The Martial Arts attract many Christians.
Some send their children to Martial Arts schools. The YMCA conducts a TAI-KWAN-DO class. I must ask, though, if the literature put out by the proponents of different forms of Martial Arts shows they are compatible with Christianity. I went to my local library to find out. The following quotes are from books written by masters of the different forms about the forms they're masters of. ALL the information I found was scary. I couldn't find one book that spoke well of the Martial Arts in a scriptural sense.
Let's look at the information I gleaned:
Definition of Martial Arts
"Arts concerned with the waging of war. They all revolve on secrecy."1
"Most are buried deeply in religion."2
"The ‘priests' (mostly Buddhist) spread and teach them. They were brought to America originally by U.S. soldiers returning from the Korean War."3
"The recurring theme throughout the Oriental martial arts is that of religion. Both Buddhism and Taoism believe in attaining salvation through the cultivation of harmony in mind and body."4
These statements should act as warning beacons to Christians. The Martial Arts are the arts of war that pagan religions developed to enable them to attain salvation.
The following information is a summary of information on Kung Fu. Kung Fu is popular today because of the TV show "Kung Fu". The show makes it look attractive and a legitimate path to find peace. The details I found show more than is ever told in the series. The feats the practitioners accomplish is beyond human physical ability. There's a recurrent point that always comes up in all the different Martial Arts, that is the force Chi or Ki, depending on the country it's from. The mastering force is a supernatural power they use. This is not Christianity.
"Definition: Chinese Boxing from northern China. Zen Buddhism is essentially Kung Fu.
"It was begun by a priest, and perpetuated by monks. They use the Ying-Yang religious concepts, without this you can't truly understand Kung Fu. ... Choy-Lee-Fut is one of the most popular styles in the U.S. Fut means Buddha. Chan-San-Fang developed his own form based on a "vision" from god. An adept of Kung-Fu can sum up a powerful, unseen force that lies within him. This intrinsic energy called Chi. The hidden power of Kung-Fu is Chi. Chi energy is developed in virtually every Kung-Fu style practiced today. ... In a demo, a master held his palms up and within minutes, his hands began to radiate real heat. Not just warmth. A master can summon this Chi so quickly that if attacked with a bladed weapon, it can't pierce his skin. In a modern demo, a member of the audience took a sharpened meat cleaver and tried to chop into the master. After 5 minutes he gave up. He did not leave even one impression on the man. In another demo - man stood in flames on broken coke bottles for 2 minutes. He was neither cut nor burned."5
These are only some of the supernatural demonstrations of the usage of Chi.
"The primary directive is to unify the mind, body and the mysterious force of Ki. Ki is the very center of Akido."6
There are tales of AKIDO like those above of Kung Fu. The creator of AKIDO was a man of about 150 lbs. At a demonstration of the power of KI he had four strong volunteers attempt to lift him. He said that through KI he could make himself heavy. Four strong men could not budge him.
"Korean and has been kept alive by Buddhist monks."7
"Originally used by the Samurai warriors. It's the art of warfare without weapons."8
A book on Samurai warriors and the mastery of their skills painted a spiritual picture similar to that of AKIDO. Mastering the Ki is part of it.
"Its emphasis is on mental power, with its ultimate aim being a 6th sense. They teach mind control, ESP, telepathy, and clairvoyance. ... It uses Zen Buddhism. The U.S. military adapted it, using hypnosis and mind control of the enemy."9
Any study of the origins of hypnosis will show its exclusive domain in the occult. It violates the principal of freedom upon which God created us. It works by removing the guard God has given us, our mind. Psychic phenomenon such as ESP is also occult. Modern man endeavors to make it look scientific, but the abilities lie in the demonic realm. Satan wants us to follow the deception so he can create a lust for power and control, ultimately godhood, omniscient - knowing the future on our own merit. Omnipotent - controlling power to accomplish anything at will. In some forms, also omnipresent - being in more that one place at the same time in some spirit travel. Remember the temptation of Eve to partake of the fruit and know as God knows.
"Japanese sword play. It is difficult for the average person to understand the essence of Kendo. Its main purpose ...(is)... directed toward the improvement of spirit and one's moral conduct. ... technical skill and the development of the spiritual man were inseparable. Even today, many Kendoka believe that to practice Kendo purely as a sport, is to pervert its essential purpose."10
The quote above says a mouthful. Research into the spiritual development of Japan will tell you the spiritual development they talk of is the development of Ki.
Tae Kwan Do is the Korean National Martial Art.
"True power in Tae Kwan Do comes with a mastery of both the physical and spiritual. To master one without the other is not Tae Kwan Do." 11 "Basically I.T.F. (International Tae-Kwan-Do Federation) techniques are more holistic. That is to say, they are more well rounded to improve the entire person."12 Tae Kwan Do's roots are in Buddhism.
I know someone who took Tae-Kwan-Do and he said there was no spiritual stuff in it. He never attained much of anything in it, but masters in the art say quite the opposite. In fact, they say to learn it, it has to be spiritual, as quoted above.
"When student has gone through extensive training in a particular stance, they are tested by the instructor. In America, the student takes his stance and the instructor breaks poles and boards (planks) over them. In Japan the student takes his stance and the instructor kicks him in the groin. If the student can remain standing he is then worthy of more instruction."13
For anyone working their way up in Karate, that is a sample of what you have to look forward to. In my limited resources of literature on the subject, I didn't find any statements per se on the spiritual aspect of Karate, but lots of intimations leaning in the same directions as all the others with Ki usage. Something I did find though, was the beginning state in the Karate sessions of launching with meditation. A look at the Judo expounds more upon the aspect of the meditation.
Of the Martial Arts, Kung Fu is Chinese, Tae Kwan Do is Korean and Karate is Japanese of the same form.
The following quotes are from a book on Judo by highly qualified people, see footnotes. The pages the quotes are from, precede the paragraphs. Remember the opinions expressed in favor are from the quotes.
"p. 20 - From its conception, Judo was regarded as a physical, mental and spiritual training, and, strictly speaking, the grade a Judoka wears should denote a level attained in all three aspects. Sadly, only too often it marks purely a physical achievement. But in many ways, the Judokas themselves are the losers - until they come to teach and begin to influence others.
"p. 36 - The concept of harmony is the central principle of Judo. Strictly speaking, a Judo contest without harmony is a contradiction in terms: ... it is not Judo. A contest with harmony is a demonstration of a universal principle that ‘Self and the Universe are in a body.'
"p. 21, 22 - There are certain Japanese expressions ... which enable the Judoka to appreciate a deeper perspective within martial arts. Shin means ‘heart', both in the sense of essence and emotion; it is the central psychological state of mental poise. Someone who possesses a pure Shin can momentarily lose that purity, but can regain it fairly quickly. To attain a true state of Shin is difficult - traditionally, Zen monks spend years doing this. Ki, on the other hand, is energy - energy in a psycho-physical sense. When a small Judoka throws a larger partner in a contest, Ki is likely to be present. It is not technique, nor is it strength; rather it is a concentration of all energy in the body to that one total action. For that one moment, the Judoka feels suffused with unlimited energy or a ‘cosmic current'. It is important to note, however, that the experience of Ki should also exist when sitting still or performing ordinary movements. P. 113, definition of Ki - Spiritual energy.
"p. 106 - Judo too is about change, about going beyond yourself as you are right now. If, when you make contact with a Dojo, (p. 111, definition of Dojo: Judo exercise hall) you find that you are making contact .... with something that is really universal; the urge to grow, to discover higher, truer states of being, then without doubt you will have made contact with ... the influence and timeless magic of meditation and Buddhism.
"p. 95, 96 - The really important changes, however, are those which take place in the totality of one's being. It is often not long after starting Judo that people begin to realize that they are changing in a much broader way than one would expect by the acquisition of a fighting technique and an improved physical fitness. (It's because of this lack of expectation Christians see no harm in sending their children off to learn it.) Such a vision of the Gentle Way is soundly reinforced by looking at the example of the masters of martial arts: it is worth noting that most of the well-known Japanese figures (such as the swordsman Musashi) ultimately regarded meditation as the central quest, and the true culmination of so many years of effort in the Dojo.....
"p. 98 - Judo therefore has far more than a casual relationship with Buddhism and with meditation, the central ‘tool' of Buddhist practice.
"Mindfulness of Breathing - name of Buddhist basic meditation practice.
Judo is the ‘modern sports form' of Jujitsu."14
In reading about the method of meditation, an American might not realize the evil due to ignorance of the goal. What would seem a method to just calm down is far more than that. It's a quest for a blank state of mind which falls right in line with that of hypnotism and all occult practices of removing the guard, our mind.
In Judo they seek a spiritual power, but it's not Christ. Christian, if the spiritual powers behind Judo and all the other Martial Arts is not Christ, then it's a clear warning they follow Satan. Satan wouldn't empower people in something that's essentially good for them. Something Satan promotes, empowers and glories in isn't something you could just Christianize and use the Holy Spirit to do the same. Everything in the methods speak of the god of this world. Never, anywhere in the New Testament, will you find the Holy Spirit empowering, and training His People in the art of physical combat. Jesus, the man of peace gave us an example:
"21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:" 1 Peter 2:21-23
You can choose, live in an age of grace and receive grace; or under law, an eye for an eye, and be judged according to the law. Choose grace.
This is by no means an exhaustive study of the Martial Arts, but it touches the spirit and nature behind some of the leading forms of it we find in Western society. From this study, I would have to say the Martial Arts are nothing to play around with. Fire still burns, even if you use Ki.
1. Martial arts of the Orient by Peter Lewis, Gallery Books, 1985.
4. Page 32, Martial arts of the Orient by Peter Lewis, Gallery Books, 1985.
5. Martial arts of the Orient by Peter Lewis, Gallery Books, 1985.
11. Pg. 1 of Taekwon-Do — A guide to the theories of defensive movement by Mark McCarthy and George R. Parulski Jr., Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago, 1984
4th degree black belt from ITF
5th degree black belt in Judo. High ranks in multiple other MA as well. He is also internationally recognized as an authority on Oriental fighting disciplines.
12. Pg. 4, Ibid.
13. Martial arts of the Orient by Peter Lewis, Gallery Books, 1985.
14. JUDO The Gentle Way Published by Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London, Boston & Henley, 1982, Alan Fromm (4th Dan) - Judo instructor and British National Champion; Nicolas Soames (1st Dan) - Journalist.
Free to Copy under Creative Commons BY-NC-ND3.0 License by Darrell Farkas
All quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible