Some Karate friends back when I was in Kentucky
The Martial Arts Life Can Be Applied To Absolutely True Way
Many people equate Martial Arts with only violence and killing, but that is not what the Martial Arts are all about. People who train in the Martial Arts not only become combat capable, but also become better human beings by learning discipline and respect. Martial Arts training promotes physical health and as well as mental health. These qualities help create calmness and confidence within oneself, thus exerting that positive nature towards their fellow human beings. That is why I think that the Martial Arts are important for people to train in. With more people secure in themselves, they produce less negatively insecure feelings towards others. martial Arts can be applied to the absolutely true way of Christianity.
When I earned my 2nd degree black belt
The serious Martial Artist is very disciplined and will train hard and work out to stay in shape so that their technique and power will be greater. This will give more of a garuntee that they will be able to defend themselves in a violent confrontation, or protect their family and friends. The Bible is full of battles and serious Martial Artists. In the ancient world there were so manmy dangers from outsiders on the roads, in the wilderness, with foreign nations attacking, and more. Wars have always been a part of life since the beginning of time. Notice in Genesis the first battle was fought by Abram (who became Abraham) with 300 trained men who re-captured Lot and his relatives from enemies. Joshua and Judges are full of warriors. Judges in particular mentions two top warriors named Elhud who assassinated a Moabite king in a covert operation and Shamgar who killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad. Further, David was a warrior and had 30 top fighting men led by 3 amazing warriors (read 2 Samuel). God Himself is called a warrior, as Yahweh is a God a war as much as He is a God of peace. Exodus 15:3 states, “The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is His name” (Holman Christian Standard Bible). There is no doubt that being a Christian who knows how to fight and is able to use self-defense whether it takes the life of the assailant or not, is biblical.
It's about self-defense!
There are many account in the Bible of absolutely violent descriptions of gore in battle and assassinations and self-defense. The Bible never condones violent behavior as in sociopathic violence, but it does describe defending territory and people for God. Martial Arts do not promote violence, but promote peace and protection. Even Jesus Christ described that Christians are in an evil age where they will have to protect themselves from attackers. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:34, “Don’t assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” This means that society will turn against all Christians and we will suffer. Further in Luke 22:36 Jesus states, “But now, whoever has a money-bag should take it, and also a traveling bag. And whoever doesn’t have a sword should sell his robe and buy one.” This is because of the offense of the gospel and the age of evil we live in God was suggesting we be able to defend our physical lives from violent attackers. This was not a command to kill people outside of any instance of self-defense. In fact it was not even a command to necessarily kill another person. Defense is the point of this passage.
When I was a redbelt back in the day
Martial arts train your body to its full potential. You will learn balance and coordination. The exercises you go through will help you to become strong and physically fit which are important benefits for a healthy Christian life. You will lose weight and be more agile and you will have more energy throughout your day which can be used to serve God. Your flexibility will also increase and when you become physically healthy it relaxes your mind and clears out stress and negativity. Your life will be happier and more complete even through persecutions and the sufferings of daily life.
There are ranks you must achieve to get to the next level of training. Most mainstream arts have different belt colors, with black being the highest. There are also degrees of black belt to attain. The Martial Art of Tae Kwon Do, one style I used to train in, has 9 degrees of black belt. These ranks are a symbol of ones hard work and how far they have progressed. To become a 9th degree black belt it takes anywhere from 30 to 40 years. This shows you that there is never a time to quit training. There is a certain curriculum for each art that you must learn to go through the ranks. This includes all kinds of techniques. Some martial arts have forms, which are patterns of movements designed to help the Martial Artist with movement, speed, focus, power, balance and strength. All have difficult techniques to learn and are taught depending on what art you are studying. There are kicks, punches, throws, locks, pressure points and many others; to master any of these takes years of practice. The hard work that is done to master the techniques teaches people to achieve goals by persevering and having an indomitable spirit.
With the physical curriculum there is also a philosophical aspect. For instance Tae Kwon Do has 5 tenets that represent the art: Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. Likewise other martial arts have similar ideas. In no way should these ever replace the Bible or any correct theology one learns. If any Martial Art school is teaching something contrary to what the Bible teaches then quit. Martial Arts are for self-defense and physical health more than they are about morality or beliefs. We should only get our spirituality from what God’s Word says. Martial Arts in themselves may come from cultures or societies that are religious, but this does not mean that learning how to fight is in itself a religion. Do not be misguided on what the combat arts are about. Many legalistic heretics like radio host Bob Larson have said in the past that Martial Arts are demonic, but this is a rediculous claim.
Martial arts train you to fight and teach you to defend yourself and with this knowledge you will have confidence. When you walk to your car at night and when you walk down the street you won’t be afraid. Along with the fighting techniques you learn you will also learn how to prevent confrontations, by interpreting signs of danger and being smarter about situations where there is trouble. This kind of knowledge can help a street evangelist know his surroundings or the signs of a immanent confrontation overseas in the mission field.
I started and led the Biola Fight Club at Biola University
When you train you will overcome great obstacles that you never thought you could. The Christian can do all things with God and through God. Nothing he accomplishes should be thought of to be his own abilities of mastery or intelligence. All accomplishments are a blessing from God, but with all of the perseverance it takes to become a good martial artist you will gain experience learning to never give up. Apply what you learn from the Bible to your Martial Arts. This will show in other parts of your life, such as school, work and anything else you do. You will be able to think confidently and have a strong character.
Eihachi Ota (2003), a master of Shorin-Ryu Karate says,
“Karate, which has changed my life 100 percent, is more than a way to defend yourself or improve your physical conditioning. It is a way of life … or perhaps I should say it is a way of improving your life. I practice Karate because I become a better person as a result. And I teach Karate because I believe my students want to become better people through training hard, but the ultimate goal is something far beyond exercise. It is a form of life training.” (p. 82)
To the secular man of the world, or within a false religious system, Martial Arts can replace God and become an idol. Martial Arts can be seen as a person’s pesonal religion, yet even though Martial Arts train a person for life, never forget that our true values and spiritual understanding is given to us by God alone through the Bible. Such a wrong belief can happen in any kind of activities, not only Martial Arts. There is no reason to be biased against fight training.
I think Martial Arts are especially good for children. There is so much violence in today’s society, because so many people do not have the qualities the Martial Arts will teach you to become a decent human being. So many young people in America are joining gangs and involved in violent crimes. Dr. Terrence Webster Doyle (2003) explains,
“Violence and aggression are running rampant in American society. Indeed, they are among the most critical issues facing our children. Unfortunately, young people are victimized more than any other age group and thus face a significant risk of being harmed. Juveniles represent one-tenth of the population, but they are the victims in one out of every four violent crimes. Our schools are experiencing a proliferation of violence. Recent statistics from the Department of Justice indicate that 25 percent of students are fearful of being attacked at school” (p. 100).
Along with Bible teaching, if children are put in Martial Arts classes at a young age they will develop good qualities earlier in life so they won’t be involved with such negative habits. They will be able to stand up for themselves against bullies and more. I have trained in Tae Kwon Do and other Martial Arts for over 10 years and it has brought nothing, but positive things in my life. If people had what I have learned and obtained from Martial Arts training it would result in a more peaceful world with less crime victims, fewer wars and all of the other problems our world faces today. People would be disciplined and capable of defending themselves. But then again it is expected to have to deal with persecution as a Christian as a result of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Webster-Doyle, T. (2003). “Beating the Bully.” Blackbelt Magazine
Fraguas, J. (2003). “Lost Along the Way.” Martial July 2003.