Occasionally I get worked up over a ridiculous comment or article I read on Karate. Today is one of those day.
Karate for Jesus
Every now and then I come across an organization claiming to teach Christian friendly Karate. My first thought is normally of this photo. The root of these organizations is a fundamental lack of understanding on what Karate is, and some pure ignorance. Today I am going to clear up some of these misunderstandings. My reference is an article I stumbled upon earlier today.
There is only one spirit warrior in all of Karate. Yes, George Dillman. While he can throw “chi balls” and knock people out, for the rest of us, Karate will only save you from physical attacks. Karate-do is an art with a goal of perfecting character, while teaching defense against untrained attackers along the way. It in no way will qualify you to defeat demons, angels, ghosts, the undead, or dragons.
Monks of Karate
“Karate has a unique and unusual history. It was handed down centuries ago from Zen Master to Buddhist monk by word of mouth, and always in strict secrecy.”
Let’s explore this statement. What is a “Zen Master“? So it is a made-up term by westerners who don’t understand Japanese traditions. That makes sense. Who did these made up masters pass Karate to? Buddhist Monks! Sarcasm aside, this is all ridiculous. Karate is an Okinawan adaptation of southern Chinese kung-fu mixed with indigenous fighting methods and influenced by Japanese (Zen) Buddhism. It is not a religion, it is a way of life. It is philosophies on how to live. When you die, what heaven you do, or do not, go to is irrelevant to Karate-do.
Yoga and Karate
Two very different things. Period.
“Bodhidharma in the 6th century A.D. in China, synthesized karate techniques and Yoga meditation in order to unite mind, spirit, and body.”
False. The first sign of anything resembling Karate appeared in the first half of the 18th century. More than a millennium after Bodhidharma died.
“The Chinese karate masters considered karate to be an extension of their religion.”
China taught Kung Fu, not Karate. Kung Fu is not part of religion in any way.
“Zen meditation provides a false “inner peace” that is at best a counterfeit of the peace only God can give. There is only one source of inner peace-the Holy Spirit.”
Religion is a personal thing that I have no intention of arguing. It is irrelevant either way. Karate-do teaches self-control, relaxation, non-violence, and many other concepts that are completely inline with almost every religion on the earth. If you believe that coming to these states by any other means than prayer is “evil” than almost every aspect of life is lost. Sports provide self-control. Reading provides relaxation for many. Are these two bad because they do not rely on the Holy Spirit?
“And with the self-control of Zen, as with any Eastern meditation technique, one could also be opening himself up to demonic activity.”
Bigotry and ignorance at its finest. There are no demons in Karate. Zero. One could argue that China has demons (More commonly referred to as communists), but that still isn’t Karate.
Christian Karate Students
“How then can any Christian justify his involvement in karate or any of the other martial arts? He can’t. Not even by claiming that such involvement is for self-defense, exercise, to learn discipline, etc. (let alone justifying it for evangelism purposes!). There are other methods by which these results may be obtained-methods not associated with harmful violence and false doctrine.”
As most of you still reading know, this is another sad display of ignorance. Karate is a physical activity no different from any other sport (like wrestling). Karate-do, the philosophical aspect, has nothing to do with your religious beliefs. More importantly, it adapts and changes all the time. If something did conflict with your religious views, you can simply chose not to embrace that part and continue with every other aspect of Karate-do. Karate-do is something that can be embraced by all peoples, of all religions, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds. Those arguing otherwise likely think Karate-do and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon have a lot in common.