Testing in martial arts has been around for hundreds of years. Martial artists around the world tested themselves in many ways to make sure they were ready to defend themselves, their friends, families, villages, cities and countries whenever it was necessary. They often were the difference between life and death to entire communities of people. Martial artists today rarely have to put their lives on the line to defend home and family, so their testing has a different tone to it. They test their strength, skill and courage and are rewarded with higher ranking in their class and organization.
Testing in Christian martial arts is different still. We are tested in body, mind and spirit, and in the “spiritual world.” As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Christian martial artists do battle in the spiritual world as well as the physical. We know that physical attackers are driven by “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Yes, we must meet physical attack with physical self-defense, but the physical world is not the “source” of that attack. It is from Satan. Before Paul wrote the famous words of Ephesians 6:12, he wrote this:
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11
The warfare of the Christian martial artist is with Satan and his spiritual host of wickedness. So, how do we test for that kind of warfare? We must be studied up and prayed up. We need to know God’s Word and know how to use it in spiritual warfare. Here’s how Paul explained the process of training and testing for this battle:
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:13-18
Paul makes it abundantly clear that Christian martial artists have the fight of their lives on their hands. Our training and testing involves several aspects:
- Take up the whole armor of God
- Be able to withstand in the evil day
- Having done all, to stand
- Having girded your waist with truth
- Having put on the breastplate of righteousness
- Having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of Peace
- Taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one (Satan(
- Take the helmet of salvation
- Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
- Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit
- Be watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
If those 11 spiritual points were on our martial arts test next Monday, how would we do?
A martial arts test is not about passing or failing. It’s about knowing where we stand. Where do you stand as a martial artist? Do you know how to escape from someone who attacks you? Do you know how to block a punch or kick? Do you know how to off-balance an attacker so they fall to the ground while you’re escaping? Do you know how to put out the spark in an attacker’s mind with a stunning strike or kick so they forget about attacking you and become concerned for their own safety and wellbeing? We need to know where we stand.
Where do you stand as a Christian martial artist? Do you know how to deal with Satan? Do you know his tricks? Do you know where to go when you’re under attack? Do you know what to do? what to say? Do you know how to force Satan to flee from you? Do you know how to put out the spark in Satan’s mind so he cannot gain control of your mind and behavior? We need to know where we stand.
You can learn more about spiritual warfare by reading chapter 24 of my book, GraceLife: Words of Hope and Encouragement in a Discouraging World.
I’m praying for you as you train for your testing this Monday night, in addition to the spiritual testing you face every day of your life.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”