martial arts are systems of physical discipline stressing the
control of mind and body for self-defense, health, physical
conditioning and enlightenment.
practices have different founders. For example, Tai Chi Chuan
originated with Chang San-Fen, in fourteenth century China. China
is often considered the dominant wellspring for the ideas and
practices that have shaped martial arts practices. India and Japan
have also contributed to their development.
How do they claim to work?
The martial arts claim to work by unifying mind, spirit, and body
chiefly through meditation and physical discipline. In Eastern
forms this allegedly helps to regulate the flow of mystical energy
throughout the body (ki in Japanese; chi in Chinese)
and to enable one to attain the state of mind-body oneness. Both
of these qualities are said to be important to effective
performance of self-defense techniques or spiritual enlightenment.
Nonreligious forms of the martial arts can be found when the basic
stress is strictly upon physical development. Although, even when
they are considered as regimens of physical development only, they
can be adapted to any religion.
Examples of occult potential. Occult
meditation, development of psychic powers, spiritism.
Major problem. People
who practice a martial arts program primarily for physical
purposes can still be converted to its underlying religious
philosophy. Because most methods incorporate Eastern teachings and
techniques, the martial arts are easy doorways into Taoism,
Buddhism, Confucianism, and other non-Christian religions.
Biblical/Christian evaluation. Any
programs having Eastern or occult beliefs or methods should be
avoided; however, the truly non-religious martial arts program
may, in some cases, prove profitable. This is not to endorse all
martial arts, nor is it to say non-religious forms can be
developed in every system. Even among Christian practitioners it
is easy to become sidetracked into Eastern mysticism and to
compromise or hinder spiritual growth in Christ. And we do not
wish to ignore the issues involved when a person is converted to
Christian faith. Such a person may find it essential to forsake
association with the martial arts as a requirement of spiritual
Potential dangers. Occult
influences and physical hazards resulting from martial arts