Recently, my kids started Tae Kwon Do. I know controversy exists among Christians regarding Tae Kwon Do. So, I thought I would address some of the questions surrounding “is Tae Kwon Do Biblical?” with scripture today.
Is Tae Kwon Do Biblical?
Some people who say that it is unchristian for Christians to practice Tae Kwon Do or any martial arts because of the roots in eastern mysticism. Some believe that no martial arts should be practiced by Christians at all. However, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, an unchristian origin itself really isn’t sufficient grounds for rejecting martial arts since this view commits what is known as the “genetic fallacy”. This is when it is assumed since the origin of a belief or practice was wrong, regardless of its development, is still wrong today. Secondly, if we were to apply this logic to everything we do, we would also have to abandon many other things in life, such as astronomy. Astronomy’s roots are in the practice of astrology.
We decided that it was better to ascertain how much influence the foundational beliefs may have on our kids. First, we prayed and discussed this prior to enrolling our kids into Martial Arts. My brother was involved in Martial Arts when he was young and I can say that it had no spiritual influence on him in the way of his Christian beliefs. He is currently studying to be a Pastor. Martial Arts did have many moral lessons that were taught to him and that he was able to apply to his life. My husband studied Tae Kwon Do in Korea and became a blue belt before he had to leave and, after a 13 year lapse, he is now back training again. It was after his time in Korea practicing Tae Kwon Do that my husband became a Christian during his first tour in Iraq. He can safely say that no negative influence was taught to him. He too was taught morals but not beliefs. After discussion, research, and prayer, we enrolled our kids for a 2 week-free trial. We picked a studio that came recommended by a fellow Army wife and a dear sister in Christ. Her boys practice Tae Kwon Do at the same studio and have done well there. Her kids are wonderful boys who have a heart for God and no negative influence has came to these boys. They are wonderful kids. So, during this 2 week free trial I was able to learn more about the studio, how the program runs and also what is taught. The lesson I was not prepared for though was that the Grand Master there is a Christian and at Christmas he told the kids what the real reason for Christmas was, which is not Santa, not toys, but the birth of Jesus Christ. Praise God for men of character like that who stand up for God, and are such great influences for our kids. After our 2 week trail was up, we enrolled our kids up for the long haul. It is a huge blessing to us.
What exactly does the Bible say and how does that apply to Tae Kwon Do?
In the Old Testament God supports the defense of war. David, who was a man after Gods own heart, was a mighty man of valor. He possessed a warrior strength, a skill of mind and a skill of body. When Jesus spoke to his Disciples, he did not say combating was morally wrong. He instructed his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword if they didn’t already have one (Luke 22:36). Jesus’ hindering of Peter’s use of the sword on the night of his arrest served a couple of purposes. Most importantly, it was for the fulfillment of the prophesy. Jesus had to be arrested and punished according to the prophesy. I also think he knew Peter would take out as many people as he could and possibly keep the prophesy from happening. Jesus also rebukes Peter stating that those who live by the sword die by the sword. It wasn’t a condemnation of the use of the sword itself. Once again, it all played a role in the prophesy (Matthew 26:52-54). Paul also teaches that those in authority is a servant of God and also bear the sword as well (Romans 13:4).
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With respect to personal danger, the Christian legal tradition permits force for self defense. This is based upon the same principle as the just defensive war (Exodus 22:2). In other words, the Bible accepts lethal, defensive, and personal force.
Some questions may come about bowing and meditation being done during Martial Arts. Bowing is a sign of respect. We bow to kings and queens and most Christians would think nothing of that. We teach young girls to curtsey and boys to bow and we think nothing of that for manners. What truly is the difference? Bowing is a sign of respect. Soldiers salute the U.S. flag and the officers in their respective branch of services. This is a sign of respect. The majority of Americans place their right hands over their hearts during the playing of the National Anthem. This, also, is a sign of respect. In martial arts, their “salute” is a “bow”. Lets face it, more kids need to learn respect nowadays honestly! This is just a polite way for a student to show respect to his instructor, and for his instructor to show respect for his student. Bowing when entering a dojang is like saying “Hello” when coming and going from the house. It is nothing more than a show of respect. Bowing to the flags as you enter the mats to train is respect to the flags, no different then putting your hand over your heart during the pledge. I am honestly thankful they have the kids salute the flags each training and teach such respect.
Meditation is a time to reflect inward, this is what we do when we pray. In our studio, they have never said anything that would go against our Christian beliefs. This is also a good time to think of a scripture for motivation in training!
Another thing to consider, God can use all things for His glory and He tells us to go out unto all the earth and preach the gospel. This doesn’t just apply to ordained ministers. It applies to each one of us. God can and will use martial arts as a way to further His kingdom. It gives my kids a platform in which to connect with someone and it opens up conversation for the gospel to be shared. Regardless if the conversation is with a child they train with or another child somewhere else who is curious about martial arts. They see my kids, Christian kids, practicing Tae Kwon Do. They see happy, wonderful kids and they want some of what they have. They cannot have that without Christ.
For further reading on the subject, I highly urge you first and foremost to go to the Author of Life, the Author of Everything, and seek His word. God is always willing to guide you in all decisions. All you have to do is seek Him.
Next here are some links that are wonderful resources….
Stay tuned for the next blog post on Tae Kwon Do for kids with ADHD, Aspergers etc.
PS this link I found is just wonderful….Tenets of Christian Tae Kwon Do and this 🙂 What do the belt colors mean? According to Tae Kwon Do and with Biblical application