We move now to the next step in becoming wise and teaching wisdom to our children – learn wisdom and be an example of a wise person.
We need to be students before we become teachers. We need to be wise and act wisely before teaching others about wisdom. Every Christian should be a student of wisdom, but those who teach others about living wisely should be well-versed in wisdom and continue to study wisdom throughout their lives. Good martial arts instructors have the respect of their students. Martial arts teachers have traveled the martial road ahead of their students and bring knowledge, experience and wisdom to their classes.
- Learn Wisdom and Live for God
Martial arts books, especially Christian ones, speak about the importance of teaching wisdom to our students.
Verse 88 of the Chinese Five Word Song reads: “To learn correctly depends on long frequent practice and on your wisdom.” Verse 110 reads: “Strive for knowledge of the method, but also the wisdom (craft) of its usage.” In Christian martial artist John Chung Li’s commentary about that verse, he wrote: “When we talk about meeting the attack by the method you learn, you should know how to make your method suitable. Wisdom changes the method into a suitable movement. This we call craft. Craft is shaped from wisdom and experience. The detail of truth is so fine that we have to meditate on its usage. A rough minded student cannot gain much, so we should carefully meditate on each movement bit by bit. The more you meditate, the more you gain. First we should master the method of movement; second, we should meditate the craft together with the movement to meet the enemy. Method and craft: the two must come together.”
This is paramount in our instruction. We teach methods that can cause serious injury when applied in a self-defense situation. We must also know which self-defense techniques are appropriate for different attacks. We may know how to perform a high block with great strength and speed, but if we have not also learned how to perform a low block and someone kicks at our leg we will not be able to defend ourselves. We may know how to execute an outer reaping throw with great proficiency, but if someone grabs us from behind and pulls us back quickly and we have not learned any other throws we will be unable to defend ourselves. Martial arts teaches students how to use every part of their bodies in every possible direction for self defense. We practice with our teacher, our partners and alone to develop the necessary understanding of how each technique works in every possible attack situation. We learn what works and doesn’t work against every conceivable scenario. Our students must know the wisdom of using the techniques they are taught. They learn the methods and the craft of using them from their teachers. If their teachers have the wisdom and impart the wisdom, students will be wise in their usage of dangerous methods.
Pastor Karl Marx Sr. said it well in his book Martial Art Spirit: “A sensei must always be an example of high virtue. The relationships with the many students must be, above all, objective and well defined. Only in this way is there perceptual learning and improvement. Since all martial arts training are primarily oriented towards the spirit of self-reliance, the Sensei has an obligation to set an example for the students in all things in excellence, discipline, moderation, and wisdom.”
These four aspects of life should stand before us every day as we teach children martial arts under the Christian banner. EXCELLENCE – DISCIPLINE – MODERATION – WISDOM. They will make us, and our students, powerful witnesses of the Glory and Power of our LORD.
In the book Encounter The Warrior’s Heart, Joseph Lumpkin and Daryl Covington wrote: “Although learning is as important as leaves to a tree, it is only half of what is needed to become a warrior. There must also be discernment. Learning is not only reading books and acquiring knowlege. The ultimate challenge is in knowing how to integrate knowledge into life. In this way, and only in this way, can learning become wisdom. Discernment is far-sightedness. It is the ability to see the outcome of a situation. To hone this skill one must be a student of human nature. He must allow knowledge, wisdom, and far-sightedness to gestate in his spirit. This patience will enable him to see the end of a matter from the beginning.”
Knowing God’s Word and having the wisdom to use it correctly must come together in the life of the Christian teacher if we are to be able to teach wisdom to our children. Paul wrote Timothy about handling the Word of God properly and carefully: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) The NIV translates the verse: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” It should be the goal of every Christian teacher to handle God’s Word correctly. A teacher who mishandles the Word of Truth does need to be ashamed. The Lord has placed in our hands the lives, minds and hearts of children and youth. Christian martial arts instructors have the privilege and responsibility for guiding their students into the Truth of God’s Word as well as the truth of martial arts principles and practice. Our wises use of those Truths is an example to our students about how to use God’s Word. If we mishandle the Word, our students may do the same. If we teach improper martial methods, our students may use them to hurt rather than help people in need of protection.
One of a Christian martial arts teacher’s primary messages is that success as a martial artist is never having to fight. We don’t train our students to fight. We train them to stop conflict before it begins where possible and end conflict with the least amount of force necessary if it does begin. A martial arts teacher who is quick to fight sends a powerful and unfortunate message to his or her students. Students often follow the actions of their teacher. We need to be smart and act wisely when we face bullies, sensitive emotions or injustice. We teach more by what we do than by what we say.
Sensei Wendy Williamson in her book Christian Martial Arts 101 wrote this about wisdom in difficult situations: “Be smart. Think before you act. Wisdom is much better than strength and weapons of war (Eccl. 9:16-18). ” Those verses read: “Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.”
Nothing can compare with wisdom in a life. With wisdom we see, know and understand completely. We see things as God sees them, know as He knows and understands as He understands. The human mind is amazing and complex, but it is also flawed. It is clouded by sin, thus many of its decisions are mistakes. Self-confidence can and should go only so far. God-confidence is what we should trust. God’s Mind has no flaws. He makes no mistakes.
In Psalm 19:7-8 King David wrote that God’s Word is four things: perfect, sure, right and pure. ” The law of the LORD is perfect…the testimony of the LORD is sure…The statutes of the LORD are right…the commandment of the LORD is pure.” We can trust God where we can trust no one else, even ourselves. No other person’s words are perfect, sure, right and pure; only God’s.
When we trust in God’s Word, many wonderful things happen in our lives and the lives of those we teach. David said trusting God’s Word does four things in a person’s life: it converts the soul, it makes wise the simple, it rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes. ” …converting the soul…making wise the simple…rejoicing the heart…enlightening the eyes.”
This is what every Christian teacher should be: converted, wise, joyful and enlightened. This is what we want for our students. We want their soul to be saved. We want the simple to become wise. We want hearts to rejoice. We want eyes and minds to be enlightened. In a reverse way, this explains the condition of people who do not know God. They are lost, simple, sad and dark. Our mission is to teach lost people God’s Word so they will become saved people who are wise, joyful and enlightened. Many world religions and philosophies promise these attributes, but only Christ can deliver on the promise. Every philosophy contrary to the Way of Christ is foolishness.
Quotes from the following Martial Arts books:
Chinese Five Word Song (John Chung Li, Li Tung Fung, Mark McGee, 2004)
Martial Arts Spirit (Karl Marx, Sr., 2004)
Encounter The Warrior’s Heart (Joseph Lumpkin, Daryl R. Covington, 2003)
Christian Martial Arts 101 (Wendy Williamson, 2004)