Martial Arts and the spirit of Christmas


2nd Black Belt
Dec 8, 2008
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As we approach Christmas and the celebration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus of Nazareth, one can come to wonder how to reconcile martial arts with the spirit of Christmas and peace and goodwill to men, and women of course. I would suggest it isn't really that hard. Certainly the martial arts Professor, Bradley J. Steiner, who had by far the most impact on my life and philosphy encouraged us to be a people of peace. The Professor encouraged us to be pacifists most of the time, always seeking peaceful solutions to problems, always being respectful and courteous to others, even those who really don't deserve it, always maintaining a good attitude and being the perfect gentleman as much as possible, only using martial arts to defend oneself or a loved one if there was no other option, running if at all possible.

Sifu John N. Beall, a truly magnificent practitioner and teacher of Wing Chun encouraged us to actively do good, by writing letters for Amnesty International to help free political prisoners. He would not teach anyone who liked to go out and prove themselves by picking a fight, nor would Professor Steiner, again martial arts use as self defense was taught as a last resort. And I have found in over 14 years of working in virtually every kind of security imaginable, including working as a bouncer, security at fraternity parties, rock concerts, you name it really, that the confidence I have in believing I know what to do should a self defense emergency arise has prevented a lot of conflicts from becoming physical, the belligerent person deciding if I had that much confidence he better not attack. And in that way martial arts learning can actually bring about peace.

Have a Merry Christmas, and a happy, peaceful, new year!

Daniel Sullivan

MT Mentor
May 27, 2008
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Olney, Maryland
And therein lies the key: use to protect one's self and others. Keep in mind that the apostles carried weapons. While Peter was admonished by Christ for removing the ear of the high priest's servant, Malchus, he had, by that point, carried a sword through Christ's entire ministry. Certainly if Jesus had told him to get rid of it, he would have. And if Jesus had wanted him to get rid of it, he certainly would have said so.

In Luke 22:36, Jesus even instructs his apostles to carry one:

"And He said to them, "But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one." (NAS translation)

The word translated as 'sword' is makhaira, which can refer to any number of types of swords. Kind of makes me feel a bit apostolic to be practitioner of a sword art:p

In any case, Jesus did allow for people to defend and to protect themselves. Likewise, there are no admonitions of Christ against joining the military; when soldiers asked him what they must do to be saved, he addressed them thusly:

And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."

He could have told them to quit the army if living a martial life were antitheical to his message.

And so I say that we who practice the martial arts, security personnel, police, and soldiers, and all who would use force in the defense of others contribute to the peace that Christmas represents by protecting others from those who would break that peace, and keeping such people at bay.



Master of Arts
Apr 25, 2008
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Southern Cal.
Very good points about Jesus, Daniel and Joab.

Might I also add that practicing martial arts can give one an inner peace that comes from the knowledge that one can defend oneself and loved ones.