Christian Character in Martial Arts – Part 4

“Yon Ch’uan Three Zone Defense training brings out in young people the qualities of humility, honesty, confidence, courage, strength and truthfulness.” Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts Black Belt Study Guide With Scriptures

We continue our series about Christian character in martial arts with one of the most basic benefits of studying martial arts – confidence.

It is a benefit of both training in martial arts and developing character as a Christian.

Developing Confidence

Students in Grace Martial Arts begin learning Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts as White Belts. Belts are traditionally how martial artists in the past 100+ years have express knowledge and experience in martial arts training.

Every belt level (also known as rank level) in Grace Martial Arts includes three Christian character qualities and three Bible verses to learn. The character qualities are about the ‘character’ of Jesus Christ. Confidence is the third character quality students learn on their way to earning a stripe on their White Belt.

My parents sent me to a local YMCA when I was 12-years-old. They hoped getting some strength training would help me deal better with bullies at school and around the neighborhood.

I saw some children about my size throwing larger kids and adults to the ground with ease. Judo was my introduction to self-defense training. I signed up for the class and fell in love with martial arts. The instructor also taught Aikido and Karate, so I studied those as well.

An interesting thing happened almost immediately after I started learning Judo. The bullying at school and in my neighborhood stopped. I hadn’t told anyone I was in a Judo class, so why didn’t the bullying continue? I think it may have had something to do with the newfound confidence I had to defend myself against a bully. I didn’t talk about it. I didn’t show anyone what I was learning. But I was confident in defending myself and that confidence may have shown in the way I lived my life.

Another confidence I’ve developed is even more important than the physical and mental aspects of self defense. It’s spiritual.

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29

God’s goal for us is to be ‘conformed’ to the ‘image’ of Christ. That means being ‘fashioned’ into Christ’s likeness.

God the Father was confident in sending His Son from Heaven to earth to accomplish the salvation of lost souls.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

Jesus of Nazareth was confident in what His Father sent Him from Heaven to earth to accomplish.

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:1-5

God wants us to be confident in accomplishing His will for us on earth before we join Him in Heaven.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

The Lord’s apostles are examples of men who gained confidence after seeing Jesus after His resurrection from the dead. That experience gave the great confidence.

Confidence in Christ

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

The Apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christians in Philippi almost two-thousand years ago, but they continue to hold tremendous insight for Christians today – especially when understood contextually.

The broad context for Paul’s statement about being able to “do all things through Christ” began much earlier in his letter to the Philippians –

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:3-8

“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:12-14

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” Philippians 1:21-26

We see a confident Paul in this early part of his letter to the Philippians.

  • he was confident that He who had begun a good work in them would complete it until the day of Jesus Christ
  • other Christians had become confident by Paul’s prison chains and had been emboldened to speak God’s Word without fear
  • Paul was confident that he would remain on earth and continue with the Philippians for their progress and joy of faith and that their rejoicing for him would be more abundant in Jesus Christ by his coming to them again

The specific context for what Paul wrote in Chapter 4:13 is this –

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:10-13

Paul had ‘learned’ to be content in whatever condition he faced in his life. He knew how to to be abased and how to abound. He had learned both to be full and be hungry, both to abound and suffer need. It was in that context that Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Whatever our situation or condition, God wants us to ‘learn’ how be be content. How can we learn how to do that? “through Christ who strengthens me.” How do we do that? By being conformed to the image of Christ? How do we do that? By looking closely at how Jesus lived His life on earth: how He thought, how He spoke, how He prayed, how He responded to everything that came into His earthly life. That’s how we find the strength to be content and confident in our earthly life.

Next Time

We will look at many examples of Christian character as Christian martial artists in this series. You can see each of the character qualities emphasized in Grace Martial Arts by clicking on our online Black Belt Study Guide.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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