Church Uses Jesus-Centered Karate to Teach Christian Values

A church is using a Karate Club rather than a Bible Club to teach Christians to imitate the life of Jesus and walk in His footsteps.

Values best exemplified by Jesus Christ such as respect, self-control, responsibility, community service, self-confidence, perseverance, and love is now being translated into Karate kicks and blocks at Judah's Lions, a ministry of the Michigan-based Hidden Springs Church.

"Jesus is really the embodiment of love, power, compassion and righteousness," instructor Chuck Russell said, according to The Associated Press. "What better item or focus to have a karate club centered around than the Lord [who] embodies the same traits the martial arts focuses on?"

The church-based club offers students self-defense techniques combined with Christian teachings.

Russell quotes C.S. Lewis in response to those that question integrating karate into church – often pointing to Jesus' teaching on turning the other cheek:

"Does anyone suppose that our Lord's hearers understood him to mean that if a homicidal maniac tried to knock me out of the way, I must stand aside and let him get his victim?" Russell asked.

"Of course not," he answered. "No one has the right to put their hands on you. I know the Lord mentions to turn the other cheek, and I believe that's an often misunderstood area in the Scripture."

Instead, the karate instructor clarified that he believes the Bible meant turning the other cheek to minor attacks such as gossip.

Russell founded the club six years ago after witnessing a Muslim karate group's respect and dedication to their faith as well as karate, according to AP.

"I thought, 'Why shouldn't Christians give that same type of appearance?'" he said. "Traditional martial arts is Eastern philosophy and traditions. We wanted to center a training program around Jesus Christ."

The club is named after the tribe of Judah in Israel, which Jesus is a descendant of and is referred to as the lion of Judah.

During class, students are taught relevant Bible verses to help reinforce personal traits and class opens with prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Christian karate club meets weekly on Thursday evening and has students ranging from children to adults.