If someone asked me 50 years ago about the future of Christian Martial Arts, my answer would be simple. What’s Christian Martial Arts?
[Podcast version available at the end of this post.]
I’ve been involved in martial arts for 60 years and had never heard of Christian Martial Arts until after I became a Christian in 1971. It wasn’t until a year later that I met a youth pastor who was a member of Judo & Karate for Christ. We worked together to put on some martial arts demonstrations and preach the Gospel to people in attendance. That’s where I first saw how Christian Martial Arts could be involved in the Great Commission.
If someone had asked me in 1972 about the future of Christian Martial Arts, my answer would have been limited. I was newly involved with Judo & Karate for Christ and knew of one other group that was also active in using martial arts in Gospel ministry. That’s as much as I knew at the time, but hoped Christian Martial Arts would grow in influence in the years to come. It seemed like a good idea.
The past 50 years have been exciting ones in Christian Martial Arts (CMA). The influence of Christian instruction has grown tremendously during that time, including the publication of many books about CMA. I will admit that the first 15 years were a bit lonely because Christian classes were few and far between, but something began happening in the 1980’s that saw an expansion of CMA organizations. Getting information about the growth of Christian martial arts was more difficult before the Internet and email, but I had heard that many people were coming to Christ through martial arts programs.
I was encouraged to start Grace Martial Arts in 1990 for the purpose of teaching martial arts from a Christian perspective and encouraging and supporting other Christian instructors. That led to an online presence in 1995 and a monthly newsletter we emailed to Christian teachers and students. Grace Martial Arts Fellowship began a few years later, along with the opportunity to support the re-start of Judo & Karate for Christ under the new name of Karate for Christ International.
Tens of thousands of people are now involved in Christian Martial Arts programs around the world. Many CMA organizations exist to help guide those programs. We’ve had the privilege and joy to hear from hundreds of instructors through the years about the work God is doing in saving people of all ages through their classes. Most Christian programs I’m familiar with emphasize excellence in martial arts training along with strong biblical preaching, teaching and discipling.
What does the future hold for Christian Martial Arts? That’s the question we are going to address in this special series. I think it’s important to hear from some of the men and women who have been involved in Christian Martial Arts for many years, plus those who are younger. As we’ve been republishing some of the GMAF Newsletters from the last 20+ years, I’ve been struck that some of the CMA leaders who wrote articles for us have passed on to Heaven. It’s important that we share with each other now about the future of the ministry God has given us. What we do next will play an important role in the overall ministry of the spread of the Gospel around the world. We are part of the Church that Jesus Christ is building. To Him be the Glory now and forever!
We have already received articles from several CMA leaders and will be sharing their thoughts about the future of Christian Martial Arts in the coming weeks and months. If you would like to share your thoughts with our readers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write a few sentences or several paragraphs .. however God leads you. We also invite you to include one or two photos of yourself and your class with your email.
Thank you for your interest in Christian Martial Arts!
Sensei Mark McGee
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