Dear Dr. Bill,
In the past I’ve heard you mention the benefits of enrolling kids in martial arts like karate or tai kwon do. However, I’m uneasy about some of the teachings that are connected with these. For example, in many films and anime cartoons, you see people using martial arts to “transform” themselves and change the air, water and land in unnatural ways. What do you think about that?
If you decide to enroll your kids in martial arts, it’s critical that you ask about the philosophy behind the particular school and training.
There are definitely some schools of martial arts that combine Eastern religious beliefs and meditation with their instruction. As a Christian parent, you wouldn’t want to expose your child to those ideas.
On the other hand, many martial arts programs focus on self-defense, respect, and self-discipline, without any reference to Buddhist or New Age philosophy.
There are even martial arts schools run by Christians that incorporate biblical principles such as endurance, patience, loyalty, and self-control.
In fact, one of my friends is a 5th-degree black belt who uses his martial arts skills to share Christ with boys in juvenile detention facilities all across the country. His name is Victor Marx, and he heads up a ministry called “All Things Possible.”
If you decide to pursue martial arts training for your kids, use your discernment. Ask questions about the philosophy behind the training and the qualifications of the instructors. Also, it’s always wise to observe a few classes before signing any kind of contract with a martial arts school.
Thanks for writing, Diane. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Culture Connection page.