This answer could take forever, so I will make this brief… our style is a self-defense martial art taught with a Christian philosophy. Everything we do is geared toward defending ourselves or our loved ones. We are not a sport martial art. Although we do occasionally compete in tournaments, we are not as “flashy” as some other schools and styles. But, we do know how to defend ourselves. We practice ground defense, stand-up defense, defense against weapons and the use of weapons. We also have an entire system that is dedicated to falling, rolling and acrobatic maneuvers for defense of our bodies. Our style fully encompasses the arts of developing the body, mind and spirit. It’s the spirit part that really sets us apart from the rest. Instead of teaching the life skills learned in martial arts (honor, courage, patience, self-control, perseverence, etc.) from an Eastern philosophy or one that is “non-religious,” we teach these life principles based upon what the Bible says about them. We believe that anything the Bible has to say about respect, integrity, obedience, etc. is more important than what “the world” has to say.
This questions comes up most often and is also asked, “How can a Christian be a Martial Artist? The following is an excerpt from Ron Rhodes book, The Complete Book of Bible Answers.”
“Though the Bible is silent regarding the Asian martial arts, it nonetheless records many accounts of fighting and warfare. The providence of God in war is exemplified by His name YHWH Sabaoth (“The LORD of hosts” – Exod. 12:41). God is portrayed as the omnipotent Warrior-Leader of the Israelites. God, the LORD of hosts, raised up warriors among the Israelites called the shophetim (savior-deliverers). Samson, Deborah, Gideon, and others were anointed by the Spirit of God to conduct war. The New Testament commends Old Testament warriors for their military acts of faith (Heb. 11:30-40). Moreover, it is significant that although given the opportunity to do so, none of the New Testament saints – nor even Jesus – are ever seen informing a military convert that he needed to resign from his line of work (Matt. 8:5-13; Luke 3:14).
Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus revealed to His disciples the future hostility they would face and encouraged them to sell their outer garments in order to purchase a sword (Luke 22:36-38; cf. 2 Cor. 11:26-27). Here the “sword” (maxairan) is a “dagger or short sword [that] belonged to the Jewish traveler’s equipment as protection against robbers and wild animals.” It is perfectly clear from this passage that Jesus approved of self-defense.
Self-defense may actually result in one of the greatest examples of human love. Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:14). When protecting one’s family or neighbor, a Christian is unselfishly risking his or her life for the sake of others.
The late Francis Schaeffer put it this way:
The Bible is clear here: I am to love my neighbor as myself, in the manner needed, in a practical way, in the midst of the fallen world, at my particular point of history. This is why I am not a pacifist. Pacifism in this poor world in which we live – this lost world – means that we desert the people who need our greatest help. What if you come upon a big, burly man beating a tiny tot to death and plead with him to stop. Suppose he refuses? What does love mean now? Love means that I stop him in any way I can, including hitting him. To me this is not only necessary for humanitarian reasons: it is loyalty to Christ’s commands concerning Christian love in a fallen world. What about the little girl? If I desert her to the bully, I have deserted the true meaning of Christian love – responsibility to my neighbor.
J. P. Moreland and Norman Geisler likewise say that “to permit murder when one could have prevented it is morally wrong. To allow a rape when one could have hindered it is an evil. To watch an act of cruelty to children without trying to intervene is morally inexcusable. In brief, not resisting evil is an evil of omission, and an evil of omission can be just as evil as an evil of commission. Any man who refuses to protect his wife and children against a violent intruder fails them morally”.
We affirm, then, that Scripture allows Christians to use force for self-defense against crime and injustice. If self-defense is scripturally justifiable so long as it is conducted without unnecessary violence, then so are the martial arts.”
Rhodes then gives some guidelines for discernment. He suggests that someone who may be interested in martial arts do the following:
1. Examine your motives.
2. Examine your conscience.
3. Consider the instructor(s).
4. Consider the facility.
5. Consider the committment.
6. Consider your testimony before others.
7. Pray for wisdom
A promotion is an honor and a gift, it is not a right. It is an exchange of knowledge from the teacher to the student. Each student is totally different. They are individuals. When the martial arts began, there was only one belt color, white. The belts changed colors based on the hard work you put into them. Through rigorous training the belts changed from white to yellow, and eventually to brown and black. In this way, the instructor knew how long you were there. In our society we follow a more Americanized/modernized approach for students to gauge their progress. That is how the different belt colors came about. In our school we have three criteria that makes a student eligible for their promotion: 1) Length of time between each belt. This varies for each rank. 2) Classes within a specific time period. This means that each student is required to do a minimum number of classes for each rank to be eligible for promotion. This also varies depending on the rank. 3) Most importantly is the knowledge of the material within the curriculum. It is very important to understand – each student is different and progresses at different rates. You cannot compare any single student to other students. The final thing to realize is that the head instructor makes the decision on the promotion time and dates. This is a decision that is based on the students attitude, energy, ability, patience, physical strength and a multitude of other things. All we ask is that you trust that we are doing our job and be patient.
The uniform, commonly called a gi, is a special thing. It should be kept clean and wrinkle free at all times. The student/parent is responsible for all necessary hemming, cleaning and putting on the patches. An unhemmed uniform is sloppy looking, as well as dangerous, so be sure to take care of these things. Please look over the uniform standards in your student handbook for details about patch placement.
Please remember, the belt never gets washed.
This all depends on who you are. If you are a student then you can do whatever you can to be as much a part of the school as possible. Come to as many of the extracurricular events that are held. Be involved in the teaching aspect, or assisting in the future. Try to attend the tournaments and demo’s. Read and learn as much as you can about the style, the teachers and the school. If you are a parent the same goes for you in regards to the extracurricular activities and the reading. The more time and effort you put forward the more you will get out. Keep focused and stay motivated.
Most of all, keep your line of communication open to us at all times. We need to know if a student has become de-motivated so we can correct the problem. Also, we highly recommend home practice of at least a minimum of three days per week for ten minutes each day. This is as important as regular attendance in our school.
We also have most of the curriculum available on video to enable you to practice more efficiently at home. See Master Forleo for more information about the instructional videos.
In many martial arts facilities, the parents stay and watch their children. This is not something that we typically object to. We do encourage the parents to do it, but only on a limited basis. We, like most school systems, believe it is distracting to the student as well as the staff and limits their productivity. A younger child may be more inclined to listen to their instructors if the parent is not sitting in the lobby watching them. If you do stay to watch, we ask that you are courteous to the instructors on the floor by not talking to your child during their class.
We also have adult classes available during the same times as your kids are in class so that you both have something to do that is both rewarding and fun. This way you don’t have to just sit around and wait for them to get done with class – you can enjoy yourself too. Then you can go home and spend time with one another doing something you both have in common!
Depending on the program the student is in, we generally only require participation in sparring in 1-2 tournaments sometime prior to achieving Black Belt. Otherwise, we do not require students to participate in tournaments and competitions on a regular basis, but we encourage it. We believe that tournaments help each individual develop a proper competitive attitude. They also help develop the “indomitable spirit” and ability to perform under stress. In this way, students can think and act under pressure while developing the skills to perform and work in public. We also feel that tournaments help students realize that they are part of a large team and martial arts community. Tournaments allow students to show their school spirit while developing new friendships and exposing themselves to a wide variety of martial art styles.