Any Catholic Martial Artists?


#1

I know your out there. I’m interested in hearing how you feel the Art has made you a better Catholic, or maybe you feel it doesn’t.

I feel that the Martial Arts is mostly about the human virtues. A firm and habitual disposition to do good.

I also feel that the MA is one of the few things left in this secular society that recognizes that we are a composite of Body and Soul, the Physical and Spiritual.


#2

[quote=BryanW]I know your out there. I’m interested in hearing how you feel the Art has made you a better Catholic, or maybe you feel it doesn’t.

I feel that the Martial Arts is mostly about the human virtues. A firm and habitual disposition to do good.

I also feel that the MA is one of the few things left in this secular society that recognizes that we are a composite of Body and Soul, the Physical and Spiritual.
[/quote]

I used to be in Teakwood and it is a wonderful expereince. It teaches discipline such as obeying your elders and studying. I have no problems with Teakwood at all, sparring is the funnest part of Martial Arts.


#3

I’ve studied several martial arts (Jujutsu, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing) and have found it very rewarding in ways. If you learn for the right reasons, I think that anyone would find it rewarding. You develop traits such as discipline, composure, humility, confidence, etc. There are those who join up just to learn how to beat other people up…They usually drop out fairly quickly. The higher ranks usually hurt their ego enough that they don’t want to come back.

The thing about martial arts that I think is somewhat decieving is that it can give you a false sense of confidence or control. The spiritual part of the martial arts is based off a Godless religion, so the focus is on you, not God. You start to believe that you have abilities apart from God’s blessings and grace. I started doing martial arts long before I started practicing my faith. I still practice martial arts, but not as much and not with the false belief that I am in control. There’s also the “chi” or “ki” aspect of martial arts too, for those who are actually taught these concepts. I’m aftraid that I don’t find the practice of deveoping and exercising your “chi” a very Christian thing either.

Martial Arts, aside from the spiritual aspect, is a good thing to get into. And as long as you are strong in your faith and aren’t liable to get caught up in the whole spiritual side of it, you’ll be just fine.


#4

Myamoto Musashi, a Samurai and arguably the greatest swordsman to exist, is one of my great interests. I have read his Book of Five Rings many times and use the teachings in the book on a daily basis.


#5

Pardon me for diverting the subject, but …

Funkyhorn, what else do you have to say about the ‘development of chi’ in oriental mysticism? It has been a subject of fascination for myself and one of my best friends since high school. I’m afraid that for my friend it may have developed into an unheathy fascination. I don’t quite know what to make of it as a Catholic, but I put some stock in the reports of monks are martial artists who claim to accomplish some incredible stuff through manipulation of chi. And acupunture is somehow related to chi, isn’t it?

Yet, when it comes up on Catholic Answers live (at least the few times I’ve heard it addressed to Jimmy Akin) I hear it said, “there’s no such thing as chi. It just don’t exist” I can’t dismiss it so easily. What do you think? Should one put stock in such things? And if so, what exactly do we attribute it to? Is it demonic? Or what?


#6

[quote=BryanW]I know your out there. I’m interested in hearing how you feel the Art has made you a better Catholic, or maybe you feel it doesn’t.

I feel that the Martial Arts is mostly about the human virtues. A firm and habitual disposition to do good.

I also feel that the MA is one of the few things left in this secular society that recognizes that we are a composite of Body and Soul, the Physical and Spiritual.
[/quote]

I’ve been practising Jujitsu for 5+ years now. I feel that I have had my eyes opened to how amazing the human body is and how God made us. I’m also finding little bits of gems now and again with how my system works and how people should or should not work together. For instance, in jujitsu, you don’t want to use muscle, you want to use a person’s own motion against them, ie don’t force anyone to do anything, lead them slightly and let them (or the Holy Spirit) do all the work… This and a few other things have led me to some ponderings I’ve been planning on starting a thread with…maybe soon… :slight_smile:

There is a spiritual aspect to the arts, but you must be carefull, some very good people/martial artists replace religion with their martial art. Granted many of them do help people in various ways, but there is no substitute for God…

I feel the MA are about knowledge of oneself, improving ourselves physically and mentally and of helping others. One thing for sure, the more I know, the more I realize how much I truly need God. All the balance in the world will not save my soul, but it is nice to know that I could be able to defend myself and my family physically.

John


#7

[quote=Adam D]Pardon me for diverting the subject, but …

Funkyhorn, what else do you have to say about the ‘development of chi’ in oriental mysticism? It has been a subject of fascination for myself and one of my best friends since high school. I’m afraid that for my friend it may have developed into an unheathy fascination. I don’t quite know what to make of it as a Catholic, but I put some stock in the reports of monks are martial artists who claim to accomplish some incredible stuff through manipulation of chi. And acupunture is somehow related to chi, isn’t it?

Yet, when it comes up on Catholic Answers live (at least the few times I’ve heard it addressed to Jimmy Akin) I hear it said, “there’s no such thing as chi. It just don’t exist” I can’t dismiss it so easily. What do you think? Should one put stock in such things? And if so, what exactly do we attribute it to? Is it demonic? Or what?
[/quote]

Just because empirical results have been explained using the concept of chi, it does not follow that chi is the underlying cause of these effects. For example, acupuncture may have legitimate physiological effects. This does not prove the existence of chi. Chi may effectively be a mnemonic formula by which the acupuncturist learns certain techniques. The mnemonic is simply misinterpreted as equal to the reality.


#8

There is something to chi. Acupuncture, I believe, is more geared to physical points in the body that affect other points. I’ve never heard acupuncture as chi related, but I could just not have heard. :slight_smile: Martial Artists do tend to relate everything to everything, though.

Something there exists, although I’ve always wondered if it had something to do with a sort of electric-type field around the body. I’ve been pondering physical/spiritual connections lately, though not as they apply to our own bodies specifically.

According to some, there are different levels of “fields” around your body that give off…hmmm…feelings?knowledge? ie Sometimes you can tell how a person feels, most of the time I think it’s just physical nuances, but not always. Also, you can sometimes tell when a person is staring at you, those kind of intuition things are sort of applied, I believe, to chi. A lot of the arts try to apply this spiritual type energy to the physical things they do. The body that God gave us has some amazing abilities, to be sure. But we should never put ourselves and our own abilities before God. I guess I’ve never focused a lot on the spiritual aspect of MA, seems like there is a slippery path to beware of there. If your friend is dwelling on it too much, then he could easily get pulled into Budism or another religion that focuses heavily on the “ME” and opening yourself up to the outside forces that they say can “help” you. Nothing wrong with meditation, as long as it is applied properly, such as prayer to God; when you open yourself to the universe you are likely to not get God. I’d pray for your friend…I am…

John


#9

I have taken Tang So Do in the past and have gone back from time to time,… I need to go back…I also intend to get my Daughters involved for self defense purposes…They are alright so long as you do not get to invoved in the mistyc side of them…


#10

I studied Aikido. Our instructor wisely avoided talk about “Chi” and simply refered to our “centers”, which is merely the balance point of our bodies (just under the navel). By using our centers we can do techniques against much larger opponents (although there is not really “opponents” per se in Aikido) with minimal amount of energy expense.

As others have noted, martial arts is fine as long as you avoid the spurious glitter of Eastern mysticism.

Scott


#11

Chi may very well be a natural phenomenon. There is no reason to think it has to be spiritual. We know much too little about life to draw such conclusions.


#12

I have been taking Arnis for 6 years now, and before that I formally dipped into Karate and Judo, and informally dipped into freestyle wrestling. All these martial arts have taught me the value of life and the importance of preserving it, even if it is the life of your own aggressor. Yes, sounds very familiar, doesn’t it?

On the subject of “chi” - I read an interesting theory that proposed “chi” to be oxygen flow within the fasciae (the thin layer of lining surrounding our internal organs and muscles). Something about building up the fasciae to support internal organs and protect them from injury. Don’t know if that helps.


#13

12 years of Tae Kwon Do, 3rd degree, certified AAU referee - but that was 20 years ago. I would seriously hurt myself if I attempted a flying side kick right now… the spirit is willing but the flesh is not very flexible any more… :slight_smile:

Luckily my teachers never got into the “fake mystical spiritualism” which so often accompanies martial arts training in America. For example, we were taught to focus our power as a purely mental and physical act, rather than being taught some mystical exercise to “summon our Chi.”

That said, I wish I knew then what I know now about Catholic spiritualism - I could have been one *baaaaaad * monk. I did learn a lot about self-discipline and asceticism.

One of our assistant pastors at St. John Westminster (Fr. Leo Patalinghug) is an accomplished martial artist.


#14

[quote=Adam D]Pardon me for diverting the subject, but …

Funkyhorn, what else do you have to say about the ‘development of chi’ in oriental mysticism? It has been a subject of fascination for myself and one of my best friends since high school. I’m afraid that for my friend it may have developed into an unheathy fascination. I don’t quite know what to make of it as a Catholic, but I put some stock in the reports of monks are martial artists who claim to accomplish some incredible stuff through manipulation of chi. And acupunture is somehow related to chi, isn’t it?

Yet, when it comes up on Catholic Answers live (at least the few times I’ve heard it addressed to Jimmy Akin) I hear it said, “there’s no such thing as chi. It just don’t exist” I can’t dismiss it so easily. What do you think? Should one put stock in such things? And if so, what exactly do we attribute it to? Is it demonic? Or what?
[/quote]

First, I’ll divert you to another thread where I talk about this a little more. I can’t really say either way about “chi.” I know that I’ve seen some very amazing “tricks” where martial artists will claim to utilize chi…but thats all they are, is tricks. One example would be if you ever saw someone hold the tip of a long spear and press it to their neck and then someone else would whack the other end of it with something like a hammer hitting a nail into a piece of wood, but the spear doesn’t puncture his neck. Chi? I doubt it. I know full well that if I (or anyone for that matter) took that spear, pulled it back, and jabbed it into the same spot on the guy’s neck, it would go through.

I think that chi may be no more than being able to manipulate your body in ways that most others aren’t trained to. I’ve seen/felt people using chi to make one hand hot and one hand cold…although there wasn’t a HUGE difference in temperature, there was a difference. I did feel the guy’s hands before and after.

Like I said in this other thread, I remember some lady being on EWTN talking about the healing powers of chi energy and about it being used in hospitals today as a new method of healing…and she was very against it.

I’m not sure what Jimmy Akin bases his statements about chi on, but a more accurate statement might be that it doesn’t exist the way many people believe it exists. Chi IS something, but probably not what martial artists, monks, Taoists, believe it is. In any case, when you get right down to it, it really isn’t that great. You can maybe do a few side show stunts with it, but I really don’t think it is beneficial in a practical sense.

If your friend has developed an “unhealthy facination” with it, then it isn’t a good thing. I think that the concept of chi puts too much (if not all) the emphasis on your own powers that you think you have rather than the blessings or grace that God has given you. People believe that THEY become powerful by having this chi energy and the consequences of this delusion are not good. I think that it very well could be the devil working through you. The devil definately has powers on earth to do these kinds of things.

Anyhow, in short, I don’t think its worth anyone’s time. There are several exemplary martial artists who don’t believe in it and don’t use it, so I don’t see how it could benefit you in that sense. Besides, we have SO many better things to be doing with our time than trying to stimulate, cultivate, and develop chi…like study the Bible, or apologetics, or go cow tipping…


#15

Hello,

I have studied Kung fu for 10 yrs. and am a practicing Catholic. My husband and I actually met training. We train the fourth internal style called Liu Ho Ba Fa, also Tibetan Lama, Hsiny-Yi, Ba-Gua and Chin-na. We have a very small group that we teach from our garage, we decided not to go the commercial route.
Anyway…
I actually came to my faith in 2002, but it is funny, because I truly believe that the martial arts prepared me for my faith. Without humility, forget it. That is the beauty of the true martial arts, the more you know, the less you talk and walk around with a puffed chest. And, actually, the more you know, the more you know you need constant practice. Similarly, the more you grow in your faith, I think, the more you know you must pray and always keep humble. As far as ego, my Sifu taught me that any man can be had any day. I guess that is why we must always practice to keep our skills sharp. As it is with a Catholic life, any body can fall to sin any day, no matter how “good” you think you are. So, then, we must also keep our “skills”(soul sharp) by constant prayer and humility. My husband always says, once you think you’ve got it…you are even farther away.

Also, being an internal artist myself we always hear about chi this and chi that…My Sifu, who is a Chinese Grandmaster, says…Chi is air.period. Chi-gung literally means air work. It is to practice breathing and relaxation…some people get into the wackadoo stuff, and somebody said exactly what it is, it is tricks. Gung-fu hard work…Chi-gung air work…it is for breathing and connectivity and to really to be able to be relaxed and not tense up when executing technique. But many are led astray.

Martial arts has been a blessing in my life…
You don’t train so you can go looking for a fight
You train so you don’t have to, but yet you know that God forbid if it came down to it you can defend yourself and others if you had to.

Peace be with you all brothers(I am assuming there are no sisters here, I am used to always being the only girl)


#16

I studied indonesion Perisi Diri silat for a number of years and there is a spiritual aspect to it, wthout gong into that part I met many a very high ranking/proficient masters of the art who were of Muslim hindu and Christian faith.

I saw first hand the healing abilities that some of these people have and I can tell you it is no trick, The whole essence of the art was ultiamtely to take you closer to God.

Now whether CHI is real or not etc, I know that they had special abilities. Plain fact.

Tim


#17

I am a wife, mother and a grandmother and now a great-grandmother…talk about Martial Arts…That is pretty Martial and as close as I get. :wink:

But seriously, some of our grandkids have been involved in the Martial Arts. It does help teach good values and discipline I think.

Then again there is the matter of my broken vase’s etc. the sweet darlings had to pay for. :smiley:


#18

I am a student of the Martial Arts, and so are my entire family, wife and three children. As a devout Catholic I find the Arts a wonderful environment to overcome many obstacles inherent in a non-Catholic culture. For a society that is moving farther and farther away from virtue, it reintroduces to the student the concept that growth is a process and comes from repeated effort. Two virtues come immediately to mind, courage and humility. Courage has been genuinely misplaced today, and cannot be found where it is most needed, to answer God’s call to conversion, vocation, and living the “radical” call to holiness. Humility, as Chesterton put it has landed squarely where it was never meant to be, on the goal, rather than on the individual. In other words we were never meant to question the divine, but always be doubtful about ourselves. A friend asked me once why as a Catholic I practice the Martial Arts? My response hasn’t changed, “Because there are still giants, and dragons in the world, and the world needs warriors!”


#19

So lonng as you do not let it take over your faith and take you down dangerous paths it is fine…


#20

I’m a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do after 10 years of practice and now teaching. I REALLY enjoy it. The teaching aspect with the kids is wonderful. The Tenets of TKD are what it is really all about; Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control and an Indomitable Spirit.

Watching the kids grow in these tenets is incredibly rewarding.

We also have adults join taking the art on their own or start taking it with their kids. The kids really like that last one!


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