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zen-buddhism_symbolI was personally involved in Martial Arts, Karate in particular, for a number of years between the period of 1971 to 1991. My enthusiasm for martial arts even led me to successfully recruit other Christians to join me. Through the prayer ministry of the group Wholeness Through Christ, I chose to renounce my previous involvement in the martial arts. Previously, I was opposed to some of my friends dabbling in community centre yoga, but had rationalized my involvement in the martial arts as something innocuous.

In the spring of 1999, my sons discussed with me the expectation that they would take part in Taekwondo as part of their Christian school gym class. In discussing our concerns with their principal, it was agreed that my sons would be exempted from this expectation. It was also agreed that I would do some research regarding our concerns about Taekwondo, and present my findings in a paper to the principal and the school board.

As a renewal-oriented Anglican, I believe that it is vital that the charismatic gift of discernment (1 Cor. 12:10) not be neglected in this neo-gnostic, confused age. As part of the discernment process, I carefully researched dozens of pro-martial arts books, with a special emphasis on taekwondo books. I also consulted extensively with a good number of taekwondo and martial arts instructors from North America and around the world. My research led me to believe that taekwondo and the Martial Arts (MA) are far more than just physical gym exercises. Rather Taekwondo and MA are Zen(1) Buddhist meditational technique designed to bring a person into the experience of satori or Buddhist enlightenment. As Buddhism essentially is reformed Hinduism, so too the Martial Arts are essentially Martial Yoga. Few westerners have enough experience with Zen Buddhism to initially notice the hidden religious nature of martial arts.

Chuck Norris, famous for his role as Walker on the TV show Texas Ranger, holds unreservedly that “the ancient system of Zen (is) the core philosophy behind the martial arts.”(2) It is no coincidence that the occult circular symbol of Ying-Yang constantly appears on even many innocuous-looking Taekwondo websites and brochures.(3) One of the goals of taekwondo and other martial arts is to enter a zazen meditational state so that “the everyday experience of the dualism of subject and object vanishes.”(4)

In the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (5)John Ankerberg and John Weldon state that “Because most (martial arts) methods incorporate eastern teaching and techniques, the martial arts are easy doorways into Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and other non-Christian religions.” They went on to comment that “Traditionally, martial arts are forms of spiritual education that function as means towards self-realization or self-enlightenment. It is true that the spiritual dimension of martial arts can be downplayed or ignored, but that is not consistent with their ultimate purpose historically.”(6)

Bust of Buddhist Monk Bodhidharma credited with initiator of TaekwondoTaekwondo and other martial arts can be traced to a 6th century Buddhist monk Bodhidharma who travelled from India to China and established Zen Buddhism at the Shaolin temple of Ko San So Rim. There he taught them both sitting meditation and the martial arts (moving meditation) to enable his disciples to free themselves from all conscious control in order to attain enlightenment.(7)

Since Taekwondo’s Olympic debut in 1988, its popularity has spread like wildfire across the world.(8) Taekwondo means Hand (Tae) and Foot (kwon) Way (do). According to the Official WTF Taekwondo book, Taekwondo “is now the national sport of Korea.”(9) Eddie Ferrie holds that “every child in (Korean) school is compelled to practise Taekwondo….”(10) David Mitchell notes that Taekwondo ‘is taught to all members of the Korean armed forces’.(11) It is estimated that 20–30 million people worldwide now have been initiated into Taekwondo. (12)

One of the major concerns by Christian researchers is the sitting meditation commonly done in Taekwondo and most Martial Arts. The Fighting Back Taekwondo book describes the Chung Shin Tomil or sitting meditation as ‘another essential part of your taekwondo training’. (13) “Before and after any taekwondo class, the students meditate…first, you may be asked to clear your mind of all thought and to relax completely…The 2nd method of meditation is related to visualization.”(14) Mitchell claims that “…the empty mind (is) needed to master taekwondo.” (15) Key to both Buddhist and Hindu occult meditation is manipulation of one’s breathing, which is described as Hohup chojul and Jiptung (synchronized breathing) in Taekwondo. In contrast, biblical meditation is meditating on God’s written Word the Bible, rather than meditating on the empty mind by using occult breathing and visualization techniques.

Taekwondo-poomseAnother area of concern relates to the ritual forms or poomse used in Taekwondo. The karate equivalent to the poomse is the kata patterns. As the Taekwondo author and instructor Eddie Ferrie puts it, “Many of the patterns of taekwondo are rooted in semi-mystical Taoist philosophy and their deeper meaning is said to be far more important than the mere performance of a gymnastics series of exercises. This is not immediately obvious, either when performing or watching the poomse being performed…” (16) The eight Taegeuk poomses performed in taekwondo are derived from the eight triagrams of the occult I’Ching. (17) Richard Chun holds that ‘the forms of Taekwondo…are more than physical exercises: they are vehicles for active meditation.’ (18)

Buddhist-swastikaOne of the most questionable poomse patterns is the Ilyo or Ilyeo poomse. Ferrie teaches that the “Ilyo is a pattern which has a spiritual orientation containing 24 movements. The title of the pattern refers to the development of a state of spiritual enlightenment which is one of the ultimate aims of the disciple of taekwondo. The student who has attained Ilyo is capable of completely spontaneous reaction without any interference from the conscious mind.” (19) I was surprised to find out that the Ilyo poomse is done in the shape of an actual swastika. Hitler stole this ancient occult symbol from the Buddhists and Hindus who had used it for centuries as a symbol of monism (20) (all is one, and all is God). The Taekwondo Textbook teaches that ‘The line of poomse symbolizes the Buddhist mark (swastika) in commemoration of Saint Wonho (or Won Hyo), which means a state of perfect selflessness in Buddhism where origin, substance, and service come into congruity.’ (21) The Buddhist swastika in Taekwondo ‘teaches that a point, a line, or a circle ends up after all in one. Therefore the poomse Ilyeo represents the harmonization of spirit and body which is the essence of martial arts.’ (22) The swastika in Taekwondo has the occult (i.e. Hidden) purpose of teaching the higher-level students that all is one and all is God.

buddha_statueIn conclusion, my research and personal experience has led me to the conviction that Taekwondo and the Martial Arts are not merely physical exercise, but in fact are Zen Buddhist meditational practices, both in their sitting and moving forms. Taekwondo and MA are a Trojan Horse in the House of the Lord, eroding the spiritual barriers between Zen Buddhism and the Christian Gospel, and potentially leading vulnerable children and teens into the early stages of eastern occultism. As a result of this research, our Christian School Board decided to no longer offer Taekwondo or other Martial Arts. The good news about religious syncretism is that it is never too late to repent and start afresh, serving one Master and one Master alone, Jesus Christ our Lord (Mat. 6:24).

Click here to read article by same author on the related topic of The Yoga Deception.


[1] Nathan Johnson, Zen Shaolin Karate, “Ch’an (zen) monks of the Shaolin Temple” (Ch’an comes from an Indian word dhyana meaning meditation.)
[2] Chuck Norris, The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems, Top Kick Productions, 1996, inside cover; ‘…Zen is integral to the Oriental martial arts…(p. 23)’
[3] Taekwondo Textbook, Oh Sung Publishing Company, Kukkiwon Edition, p. 235; The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Taekwondo, Karen Eden & Keith Yates, Alpha Books, New York, 1998, p. 22
[4] Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15th Edition, ‘Martial Arts’, p. 886
[5] John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, 1996, Oregon, p. 351
[6] Ankerberg and Weldon, Op. Cit., p. 356
[7] Richard Chun, Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art, Toronto, 1976, p. 2
[8] Fighting Back: Taekwondo for Women, YH Park Publications, 1993, p. 8
[9] David Mitchell, Official WTF Taekwondo, Antler Books, London, 1986, back cover
[10] Eddie Ferrie, , Taekwondo: Traditional Art and Modern Sport, The Crowford Press, UK, 1989, p. 101
[11] Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 9
[12] J.S. Eldon, Essential Taekwondo Patterns, Paul Crompton Ltd, London, 1994, p. 5; The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Taekwondo, Op. Cit., p. 18
[13] Fighting Back, Op. Cit., p. 150
[14] Op. Cit., p. 150
[15] Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 12
[16] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 99
[17] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 99, p. 100
[18] Chun, Op. Cit., p. 34
[19] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 100
[20] Taekwondo Textbook, Op. Cit., p. 235, p. 506
[21] Taekwondo Textbook, Op. Cit., p. 506 “Won Hyo is a 28 movement form or poomse which is named after the 7th century monk who purportedly introduced Zen Buddhism to Korea. (Ferrie, p. 101)”
[22] Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 506###

Reverend Ed Hird has been the Rector for St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver since 1987. He is the past President of Alpha Canada. Ed is also the author of the book, Battle for the Soul of Canada and co-author of the 2nd Cup of Hot Apple Cider. As of May 2013, Ed will have completed his Doctor of Ministry, focusing on Strengthening Marriages. His website is at:

[Editor’s Note: As as a practitioner of deliverance ministry for nearly four decades, who has ministered real deliverance to literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of demonized people, and cast out thousands of demons from those demonized people, I hold no equivocation whatsoever about the fact that all forms of martial arts are associated with false Eastern religions which, due to their intrinsic nature of idolatry, are expressly condemned in the Word of God, and that they are indeed a “trojan horse” for demonic incursion. Martial arts is completely incongruous and irreconcilable to genuine Christianity and rightstanding with God (cf., 2 Cor. 6:14-18). Jesus indicated categorically that until and unless demons are cast out of a demonized person the Kingdom of God cannot come upon him/her (Mat. 12:28). Everyone I have ever ministered to who had practiced any form of martial arts were infested with violent and vicious demons that fought ferociously against the name and blood of Jesus and my commands for them to leave, though in the end they all lost, and proved to be no match for same! Hallelujah! Greater is He (God the Holy Spirit) who is in us (believers) than he (the devil and his demonic fallen-angel cohorts) who is in the world! My expertise and experience tells me without any equivocation that anyone who has ever practiced any form of martial arts, without any exceptions, is infested with a host of demons of the most violent and vicious kind that make it literally impossible for the demonized person to form and maintain any kind of relationships: murder (homicidal/suicidal spirits), enmity (including against God), hatred, bitterness, contempt, malice, violence, misogyny, physical/spiritual abuse, sadism and other sexual deviance, envying, strife, competition, “despisers of authority” (2 Pet. 2:10; Jude 1:18) false authority, idolatry, numerous pathological mental disorders (cf., 2 Tim. 3:3), et al. What is critical to understand about all demonic incursion is that once demons gain entrance there is no Biblical remedy other than that they be cast out by another believer. Demons cannot be counseled. They all are evil, diabolical, vicious, defiling, and destructive. Because of the enmity against God that these martial arts related demons bear, it is impossible for practitioners, all of whom are demonized, to be truly Born Again, and indeed my experience with ministering deliverance to practitioners shows that it is only after the demonized person is delivered of these demons that they are able to truly surrender their heart and life to the Lordship of Christ. Moreover, my unalterable conviction is that any practitioner of martial arts who presents himself/herself as any sort of a leader in the Church Jesus is building, due to all the irrefutable spiritual issues associated with martial arts is thereby disqualified from said leadership. If you are or ever have been a practitioner of any form of martial arts, please seek deliverance, those demons that entered you will never leave on their own, no matter how pious or religious you attempt to become. If you need deliverance, visit to learn more about the pathway to freedom in Christ. — Dr. Steven Lambert]

Exposing the Dangers Behind Martial Arts & Yoga
By Dr. Vito Rallo

Follow former five-time USA National Karate Champion, Dr. Vito Rallo, on a journey into the secret world of the martial arts.

Trained by the best Japanese instructors dispatched to America in the mid 1960s, Vito rose to become the best-of-the-best in his field. He ran his own dojos; he was a university instructor; he mentored teachers and professional athletes, coached corporate business executives, and trained law enforcement agencies.

Now a Christian, Vito pulls back the covers and unveils the dangerous spiritual realm beneath the surface of the martial arts. You will discover that a bruise, a sprain or a loosed tooth shouldn’t be a practitioner’s largest concern!

What you don’t know and can’t see CAN hurt you!

  • Do you know the true origins of the martial arts?
  • Are you aware of the connection between yoga and the martial arts, and what mysteries and secrets are entangled in their roots?
  • Are the forces that empower these Eastern arts simply physical powers, or could they be something more diabolical?
  • Have you noticed how these arts are being re-packaged and promoted in the West?

Dr. Rallo, who writes with satire and seriousness from over thirty years of experience as an instructor and competitor, answers these and many other questions in this exposé.

Vito is no longer involved in the world of the martial arts. He shares his life-changing story and personal experiences with groups across America. He and his wife live in Florida’s Tampa Bay area.

Click on the links below to obtain your copy of this book today!


Real Truth Christian Emporium ~ Your online source for all things Christian

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