CB asks: “Someone recently asked me if Martial Arts was included in the New Age, in particular the Kyokushin Karate method. He knows someone heavily involved in this and wanted to find out if there was a problem with it. Could you please let me know if you have a booklet on this aspect, or any information about whether this is dangerous to The Catholic Faith?”
Kyokushin (means “ultimate truth in Japanese) karate is a martial art form that transcends the classic definition of karate as an effective self-defense technique. This particular form of karate has a very strong spiritual component which makes it particularly problematic for Catholics.
It is considered to be budo karate. Budo means the “Martial Way.” It is derived from the word bu which means “war” and do which comes from the Chinese word for Tao and the philosophy of Taoism. Hence, this form of karate is about much more than just fighting techniques, but is rather a way of life. It combines the Zen approach to self-perfection by passive means such as meditation with the Tao quest for self-perfection through active means such as the training itself.
“That which is gained through Budo is much more than just the techniques and applications of the martial arts, and it transforms all aspects of life,” explains the United States Kyokushin Karate organization.
Kyokushin is a stand-up, full contact form that incorporates boxing and kickboxing and was founded in 1964 by Masutatsu Oyama, a South Korean who trained in a variety of martial arts. He developed kyokushin karate during three years of solitary training in Japan which involved intense spiritual discipline. He opened his first dojo in Toyko in 1956 and formally established the International Karate Organization Kyokushinkaikan (IKO) in 1964. Oyama died of lung cancer in 1994, after which his organization splintered. Many leaders claim to be his hand-picked successor but the Japanese courts have never established a rightful heir.
Kyokushin karate instructors vary, but Oyama himself placed a great deal of emphasis on the spiritual aspects of this martial art, as evidenced by these quotes that appear on his website:
“Although it is important to study and train for skill in techniques, for the man who wishes to truly accomplish the way of budo, it is important to makehis whole life in training and therefore not aiming for skill and strength alone, but also for spiritual attainment.”
“Karate is the most ZEN-like of all the martial arts. It has abandoned the sword. This means that it trascends the idea of winning and losing to become a way of thinking and living for the sake of other people in accordance with the way of Heaven. Its meanings, therefore, reach the profound levels of human thought.”
“Since Karate exists for cultivating the spirit and training the body, it must be a moral way surpassing mere techniques…”
There is much more that can be said about martial arts in general. The following blog provides more information: /?p=12
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