Martial arts of the world

Briefly about Christianity

The emergence of Christianity is associated with the teaching and preaching activities of Jesus of Nazareth – Jesus Christ ("Christ" – the Greek translation of the Hebrew "Mashiach", the Messiah, the anointed). His disciples and followers were called Christians.

He himself did not leave a written description of his teachings, or they have not been preserved. All his deeds are known from the written testimonies of his disciples and later authors.

It follows from the Gospels that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary, betrothed to the carpenter Joseph. Mary conceived miraculously from the Holy spirit. Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist, and then led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. Having passed all the tests, Jesus began his Ministry. When Christ preached his teaching, he performed miracles. He gathered around him 12 disciples-apostles. Jesus denounced the Pharisees, representatives of the Jewish religion.

In Jerusalem, he was given to the authorities by one of his disciples, Judas, for 30 pieces of silver. The Jewish court, accusing Jesus of proclaiming himself king of the Jews, sentenced him to death. The Roman Governor Pontius Pilate approved this sentence, and Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross and then buried. According to eyewitnesses, on the third day he rose again and appeared to his disciples,who then began preaching.

Orthodox Christianity has historically been established on the territory of Russia. The Orthodox Church claims that Christianity is a divine revelation, which is the basis of the Orthodox faith. It is based on the totality of the dogmas of divine revelation: the Trinity, the incarnation, and the atonement.

The relation of Christianity to martial arts

At first glance, Christian love for God and neighbor will never come together with martial arts. But this is not really the case. Simply, difficulties in understanding arise due to established stereotypes and our simplified understanding of the ROC's approaches to this issue.

In the Christian sense, resistance to evil and aggression is a step up from cowardice, and non-resistance to evil is an even higher degree of courage, as is self-sacrifice in the name of one's neighbor.

Nevertheless, in our opinion, the Russian Orthodox Church is still developing its attitude to martial arts as a way of physical development and spiritual improvement. So applied types of martial arts, the purpose of which is self-defense or protection of the neighbor, enjoy the favor of the Church, and in such martial arts should be limited to the competitive beginning. But also to applied types of martial arts, some conservative-minded clerics have a neutral or negative attitude, considering such classes a symbol of distrust of God as a guardian of life.

For the most part, Eastern martial arts are frowned upon for their focus on perfection, since Christianity recognizes only one true science of perfection – the teaching of Christ. Exercises with the so-called "Ki", "Chi" or "Chi" energy are strictly prohibited. The clergy believe that the practitioner of energy exercises lets in an impure spirit.

Sports Boxing and wrestling are also criticized when they are aimed at achieving victories in competitions. Priests believe that their competitive nature focuses on personal superiority over others and vanity. A person becomes confident and calm, but the source of his inner strength is not the Lord, but his own flesh. Increased injuries in such competitions form the desire of competitors to kill or maim their opponent with their bare hands. However, when such martial arts classes are held at an Amateur level and their purpose is to promote health and maintain physical fitness, the Church has nothing against it.

In relation to the shooting uses the same principles as in the case of martial arts. What is important here is not the methods and techniques of shooting, but the purpose of its subsequent use. In competitive types of shooting, the Church sees inciting and cultivating passions, shooting training for personal self-defense is criticized for focusing on superiority over others, but if it is done to protect the neighbor or for the purpose of defending the Fatherland, the Church considers such classes a God-pleasing matter.

Attitude to physical development

Christianity in the early stages of its existence had a negative attitude to physical exercise, considering that it was a sin to waste energy without practical benefit. In that historical period, this approach was rational and pragmatic. The people of that time had enough physical exertion already, even the aristocracy walked a lot, rode a lot, and performed other activities related to physical exertion.

The first theorists of Christianity wrote: "if you are In awe of religion, you will not approve of the mad run, the frenzied movements that accompany the discus throw,or any other movement, one of the most extravagant. If you respect modesty, you will not display bodily powers that serve only the vanity of those who use them and the humiliation of those against whom they are directed." This statement reflected the position of the Christian Church towards sports at that time, which was expressed in the prohibition of the Olympic Games in 344.

Over the centuries, due to the growth of scientific and technological progress and the lack of physical exercise in human life, the position of the Orthodox Church began to change and became more tolerant of physical development. However, the priority of the spiritual over the physical remains fundamental. Here is how in his book "the Secret of building a confession" one of the most revered elders of the ROC, Ioan Krestyankin, said about sports: "Who cares about the beauty of their body, who achieves some results in the now fashionable passion for sports, look at them, what they do not do, sparing neither effort nor time!

They spend hours exercising, limiting themselves to food, and even came up with a new way to treat and refresh the body with prolonged fasting! And all this is done for physical health, that is, for a negligibly short period of earthly life!»

According to the Bible, it is physical labor that should be the medicine that cures the soul affected by original sin. After the fall, the Lord gave man a commandment – to work on the earth with the sweat of his brow, getting his bread."...cursed is the earth for your sake; you will eat of it with sorrow all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it will grow for you; and you will eat the grass of the field; in the sweat of your face you will eat bread, until you return to the land from which you were taken, for you will become dust and dust." (Gen. 3,17). But, in the modern world, physical labor is not dominant. At the same time, the body should not be left in neglect. In the words of the Apostle Paul: "do you not know that your bodies are the temple of the Holy spirit who lives in you, whom you have the essence of God..." (1 Corinthians 6: 19).

To maintain working capacity, a person needs physical activity, but what if work does not give them any more? This is where sport comes to the rescue. At sports training, a person gets much-needed physical activity, learns obedience, listening to the advice and instructions of the coach. A person strengthens his will, forgetting about fatigue, comes to understand that the flesh can be obedient. Therefore, sport has become a partial substitute for physical labor. The Church makes a significant reservation here: unlike work, sport itself does not transform a person spiritually. Moreover, the spirit of competition is detrimental to the salvation of the soul.

Positive attitude of Christianity is noted to General physical education, water procedures that harden the body, cross-country, individual gymnastics. Hikes and trips that give survival skills and the ability to establish life in the field are encouraged. Tourism is also favored, where overcoming difficult routes requires patience, endurance, and the ability to get along with each other to achieve the final goal.

Still, from the point of view of the Orthodox Church, a useful task that requires physical activity is much better than any sport, because then physical strength will not be wasted, and others will receive a blessing instead of temptation.

Attitude to war

There is a stereotype that the Church canons (specifically, the 83rd Apostolic rule and the 7th definition of the IV Ecumenical Council) prohibited monks and clergy from military training and participation in military operations with weapons in their hands. In order to understand that this stereotype is not true, it is enough to refer to the mentioned canonical texts.

The 83rd Apostolic rule States: "A Bishop, or presbyter, or deacon, who exercises himself in military Affairs and wants to retain, i.e., the Roman authority and the priestly office: let him be cast out of the Holy office. For to Caesar is Caesar's, and to God is God's." And in the 7th definition of the IV Ecumenical Council, it says: "We have determined that those who have once been ordained to the clergy and monks should not enter into military service or worldly rank: otherwise, those who dare to do this, and do not return with remorse to what they previously chose for God, should be anathematized."

In both cases, it is only a prohibition for monks and priests to combine service to God with service in the army or any other secular service. The Church did not forbid anyone to practice martial arts in order to defend their monastery or homeland with weapons in their hands.

"There is no more love than if a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15: 13)

In Christianity, this is understood as the Lord's blessing to protect your family, your home, your country, and the Orthodox faith if they are in danger.

In this regard, the essence of the Church tradition about the dispute between St. Cyril and the Muslims is interesting. When the Holy equal-to-the-apostles Cyril was sent by the Patriarch of Constantinople to preach the gospel and arrived in the capital of the Saracens, the learned followers of Mahomet entered into a dispute about the faith with him. Among other questions, they asked him: "Christ is your God. He commanded you to pray for your enemies, to do good to those who hate and persecute you – and to set up others who hit you in the face, and what do you do? If someone offends you, Refine your weapons, go out to fight, kill. Why don't you listen to your Christ?»

After hearing this, St. Cyril asked his debater: "If two commandments are written in any law, which person will be the perfect executor of the law – is it the one who fulfills one commandment, or the one who fulfills both?» When the Hagarites said that the one who keeps both commandments will fulfill the law more perfectly, the Holy preacher continued: "Christ our God, who commanded us to pray for those who offend us and to do them good, also said that none of us can show greater love in this life, unless someone lays down his life for his friends (John 15: 3). That is why we magnanimously tolerate the insults inflicted on us as private people, but in society we protect each other and put our souls to battle for our neighbors, so that you, having captured our fellow citizens, together with their bodies, do not capture their souls, forcing them to renounce the faith and God-defying acts.

Our Christ-loving soldiers with weapons in their hands protect the Holy Church, protect the sovereign, in whose sacred person they honor the image of the power of the Heavenly King, protect the Fatherland, with the destruction of which the domestic power will inevitably fall and the Evangelical faith will be shaken. These are the precious pledges for which warriors must fight to the last drop of blood, and if they lay down their souls on the battlefield, the Church ranks them as Holy martyrs and names them prayer books before God."

If you look at Russian saints, then many of the saints are either soldiers or monks. This is understandable, because a monk gives his whole life to God, and a warrior must always be ready to lay down his head for his friends and thus fulfill the most important commandment: "there is no more love if a man lays down his soul for his friends" (John 5: 13). Russian Russian people have always had very high ideals of military service, which is why there are so many saints among Russian warrior princes.

In the Russian army, representatives of the Orthodox Church never directly interfered with the process of combat training. Their goal was to "establish military ranks in faith and piety", to develop in them high feelings of love for God and devotion to the Fatherland. Orthodox Christianity teaches us to endure the hardships, privations, trials and tragedies of earthly life for the glory of God, for which heaven will be granted in the afterlife. Since there were always enough hardships and hardships in the military service, here the army demands to endure them stoutly and the essence of Christianity coincides. The soldiers found solace in the bosom of the Church. There he received remission of sins. It is believed that the defense of the Fatherland is a Holy cause, for which it is permissible to practice martial arts in order to improve military skills and psychological training, which often has attitudes contrary to the ideals of Christianity and even aimed at the physical destruction of the enemy.

History has preserved examples when monks became warriors and defended their abodes with weapons in their hands. Of the many examples, here are two, in our opinion, the most striking.

  1. The defense of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra in the early seventeenth century. For more than a year, the defenders (about 3,000 people) successfully repelled the troops of false Dmitry II, numbering up to 30,000 people. The unit under the command of the Trinity monk Nifont (Zmiev) was particularly distinguished in the battles.
  2. defense of the Solovetsky monastery for about 300 years from the attack of the Swedes, Finns, Danes and English. In the beginning of the XVII century, the Solovetsky monks became the only defenders of the Northern borders of Russia.

Filling the spiritual and ideological vacuum that arose after the collapse of the USSR, the Orthodox Church began an active expansion in all directions. So in the army again appeared in the regimental priests. This practice was in the tradition of the Russian army of the Russian Empire.

And until the First World war, regimental priests sometimes even went to the attack with the soldiers, inspiring them to the feat. In the hands of the priests were not rifles and pistols, but icons and crosses. General A. A. Brusilov, Recalling the battles of 1915, wrote: "In those terrible counterattacks, black figures flashed among the soldiers' gymnasts – regimental priests, tucked up their cassocks, in rough boots, went with the soldiers, encouraging the timid with a simple Evangelical word and behavior... They remained there forever, in the fields of Galicia, without being separated from the flock...". During the war of 1914-1918, about 2,500 military priests were awarded state awards for their heroism.

The example of the Cossacks is often given as a synthesis of the military way of life and the Christian faith. For example, the Cossacks had a Church tradition of sending them to the service, a thanksgiving prayer on their return from the service. And the Patronal feast of the stanichnaya Church was celebrated in all the villages. On the Maidan, tables were set, and people celebrated in their homes. All this was accompanied by songs, dances, jigs, military competitions. We walked for three days. In the Cossacks they say: "A Cossack without faith is not a Cossack!» Relying on Christianity, the Cossacks repeatedly smashed the enemy, heroically defended the borders of the Motherland. They did not study the detailed foundations of the faith, and therefore did not notice the peculiarities in the interaction of the military way of life and Christian doctrine. The body was trained for battle, and the soul was given over to the will of God.

The Bible and theologians about war

The Apostolic Epistles are full of symbols and comparisons from military life: "Let us reject the works of darkness and put on the weapons of light" (ROM., 13, 12), "...with the weapons of truth in the right and left hands" (Cor. II, 6, 7), "But we, being sons of the day, let us be sober, clothed in the armor of faith and love and in the helmet of hope of salvation" (Thess. I, 5, 8), "Bear suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (Tim. II, 2, 3).

The Saviour himself showed an example of righteous anger when he drove the merchants out of the temple of Jerusalem with a whip (John 2: 13-15; Mark 11: 15-16).

John Chrysostom says: "If someone kills according to the will of God, this murder is better than all humanity. But if any one shows mercy out of love for humanity, but in spite of the will of God – this mercy is more unworthy than any murder. It is not the nature of things, but God's judgment that makes them good or bad."

Christian ethics developed the concept of military service and, most importantly, of military death. The main thing is not victory and killing the enemy, but self-sacrifice. The death of a soldier in battle is equated with the feat of martyrdom.

Only those who keep the commandments of Christ are considered a Martyr. "Do not forget that a good warrior-a lion against enemies-must be a lamb among his own. Live meekly and lovingly, and save your anger and thunder for the enemies of the Fatherland" (Saint Filaret (Drozdov),"Catechism for soldiers"). This state, especially in the heat of battle, should be supported by prayer:" a Warrior, going against enemies, should pray and strengthen his courage with prayer " (Ibid.).

Brief summary

  • If we summarize all of the above, then today on the topic of the relationship of Orthodox Christianity to combat systems, we can draw the following conclusions:
  • Preference is given to applied types of martial arts or shooting, which have a practical focus on protecting the neighbor and Fatherland.
  • A negative attitude towards competitive types of martial arts.
  • Meditation and the use of energy practices are strictly prohibited.
  • Christian prayer, an appeal to God to achieve success in the training process and to help in good deeds when using combat systems is encouraged.

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