[Editor’s Note: This article series is an adaptation from the book, Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts, by Vito Rallo, a former five-time USA National Karate Champion. See the end of this article for more about the book.]
READ PART ONE of this article.
The Spiritual Principle of Self-Decreasing
The complete incongruity of martial arts along with these other similar so-called “self-improvement” or “self-help” kinds of involvements I’ve enumerated, and the Christian Life described and defined in the Word of God can also be summarized by relating it to the contrast John-the-Baptist described in his statement to his disciples before his execution by beheading: “He must increase; but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30; italics added). “He must increase; but I must decrease.” While the essence of John’s statement was referring to the fact that now that the time for Jesus to be manifest as the Messiah had come and John had completed his God-assigned mission of identifying Him as same, the time had now come for him and his ministry to decrease or fade into oblivion so as to allow the Christ to take center-stage, so to speak, completely void of all distraction and deflection of attention.
That decreasing certainly occurred suddenly and finally with dramatic but tragic flair when John was beheaded. However, John’s horrendous fate serves as a metaphor for the life every disciple of Christ ought to live—one of continual and constant decreasing, dying daily, in order that Christ might live in and through us—as described by the Apostle Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20).
He (Christ Jesus) must increase in our lives; we (ego, id, self) must decrease. Every day that we live as a genuinely Born Again, regenerated, believer in Christ occupying a human body, we must die more and decrease more—our own self-centeredness, humanness, and sinfulness daily diminishing—so that Christ Jesus might live more and more through our mortal fleshly bodies. (I’m not talking here about some kind of psychological resignation or capitulation to complacency or passivity, or anything even close to it; neither was John or Jesus.) While space and time will not permit a more thorough development of this matter, the principle of spiritual self-decrescence, or self-humbling, is a legitimate, though not often discussed or practiced, Biblical principle. Jesus certainly practiced it when he willingly “emptied Himself” of his deity, departed the Portals of Glory, and stooped to become a lowly human-being (our Kinsmen Redeemer), and the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul exhorted every believer to practice it as well:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Plp. 2:3-8; emphases added)
In fact, the Word of God informs us that dying to self, that is, “putting to death the deeds of the body,” is a requirement of eternal life, that the only power by which humans are capable of performing that self-mortification is “by the Spirit,” and that those who practice it, are the true “sons of God”:
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led (lit., driven, moved, motivated) by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (Rom. 8:12-14; emphases and italics added)
One thing we can know of a certainty: No such principle of self-crucifixion, self-decreasing, self-humbling, or dying to self, is advocated or practiced in the martial arts or any of the other similar practices or activities I’ve enumerated. Nor do any of those practices or activities, or the “masters” who indoctrinate their students, possess the capability of achieving those objectives, even if they were advocated!
The Lord is Our Defense
Another argument I want to counter is this. People frequently ask me about taking martial arts classes solely as a means of “self-defense.” (They often believe they can do that without receiving any of the evil effects of false religions or the occult and without demonic incursion.) In spite of the fact that it is impossible not to be adversely affected in some way, the first question that always comes to mind is this: Why does a Christian need self-defense in the first place? My views regarding this matter are expressed in an article I recently authored, which follows.
Psalm 5:11 makes it clear: But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them.
In another Psalm, King David exulted : “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” (Psa. 27:1)
Are we as a church body allowing the Lord to defend us or be the defense our lives? He truly is our defense and He has not told us as New Covenant believers to put our trust in ourselves and in our own physical ability. Neither Jesus (nor His disciples) ever physically defended themselves. It is recorded in Luke 4:28-30 that Jesus walked through a very angry mob that was ready to throw Him off a cliff. Yet, He was able to “pass through them” without anyone so much as touching Him.
Perhaps His Father made Him invisible just long enough for Him to escape. Or, perhaps He had a host of angels surrounding Him, which caused the people to back away as He walked through their midst. We are not told how this happened, but we know that Jesus trusted so completely in His Father that He never demonstrated any inclination to defend Himself.
Even in John 19:10-11 when He was arrested and was taken before Pilate, just before His crucifixion, Pilate said to Him, “Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and the power to release You?” Jesus answered him, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” Quite an interesting statement!
There was one particular time that I was in a very dangerous situation where great harm could have physically befallen me. At that moment, I had a choice to make. I could either resort back to my physical abilities (my previous training in karate), or trust completely in the Lord. In a split second, I chose the latter—I chose to depend on the Lord! I was amazed as an invisible wall of protection completely surrounded me, and the violent aggressors not only could not touch me, but were rendered mute and as docile as lambs! I walked away completely unharmed.
When will we, as believers, fully trust in God’s power to protect us?
What we must know is that the Lord has given all true believers supernaturally powerful weapons of spiritual warfare—if we are willing to learn what those weapons are, and how to use them. Our powerful weapons of spiritual warfare include the Word of God, the blood of Jesus, and the name of Jesus. In addition, we have another powerful weapon—the power of “binding and loosing,” according to Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18. Jesus referred to this ability as the “keys to the kingdom.” It is when we “bind” the power of evil that we begin to experience an entirely new level of being an overcomer in this life.
If we had not needed that power, Jesus would not have given it to us. However, it is up to us to use this delegated power and authority. When we bind or loose, or pray for anything “in Jesus’ name,” we are operating in the most powerful name in the universe—the name above all other names! We can be assured that the hosts of heaven are backing us up.
We also have the angels of God, which have been specifically assigned to us to protect and keep us safe. God has set safe boundaries for us to stay within, where we are not purposely giving the enemy of our soul access to our lives. It is important that we stay in a place of obedience in order to stay under the umbrella of safety and protection.
So, again, why would any true believer in Christ who is walking by faith need to learn self-defense? To reiterate, as born again believers under the New Covenant, our battle is not against “flesh and blood,” but against spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places, according to Ephesians 6:12. Our warfare is done with our divinely powerful spiritual weapons (2 Cor. 10:3-4), which are vastly more powerful than physical weapons.
Over the years, we have received testimonies of people who have simply thought the name of Jesus (because they were either paralyzed with fear, or the enemy had a grip on their tongue and they could not speak), and without even speaking the name of Jesus, they experienced the power of deliverance from an evil force that was about to overtake them! That’s the dunamis-power of God and that’s the kind of power we have at our disposal! All we need to do is remember to use it!
An Appeal from Someone Who’s Lived and Learned (and Deeply Repented)
One could go on and on in this respect, but the point I am trying to make is that believers desperately need to become sober-spirited or sober-minded about this matter of spiritual warfare with respect to the deception concerning martial arts that the enemy has been so successful at injecting into the Body of Christ. I am grieved about this, and as a person called by God to speak on His behalf to the Body He cherishes so greatly, I am passionate about seeing the Church be delivered of every spiritual hindrance to its spiritual health and wholeness. I believe I know as much as anyone just how spiritually deadly and destructive the invisible evil spirits behind the martial arts are and just how vicious and vile their intents are, and can be to those who are ignorant of or naïve to them. As Jesus said, it is not what goes into the man that spiritually defiles the man, but what comes out of the man that defiles the man (cf., Mat. 15:11; Mk. 7:20), and in Mark’s account, Jesus specified some of the things that come out of the man that spiritually defile him:
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. “All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mk. 7:21-23)
As I have expressed before in these pages, I have a profound remorse and a deeply repentant heart for having allowed the devastation of the spiritual effects (defilement) of martial arts into my own life. I dealt with those detrimental, destructive effects for far too many years before I was completely delivered. And that is why I have such a burning desire to warn others. Martial arts was the single most detrimental thing in my life, opposing and greatly hindering my fellowship and walk with the Lord. I know firsthand without any doubt—and this is not always easy for me to admit or express—that the works of the enemy in my life were exacerbated and intensified by the evil spirits that either entered into me, or were given greater empowerment as a result of involvement in the martial arts.
For example, for years I read and read the Bible but with little comprehension of it until those hindrances and evil spirits were removed from my life. The evil spirits had kept me from comprehending the spiritual truths that I needed to understand in order to grow in the Lord and be set free. It took me years to fully recognize the toll my involvement in martial arts took on my spiritual life, as the Holy Spirit so graciously and thoroughly revealed these things to me.
But, all that is why I wrote this book. I personally know, experientially, the spiritual dangers of martial arts. “Danger” is not just a term I use for its shock or emotional value. There is no more apt application of that term in human existence than its application to involvement in the martial arts! Martial arts are DANGEROUS!—in every way possible. I experienced those dangers! Anyone reading this book, as the saying goes, should AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE! PLEASE! I implore you! Don’t do what I did! If you do, you’ll get the results I did, and maybe worse, which will require the absolute MIRACLE from the hand of “the God of all grace” (1 Pet. 5:10) and the “Father of mercies” (2 Cor. 1:3) that I received when He reached down His saving hand to rescue me from a path of utter despair and eternal destruction! He loved me too much to allow me to stay on that path. In fact, He went to extreme measures to bring me out (but that is a testimony for another book). It literally took losing nearly everything in my life for me to fully come to my senses. My hope and prayer is that you will come to your senses before the same thing (or something similar) happens to you!
Martial Arts Advocates and Engenders Ungodly and Demonic Behavior
As I have repeatedly stated in this book, everything about martial arts goes against God’s nature, which was personified in Jesus when He walked as “God in flesh” here on this earth. Everything associated with the activity of martial arts is fleshly and empowered by demons. I ask you to consider the following scriptures as solid proof that the practice of martial arts is completely contrary to the nature of God:
- In the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:7 the Bible says, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” What is there about martial arts that shows mercy or compassion or love? Nothing! Or, how about verse 9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God”? What is there about martial arts that could be called the act of peacemaking? Absolutely nothing! In fact the martial arts are about aggression, not peacemaking. As I’ve alluded to elsewhere in this book, even the term “self-defense” is a complete misnomer; martial arts is about disabling or in some way and degree neutralizing an opponent by inflicting bodily harm upon him in order to negate the potential and/or threat of him harming you in some way. Making peace with an opponent is never mentioned in martial arts training.
- How about the matter of manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit named in Galatians 5:22-23 in a believer’s life: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control [allowing oneself to be restrained and moved by the Holy Spirit]”? Are any of those qualities manifested through the practice of martial arts? A resounding NO!
- Colossians 3:12-13: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another….” All of these attributes that emanate from the heart and Spirit of God are diametrically opposite of what martial arts advocates, instructs, produces, and requires of practitioners.
Six Different Categories of Hearers (Readers)
One’s spiritual life may very well depend on the decision to cease participation in and practice of all forms of martial arts. Our personal life, or our ministry or church, can be shipwrecked if we lack discernment with respect to such deceptions, or if we fail to act on what the Lord reveals to us. Now that you know the truth you are without excuse! If you are serious right now about taking action, I want to walk you through the steps to forgiveness and freedom. In the back of this book are renunciation prayers for both martial arts and yoga.
There are essentially six different categories of readers of this book:
- Those who now have heard the truth about this spiritually deadly matter, but have not yet yielded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and his call to action. There’s little more I or anyone else can do for this category of hearer once they’ve been confronted with the truth in this regard, except pray that God will eventually open their eyes to the destruction and devastation that martial arts brings into a Christian’s life, to the extent that they will be willing to lay it down, be delivered from the demonic strongholds martial arts engenders, be willing to repent, and walk completely away from it.
- Those who are contemplating getting involved in martial arts for the first time. To you I would say that sin always takes you further than you wanted to go, keeps you longer than you wanted to stay, and costs you more than you wanted to pay. In the end, it will not be worth it. Allow me to use as an example, my friend, Eric Wilson, who wrote a Foreword to this book. The price he paid for his complete entrenchment in and obsession with the all-pervasive realm of martial arts at the highest levels was very high. It cost him his marriage—which God so graciously restored after the Lord mercifully opened his eyes to the deceptions of martial arts and he finally yielded to the Lord’s directives and dealings to come out it. It may take years for the consequences to catch up with you, but believe me, eventually and inevitably, they will catch up to you.
- Those who are Christians but decided (at some point) to get involved in martial arts either before they became a Christian, or after. Here is what I strongly recommend if the Holy Spirit is convicting you to get out.
- Repent of anything and everything the Holy Spirit shows you.
- Get rid of any and all items associated with martial arts. (Burn them or crush them; and bury or dispose of them to be transported to a land-fill. Do not give them away to someone else and thereby transfer the demons associated with them to someone else.)
- Disassociate from friends who are still involved in these practices. (Sometimes this is the hardest part.).
- Forgive others who may have been influential initially in your decision to get involved in martial arts. Then forgive yourself for the damaging consequences that you brought into your life and the lives of those around you (spouse, children, friends, etc.). Ask others who you influenced to become involved in martial arts to forgive you, if possible and practical.
- Renounce martial arts (by praying the renunciation prayer in the back of this book).
- It is now time to break the power of the enemy. Before you actually do this, however, I strongly recommend that you use the power of binding according to Matthew 18:18 and say, “I bind the power of all demonic forces that were allowed access to my soul and forbid them to harm me in any way as they are evicted from my life in Jesus’ name.” Or if you know someone who is strong in the Lord, you might want to ask him or her to assist you in your deliverance. Generally speaking, assisted deliverance through someone experienced in deliverance is more effective and effectual than self-deliverance. The practice of martial arts brings many demonic forces into a person’s life. The evil spirits commonly involved with the martial arts include:
- spirits of fear;
- Bushido (warrior) spirit;
- spirits of pride;
- death and suicide;
- counterfeit identity;
- spiritual blockage;
- spiritual dullness;
- doubt and unbelief;
- evil spirits behind all false religions which are behind martial arts;
- antichrist spirit;
- (and, anything else the Holy Spirit shows you).
After you have named the names of any and all evil spirits that you have allowed in (knowingly or unknowingly), thoroughly repudiated and renounced them, then say outloud, “I command you all to leave me now in Jesus’ name and never return. I break your power completely off my life, from this day forward! Jesus is Lord of my life! The blood of Jesus has defeated you and has set me free this day.” Say it like you mean it with the authority given you by God in and through His Word. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it, lest you produce a scenario similar to that of the Sons of Sceva [Ac. 19:13-16].
- Christian leaders/pastors who have allowed this in the lives of their elders, associate pastors, ministry teams, etc. To you I would say virtually the same thing as I just wrote to Group #3. If I were you, I would not allow anyone on my leadership team, or occupying an eldership position or associate pastor position that is involved in martial arts. Even if you as the lead pastor do not believe Christians should participate in martial arts, what you allow your leaders to participate in is tacit agreement, and therefore can be an open spiritual pathway for influence of others in the church, including yourself. In such a scenario, the evil spirits associated with martial arts are indirectly and inadvertently given permission and access, not only to the leadership group, but also to the entire congregation, because church leaders are spiritual gatekeepers. It is the responsibility of spiritual shepherds to watch over and guard the flock that has been entrusted to them against intrusion by the enemy. Of course, you cannot tell someone (who is not an employee) what they “have to do.” That would be ungodly and unauthorized control, which is actually a form of witchcraft. But, if that person is not willing of their own volition to repent, renounce, walk away from, and get delivered from the effects of martial arts, then we would have no recourse but to ask him/her to leave (or terminate his/her employment in the case of an employee). (As I mentioned earlier, that very thing happened in a church I was once a part of in St. Louis, Missouri.)
- Those who have allowed it to be practiced within their churches. What I would say to you is this: Remove it as soon as possible—that is, if you want your church to be moving in the power of the Holy Spirit. Don’t worry about who you will offend, that is, unless you want to please man rather than God. Some may be offended. Some may be angry. Some may speak evil of you to others, but that’s okay. God will honor your decision. Martial arts (and yoga) are occult-rooted activities and the power of God is being hindered in many churches today because this has been allowed into churches and ministries. I want to refer you to Acts 19:18-20:
And many who believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
Notice that after they got rid of their occult items (once that hindrance was removed) that the word of the Lord “grew mightily and prevailed.” Today the Holy Spirit is pleading with us to be willing to identify and remove from our lives anything (especially occult items and activities) that are hindering the flow of His Spirit in the church. This indeed is serious business with God!
- Those who want to know about the spiritual dangers behind martial arts so that they can be knowledgeable enough to share the truth with their friends, co-workers, neighbors, family, etc. Many have written to us sharing their heart about others who are involved, and asking how they can approach them with the truth in this regard. What I would suggest to you is this:
- Pray for that person or group. You can begin to bind the powers of darkness that have them in deception and bondage.
- Ask them questions that will cause them to think about why they believe martial arts can be Christianized. (Ask the Holy Spirit to give you anointed and non-condemning questions to ask or comments to make.)
- Wait until they show an interest and inclination to receive what you are saying before you share everything that you have learned with them. You want to pique their interest rather than drive them away, if at all possible.
- Ask them if they would like to hear the testimony of someone who was once involved (as student, then instructor, and later on as a five-time national champion), who would understand why they chose to get involved in martial arts, and who would be able to answer the questions they might have.
- If they show an interest (or even if they don’t) you can tell them about this book. Be discreet and allow the Lord to lead you. Sharing too much too soon can put a person on the defensive and you may very well lose them! Remember, they are already into “self-defense.” Let them read the book (or listen to the audiobook), and learn for themselves. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring the conviction and show them the truth, a little here, a little there!
A Final Exhortation and Prayer
Jesus is coming back SOON for a holy church without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5:27). Contrary to what many believe, He is not going to accept those who are practicing occult practices that are antichrist. But the choice I put before you today is solely yours. For me, I am filled with peace and joy for having made the choice I made. I have no regrets whatsoever! Moreover, I must say it is extremely gratifying to hear the testimonies we have already received from around the world of those who have shared with us that they too have chosen to walk away from martial arts in order to be a part of that glorious, sanctified, holy church—the Bride that will be ready for Jesus’ imminent return (Rev. 19:7; 21:2)!
May the Lord give each of you great knowledge, wisdom, discernment, and understanding in the days ahead, and may He use you to help others get ready. May you continue to walk in His ways and hear and obey Him until the day He returns. Amen!
This article series is an adaptation from the book, Exposing the Dangers of Martial Arts, by Vito Rallo, published by Real Truth Publications. The publisher/editor of Spirit Life Magazine, was the contributing editor of the book. Click on the book cover image below to learn more about the book.
Dr. Vito Rallo is an evangelist gifted in the ministry of healing, deliverance, and the prophetic. He is a former five-time USA National Karate Champion, who several years after becoming a Born Again Christian, withdrew from all involvement in Martial Arts and destroyed all his medals, belts and uniforms. In 1983, he founded Free Indeed Ministries, a ministry committed to winning souls and bringing deliverance to those who are bound and burdened. He and his wife, Pat, travel the U.S. and world, conducting spiritual warfare seminars and demonstrating the truths set forth in the ever-growing number of books they have written and published. They now reside in western North Carolina.
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