Should a Christian learn martial arts? It’s the question asked by nobody, victims of Methodist spin kicks, and the cover of The Bible, Self-Defense, & Martial arts by David Alexander (2019). Hold on– 2019? No one checked with God if Karate was okay until last year?
The ABOUT THE AUTHOR says “David Alexander is an author of numerous publications focusing on His passions in life. He is a non-denominational Christian and expert in Shukokai Karate.” It’s weird how David capitalizes His pronouns just like His martial arts ethical consultant, God, but it’s probably an honest mistake and not a delusion of grandeur brought on by the high of finishing a 29 page book. If you’re wondering, the other authorings he publicated so numerously were two pamphlets about Chrstianity and a printed pdf file of high block instructions. So “His passions in life” seem to be only those two things, and judging by his “publications,” Jesus would think this guy sucks and could just kick His ass.
The back of the book warns the reader, and it’s not lying, that it only contains Bible quotes. Aside from a two page introduction and a dedication to his mum and dad for driving him to Karate class, it is 40ish lines he found by word searching the Bible for violence. If some apostle ever mentioned blood, it’s in here confusingly, pointlessly, and without annotation. I learned more about God’s stance on martial arts when I held my fists to the sky and demanded to know why He gave me such terrible power. And His only answer was 15 more ninjas, Amen.
But still, we’re here. We’re reading this 29 page book put together by God’s laziest fan and Karate’s most reluctant orange belt. Let’s take a look at which verses he thought explained punching’s place in God’s plan.
This is a wonderful sentiment and the kind of situation that could call for martial arts. I doubt Jesus would say, “You used WHAT to rescue the weak and needy!?” when you came back covered in pulverized wicked. Still, it illustrates how unclear scripture can be. Jesus might have meant rescue them with some kind of stealth balloon mission or political pressure. To make matters more confusing, “The Hand of the Wicked” is the technique I use to pull out a handful of my enemy’s liver. If that’s what you’re up against, you’re fucked, Christian Karate pamphlet owner. The ethics of entering your cat stance will never come up while your eternal soul is floating above your pussy remains. “At least you didn’t try,” the voice of Saint Peter will say. “Anyway, welcome to Heaven, where all Karate moves are high blocks.”
These are the two parts of the Bible you were probably expecting in a book claiming to be about the morality of violence– the time Jesus got slapped and the time God said “eye for an eye.” The fact they were jammed right next to each other without context is outrageously unhelpful. It’s not crazy to interpret this as both “enemies deserve only sass” and also “kill that fucker and keep his teeth and feet.” The only clear message here is Christians can do whatever the hell they want because it’s easy to figure out how God said it was okay later.
You shall not murder? Tell that to my left front kick, Moses. Too late! Guess I’ll tell it to your widow whose name I’ll Google n– THARBIS!? You married a woman named Tharbis? Moses, how are you giving anyone advice when you’re having desert sex with something that sounds like a scoop made for boiled cabbage. Tharbis is the response I’d expect if I pointed to myself and told a rock monster, “Human.” How did you even romance a Tharbis? You can’t order flowers for her. The card would read, “All my love, OUR STORE POLICY FORBIDS THE PRINTING OF FOUL OR DEMEANING WORDS.” Tharbis is like the fart sound in a Greek comic strip. “You shall not murder?” More like, “You shall fuck thyself, Tharbis lover.”
It’s hard to picture anyone failing at their job harder than the guy collecting Bible quotes about Karate and including this one about loving everyone. If you asked a priest if it was okay to practice martial arts and he said this shit, you’d punch him for not listening. This is like checking with your doctor if you can eat red meat and him saying, “Tharbis used to love frisbee golf, Aneurysm Frankenstein.”
David doesn’t always let weird Bible verses fester unexplained. In a few cases he’ll come in like this and offer his interpretation. And I think I’m being fair when I say what he took from the Book of Chronicles was this: God doesn’t condemn you for killing, but He would prefer it if someone else built that church. That, a minor restriction on religious structure building codes, is the closest thing to consequences this goddamn idiot found for karate murder after a lifetime of theology and a digital Bible with 2019 search technology. So if you’ve spent this entire article with a tiger claw strike hovering above your enemy’s heart and waiting for the go ahead, go ahead. Even by the least generous interpretation, God baaaaaarely gives a shit.