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Chrisitanity and the Martial Arts - Defining Karate and Martial Arts

Updated on January 7, 2013

In our next two Hubs, we will be looking at the propriety of the martial arts and karate, according to the Bible. These will not be complete studies, only insight. But they will set the foundation for Christian Martial Arts.

There is a distinct difference between karate and martial arts. Many people put them in the same category in every instance. They may be the "same" at times, but not at all times. So, we are re-printing a portion of a previous Hub on this subject for those of you who may not have read the article.

"Karate and martial arts do have distinctly different definitions. And each has a multitude of variations and names. However, most people outside of the arts characterize them as being the same. For these, this won’t cause too much confusion. However, consideration must be given to practitioners who may be offended by the synonymous use of the two. Therefore, definitions are called for.

Simply put, martial arts are any learned skill of war. The key word is learned which includes a regimen of practice. A weapon may or may not be employed in its practice.

Karate is a learned skill of self-defense without the use of weapons.

Martial arts would include karate. Karate would be one of the catalogues of martial arts. Karate is a martial art but the martial arts are more than karate.

As to the practitioners, a martial artist can be a karateka, a person that practices a martial art that does not employ weapons in its basic form. And, again, a karateka can be a martial artist but the reverse is not necessarily so. The use of weapons is the delineation which usually separates the two. And we must remember that the different arts call for different names. For instance a competitor in the Japanese art of Sumo would be a Sumotori, among other titles.

Each division of the martial arts has a name or label for the practitioners. There are several fine martial arts dictionaries which explain the basic differences in each individual art.

So for those that did not recognize the difference, we hope this gives a clearer picture of the two terms. For those that are in the arts, relax. This study does not violate the concepts of each with regard to definition.

The martial arts began in the Middle East as did all things. This is where "In the beginning God created . . . man." Man gained knowledge directly from God or from familiarization with that which He created. Neither the expulsion from the Garden, nor the Flood nor the "scattering" from the Plains of Shinar, the Tower of Babel, changed mans’ mental ability.

All of these incidents in man’s history are well-known stories, considered myths by some. When man was put out of the Garden, his woes began in earnest. One of the first recorded acts following the expulsion was murder, Cain slew Abel. From there to the Flood, mankind went downhill. But it was during this downhill slide that man first developed weapons and war."

We left these last two paragraphs from the previous writing to set a standard. Martial arts are older than our present "world." Before Eden, weapons did exist. How do we know this?

Genesis 3:24 gives us insight. We will revisit this verse in a future Hub.

We can now move one with a better understanding of the difference between "martial arts and karate."


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