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Are you possessed?


This is a point-counterpoint discussion.

I have tried to inform and educate people about martial arts; what is good, what is bad, how to spot frauds, how to avoid getting ripped off, etc. However, there appears to be one more thing to warn you about—possession by demons. Here is an article that describes how this supposed demonic possession occurs while a person is training in the martial arts. My counterpoints to the article point out the defects in the author’s logic.


The articleAre They Harmless? by Mike R. Taylor


According to the author of this article, if you are a martial artist, you are possessed by demons, and, if do not believe you are possessed by demons; it is because the demons that possess you have clouded your judgment.
The article is highly subjective and appears to have been written just to support the author’s predetermined religious point of view. The author only uses things that he thinks support his view, and if they do not fully support his view, he changes them until they do. It is like pounding a piece of a puzzle into a place in the puzzle until it fits. The piece may seem to fit the space, but if you look closely, you will see that the image on the piece does not align with the surrounding image. If facts do not support his point of view, he either rejects them completely or distorts them to discredit their validity.
The author states that judo is only effective for self-defense when the user is large and has many years of judo training. Apparently, the author has never trained with a small person skilled in judo. Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo, was a small man who challenged and fought much larger opponents around the world and seldom lost. Judo's entire premise is using balance and leverage to defeat larger opponents. Although Judo is not an all-purpose answer to self-defense, once a skilled judo practitioner is grabbed, then the advantage goes to the Judo practitioner.
The author also states that studying any martial art will radically and perhaps even permanently subvert a person’s view of reality and lead to a destruction of individuality. There is absolutely no proof of this. Only a person that can see demons in people would believe this. No, wait! Since I don’t believe this, it must mean I am possessed by demons that are clouding my judgment. 
The author states that the word ”arts” in the term “martial arts” means that the martial arts express an Eastern "spiritual" philosophy and that most martial artists agree that fighting systems, such as boxing and wrestling, are not true martial arts unless they contain such a philosophy. Most martial artists do not agree with this premise!
As in other physical arts, such as ballet or gymnastics, the “arts” part of the term “martial arts” refers to the perfection and expression of movement and technique, not to some "spiritual" philosophy or religion. In art, the goal is the perfection of techniques and the expression of those techniques, and, while the artist constantly strives to reach perfection, he or she knows it may never be achieved. In martial sports, such as boxing, wrestling, or MMA, the goal is to defeat an opponent while staying within the rules. The perfection of technique or its expression is of no concern to the fighter. It does not matter that the techniques used to win are sloppy and unappealing; all that matters is the winning.
The author says that the Eastern martial art masters who originally brought the martial arts into the West were highly spiritual and believed that the physical universe overlaps the spiritual world and that this spiritual world could be channeled through the performance of particular repetitive physical and mental exercises.
While it may be true that some believed this, that occurred over 50 years ago. And, as with many beliefs, with advances in science and medicine and with our increased knowledge of these advances, ancient martial art beliefs and feats are either myths, tricks, or based in provable science. There is no scientifically provable evidence of any spiritual world; spiritual worlds exist only within the minds of those who believe in them. Therefore, no one can be in touch with the spiritual world since it does not exist.
Although there are still charlatans in the martial arts who claim all sorts of spiritual, mystical, and magical powers may be obtained through martial arts, none of these claims have ever been scientifically proven. When these “masters” consent to perform their feats under controlled circumstances, they always fail.
Many ancient beliefs, though flawed in their explanations due to their lack of knowledge at the time, are based upon some provable fact. However, many other beliefs were just wishful thinking. Just as with many of the author’s other beliefs, the only support these beliefs have is the faith of those who believe in them. People believe in sorts of things, such as Elvis still lives, aliens have kidnapped them, or some people can heal you by touching you. When you only base what you believe upon what you believe, it is a vicious cycle of thought that feeds upon itself.
The author writes about the Eastern belief that the spiritual world may be channeled through the performance of prescribed techniques, and meditation or contemplation, such as through the practice of yoga, Taoism, and Zen, and how, through this connection with the spiritual world, we may draw upon vast dormant regions of our nature to gain more power. The author states that the Bible says there is no "divine element" within man and that man is sustained by God and was never intended to be self-sufficient. From this belief, the author concludes that man’s authority and power may only be derived from dependence upon God, never from within. So, how do people who do not believe in God gain so much authority and power? Whoops! I forgot, they get it from Satan, but, if this were true, then the belief that authority and power could only come from God must be incorrect.
The author says that, even though martial art instructors may not believe in Eastern spiritual philosophies and do not teach them, the mere repetitious practice of martial art techniques is teaching students to reject God because it increases the abilities of students to take control of their lives and build self-confidence. The author must think self-confidence and self-reliance are sins and that God, just as does a shepherd, expects His flock to be obedient, subservient, helpless, and stupid.
The author talks about ki or ch'i, the "latent power" within man that is practiced in many martial arts. While ki is an ancient belief, it is based in fact. Many non-martial arts related sports trainers and sports practitioners talk about being “in the zone.” A state where reality seems to slow so that the person may react quicker and more precisely, where adrenaline flows freely and pain is ignored, which gives the person seemingly superhuman abilities. This effect is a scientifically proven process that occurs in the body during periods of extreme stress and it may be trained to occur on demand, such as is done in the martial arts. It is not some mystical latent power, it is just the way our bodies function.
Since the feats performed while in “the zone” or using ki have been scientifically documented, it is difficult for the author to disprove them, so he comes up with a unique explanation for their existence. He says the powers come from and are controlled by, an alien force within the body. The author states that even Jesus had to have "the power of the Lord" present within Him for Him to heal others. The author says ki cannot be from God because His power cannot be used in this manner, and, since the author has concluded that man does not have the ability to do this on his own, there can only be one other source—Satan. Therefore, according to the author, anyone who uses ki is possessed by Satan or his demons. The author says that Satan also deludes these people into thinking that they have accomplished these feats through their training and abilities, which means they do not realize they are possessed. However, the author in his infinite wisdom and belief in God can recognize the demonic possession, and, of course, he also has the solution—the martial artist must believe in the author’s form of religion, stop training in the martial arts, and reject the demons.
The author states that martial arts are generally divided into two categories: "hard, or external" and "soft, or internal." This is true, however, the author then states that the hard arts involve less occultism than do the soft arts since they emphasize physical training more than do the soft arts, which rely on the cultivation of so-called "energy fields." Therefore, the author thinks the hard arts are less into occultism, but since they do teach such things as deep breathing, meditation, and use of the kiai, he says they too will corrupt their practitioners at some point. So, there is good news and bad news for new taekwondo students, you are probably free of demons, at least for now, but after a few years of training, you may be harboring a demon or two.
The author says that any student who can discern which activities or techniques were occult and which were not occult and tries to expose them would not be permitted to continue training in martial art because the student would be a threat to the demons. While it is true that the student would probably be asked to not attend training anymore, it would be because the student would be disrupting class with his or her outlandish beliefs; not because of the beliefs themselves or because the demon in the instructor was afraid of exposure, but because of the disruptive behavior.   
The author also says that, if you think it would be helpful, you could take a short course in self-defense, but that you should avoid the following things to prevent being unwittingly drawn into or indoctrinated by an occult philosophy. He says you should avoid any class that:
  • Teaches breathing exercises. (We all know how evil deep breathing is; you may suck in a stray demon.)
  • Teaches meditation. (Science has proven that deep breathing and meditation can lower stress, heart rate, and blood pressure, but it has not found any connection with demons.)
  • Teaches Eastern philosophy. (If you don’t want to learn it, then don’t attend a school that teaches it.)
  • Claims to use an type of latent power such as ki. (As proven by science, the results of ki are natural, not spiritual.)
  • Claims to give specific training to achieve a calmness of mind. (Apparently, only an active mind may recognize and reject demons.)
  • Claims to teach a particular school, system, or type of martial art. (According to the author, it is okay to learn individual fighting skills if there is no pattern, organization, or standardization to using the skills.)
  • Has instructors that are secretive and reluctant to discuss special techniques, reserving such discussions only for advanced ranks. (This is good advice. Since there are no secret, special techniques, other than those that are age-appropriate, an instructor that states this is probably a fraud, or at least, an idiot.)
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