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Martial Arts and the Bible P3 - The 1st Martial Artist

Updated on December 5, 2012

"Martial Arts" is simply defined as the art of war. It consists of any technique designed and practiced for the purpose of combat with or without a weapon. Karate is a form of martial arts. Basically it is any form that does not employ a weapon, an "empty handed" martial art. We will explore this more later in this study. A martial artist is one who practices martial arts. A karateka is one who practices karate. Each case it is a regimented practice with a proper focus and purpose.

So, who was the first martial artist in history? Based on vocation, family and time frame, we speculate it was a man called Tubalcain.

We can rule out Cain as the first martial artist. He was the first farmer, Genesis 4:2 and made his own tools to "till the soil". And he was the first murderer. He plotted a murder, maybe using one of his tools. Cain killed Abel with premeditation in the field. But there is no indication that he practiced his technique. Nor is there any indication that there was any resistance on the part of Abel. We must not forget that "conflict requiring defense" apparently did not exist at this time. Cain was just a murder.

Approximately eight hundred years, (supposition based on given ages and given history) and fourteen verses later, a man called Tubalcain was born.

Genesis 4:22, And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.

Tubalcain came on the scene the eight generation from Adam. The population of the earth had probably expanded markedly by then, but to what extent no one knows. Yet consider these numbers; Jacob went to Egypt with sixty nine (69) other family members, Genesis 46:27. Four hundred thirty (430) years later, the Exodus from Egypt took place. The Hebrews counted six hundred thousand (600,000) "men." This does not include their wives, children, servants and servants off-spring, Exodus 12:37-38.

People lived longer in the days of Tubalcain so death was not as frequent in the beginning. But, consider also, the ages of the men in that day became fathers. Genesis 5 indicates most were around one hundred (100) years of age. At the time of the Exodus, and that period, the life span had been reduced. Jacob's total life span was one hundred forty seven (147) years, Genesis 47:28. Moses was one hundred twenty (120), Deuteronomy 34:7.

At the beginning, people were not as prone dying by disease. Genetic problems had not come into play from inter-marriage as yet. But now man was being affected by his "environment."

These points are made to highlight a couple of important facts. First, there were more than just a few families around at the time. Then we'll see next that when large groups of people get together, there is a power struggle. Physical fighting has always been the result. Men had learned to "beat their plowshares into swords and their pruning hooks into spears," Isaiah 2:4.

A comparison of secular history with the Bible would show that man conducted his first wars in and around Tubalcain’s time period. The manner of fighting wars is called "martial arts," Josephus called them "martial skills."

Tubalcain worked in the metals of war of the day, brass and iron. He was a blacksmith, as is one meaning of his title "articifer." He, being an "instructor", made items and taught people to do the same.

He came from a family acquainted with fighting. (His father Lamech was a killer.) He instructed other smiths and weapons manufacturing was more than likely a product. He designed weapons. He and his family are an example of good gone bad. It is our position that Tubalcain is the first Biblically recognized martial artist.

But, thoughTubalcain is the first martial artist named in the Bible, he was not a proper martial artist. We'll see who deserves that title next time.


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