For the past year I have been avidly reading and practicing internal martial arts. This is basically the study of life force energy and how to connect with and use said energy or “qi”.
At it’s most advanced stage one begins to connect with “shen” or spirit. For me it is all a form of meditation and mind body discipline that develop fighting skills. Why would I want to develop fighting skills you may ask; to protect and defend, to build confidence? The first rule of the martial arts I seek to practice (as a novice) is to avoid a fight. Once one ensues, the idea is to neutralize violence with minimum or no damage to the “opponent” or “attacker”. Through this process one expands their existence and seeks to improve each day their constant contact with a God of their understanding.
I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he lived as a flesh and blood man, died on the cross to save us from our sins and rose from the dead into spirit form. Eventually (three days as the story goes) he ascended into the heavens to be with God the Father for eternity. We know God through Christ. We seek to follow his teachings and emulate his behavior here “on earth.”
Jesus meditated. He walked in contemplation. He sought in each moment to be all that he could possibly be and carry the message of the Father. I believe that this is what martial art, in its true and sincere form, seeks to do.
As I practice, I bring God to the fore drawing qi from my surrounding into the dan tien (lower belly area) Many of these practices stem from Taoist thought and tenets. I am not a Taoist. I do think they have some powerful methods for living. I do believe that as Christians we can utilize a myriad of practices throughout the scope of human experience to maximize our potential as spiritual creatures living in a material world.
There is commentary suggesting that many practices of meditation and martial art are “sinful”. It has been said that their purpose is to drive Christians toward darkness and away from Christ.
All I know is that if as a Christian I bring my beliefs into a practice; each time in each moment, inviting my God with prayer, then the practice is Christian. If I seek to do good and benefit my fellow man in Christ’s, name then my activity is Christian.
If someone believes they have fallen from their Christian faith as a result of these practices then I contend that it was not the practices that brought on the fall. It was instead their perspective. It was the fact that they put something else in front of their Christian faith.
When I put anything in front of Christ I lose it and I lose Christ too. The good thing is He’s always with me … no matter what.