Martial arts vs. religion
IntroMost martial arts don’t have any religious or spiritual connection but some do or have had one in the past. This is connection usually deals with a one's inner self rather than with some outside deity. However, some religions believe that being concerned with one's inner self is a sin.
Most martial arts don't teach religionMost martial arts have virtually eliminated any religious aspects from their training. Even for martial arts that had strong religious connections in the past, the modern practices of the arts have eliminated the connections and instead concentrate on scientific combat principles. In my 50 years of martial arts experience around the United States and some foreign countries, I have never been seen any religious connection in martial art schools I visited; although, individuals may express their own religious beliefs, such as wearing a head cover, or praying or crossing one's self before a sparring match.
Most martial arts in the United States, including taekwondo, do not have any religious connection but that does not prevent some zealots from finding a connection. When they look a country scene, they do not see lakes, rolling fields of flowers, and beautiful trees, they see snakes, spiders, and wild animals out to kill them. They also seek and find what they believe is evidence of the martial arts being some sinister Eastern plan to undermine Western religions. They seem to always find something they think justifies their beliefs. There is no way to argue with zealots, they believe what they believe and they reject anything that challenges their beliefs.
I once had a Christian family that had been attending classes for months. Then one night while I was teaching the dan-gun pattern, I told about the legend of dan-gun that says that in ancient times animals could speak and a bear turned into a woman who gave birth to dan-gun. This offended the family, so they stopped training. American legends such as Goldilocks and Three Bears, Paul Bunyan and Santa Claus did not seem to bother them, but Korean legends offended them. They believe that Adam was created from dirt, Eve was created from one of his ribs, and that a serpent spoke to her, but they were offended by a legend that does not even purport to be true.
Religion is based on faithReligion is based on faith and since faith cannot be proven or disproven, you cannot have a productive discussion with anyone who bases their beliefs on faith. If you do not believe in their faith, you are a sinner or an infidel, so anything you say is always wrong. They can always quote some scriptural verse out of context and find some way to make it show support for their views. For example, Russell K. Tardo, Th.B., M. Min, D. Min, the pastor of Faithful Word Assembly, a full gospel, non-denominational church located in Kenner, Louisiana had this to say about training in the martial arts:
"The whole concept and practice of the martial arts contradict Christianity. It is at once, occult, fleshly, man serving, and Christ-denying. It is, in fact, anti-Christian in spirit, philosophy, and practice. Smashing bricks and breaking boards oppose the example of Christ. The Bible says of Him, "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break" (Isa. 42:2-3) Worse yet, smashing one’s enemies opposes the plain teaching of Christ (cf. Matt. 5:39,44; 7:12, etc.)."The ultimate goal of karate is not merely physical, but spiritual enlightenment-occultism! It is a veritable "spider's web", seeking to ensnare the unwary, the ignorant, and the self-confident who believe they can dabble in the devil's web (occultism) and not become his prey. Dear reader, please consider these warnings, and remember the Apostle Paul's admonishing: "lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Cor.2:11).
ConclusionsIf your faith believes that the martial arts are sinful, then do not train in the martial arts. When an evil person attacks you, you pray for him as ask God to save you. When an evil person attacks me, I will resist as I have been trained to do in the martial arts. Wonder which one of us has the best chance of survival?