In the last couple of weeks my good friend Til and I have talked several times about the parallels between Martial Arts and the spiritual walk of believers. Since he brought up a lot of great points I asked him to write an guest article so all of you can benefit form his experience and wisdom. Here he goes…
For two years now I have practiced a very effective branch of self defense system called WingChun (also known through the movie IP Man and Bruce Lee). Around the same time I started training WingChun I also met the Lord and got radically touched by Holy Spirit. Quickly I realized how both elements were transforming me into an other man. Spiritual growth on one hand and physical exercise on the other. I since have experienced that the path to physical discipline and becoming a strong fighter presents many parallels to our spiritual growth.
My Grand Master Klaus Brand taught me 12 rules of WingChun. 7 of these I deem not only valid for fighting and self-defense, but also for life and spirituality in general. Here we go:
1. If You Think You Are Weak, You Are
The real battle always happens in our minds. If you think that you can’t do anything, you can’t! It is all about your attitude. Never allow negative thoughts to takeover your daily behavior and therefore your destiny.The person who thinks they can and the person who thinks they can’t are both right.
2. Believe in Yourself and Trust Your Teacher
To grow in God we need both – a humble longing to constantly learn from Him and a solid, confident identity. Always make sure to keep balance between these two.
3. Always Keep Improving Your Technical Knowledge and Your Physical and Mental Flexibility
What ever it is you do and whatever you’re called to – never stop improving. Fighters study theory, but also know that they won’t grow without practical implementation. The same should be true for us. How many things has God revealed to you that you haven’t acted on yet? How often do you wish you grow in spiritual areas, yet you barely exercise the gifts He’s given you? Lay down the book and begin the training.
5. Never Let Yourself be Influenced by the Movements of Your Opponent and Never Yield
Don’t allow negative circumstances and influences to alter your course. Stay focused on your God-given goal and never give up.
6. To Fight You Must Have Continual Tension. Relaxed Muscles Are Useless in Combat
Live your life under a positive tension. You can move and change the world. It’s important to relax, but something in your should always be aware of the importance of your calling and your responsibility to represent His kingdom on earth. Don’t be a fighter without fire.
7. Protect Yourself by Destroying Attacks
When in a fight it’s always better to “destroy” an attack instead of only dodging it. There are techniques which allow you to redirect the opponents momentum and use it to your advantage. Before you can defend yourself against an attack you need to predict where it will be coming form. In the same way in our spiritual lives, we shouldn’t only wait for temptations or spiritual attacks to happen, but learn the patterns of how and where the devil tries to come at us. Once you’ve identified his techniques (wrong beliefs, lies, negative thoughts, bad relationships…) you can intentionally begin to destroy them by applying the word of God to these exact situations.
Do you think there are some valuable spiritual lessons hidden in Martial Arts? Which one spoke the most to you? Le’t me know your thoughts, inspirations and feedback in the comments below. I love to hear your feedback!