Click on a chapter below to read an excerpt.
…The value of communication in promoting peace cannot be overemphasized…Peace without the means to maintain it is not sustainable in a world saturated with a propensity for violence. Until that root nature is changed, the virtues of peace, liberty, and love can only be assured by those who desire them the most.
…The Bible tells us in Exodus 15:3 that “the LORD is a warrior.” Yet every Sunday, the passive harmony of an old hymn tells the Christian soldier to march onward—in hollow rhetoric. From Genesis 14:14, where Abram “called out the 318 trained men” to rescue Lot from captivity, through Revelation 19:11, where Jesus Christ who “wages war in righteousness” returns on a white horse to do battle, the Holy Bible is filled with the stories of battles and wars and victories for God…
An Organic Martial Artist
…Using the fine arts as an analogy, there are as many different types of martial arts as there are types of music…The inspirations, foundations, variations, and purposes for playing music or fighting are similarly complex…The definition of Christian martial arts used herein becomes: Any of the physical, martial or fight training disciplines that include and emphasize a Biblically sound basis for the mental and spiritual development of the student…
Bandits in Ambush
…How can a Christian justify being involved in martial arts training? The answer is found in an alternative question: When is combat of any nature appropriate? Borrowing a teaching method from the Master, consider the parable of the Samaritan warrior...
…The Hebrew word yarah…is translated “teacheth” [in Psalm 18:34 KJV] and is defined in the Hebrew Lexicon as “to cast…an arrow…an archer.”…Here is a direct and profound association in the Bible between training and actual implements of war. Certainly there were many things that the teachers of the day cast forth like arrows for the students to learn…
…The warriors of God were called to battle at the sound of the shofar. The shofar is a trumpet made of a ram’s horn…In First Corinthians 14:8, the Apostle Paul asks, “If the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?”…Christian warriors of today hear the sound of the shofar in their hearts. The duty of the Church is to help these brave men and women fulfill the purpose and call of God in their lives…
King David and His Warriors in Worship
Christian teachers often refer to the eleventh chapter of Hebrews when discussing the “heroes of the faith.” Many of those named were warriors, “who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice (emphasis added), and gained what was promised”…a quick review of a select few will prove insightful to further understand the warrior heart of God…
…A review of some key Christ-types in the Old Testament provides important insight to understand God’s attitude toward fighting...Jacob was clearly a skilled and determined wrestler, for he grappled with God Himself and refused to submit, even after God wounded him…Moses was most likely familiar with martial arts training, having grown up in Egypt in the house of Pharaoh…Joshua was…clearly a great warrior, and God fought alongside him…David understood that a warrior is a servant to the master and eventually became a master in his own right…
After consideration of David and the mighty men under his command, it is appropriate here to briefly consider the concept of a master…James 3:1 states that a teacher is held to a higher standard, and so the Christian warrior master must take his training seriously, in order to show respect to his students, his peers, and his own teachers…The Christian warrior, as a mere human, seeks to master the only thing that he has any real control over, which is his own body, and that which he can hold in his hand…In a third sense, the Bible is full of stories of masters who seem to have control over both servants and slaves, the difference being the servant is a servant as a result of his own choice, but the slave may be pressed into service against his will…
One primary purpose of Christian martial arts is to train persons for spiritual battle…A key objective of a warrior is to know his enemy…It is imperative that the wise warrior never underestimates the strength and will of his adversary. Fatigue and exhaustion can lead directly to injury, defeat, and death…the object is to make the opponent the one who dies for his cause…
The Beginning of Violence
Men and women with heavy suits stand by day and night to battle fires. Sirens wail as paramedics race to stop the bleeding veins. Doctor’s steady hands perform intricate surgery inside the womb. Police detectives sift for clues to solve heinous crimes. Courts deliberate to convict the murderer. Society places an untold value on life because of the voice of God.
When Adam and Eve stumbled out of the garden, time was set in motion and mankind as we know it began. It was not long before the first teenager copped an attitude. Unchecked, Cain murdered his brother Abel, sassed God, and violence spread across the land. God was grieved and in pain from the wickedness of men, so he sent the waters to cleanse the world and start over (Genesis 4 through 6). Clearly moved by the devastation, God made a covenant never to flood the earth again, and he said to Noah, “For your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting…from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:5-6). Cain was wrong; I am my brother’s keeper.
Over the millennia, the nature of man has not really changed. But a man changes with time, just as a child grows up. Teenagers are not the cause of society’s ills. Young men and women are the cells of life that the disease of the world attacks. Their fallow minds are fertile ground on which the world and the Church sow their seeds. The weeds are tall.
On April 20, 1999, two troubled teens waged an armed assault on their school and slaughtered twelve innocent and helpless classmates and a teacher. Their violence made Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, known in every home in America. Those were not the first school shooters, but they were the most notorious, until the lone college student rampaged across the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 people, and shook the world all the way to Korea. Why anyone would idolize these killers is a mystery to most people. There is a fascination with violence in society that defies an easy explanation apart from the fallen nature of man. However, these spectacular events are rare outside of Hollywood. But gruesome murders, robbery, rape, and other brutal crimes happen every day, around the world.
The youth of the 21st century are being ripped apart by the current of ideas that wash the landscape like an ocean, and the battle for their minds is as fierce as the violence that covered the earth before Noah’s flood. The teenagers drown outside the Church, with wires in their ears gushing torrents of gibberish that only they can decode. They rebel in a perfectly natural fashion of darkness and gloom, draped over their bodies like a trench coat of death. Weapons of destruction are hidden on video games and in diaries in their rooms. Explosions of suicide haunt their sleep.
Boys smack each other down with folding chairs in vacant lots behind neighborhoods of families with children adrift in the vanity of the stars. A lonely girl paints her face in an empty mirror, with no regard for the beauty in her heart or the industry of her hands. The children’s monitor is a flat screen and their discipline is a television schedule. Like hydroponic plants in synthetic soil, the children grow in the lifelessness of a life apart from Jesus Christ.
These kids are not stupid. Nor are they all caught up in the schemes of the world. Most of them are ordinary or outstanding young people simply trying to learn how to survive in an overwhelming world. All of them see through curtains of duplicity with x-ray vision. Their capacity for accomplishment is limited only by their training. They are the same flesh and blood for which God demands an accounting, each with the potential of their untapped talent. But unless they learn the proper context for fighting, they are sheep without sheepdogs in a pack of wolves. Unless the youth learn to fight and win spiritual battles, they will be devoured by the deception of the enemy of their souls.
As it is, the young people grow up being told by pop psychologists that it is wrong to fight, but they fight anyway. If the boys are not in the backyard wrestling, they are inside watching the actors do it on TV. The so-called “professional” wrestling entertainment market is geared for teenage boys and young men, and it has flourished over the last four decades in spite of its hokey script. It is no wonder that boys imitate it; fighting is what boys and men do. Or rather, it is what they are capable of, and what they are capable at. The popularity of hand-to-hand combat is reflected in the rise of sport fighting on television. Boxing fades as “no holds barred” cage fighting and international team fighting take the spotlight. Taekwondo recently joined classic Judo and ancient Greco Roman wrestling as an official Olympic sport.1 Sport fighting, which has a long history, is not the problem. The problem is that the Masked Preacher and Mr. Death are the role models these kids see.
Young people need role models. Kids need leaders and they find them. But too often, those leaders are the neighborhood bullies or gang leaders who dominate the child and push him into a form of servitude. Intimidation is used to pressure young men into rites of passage, or else they cannot belong to the gang. Outside the gang, the kid is defenseless, and so he goes along out of self-preservation and fear, or he lies to himself and joins to be cool. Christian martial arts training offers teenagers an alternative through which they can find several characteristics that young men desire and which gangs exploit; for example, sense of membership, association, identity, fellowship, physical security, and comfort. Gangs, which have a long history, are not the problem. In America, the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the freedom of association—a freedom worth fighting for. The problem is the criminal leaders of the gangs whom King Solomon wrote about in the tenth century Before Christ:
My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.
If they say, “Come along with us;
Let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood,
Let’s waylay some harmless soul;
Let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
And whole, like those who go down into the pit;
We will get all sorts of valuable plunder;
Throw in your lot with us,
And we will share a common purse.”
My son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths;
For their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.
How useless to spread a net in full view of the birds!
These men lie in wait for their own blood;
They waylay only themselves!
Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
It takes away the lives of those who get it. (Proverbs 1:10-19)
All things said, the majority of young men and women grow up without getting in much, if any, trouble. Many are even respectful of their parents. Often they are referred to as straight, and most of them do well enough in school. They hear a trumpet blast and join a team, football or soccer, wrestling perhaps; maybe they even join a traditional martial arts class such as karate or taekwondo. Those who recognize the sound of the shofar often become fire fighters or crime fighters, or join the military. Some of those who enlist were on the edge, and more often than not, the discipline of the fighting culture brought them into a life of integrity and honor. Many young men and women make careers in the military, filling an actual or indirect warrior’s role. Active and veteran service men and women make up a significant percentage of the Church. For these, the Church must embrace the concept of Christian martial arts training and combat; otherwise, if the Church believes that Christian martial art is an oxymoron, it must tell these brave men and women to leave, or give up their warrior’s call. There is a battle between Good and Evil in the world, and it is not always a spiritual battle. Someone has to fight on the side of Good in both the spiritual and the physical realms.
The youth in America and the world need to know that there is more to being a Christian than listening to a mealy-mouthed preacher feeding pabulum to a bunch of milk toast weaklings who do not have the courage to go outside in a March wind. Even Jesus was not timid, but answered the challenge of those who tried to kill him, and called them liars and children of the devil (John 8:12-59). The Church needs to understand that youth around the world are worth fighting for. However, only the young people can defend themselves; Adam could not protect Abel from Cain. How quickly we send them into the battle of their lives with no defense.
Sooner or later, our children will be required to fight for what they believe in, and maybe those other things that are important, such as standing up to a bully or a killer or a tyrant. They need Christian training on the immeasurable value of a soul and the great sacrifice that is required to save each one. They need Christian training on the terrible decision one must make in order to take another person’s life. They need Christian training on the proper way to handle the awesome power God has given them in their minds and their hands and their feet. They need Christian training on the righteous defense of a brother or a sister or a nation.
…Under the authority of the law, including most written codes and the “law of the land” for eons, the right to defend against bodily harm is paramount, whether the objective of preventing such harm is personal self-defense, defense of others, or group defense. The argument that Jesus would expect a person or assembly to simply yield at the risk of injury or death if attacked, or to avert their eyes and refuse to help when someone else is attacked, is absurd…
…The weapon doesn’t control a man; a man controls the weapon. It is the attitude of the heart that determines how the weapon is controlled…Training the attitude of the heart is fundamental for Christian martial arts…The physical training is simply the medium through which the training of the heart and mind is delivered…
Many forms of traditional martial arts have long histories of Eastern religious influence. Taekwondo, a relatively young expression of the influence of martial arts on Korea is examined in the next three chapters...The beauty and paradox of Christianity is that the divine union, which results in the mystic consciousness known as the “joy of salvation,” is not reserved for the esoteric, but is found as a white belt in one’s spiritual development…
The student of martial arts is taught from the very beginning that there are certain attributes one must develop that are much more important than physical training and discipline…To fully understand the truth about these philosophies, one must turn to the ancient writings of the Holy Scriptures, also known as the Holy Bible. By studying these writings, the seeker of truth learns that the universe is controlled by an omnipotent and personal being that is directly involved with every detail of life, from the color in the flower that Buddha picked to the affairs of the heart of man…
An organic Christian defense is possible with any type or form of fighting, from hand-to-hand combat to dogfights in the sky…In a self-defense or defense of others situation…the mental aspects of any martial arts system play a far larger role than the hand and foot techniques, or weapons…For the Christian martial arts student, in addition to the physical components, the proper understanding and application of the mental and spiritual training must be mastered in advance, to achieve the best outcome...
Jael Kills Sisera, Captain of Canaan
…The world bristles at the Christian warrior because it fears him and it hates him…so the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world marshal their evil forces against the Christian and all that he stands for…The critics apply fresh coats of the paint of the Inquisition, while the disciples of Marx are absolved of the blood let by Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Pol Pot, and others…
A Government and Its Subjects
…The world and Islam hate Judaism and Christianity because the former are of the flesh and the latter are of the spirit, and the flesh and the spirit are in battle…It is in the Jews that the purpose of God has been shown in deed and in prophecy throughout the history of man, and it is in Jesus, that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through [Abraham]”…It is here that the Christian is bound up with the Jew and the Arab, because in Jesus, the brothers and sons of Ishmael and Isaac are brought together on an equal basis, as servants to a true master servant who leads with the righteousness of Jesus Christ…
Rebuilding The Walls of Jerusalem
…If the Church will not train men and women to lead and to fight, then either the governments or the world will, for their own purposes. Those governments and entities that do not fight will be assimilated by those who do...
Through the ages, God has appeared to man and spoke to woman in various ways; but in each encounter, God was always consistent in His identity and purpose. God has wrestled with man and battled with him regardless of his stature or affiliation. God always controlled the outcome by His righteous justice and His divine purpose. To say that Jesus Christ is not a fighting man is to deny the Holy Scriptures. In fact, He is a king over a great army…The prophet Isaiah speaks of God and His mission of peace:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
On those living in the land of the shadow of death
A light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy;
They rejoice before you as a people rejoice at the harvest,
As men rejoice when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian's defeat,
You have shattered the yoke that burdens them,
The bar across their shoulders,
The rod of their oppressor.
Every warrior's boot used in battle
And every garment rolled in blood
Will be destined for burning,
Will be fuel for the fire.
For unto us a child is born
To us a son is given,
And the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
There will be no end.
He will reign on David's throne
And over his kingdom,
Establishing it and upholding it
With justice and righteousness
From that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
Will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:2-7)