 year old son, Reuben, and I were honored to receive the Shaolin Do Kung Fu Black Belt, after testing in front of the Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé at the North Austin Shaolin Do Kung Fu school on August 22, 2013. This makes Reuben to be the youngest person (till date) to receive the Black Belt in not just Austin, but in all of the United States of America and my beloved wife, Sangeetha, his brother Ittai and I could not be any less proud.

Reuben started training since he was three and a half years old and it has been nearly four years since we began this journey together. Once in his school, when Reuben was asked, What is your dream? Reuben wrote, “I have a dream. My dream is to be a red belt in Kung Fu (like the Grandmaster). I can help my dream come true by: praying and hard work.” To become a red belt would take atleast a little over forty years; pretty much his lifetime. Reuben - Red Belt Dream

At the end of the Black Belt test, the Grandmaster encouraged the newly granted Black Belts by saying that “Don’t think of the Black Belt as an end point but consider it to be only the beginning of a journey.” and he is absolutely right. While we are so honored at this blessing and honor that God has made possible for Reuben and I, we realize that it is only the beginning.

This not only applies to us in our physical art form, but also in our spiritual art form. Becoming a Christian is only the beginning; continuing to being a Christian takes a lifetime; actually until we see Jesus face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12) and are like him (1 John 3:2). We must grow daily in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), after the knowledge of Salvation (Hebrews 10:26), always prepared with weapons of warfare (Ephesians 6:10-18), so that at the end of life’s journey, we could be given the highest accolade, one could receive, which is”Well done my good and faithful servant – You have fought a good fight and kept the faith (like a Black Belt would). (Matthew 25:21; 2 Timothy 4:7)”. This would be given by Jesus, who wore a Red Belt of his own blood, as a crown of thorns was placed to pierce him on his head (John 19:2).

Points to ponder:
How are you in your journey to be a Black Belt Christian?

2 Peter 3:12-18 (KJV)
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

1 John 3:2 (KJV)
1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

After God’s kind


Ittai A. PaulOur second born much loved Son, Ittai A. Paul, turned one today (March 20, 2013) and as we ponder on God’s goodness and faithfulness to us, my beloved wife Sangeetha and I, are ever so grateful to God for having loaned us two precious boys to cherish while we pilgrim on earth.

The Bible records that on the fifth and sixth day, God created the animals that live in the water, the birds that fly in the air, living creatures that live on the earth, every creeping thing, every cattle, and every beast of the earth, each after their own kind (Genesis 1:21, Genesis 1:25). Then on the sixth day, the Triune God in one decided to make man in his image, after the likeness of God the Father, his Holy Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God. (Genesis 1:26). So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

In other words, while every other creature that has life was created after their own kind, only us (man) is not made after our own kind, but created after God’s kind. When man took his first breath,  he became a living soul (Genesis 2:7) to live according to the Spirit of God (and not according to the flesh) for God is Spirit (John 4:24). The world glorifies celebrities with physical beauty and charming bodies, and seldom are most celebrities who do not know Jesus Christ celebrated for their soul (living soul).

Points to ponder:
Are you living by the flesh or by God’s Spirit? What are you and I celebrated for?

Our precious second son Ittai, our firstborn Reuben, You and I are all fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Psalm 139:4). We are made after God’s own kind and are wonderful – and that gives us every reason to praise God.

Genesis 1:20-27 (KJV)
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Psalm 139:14 (KJV)
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.