Christian Warrior : Martial ArtistA Zen Thing . Religion
Following up on the Musings of a Christian Warrior, I thought I should delve into the connection between Christianity and the Martial Arts.
C.S. Lewis in his philosophical book, ‘Mere Christianity’, poses a metaphor that portrays God as a divine sculptor, chiseling away at us to create ‘a little Christ’—a refined version of ourselves more aligned with God’s vision. Similarly, in the physical realm of martial arts training, we see a process of constant refinement, a chiseling away of weaknesses to create a better, stronger, and more disciplined version of oneself. It requires persistent effort, discipline, resilience, and the humility to learn from mistakes, mirroring the Christian path of sanctification.
As we step onto the battlefield of life, our Christian armor—Truth, Righteousness, the Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation, and the Word of God—draw parallels to a martial artist’s gear. Martial artists learn to use their protective equipment not as a hindrance but as an extension of their bodies, enhancing their defense and resilience. Likewise, Christian warriors are called to ‘put on the full armor of God’ (Ephesians 6:11), equipping ourselves with these virtues to withstand life’s spiritual battles.
Consider the martial artist’s intense focus on discipline and respect. These attributes mirror the Christian warrior’s cultivation of spiritual disciplines like prayer, sacraments, and meditation on the Word of God, enhancing our spiritual senses and equipping us for spiritual battles. Likewise, the martial arts practice of bowing to an opponent before a match mirrors the Christian warrior’s call to treat all with love and respect, recognizing the inherent dignity of every individual.
The martial arts concept of self-defense is an interesting parallel to the Christian warrior’s task of apologetics — the reasoned defense of our faith. Just as martial artists train to reflexively respond to physical attacks, Christian warriors are prepared to defend our faith confidently, respectfully, and lovingly.
However, in both martial arts and Christian life, we will inevitably face defeat. It is how we handle this defeat that truly defines us. Martial artists see each loss as an opportunity to learn and improve, not as a definition of their worth. Similarly, as Christian warriors, our worth is not defined by our trials, hardships, and defeats. What matters is our resilience and commitment to getting back up, trusting in God’s grace, and pressing forward.
Amidst these confrontations and challenges, martial arts training seeks to cultivate a sense of inner peace. Similarly, Christian warriors strive for an inner tranquility that transcends worldly troubles, echoing the promise in Philippians 4:7 of ‘the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.’ Our battlefields may be fraught with turmoil and doubt, but with God as our fortress, we can find a peace that defies human comprehension.
In conclusion, the journey of the Christian warrior is an ongoing, dynamic process—a lifelong pursuit of spiritual growth, virtue, and God’s will. Like a martial artist training for competition, we must be disciplined, respectful, resilient, and focused, constantly seeking to align ourselves more closely with God’s vision for us. As Christian warriors, we are not just passive observers, but active participants in the world, embodying love, fighting for truth, and working towards a Kingdom where peace and justice reign.
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