Testimony

   

Like many boys and men, I have been fascinated by fighting sport action films. I wanted to be able to kick at the height of the head while turning, just as the actors showed it in the films. During my holidays in the USA, I bought a nunchaku and trained tai chi with the help of videos at home. Then I found that the Tai Chi movements were a bit too slow, and that I preferred training a form of fighting sport with quick and explosive techniques. When I studied at the university in order to become a teacher, I participated in a course of karatedo which was offered by the university. I was very interested by and enthusiastic of karate.  I bought many books about fighting sport and martial arts. The philosophy behind these systems began to fascinate me. Some authors said that by practising Far Eastern martial arts, chi, the universal energy, was strengthened. According to them, exercises were to be structured in conformity with the principle of yin and yang, the basic principles of the Chinese universism. “Do” was described as the way the martial artist had to go in accordance with Zen Buddhism and the aim of which was the satori, the enlightenment followers of Zen are striving for. The authors said that it was to be attained by making oneself inwardly empty and by immersing oneself totally in meditation. Some teachers and masters of these systems are convinced that it is only possible to be a real martial artist if you also include the religious components. The well-known karate master Oyama once said in this context: "Karate is Zen and Zen is karate." Since these books recommended meditation techniques as indispensable in order to attain higher levels of martial arts, I was just about to participate in a course of Zen meditation at university.

At this time, I discovered the website of the Christian fight-oriented sports ministry and became its webmaster. On our meetings and via e-mail, we started discussing about being a Christian, about fighting sport and the esoteric components of Far Eastern martial arts. After reading many books about this topic and looking deeply into this matter, I took the decision that I did not want to do a sport whose training includes elements of Non-Christian religions, such as the martial arts which are imbued with Far Eastern esotericism and the teachings of Zen Buddhism or Taoism and which require including such elements in the exercise. I know some Christians who can reconcile exercising these systems with their faith. They put forward that you can separate the mere techniques from the religious components. I accept their statements, but as for me personally, I found that they do not go far enough. It is written in the Bible in the letter of Romans that some things are okay for some Christians which are not okay for others. A Christian should not cause annoyance and thus cause a weaker brother to stumble.

I had even considered completely stopping training systems of fighting sport. However, these are very sound, train the whole body and make fun. Therefore I started to train kickboxing and fitness-boxing. Moreover I begun to occupy with Anti Terror Streetfight (ATS), Reality-Self-Defense (RSD) and Krav Maga (Israeli self defense) which are modern and adapted to the western mentality. Meanwhile I have got the black belt and the instructor certificate. There are systems of fighting sport and self defense which go without Far Eastern religious and esoteric contents. When I train self-defense with my pupils at school, I consciously leave out these elements. In my opinion, anybody can train fighting sport and self-defense without religious and esoteric components and that there is no reason for including them in the exercise, except if you are, e.g., a Buddhist or a Taoist. As a Christian, I do not need any enlightenment through meditation, I do not have to unite with the cosmos and I do not need to redeem myself by means of esoteric martial arts. Instead, I need the living God who is described in the Bible, of whom it is written in Hebrews 13,6: "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid." The way to God is not the way of self-redemption, which is propagated in some books about martial arts, but Jesus Christ, who says in John 14,6: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."