T H E  M A R T I A L  A R T S


Martial Arts deal with moves, countermoves, kicks, punches and self-defence, but contrary to popular belief, these skills are not about fighting or conflict.

The word which derives from the Chinese mu’ (martial) and ‘ye’ (the way for search of truth) is considered to be a process of enlightenment that can be achieved by creating a synchronization of body, mind and spirit. “A martial art coordinates the conscious and the subconscious mind,” says Kanishka Sharma who trained in the Shaolin style of martial art. He has already developed a special course for children:

SPIRITUAL WARRIORS”, India Today November 3, 2003

Channels like BBC’s Discovery, and News Asia telecast regular programmes on New Age Living and Alternative Therapies that explore the different ancient martial art forms and their application in 21st century lifestyle.

The first time my attention was drawn to martial arts was several years ago when I happened to read an item in a newspaper, which reported that Catholic nuns were learning karate as a means of self-defense. It was explained to the reader that they faced possible attacks from dacoits and anti-Christian elements in the central Indian state where they were stationed. I didn’t give it much thought at that time, except to reflect how different their attitude seemed to be from that of Jesus who would have them offer the other cheek. It would have struck me as very un-Christian if I had learned, for example, that Graham Staines’ widow took judo classes as a precaution against marauding activists after forgiving her husband’s murderers.

But I was even more taken aback when a priest [belonging to a religious congregation] shared, during a homily to a group of lay-evangelists in training, that he was an accomplished exponent of karate. As a missionary in a backward northern state, he had favored liberation theology, and was dedicated to espousing the cause of Dalits and the marginalized against the rich landlords. He held, if I recall correctly, a ‘black belt’, and exhibited the scars of several injuries all over his body to testify to a number of escapades that he had been involved in.

And very recently I was e-mailed the resume of an ex-seminarian of the same religious order who was now seeking secular employment. One of his achievements was a ‘green belt’ in… was it taekwondo?

Christian schools and colleges across the nation, women’s institutions not excluded, encourage all forms of martial arts on their campuses, either as part of their physical training period classes, or as extracurricular pre- or post- school time programmers. While not too long ago our pre-teen boys would be serving at weekday Mass or at the cricket nets, it is now not an uncommon sight to find groups of them, come dawn, assembled on our school grounds robed in their white ghis, bowing to their sensei or ‘honourable teacher’ who will, for the next hour or so, take complete authority over their bodies; and their minds.

The YMCAs in India seem to have become dojos or ‘training centres’ for martial disciplines. The soothing melody of old Christian hymns has been replaced by the shrill piercing yell or kiyai as lithe young hands and feet are jabbed forward or retrieved, hitting or kicking out at imaginary opponents.

Just a couple of weeks ago I was in a town in the deep South, where there is a predominant Christian presence, and I happened to pass by the local YMCA. I made a note of the following message painted on a side of the main building at the entrance to the complex:

“The YMCA seeks to unite those young men who, regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour according to the Holy Scriptures, desire to be His disciples in their doctrine and in their way of life, and to dedicate their efforts for the extension of His Kingdom amidst young men”.

I was provoked into copying that down in my diary by what I read on the adjacent wall of the building:

“Alan-Thilak Karate School International. Affiliated with All India Karate Do Federation and World Karate Federation”. The names of the instructors were Christian and they were ‘black belts’; one, an ‘VIII Dan’.

At the Examiner Press bookshop in Mumbai, I came across a book titled “The Art of Kung Fu, Wu Shu Chinese Martial Arts by C. Fernandes [Zorba Publications]. It was published with the support of Fr. Tony Fonseca, St. Mary’s High School, Mazagaon and the priests and teachers of Holy Family High School, Andheri [E], Mumbai.

Concerned parents, who are aware of my ministry to create awareness among Christians by exposing New Age dangers, have approached me to seek my advice on what their course of action should be after their children have been asked to attend yoga or tai chi sessions at school and in college. They are afraid of being lone objectors, and having to face both the wrath of the management and the ridicule of other parents for being ignorant and narrow-minded in an age when it is fashionable for Christian dad to boast of his daughter’s prowess in Bharatanatyam [a Hindu temple dance form] and Christian mum to encourage her son with updating his Pokemon and Harry Potter collections so that he is the object of envy and centre of attention of his peers.

Sincere Christians have insisted to me that martial arts is simply an exercise or a sport. They are, after all, the national game of some countries and high-level lobbying was engaged in to have them included as Asian Games and Olympics events. [Judo was the first to be included].

I only wish that it were as simple as that. Those of you who are familiar with the earlier articles by this writer on New Age themes [pranic healing, reiki, yoga, Conybio, homoeopathy etc.] and have a clear understanding of the basic underpinnings of New Age principles will be more appreciative of the presentation that follows.


It has been my observation that the number of high-profile martial arts instructors who happen to be Christian is disproportionately high when compared to their overall presence in the local community. We can take tai chi for a case study on the basis of information that I have collected [see also page 7].

I draw the reader’s attention to my 40-page report dated March 25, 2002 titled “New Age in Vailankanni”, which is addressed to several Bishops, and was sent to over 50% of the almost 150 members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, none of whom acknowledged receipt. On page 2 I have reported about SHY, [23 pages, including 8 pages of photographs and highlighted material were devoted to SHY] a Nagercoil-based New Age organization headed by a Catholic ICM nun, Sr. M. Amalavathy, which promotes an occult holistic health technique called Spiritual Human Yoga – Universal

Energy, Mankind Enlightenment Love- [founded by Vietnamese Master Luong Minh Dang], that uses universal life force energy or ‘chi’ ‘mixed with love’ [thus differentiating it from pranic healing or reiki] to empower people.

She is closely associated with a tai chi Master Selvaraj, a Christian, who shared the same stall with her at the Vailankanni celebrations in February 2002. During my visit to Nagercoil a couple of weeks ago, I was unable to find Sr. Amalavathy’s new SHY centre. I went over instead to the residence of Selvaraj, who told me that he had just spoken to her on the telephone. He permitted me to use his mobile phone to speak to Sr. Amalavathy and drove me over to her centre.

SHY and tai chi complement each other. Both of them manipulate the chi, though using different techniques.

Selvaraj’s Tai Chi Association advertises itself as propagating the “authentic 5th generation Yang family Fu Streng Yuan tai chi of Master J J Liang for health and self defence” as a “health and martial art”. According to the flyers distributed by Master S at Vailankanni, “Tai Chi is a martial art that originated in China over 1000 years ago.

This form of tai chi was founded by Chan San Feng during the 13th century. He was a skilled acupuncturist and hence he incorporated this knowledge into the tai chi system he created… Legend has it that he … did not die but transformed into pure spirit and flew awaySickness is usually associated with a sluggish flow of chi caused by blockages in meridians. But tai chi is one of the tools like acupuncture which the traditional Chinese medicine employs to stimulate the body.”

The Expressweek of March 27, 1999 carried a news item by Shana Maria Verghis introducing readers to George T. Kuriyan who “teaches tai chi, an ancient Chinese discipline which has its roots in the philosophy of Taoism… and can best be described as a ‘moving form’ of yoga and meditation.” “Meet a tai chi exponent” is the headline of a write-up in the Mylapore Times of April 14-20, 2001 inviting children to meet with George at a local bookstore which was hosting the event to advertise itself. It offers tai chi as a means to “relieve stress and develop an inner spiritual force”.

The leading Indian exponent of tai chi chuan or “supreme ultimate fist” is undoubtedly sifu George Thomas who is founder of the Chennai-based Tai Chi Academy, “the only authorized Yang style school of Chinese tai chi in India, where “in six months you learn the 85 forms which can be practiced everyday”. Advertisements for the Academy sport the Yin/Yang symbol [Mylapore Times, March 25-31, 2000].

A report in Apollo Times of May 9, 2003 says that George’s Yang style of tai chi was founded by Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872). George “is a sincere disciple of Fu Sheng Yuan” [the fifth generation descendant of Chan] “who was national tai chi champion of China and is Chairman of World Tai Chi Federation”. He is “trained to teach directly by the Grand Master himself and is authorized by the World Tai Chi Federation to teach the art”.

The New Indian Express of May 12, 1999 however quotes George “who was trained by Yuan in Australia” as saying “Tai chi is a 5000 year old martial art, perhaps the mother of all martial arts” and “the supreme ultimate fist means ‘great life force’ and is based on constant interplay of two vital energies – Yin, the passive and Yang, the active. Tai chi is listed in the ‘I Ching’, the ancient Chinese ‘Book of Change’.”

George confirms his Taoist worldview in an interview with Purasai News April 4-10, 1999, saying “Tai chi is the concept that all of life is comprised of the male and the female, set in motion by the constant interplay of the two vital energies Yin and Yang”. The newspaper also records that “he has also undergone training in pranic healing, reiki, transcendental meditation, siddha, zen, Silva Mind Control etc.”

“The internal practice of tai chi is… a culmination of many centuries of Taoist reflection (chi-kung)** George Thomas earned a diploma in acupuncture from a Sri Lankan Institute. He spent two years at the Centre for Holistic Healing in Pune*** with the Medical Mission Sisters, learning shiatsu, acu-yoga, polarity therapy, gin shento and ‘Touch for Health’.

He is a grandmaster of reiki, and a practitioner of hypnosisHe practices a variety of healing arts including shiatsu, energy healing, spiritual healing, reiki, the use of mudras and mantras. When necessary, he does distance healing.”

So says The Hindu of June 19, 2000, which quotes him as saying, “Tai chi is the doing of non-doing. The movements, when internalized, work on the meridians which in turn work on the energy bodies

I go along with the patient’s belief system. If they don’t want one form, I use another.”

To those who believe that tai chi is all about physical exercise, The Hindu correspondent Elizabeth Roy writes, “THE ESSENCE OF TAI CHI PRACTICE IS NOT TO LEARN A SET OF MOVEMENTS OR TO BECOME SKILLED IN A SYSTEM OF SELF-DEFENCE ALTHOUGH THIS MAY HAPPEN IN THE PROCESS OF PRACTICE.”

**[Please see my 6-page report on CONYBIO that discusses chi-kung also known as Chinese yoga or qi-gong.
***[Please see my 30-page report addressed to the Auxiliary Bishop of Madras dated 29 June 2000 on the subject of Holistic Health Centres run with the blessings of the Bishops by Catholic nuns, the Medical Mission Sisters, in Pune and Chennai, where occult and New Age alternative therapies are propagated almost religiously.]

The Oct.-Dec. 2003 issue of Simply South carries a feature on tai chi titled ‘The Chic Option’ by Arun Ram.

He reports that “across South India fitness centres are offering the latest craze: Tai chi ” which is “fast becoming the option for the businessman, executive and working woman who seek relief from stress and want to be physically fit.”

Ram quotes George as saying, “Chi could also be called ‘prana’ in the Indian sense.”

George Thomas now operates “four tai chi centres in Chennai, and two each in Bangalore and Hyderabad.”

“Studio For Dance” [SFD] is a dance school run in Chennai by Nisha Thomas, a trained Bharatanatyam artiste, [any relative of George Thomas?]. In addition to courses in ballet, lambada and other dances, SFD also offers yoga, tai chi and aerobics classes.

An eatery called Earth Bazaar in Chennai advertises that tai chi classes are held thrice a week in the evenings.

Body Scapes, a health and fitness centre in Bangalore, in conjunction with dance and weight gain and loss management programmes offers aerobics, yoga & meditation, and karate.

The management of the Metropolitan Transport Corporation in Chennai, as reported in The Hindu of Sep.20, 2001 “took a decision to train their bus conductors and drivers in the martial arts… The chief instructor imparts a blend of physical and breathing exercises, yoga & meditation, and karate.”

While reading the information that I have presented over the last three pages, the reader might have already made certain observations of his own. They could probably be condensed as follows:

  • Learning the martial arts has become easily accessible to people of all walks of life and religious persuasions.
  • They are being included in daily life by all from the corporate sector to children.
  • If tai chi is representative of the martial arts, they are all based on ancient Chinese and Taoist doctrines, the Yin/Yang principle of life etc.
  • If tai chi is representative of the martial arts, they are all fully compatible with and complementary to Indian yoga, pranic healing, reiki, distance healing, shiatsu, acu-yoga, polarity therapy, hypnosis etc.
  • If tai chi is representative of the martial arts, they too must all subscribe to belief in ‘chi’ [i.e. prana] or ‘universal life force energy’, the existence of meridians and an energy body in human beings, etc.
  • If tai chi is representative of the martial arts, while they all go through the motions of physical exercises, they are all mainly functional on a mental [mind; conscious and subconscious] level, and finally operate in the spiritual realm; i.e. they are all holistic [body, mind and soul in the New Age worldview; spirit, soul and body in the Christian understanding] techniques. [See my other articles for detailed explanations]

In February 2002, I received from Most Rev. Frederick D’Souza, Bishop of Jhansi, pages 82 through 105 of a book, the name and author of which he did not provide me with. The section written by Sr. Epifania Brasil OP is titled ‘The New Age Movement: A Challenge of our Time’ . I quote from page 83:

“In the Philippines there is something intriguing about the meditation practices like zen, yoga, tai chi … In times of sickness, especially when cure is remote or there is an absence of financial means to go to a doctor, alternative medicines and pranic healing becomes attractive.

“There is something new definitely that is infiltrating our country. Surely, this consciousness also is an issue now in your countries.”

It certainly is, though Sr. Epifania’s concern is greater, the Philippines being a Catholic nation. Note that she has included tai chi, along with yoga and Zen [which ARE meditation practices], as a MEDITATION system!

We will seek the opinion of others including Christians, as well as examine the February 3, 2003 Vatican Document “Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. A Christian Reflection on the ‘New Age’” to understand the origins and common worldview of some of the better known martial arts.

The Document*** records as New Age several of the techniques that George Thomas, India’s foremost tai chi exponent has majored in and adopted into the package that he offers, like Zen Buddhism, Transcendental Meditation, Polarity Therapy, Yoga, Acupuncture, Therapeutic Touch [or ‘Touch for Health], Mantras, the ‘exercises that lead to an experience of self-fulfillment or enlightenment’, Hypnosis, and the ‘holistic paradigm’ which it describes as ‘the greatest danger’.

Silva Mind Control is also New Age. The Document lists its founder Jose Silva as a New Age writer [n 4].

“The response from the New Age is unity through fusion. It claims to reconcile soul and body, female and male, …Yin and Yang”/ “Yin/Yang is a New Age symbol, to do with complementarity of contraries, especially masculine and feminine” [n 4.2, 7.1].

The Document deals in several places with the pre-Christian and New Age concept of universal life force energy.

***[Please see my 4-page summary of the Document, which was published in The Examiner, for details].

Martial artistes may perform seemingly superhuman feats such as board- breaking and splitting piles of stacked bricks down the centre with one firm downward chop with the edge of his [or her] hand, employing nothing more substantive than the shrill kiyai and human flesh. Disbelieving spectators assume that they have witnessed a demonstration of mind over matter accomplished by years of highly dedicated practice.

Few, if, any, realize that what they have just witnessed is a 5,000 year-old spiritual discipline designed to harmonize the body with the energy forces of the universe to achieve spiritual enlightenment. And few would suspect that such a display of physical and mental power could portend the possibility of demonic influence.

The obviously paranormal displays of power by an exponent of these arts have a Chinese name: noi cun. The source of this power is said to be the cosmic or vital or etheric or universal energy chi [also written as qi or ch’i.]

One who has knowledge of the application of prana in yoga and the ki [Japanese] of reiki will understand that chi [the basis of the working of acupuncture, pranic healing etc.] is the same paranormal phenomenon.

While some senseis may conduct amazing demonstrations of chi power, the interest of most people in the martial arts is less exotic and is limited more to learning a system of self-defense through unarmed combat, attaining physical development, enhancing a macho image to others, or simply a pastime rather than attaining any sort of spiritual experience. But the inherent presuppositions of pagan doctrine underlying the martial arts assures them that they may get something more than bargained for.

Bob Larson, ****in a 1977 four-page article titled ‘Martial Arts’ published by Bob Larson Ministries said, “Chi is widely known in the occult arts as the ‘life-energy-creative force of the universe’. The perceptive Christian knows it to be of demonic power.”

****[Further quotes from this article are identified thus].

World War II servicemen returning to the West in the mid 1940s from the Pacific area of military occupation brought back the hitherto relatively unknown forms of the martial arts to Europe and the United States.

Shortly, the Hong Kong movie industry churned out films such as ‘Five Fingers of Death’ and ‘Duel of the Iron Fist’ with martial arts themes. But it took Hong Kong born Bruce Lee to popularize this art form for the masses.

His 1972 movie ‘Kung Fu’ was turned into a successful TV series that spinned off magazines and T-shirts with an appeal far beyond board breaking. It was the first time in Hollywood history that a movie starring an Asian hero was a box office hit. Lee, to whom kung fu was more than a physical practice, explored its spiritual depths until he met an untimely mysterious death. His American-born son followed in his steps and died in a shooting accident while on the production sets of a film with an occult theme.

David Carradine who took kung fu to TV ended up an LSD addict and an anarchist.

It is popularly believed that the martial arts are ‘made in Japan’, but the real history of these arts goes back to the dawn of civilization in India, and nearly five millennia in China where it developed more extensively. By the time of the Feudal States in the 8th century BC, kung fu was widely practiced. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 the martial arts were totally eliminated from mainland China.

In 1928 they were renamed War Arts and were restored to their former national pride of place.

Over the centuries, various forms were evolved and modified into more or less violent intent. Distinctive schools developed:

Northern and Southern, ‘hard’ and ‘soft’. ‘Kung fu’ was the original, all-inclusive term describing the martial arts. Later, specific names were applied to its [Chinese] variations: aikido, judo, jujitsu, karate, tai chi. In Korea it became known as tae kwan do.

Though they have many roots and cultural variations, their religious foundation has common, pagan origins.

“The original religious philosophy of kung fu dates back as far as 3000 BC where it was rooted in the occultic forms of divination known as the I Ching” [see page 3]. “Lao Tzu, the Chinese sage born in 604 BC added further demonic embellishments. His teachings were set forth in a 5280 word manuscript called Tao Te Ching, often simply called ‘the tao’ or ‘the way’. He taught that salvation could not be attained by prayer to God, but by the natural way, the observance and emulation of nature. As the trees bend with the wind, and the rivers follow the path of least resistance, so too must man adopt this rhythm of coexistence with evil and wrong.

“With the adoption of Taoism, kung fu developed into a complex system of occult practices that included meditation and breathing exercises. The commonly shared doctrine of chi made acupuncture an aid in the quest for health. Eventually this led into a search for the mysteries of alchemy, further tainting kung fu with overtones of demonism.

“The next development in the history of kung fu took place when a monk named Bodhidharma brought Buddhism to China in the 6th century AD. When he discovered monks sleeping during his lectures, he introduced exercises to assist them in meditation. Known as I-chin Sutura, it combined kung fu with the philosophical principles of Zen Buddhism to develop a highly sophisticated form of weaponless defence.

“The monks at his Shaolin temple became famous for their savage abilities of defence employed whenever they were attacked in the course of their pilgrimages. Eventually, two schools of practice evolved:

  1. Ch’uan Fe or Kung Fu, based on the ‘hard’ or ‘external’ school of Buddhism;
  2. Martial arts based on the ‘soft’ or ‘internal’ school of Taoism.

As the arts spread beyond the monastery to the fields of war, some of the religious flavour was lost; but the essential undergirding of pagan principles has never been completely overshadowed, even unto today.”****

After centuries of metamorphosis, the martial arts have evolved into six distinct forms as they are known in the Western world, and we shall examine them individually.


Originally used as a colloquialism to refer to any martial art, kung fu is considered the mother of all such disciplines.

The alchemists who developed it were said to be literally ‘possessed’ [a choice of words with spiritistic ramifications] with it. The possibility of demonic involvement is emphasized by a statement from a volume dedicated to expounding the virtues of kung fu:

“Kung fu represents the development of man as a complete person. It combines the theological with the philosophical and blends these with the physical, thus evolving those attitudes which are in keeping with the natural laws… a perfect harmony of the physical and metaphysical.” The History and Philosophy of Kung Fu by Earl C. Medeiros.

Kung fu is best known for its ‘hard’ school which emphasizes kicking, striking and punching with strength and speed. Or, force to break force. It includes the striking of vital points, delayed action ‘death touches’, and the use of psychic powers. The power is said to be derived from chi.


Karate is the most widely practiced of the martial arts and the one best known to the general public. It is basically a form of self-defence and sport-fighting using bare hands, arms and wrists.

Though occupation forces brought it to the West from Japan, it originated in Okinawa where it had come from China. It developed there because the Japanese rulers had forbidden the use of all weapons.

The term ‘kara te’ means ‘empty hand’ . Gichin Funakoshi who developed it as Shotokan Ryu emphasized that the student must empty [kara] his mind [te] of wickedness in order to react properly.

It was in Okinawa that karate became infused with Zen philosophy. This undercurrent of Buddhism is found in the bowing, breathing exercises, seated meditation, intense concentration and heightened awareness that is said to be necessary to master the art. Above all, one is not to think. Karate is a practice of the spirit. Its stated purpose is to unite body, mind and spirit to reach the unity envisioned by Zen.

The most distinctive process is called kata, a choreographed combination of kicks, punches and breathing techniques designed to produce perfect form. It is like a graceful but powerful dance performed alone because the blows are deadly enough to kill. The most devastating blows are called kumite and involve the knuckles, fist, and chopping edge of the hand. Admittedly, most sport karate falls short of its physical goal [the taking of another life or painfully disabling of an opponent] and spiritual purpose [cultivation of chi and union with an internalized god]; but it is a question whether any devotee may be totally free of its pagan frame of reference.


This martial art is the most overtly religious.

Literally, it means ‘the road’ [do] ‘to a union’ [ai] with the ‘universal spirit’ [ki].

It was founded by Morihei Uyeshiba, who became concerned that he couldn’t control his strength without controlling his mind. After entering many temples, he arrived at ‘enlightenment’ and viewed himself, in the Buddhist theological concept as ‘at one with the universe’ . He then declared, “The true martial arts regulate the chi of the universe.”

All the body movements of aikido are said to agree with the universal laws of nature and bring to the follower the power of chi, which is inhaled into the lower abdomen and exhaled through the hands. When the innate psychic powers of all men are united with the body and spirit, aikidoists predict the world will be as one family.

4.  &   5. JUJITSU and JUDO

Jujitsu is a blending of kung fu and Japanese martial arts. By the 20th century it was the Japanese national sport.

A basic factor is knowing the vulnerable parts of an opponent’s anatomy and knowing how to attack those areas.

Judo is basically jujitsu minus the killing aspects. It was founded in 1882 by Jogoro Kano, a student of jujitsu.

Unlike karate, which may be compared with boxing, the ‘gentler’ art of judo is similar to wrestling. It employs the use of balance and leverage to throw, but never pin down an enemy. Devotees are warned in judo manuals that the art should not be learned without the inclusion of meditation exercises. Its founder had called it a “method of attaining selfrealization”, a common goal of pagan philosophy.


On pages 2 and 3, we have become aware of various common aspects of the martial arts in general through a case study of tai chi. The word chi in the name given to this brand of ‘universal energy’ manipulation is in itself a giveaway as to the true nature of its intentions and goals.

“Tai chi evolved from the ‘soft’ school of kung fu. Its founder Chan San Feng [see page 2] meditated on the occultic I Ching and was inspired while watching a crane fight with a snake. Like Lao Tzu who wrote the Tao, he supposed seeing the balanced interplay of opposites known as yin and yang.

These negative yin and positive yang principles were said to reach a harmonious duality when mind, breath and sexual energy come together. In this state, chi is supposed to produce quietness, and cure impotency and depression. All this is achieved by concentrating on the supposed psychic centre below the navel while practicing ‘shadow boxing’.”****

Just as some Christians are unable to reconcile themselves to the fact that homoeopathy has occultic undergirding [because they themselves are either users or dispensers of homoeopathic remedies], so too will there be rejection of the contentions of this write-up by some Christian practitioners, especially proponents, of the martial arts.

The Easter 1990 issue of Areopagus, a Christian quarterly published from ……… carried a 5-page feature, replete with photographs of tai chi sessions, titled The Contemplative Way of Tai Chi Chuan by Migi Autore, a physical education teacher and tai chi instructor from Genoa, Italy. She is well learned- in psychology and philosophy- and “has traveled widely in East Asia, studying various forms of tai chi from local masters. This spring she attended a rare gathering of tai chi masters held in Zhengzhou, People’s Republic of China.”

Referring to Feng, Migi Autore writes, “It is said that he learned tai chi chuan in a dream. To learn such techniques in a dream belongs to the shaman tradition.” [A shaman is a witch doctor]. She further elaborates:

“Tai chi comes from a formal practice in the old Taoist schools- a practice that combined the regulation of the breath with therapeutic movements. In ancient alchemic tradition, it was used in addition to alchemic practice in order to attain immortality.

“Though I had already been practicing tai chi for many years, I had never really realized that it was not an exercise only, albeit psycho-physical [she means ‘mind-body’], but a kind of contemplation in the unity of body-mind, matterspirit, in the fullness of being. For me, that day signaled the beginning of contemplation [she means meditation] in tai chi.

“Many religious texts of different traditions are agreed in saying that in the reach for perfection, in the way of unification with God, a human also needs to find unification between the personal inner self and the exterior worlds. There are many ways to get and to experiment with this unity. One of the most subtle and aesthetically pleasing is tai chi chuan…

“Tai chi chuan, being founded by a Taoist monk, is also based in the philosophy of the Tao-te Ching:

‘Tao generates the One, The One generates the Two, The Two generates the Three, The Three generates the Thousand things.’ The Tao produces the wu-chi, the Original One, the introductory movement of tai chi chuan.

This individuated unity produces the dualistic tai chi [which is] the yin and the yang, which start their action at the beginning of tai chi chuan. The Three is the flowing Power, the unifying medium of the dual powers, the vital energy which permeates all things, and the movement in form, but it is also the Taoist Triad…”

“In the literal sense, Tai Chi means the ‘Supreme Ultimate’ or the ‘Great Energy’… In Taoist philosophical terms, Chuan indicates the… universe or the cosmos…. If tai chi has roots in martial arts like kung fu, we must not forget that both Chinese and Japanese martial arts are always involved in the total self-realization of the human being…

“Certainly, tai chi requires time to learn, as all spiritual disciplines. It is a holistic discipline, which involves the body, the mind, and the spirit. It is also called ‘meditation in action’ . And, at the end, its perfection is in unification with the… cosmos: the Tao…” After eulogizing the I Ching and quoting Confucius, she opines, “The universe is a constant flow, and this flowing is responsible for the change in the world. This is the ultimate reality which is also known as Tai Chi, The Great Ultimate.”

Let us keep in mind the worldview of sifu George Thomas, and the contention of the other Christian tai chi instructor Selvaraj* [pages 2 ,3] that founder Feng did not die but simply flew away, while examining extracts from her write-up below, and we will appreciate the extent to which deception can occur among Christians.

*[His associate Sr. Amalavathy reposes complete confidence in the Vietnamese founder of the occult discipline that she propagates, because she is fully convinced that he possesses a wooden doll that ‘grows’, which apparently substantiates the universal energy gospel that he preaches.]

“The first rule of tai chi is relaxation. In its spiritual meaning, relaxation means trust in the human power of growth, in the possibility of perfection, and in the beneficent flow of the Tao… Slowness [in movements] is to allow the chi to join all the parts of the body without interruption… “Only in complete relaxation [the author refers to the meditations that accompany the practice of tai chi] can a person

become a live channel for the spontaneous flow of the mysterious vital energy coming from the Tao.

“The very tight connection between the body, the mind, the spirit and nature is one of the most important and deepest teachings of East Asian philosophy.

“As in the Zen Buddhist meditation, Zazen, to sit in the Buddha position is ‘to be Buddha’, so as well in tai chi chuan to move slow and flowingly is to be in communion with the flowing power of the Tao…

“The continuity & flowing of the form does not allow distractions & the practitioner is present to the continuous becoming of the yin into yang which creates the ten thousand beings. This means to be unified with all being.”


Quoting from Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 […a time to be born and a time to die…] she asks, “Does this not represent a kind of flowing of the opposites like yin and yang?

“The symbol of tai chi is very well known and sometimes used in ways outside its proper sense. This symbol is a circle divided in two equal parts by a serpentine line which forms two figures like fish co-penetrating one in the other. One part is red or white in colour (yang); the other is black (yin). They spontaneously interact and are both necessary. So yin and yang are not opposite forces, as in our [she means ‘CHRISTIAN’] theology of good and evil, but a celestial pair of powers which act without rest in the universe. The meaning of this symbol is very complex and would take pages and pages to

analyze completely. It is from this that the practice of tai chi chuan takes its essential inspiration.

“The balance and the harmony between such apparently opposite forces is the Tao. The mystery of the Tao is in its power to reconcile opposites at a superior level of consciousness which is cosmic consciousness.

All this could recall another very beautiful symbolism of another deep culture: the dance of Shiva in Hinduism. It is Shiva Nataraja who creates and destroys continuously, dancing in the hearts of human beings…”


“Chi literally means ‘breathing’ or ‘the air in the atmosphere’ [here one can substitute prana for chi and Hindu for Chinese and understand the principles behind the meditational exercises of yoga, the Meditation on Twin Hearts of pranic healing etc.] but in the Chinese context, in which philosophy is not separate from medicine, it has very rich and deep meanings. Over all, it is a psycho-physical strength associated with breathing and blood in the human body. When a person is sick, Chinese people say that person has a deficiency of chi in the blood.

“Moreover, chi is an intrinsic energy, an inner power, a force which gives life and permeates everything. It is the vital impulse of the cosmos. The combination of the relaxation and breathing which accompany the movements of tai chi is the key to increasing the chi. Without the relaxed body-mind and the chi it would be a simple exercise, only physical, with nothing to do with the Supreme Ultimate.

“Cultivating chi could take the person who practices constantly, to a higher level of being. From familiarity with the exercise is born the realization of energy. From the comprehension of energy is born spiritual illumination, but it is only after long practice that this sudden ‘seeing beyond’ will be obtained…”

“Tai chi has helped me on the way of self-knowledge. This is one way which has no end.”

Migi Autore concludes her treatise on tai chi by quoting chapter 63 of the Tao-te Ching:

‘Whosoever practices non-action, Occupies himself with not being occupied… He sees the great in the small…’ and she asserts, “With these wonderful words, we could remember some deep teachings of Christ.”

This, dear readers is the extent to which one can go when one is in deception.

It is clear that tai chi, which we have used as a case study, IS representative of the martial arts [see page 4].

Though to most readers, further comments on the diabolic nature of the martial arts are now superfluous, for some of you a few reminders will be helpful to fully understand the purport of some of Ms. Autore’s statements.

  • By practicing tai chi [read as ‘any of the martial arts’] with its breathing/relaxation/meditation techniques, Christian adherents automatically subscribe to its inherent Buddhist/Taoist philosophies.
  • Practitioners become ‘live’ channels of, or draw on, an occult force or power when they manipulate the ‘mysterious energy’, the chi [see page 10].
  • Theoretically at least, their goal is illumination and self-realization [ultimately, self-deification] through an ancient Chinese practice that sought immortality for its adherents; and a monistic unity with a cosmic consciousness, the Tao, the Great Ultimate which is the deity of these arts [see page 10].
  • They pay obeisance to an unholy trinity, the occult Taoist triad.
  • These arts are not mere physical exercises. They operate mainly at a mental and spiritual level. Devotees therefore expose themselves to be influenced holistically i.e. spirit, soul and body [see 1 Thessalonians 5: 23].
  • They unconsciously subscribe to New Age goals like the ‘unity of all being’, etc. etc.
  • They stand a good chance of being demonized or, at the very least [if at all that is a more consoling alternative], led further down the road of deception into other occult practices and become even more blinded even as Sr. Amalavathy, Master Selvaraj, Sifu George Thomas and Migi Autore have been, while yet professing to be followers of Christ.

[For a wider understanding, readers are requested to study my other writings including the research on pranic healing and reiki, summary of the Vatican Document on the New Age Movement, the report on CONYBIO etc.]


Four years ago I had received a letter from the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Sydney. It contained a write-up from one Brian Pickering in Australia that was sent to them by e-mail under the above heading. He wrote:

“‘Taekwondo and martial arts aren’t just physical exercise, they’re Zen Buddhist meditation techniques designed to bring a person into the experience of satori or Buddhist enlightenment’ warns a minister who was involved with them for 20 years. Ed Hird practiced karate, sometimes three times a week, and was so enthusiastic that he recruited others to join him, he said in an article in Anglicans for Renewal magazine.

“But he thought twice when his sons wanted to take taekwondo, a martial art similar to karate, as part of their Christian school gym class. He began to research the history of taekwondo to discern its purposes and agreed to present his findings to the… school board.

He read ‘dozens of pro-martial arts books’ and for several weeks asked questions of a number of taekwondo and martial arts experts from North America and other parts of the world on Internet chat forums, he told Religion Today.

“What [he] found surprised… [Hird who] had dabbled with hypnosis and astral projection before becoming a Christian in 1992, he said. The research led him to believe that taekwondo and other martial arts are ‘far more than just physical gym exercises’ but actually are seemingly innocuous doorways into non-Christian religions.

“The sitting meditation commonly done in taekwondo and most martial arts is an essential part of the training, done before and after the class to clear the mind of all thought and relax completely, according to the book Official WTF Taekwondo, Hird said. Synchronized breathing is a key to both Buddhist and Hindu meditation, he said.

“In contrast, Biblical meditation is meditating on God’s written Word, the Bible, rather than meditating on the empty mind’ by using breathing and visualization techniques.

“The ritualistic patterns of motion in the martial arts also concerned Hird, he said. Many of the patterns are ‘rooted in semimystical Taoist philosophy and their deeper meaning is said to be far more significant than the mere performance of a gymnastic series of exercises’ he said, quoting taekwondo author and instructor Eddie Ferrie. Westerners can be naïve about the ‘very subtle’ influences of martial arts, and lack the experience to notice their ‘hidden religious nature’, Hird said.

But there are some obvious clues, he said, including the Yin- Yang symbol that appears on ‘even many innocuous-looking taekwondo websites and brochures’.

“Some Christians practice the martial arts for exercise, or even as a way of evangelizing, but don’t really know what they are getting into, Hird said. ‘If it works, they don’t ask questions about what it means.’

Practitioners can try to ignore the spiritual dimension of the martial arts, but spirituality is their ultimate purpose historically, Hird said. He noted that the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs considers the martial arts as ‘forms of spiritual education that function as means toward self-realization or self-enlightenment.’

“Martial arts 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’ Hird said. It can be difficult emotionally for a person to give up the martial arts, because they may be so involved with them, Hird said. ‘It took me years. God is merciful. He had mercy on me. But He also wants us to wake up to areas of compromise and confusion, to the issue of serving two masters. 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.’ As a result of Hird’s research, ‘Our Christian school board decided to no longer offer taekwondo or other martial arts’, he said.


While it may be true that the various forms of martial arts that I have described on pages 6, 7 & 8 all have differing practices, they all have similar religious presuppositions. Within the diversity of applications, the source of their spiritual basis for physical expression is the same. Above all, it must be admitted that in both background origination, as well as in ultimate purpose, the martial arts represent a religion and a way of life.

The martial arts, because of their founding in Taoism and Buddhism, view the entire universe as an interplay of harmonizing opposites, the yin and yang. These principles are realized by the relaxed state of equilibrium produced by meditation and body movements. Each movement is uninterrupted and flowing. The end of one move is the beginning of the next.

Thus the yin and yang are balanced. When the Zen goal of stilled senses is achieved, this balanced harmony leads to one’s unity with the Universal Consciousness.

Such theological footing is pantheism, and the doctrine of ‘oneness’ is, of course, monism, which is incompatible with Christian belief. The Bible teaches a fallen creation with which there is NO harmony until it has been restored to its pre-Adamic condition [2 Peter 3: 13]. Furthermore, while the religions of the martial arts believe in a god who is synonymous with creation, Scripture teaches a personal, transcendent Deity who is apart from [not a part of] the material universe that

He has brought into being by the power of His Word. This created universe is imperfect in its present state.

It is controlled by a sin principle that must be destroyed rather than accommodated.

The Zen undercurrent of the martial arts is more apparent when one explores the source of its strength and the intent of its ‘salvation’. The term chi or prana is recurrent in the explanation of the martial arts as well as acupuncture and yoga.

It is seen as a universal source of energy that pervades and sustains the phenomenal [material] world. The Handbook of Martial Arts by William Logan and Herman Petras states, “Some call chi God; others call it Buddha.” Nowhere does the Bible teach of some sort of impersonal, amoral supernatural power. However, since the reality and the results of this ‘energy’ is well attested to by martial arts devotees, the Christian can only conclude that such power is real, but also demonic in origin.

To Christian adherents of the martial arts who try to reduce chi to naturalistic origin, the pagan practitioners of this art will not join in agreement with them. The History of Kung Fu states, “All true strength is a product of chi rather than muscle.

It is only when the yin and yang interplay harmoniously inn their proper relationship that there is strength.”

Salvation in Zen is the comprehension of our inherent divine essence which is but a manifestation of the Universal Soul.

It is believed that such enlightenment [salvation] may be shared by sending forth chi to illuminate the spiritual darkness of the world. Whether the form of martial art that one practices is based on the doctrine of naturalism found in Taoism or that of illusion found in Buddhism, it should be understood that both explicitly deny the blood atonement of Jesus Christ.

To the Christian, salvation comes by the finished work of the cross.

And by His resurrection we have eternal life, not the nirvanic nihilism of Zen Buddhism.


Those Christians who practice the martial arts [or any other seemingly harmless, yet inherently occult/New Age practice like Yoga or Homoeopathy] defend their conduct by insisting that they avoid any religious overtones.

But two critical questions must be asked of them:

  1. What is the ultimate intent of the art?
  2. What de facto acquiescence to pagan doctrine is assumed by their involvement?

One cannot obscure the fact that in the case of the ‘hard’ arts, the purpose is to inflict bodily injury.

Such violence is not compatible with the Christian way of life. And even the self-defence motive is questionable in view of the Christian’s supposed subjection to the God’s will & his dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Some Christians’ defence of martial arts may be based on the contention that they can be viewed merely as a sport. Power, speed, timing and discipline, not mental or supernatural power, is their objective.

It is possible for some to practice the arts without encountering the dangers foreseen in this article. It is also clearly understood that some commercialized forms of the arts teach nothing more than gymnastic routines and dance forms. Such ersatz dojos offer black belts to virtually every paying customer. Learning a few such basic techniques no more makes one a practitioner of the martial arts than does standing bon one’s head make one a proponent of yoga. Further, in an age when rapists, muggers and communal elements abound, who can be blamed for learning to deliver a well-placed kick?

The dissident Christian will find it difficult to explain away the Yin/Yang symbol and its accompanying philosophy. There is a second symbol which is oft times used where martial arts are practiced. It is a spiral configuration derived from the occultic I-Ching and represents the belief in reincarnation and cyclical evolution.

Logan and Petras [page 10] conclude, “The martial arts are not merely self-defence techniques designed to make weapons of the hands and feet. They are a formulated means by which one can attain through diligent practice, a measurable degree of spiritual enlightenment.”

Author Earl Medeiros quoted in the History of Kung Fu [see page 6] says, “This, then, is the real purpose of kung fu. It is not the breaking of bricks or the crushing of bones; but rather, the purpose of kung fu is as a spiritual discipline through which one may establish a pattern for life…”

With such intent in mind, can any Christian afford the chance of embarking on the road of martial arts?

Should practices steeped in demonism and the occult be considered harmless merely upon the re-definition of a devotee?

To risk participation in potentially spiritistic methodology is to chance the results that Satan intends. While I do not indict or judge those who see this [and the other issues which I have written about] differently, I must in all clear Christian conscience warn those who may be ignorantly or innocently fascinated with the physical prowess offered by the martial arts.

The temptations are strong if one is further enticed by the prospect of inner tranquility and enlightenment promised as the ultimate reward of long-term dedication to practice of the martial arts.

The questions that I have asked need to be seriously considered, and must be answered by each Christian according to his perception of the martial arts, but with the right attitude of spiritual discernment, testing every-thing against the Word of God [1 John 4: 1 and 1 Thessalonians 5: 21].

I also favour this verse from Paul to Timothy: “For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come [1 Timothy 4: 8].

At the risk of repeating myself, I cannot resist quoting from Bob Larson [see page 5], the author of the leaflet on martial arts. But the gravity of the decision that the individual has to make warrants it.

He wrote, “My purpose for writing this analysis is to warn of the occultic and religious background of the martial arts and to expose its premises which are grounded in demonic methodology. Given the inherent dangers and potential abuses, I want to question whether any concerned Christian should indulge in such practices. I could not, especially after what I have learned when dealing in the realm of demonology.”

As Wang Tsung Yueh states in his treatise on Tai Chi Chuan, “A small divergence in the beginning will lead you a thousand miles away from your path in the end.” [Purasai News April 4-10, 1999, article on George Thomas]. Christians who are training in the martial arts would do well to reflect on and pay heed to those words of warning. [Abridged version serialised in “Shalom Tidings”, a Kerala charismatic magazine, issues of May-June and Sep-Oct 2005].


My library has exactly three books on world religions. It did not surprise me to find tai chi listed in all three.

  1. The World’s Religions, edited by Sir Norman Anderson, Intervarsity Press 1950, pages 224, 225

One important aspect of Chinese philosophy is the belief that the cosmos is governed by two opposing forces, yin and yang….. The dualistic outlook… was elaborated upon by both Confucianists and Taoists…

It became a science applied both to geomancy [feng shui], medicine, alchemy etc. The symbol of this system is the pa kua [eight trigrams] which comes from the appendices of the Book of Changes [I Ching].

They are composed of combinations of a long dash [yang] and two short dashes [yin]. These are arranged around the central symbol of the two ‘fish’ [yin/yang] which was added in the Sung Dynasty. The fish complement each other and represent t’ai chi [primal matter]. One version is included in the Korean national flag.

  1. The World’s Religions, A Lion Handbook, 1982 page 430, 434, 390 T’ai Chi: The absolutely transcendent in Chinese philosophy. The working of t’ai chi in the production of the yin and yang is

represented by a circle divided into complementary pear-shaped light and dark halves… which provided the theoretical basis for the Taoist practice of alchemy… a mystical science which seeks to find the universal cure for illness and discover the secret of immortality.

*** 3. The Wordsworth Dictionary of Beliefs and Religions, edited by Rosemary Goring 1992, page 512 T’ai Chi: The Chinese notion of the Great Ultimate which is the underlying cause of everything. In the third appendix to the I Ching it is the One through which the Tao manifests itself and then engenders the yin and yang which combine to produce the phenomenal world. For the Taoist tradition in China, the tai chi was the unity that underlies all things. Chou Tun I [1017-1077] wrote An Explanation of the Diagram of the Great Ultimate (T’ai Ch’i tu) and in it he claimed that everything in the world, including human characteristics is generated from the Great Ultimate. It is the transcendent first cause which all

else follows. Tai Chi is the nearest thing to an equivalent to God in Chinese thought.

Extracts from books by Christian authors:

  1. Larson’s New Book of Cults, Bob Larson 1982, Tyndale House Publishers page 304

Purpose of Martial Arts: The intent depends on the form of discipline and the instructor. Eastern senseis could present them as a religion with meditation techniques and idolatrous trappings. Western instructors will more likely emphasize the initial sport stages and appeal to a more casual fascination with the arts as a fad.

  1. A Concise Dictionary of Cults and Religions, William Watson 1991, Moody Press pages 147, 148

When practiced to their fullest extent, these studies in self-defense are really paranormal feats and psycho-kinetic phenomena that have their roots in ancient Eastern religion, including Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Kung Fu is the original; the variations are T’ai Chi Chuan… etc. Kung fu dates back… to an occultic form of divination, the I Ching.

  1. Pigs in the Parlour, Frank and Ida Mae Hammond 1973, Impact Books page 29

Involvement to ANY DEGREE [emphasis theirs] in religious error can open the door for demons…

This includes such popular interests as yoga exercises and karate which cannot be divorced from heathen worship.

  1. Demons Defeated, Bill Subritzky 1985, Sovereign World Publishers pages 138-140

Some people cannot understand the problem that lies behind martial arts and practices such as acupuncture and yoga. Always look at the philosophy which is behind a particular practice, not the practice only,… you will soon determine whether it is based on God’s Word or… from the pit of hell. In practices such as karate, kung fu and judo, we have found that those involved receive spirits of violence and anger which manifest in an extreme fashion when we pray for deliverance. [2 Corinthians 11: 14]

  1. Explaining Spiritual Warfare, Ed Roebert 1991, Sovereign World page 24

Satan tries to bring occult influences into the home through sport…

Certain sports such as yoga and karate have overtones originating in eastern religions. At first they appear innocent, but serious followers end up with meditations and in some cases incantations leading to pure occult practices. When members of the family become involved, an opening is given that can cause division and problems in the family… It is better to stay clear and not give the enemy any foothold or point of access.

  1. The Facts on the New Age Movement , John Ankerberg and John Weldon 1988, GLS Publishing page 25 The influence of the New age Movement among Christians can be seen in the Yoga Journal where two persons, claiming to be Christians, practice yoga, tai chi and aikido and state that Christians “stand to gain by learning discipline and spiritual awareness from the East”.

***7. Understanding the New Age, Russell Chandler 1988, Word Publishing page 164

Said to be omnipresent, spiritual energy supposedly flows from the universe into living beings, circulating within them in an orderly and discernible fashion and then flowing out again.

The Chinese call the dynamic energy field ‘chi’, the Japanese ‘ki’. It is known as ‘prana’ by the yogis…

In Eastern religions, this impersonal energy or life force is the equivalent of God. Supposedly it is generated by the interplay of the yin and the yang… Energy- psychic energy- corrects or balances organic wrongness.

***These are just two writers of many, who confirm that the ‘chi’ of the martial arts is the deity [god] of ancient Chinese religion. The second book is written by a Christian who could be biased against Eastern religions. The first is secular, and so is very significant. I have viewed several programmes on the Martial arts on National Geographic and Discovery channels. All the presenters ever talked about was ‘chi’. They also often spoke about chi-kung [qi gong, see article on CONYBIO], Zen Buddhism, the Buddha and the SHAOLIN temple in Yunan Province of China which was the citadel of martial arts theology.

Internet articles by Christian authors:

  1. YIN AND YANG: GETTING INTO THE FLOW by Marcia Montenegro

HSI Issue #64 March 27, 2005 Holy Spirit Interactive: New Age #5

EXTRACT: Tai Chi, often called a “moving meditation,” is based in Taoism. One of the purposes of Tai Chi is to facilitate “the flow of qi through the body,” (Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical & Paranormal Experience, Rosemary Ellen Guiley, p. 599). The qi (also spelled chi, ki or ji) is an Eastern name for the universal energy supposedly flowing through the body.

A fact sheet on the meaning of the 108 moves in Tai Chi, put out by the Taoist Tai Chi Society in the U.S., states that the 36 major and minor yang channels in the body are the “Celestial Deities” while the yin elements in the body are the “72 Terrestrial Deities.” The combined total is 108, a “number divined by Chang San Feng himself” (Chang, an 11th century Taoist monk, is considered the founder of Tai Chi). The statement goes on to say that “the full 108 symbolizes the harmonious balance of yin and yang and therefore lead to health. The union of all yin and yang elements represent the return to the holistic and undifferentiated state of the Tao.” The term undifferentiated means there are no distinctions; all is

one. [See my article on ACUPUNCTURE]



This Catholic apologetic paper has been written in answer to the following email message:

Peace be with you! I am a high school youth minister at a Catholic church. Recently a debate has arisen among members of our parish staff about Yoga. The basic debate is thus: is it possible to separate the movements and positions of yoga from the spirituality? Several members of our staff do yoga at the church once a week and they claim that it’s just exercise — totally separate from any sort of religious ties. I’d be interested in reading your treatise and hearing the results of your research in this area. Thanks! In Christ, Janet … In the Church’s bazaar in my parish, gift certificates to yoga classes in the Dharma Institute* were auctioned… *THE DHARMA CENTER, 13817 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land, TX 77478 – It offers yoga, t’ai chi, Pilates, massage therapy, healing touch, aromatherapy, etc.



January 23, 2001 KOREA SEOUL (UCAN) Seoul archdiocese has cautioned priests and Religious regarding the increasingly popular practice of “ki” (energy) sessions that blend physical movement, breathing and concentration. Auxiliary Bishop Peter Kang Woo-il of Seoul sent Jan. 12 a document titled “Alert on ki training culture” to all clergy and superiors of religious institutes in the archdiocese.

“Recently there has been an increasing number of clergy, Religious and laity who frequent centers of ‘ki-gong’ and ‘abdomen breathing,’ and they invite others to join them,” Bishop Kang said.

He said though people begin the practice for health, they gradually develop it to a kind of spiritual dimension. “The religious dimension to which such ki culture leads becomes easily linked to a mystical, transcendental and individualistic outlook of the world — that is not easily compatible with Christian faith,” the bishop noted.

The Church leader asked clergy and Religious who practice ki techniques for help in spiritual concentration or meditation to use “discernment because such a practice can cause confusion among ordinary Catholics.” “Unlike established religions that seek the common good of society, some new religious sects promise individual peace and physical health,” he said.

Citing the letter “Orationis Formas” (On some aspects of Christian meditation) of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Oct. 15, 1989, Bishop Kang stressed that trying to develop prayer as a skill may be opposed to the child-like spirit stressed in the Gospel. “Pure Christian mysticism has nothing to do with a skill,” he said, citing the Vatican document which was published in Korean in 1999.

Ki and ki-gong, or “qi” and “qi-gong” in Chinese, are generally regarded as belonging to the Taoist stream.


01 November 2004 KOREA SEOUL (UCAN) The flourishing of “new spirituality” movements has prompted Church workers to recommend a shift in pastoral approach.

Father Pius Kwak Seung-ryong, pastoral planning director of Taejon diocese, blames the Catholic Church’s present pastoral paradigm for the popularity of new spirituality movements among Catholics.

Speaking at an Oct. 21 symposium in Suwon, 45 kilometers south of Seoul, he observed that along with South Korea’s rapid economic growth and increasing materialism has come an increasing spiritual thirst. Traditional devotions, prayer and meditation do not easily satisfy this thirst, he said.

Proof of this is the increasing popularity of methods such as yoga, Zen and “ki” (“chi”) energy training among Koreans, Catholics included, who say these techniques help them achieve soundness of body and mind. The Korean Catholic bishops have warned Catholics about such new spirituality movements.

According to Father Kwak, Catholics are attracted by these movements’ focus on experiencing the “warmth of the world” amid a “harsh and inhuman society.” However, at the symposium titled “Challenge of Pseudo-spirituality Movements and Pastoral Countermeasures,” the priest insisted that the Catholic Church has its own wealth of spiritualities.

He recommended promoting the spirituality and prayer practiced in the early Church, as well as various “God-centered” prayers and spiritual exercises developed within the Church throughout its history.

“It is our duty to graft those traditions attractively” to meet modern Christians’ needs, he told the 1,200 people who attended, including Suwon’s Bishop Paul Choi Duk-ki and Auxiliary Bishop Mathias Lee Yong-hoon. Suwon diocese sponsored the symposium, held at the cathedral.

Francis Park Moon-su, researcher at the bishops’ Pastoral Institute of Korea, points to the “Sacrament-centered” paradigm of the Catholic Church as a factor in Catholics joining new spirituality movements.

This paradigm defines “good Catholics” as those who fulfill obligations such as attending Sunday Mass, making regular confession and paying their monthly dues. Park asserted that with such an “insufficient” model of spirituality, it seems impossible for the Church to effect spiritual renewal.

The Church needs to take the new spirituality movements seriously. Nonetheless, he says many elements in such movements are based on pantheism and other religions, and clash with Catholic dogma. While many proponents claim these movements only promote well-being, Park charged they influence people to eschew longstanding social systems and communities.

Father Joseph Lee Chan-jong, evangelization and education administrator of Suwon diocese, told UCA News Oct. 27 that new spirituality movements have spread tacitly as well-being programs catering to current lifestyles.

He said the purpose of the symposium was to give pastoral direction to Catholics in their faith life and to help them keep such movements from penetrating into the Catholic community.

Suwon diocese has sponsored annual symposiums since 1994 to educate parishioners on various issues.

Meanwhile, the Korean bishops’ Committee for the Doctrine of the Faith has issued two documents, in 1997 and in 2003, on new spirituality movements. According to the bishops, such movements are in serious conflict with “the essence of Christianity” on matters such as the understanding of God, Christology and ecclesiology.

Recently, Bishop Boniface Choi Ki-san of Inchon asked priests of his diocese to report parishioners who have joined the Dahn World Center, termed a “pseudo-religious” movement by critics in the Church.


CHRISTIAN OR NEW AGE? PART VIII by Susan Brinkmann, Special to the Herald, October 18, 2007

This is the eighth of a series that examines how Catholics are being challenged by followers of New Age philosophies.

It’s called “ki” in Japan, “chi” in China and “prana” in India — but it all means the same thing — a form of universal “energy” which is believed to flow through human beings that can become unbalanced. Practitioners of Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong, polarity therapy, and as many as 60 other forms of “energy healing” seek to channel this energy to restore health.

Although originating in the East, energy medicine has become popular in the West, and is practiced in many U.S. medical facilities.

Because these practices are not regulated by the FDA and are not required to meet their rigorous standards of efficacy, consumers need to beware. This is especially true because alternative and complementary medicine has become a multimillion dollar business in the United States.

In order to protect consumers against potential fraud, Congress established a National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in 1998.

In an overview of the field of energy medicine, the NCCAM has concluded that most techniques are not scientifically valid.

As their report indicates, consumers need to be made aware of the scientific distinction between the two forms of energy — veritable and putative — and which is involved in energy medicine.

Veritable energy consists of mechanical vibrations (such as sound) and electromagnetic forces, including visible light, magnetism, monochromatic radiation and rays from other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. “They involve the use of specific, measurable wavelengths and frequencies to treat patients,” the report states.

Putative energy is what practitioners of Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, reflexology and yoga purport to be manipulating. It consists of alleged “energy fields” that human beings are supposedly infused with. This subtle form of energy, or “life force,” is known as “ki” in Japanese medicine and “chi” in Chinese medicine, and elsewhere as “prana,” etheric energy and homeopathic resonance.

“These approaches are among the most controversial of complementary and alternative medical practices,” the NIH reports, “because neither the external energy fields nor their therapeutic effects have been demonstrated convincingly by any biophysical means.”

According to Victor Stenger, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii, the most powerful and accurate detectors known to science have never discovered even a hint of this energy form. “Much of alternative medicine is based on claims that violate well established scientific principles,” writes Stenger in his article, “Energy Medicine,” which appeared in The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine.

“Those that require the existence of a bio-energetic field, whether therapeutic touch or [traditional Chinese] acupuncture, should be asked to meet the same criteria as anyone else who claims a phenomenon whose existence goes beyond established science. They have an enormous burden of proof. . . .”

The fact that major nursing organizations and publications refer to these unsubstantiated energy forms is causing major problems in the medical community. “Medical journals should follow the lead of most scientific journals and not publish extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence,” Stenger writes.

Unfortunately, there is confusion among the public and even among some healers as to what kind of energy is being manipulated. This is why the best source for this information is the practitioners’ own literature.

The problem has become so serious that the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA) issued a position statement in December 2005 denouncing six categories of what are considered metaphysical, paranormal or pseudoscientific practices that include Reiki, therapeutic touch, touch for health, crystal healing, aroma energy and many others.

The AMMA believes the widespread use of these methods “has advanced to the point of becoming a serious problem that is adversely affecting the overall professional image and reputation of massage therapy in the United States.”

According to the AMMA’s legislative and external affairs coordinator, Amanda Cihak, “While it is scientific fact that the human body is comprised of energy, i.e., protons, neutrons, electrons, there is a vast difference between those massage therapists wanting to assist the body’s natural healing processes and those who claim they can manipulate one’s ‘energy,’ chi, life-force, etc. “Many times a practitioner will perform Reiki, Energy Healing, Cranial Sacral or Polarity Therapy without the consent or desire of a client, while they believe they are receiving an actual clinical or medical massage treatment,” Cihak says.

Insurance companies are yet another industry experiencing problems from this confusion of legitimate medical massage and energy healing. According to Cihak, more and more companies throughout the country are making a distinction between ‘massage therapy’ which includes Reiki practitioners, and ‘clinical massage therapy’ which requires additional training, documentation and education specifically in clinical/medical massage.

The confusion is enhanced when energy healers are permitted to work in legitimate medical facilities. This is particularly problematic in Christian hospitals. Aside from showing a long list of “professional organization” endorsements, energy healers often get in the door at Christian hospitals by claiming techniques such as Therapeutic Touch and Reiki have nothing to do with religion.

According to the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), these claims are untrue.

In their February 2004 position statement, titled, “Therapeutic Touch is not a Catholic Hospital Pastoral Practice,” the CMA explains why these practices come with considerable “religious baggage” in spite of the application of a secular veneer, and are therefore not compatible with Catholicism.

“Therapeutic touch is essentially a ‘New Age’ manifestation in a medical setting,” writes Doctor Patrick Guinan in the CMA document. “New Age philosophy is well defined in the recent Vatican document, ‘Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Waters of Life.’ New Age is the belief that conscious reality consists of cosmic energy and pantheistic forces that can be known and controlled by an elite knowledgeable in this mystical system. New Age is in direct contrast to traditional Western Judeo-Christian culture that posits a personal God and humans endowed with a free will.’”

For instance, Reiki literature clearly refers to the energy it manipulates as a “spiritually guided life-force energy.” Polarity therapists claim they are working the “human energy field” but go on to say that this energy field “exists everywhere in nature.” Cranial Sacral Biodynamics claims it works on the “formation of a relationship between the practitioner and the inherent ordering principle, the Breath of Life” of a client.

Energy medicine also causes confusion in the professional realm — particularly in the field of legitimate medical massage, which is defined as the manual manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for therapeutic purposes. Confusing legitimate medical massage with energy healers who purport to do much more, casts a pall of charlatanism over the whole medical profession.

The problem has become so serious that the American Medical Massage Association (AMMA) issued a position statement in December 2005 denouncing six categories of what are considered metaphysical, paranormal or pseudoscientific practices that include Reiki, therapeutic touch, touch for health, crystal healing, aroma energy and many others.

The AMMA believes the widespread use of these methods “has advanced to the point of becoming a serious problem that is adversely affecting the overall professional image and reputation of massage therapy in the United States.”

According to the AMMA’s legislative and external affairs coordinator, Amanda Cihak, “While it is scientific fact that the human body is comprised of energy, i.e., protons, neutrons, electrons, there is a vast difference between those massage therapists wanting to assist the body’s natural healing processes and those who claim they can manipulate one’s ‘energy,’ chi, life-force, etc. “Many times a practitioner will perform Reiki, Energy Healing, Cranial Sacral or Polarity Therapy without the consent or desire of a client, while they believe they are receiving an actual clinical or medical massage treatment,” Cihak says.

Insurance companies are yet another industry experiencing problems from this confusion of legitimate medical massage and energy healing. According to Cihak, more and more companies throughout the country are making a distinction between ‘massage therapy’ which includes Reiki practitioners, and ‘clinical massage therapy’ which requires additional training, documentation and education specifically in clinical/medical massage.

The confusion is enhanced when energy healers are permitted to work in legitimate medical facilities. This is particularly problematic in Christian hospitals.

Aside from showing a long list of “professional organization” endorsements, energy healers often get in the door at Christian hospitals by claiming techniques such as Therapeutic Touch and Reiki have nothing to do with religion.

According to the Catholic Medical Association (CMA), these claims are untrue. In their February 2004 position statement, titled, “Therapeutic Touch is not a Catholic Hospital Pastoral Practice,” the CMA

explains why these practices come with considerable “religious baggage” in spite of the application of a secular veneer, and are therefore not compatible with Catholicism.

“Therapeutic touch is essentially a ‘New Age’ manifestation in a medical setting,” writes Doctor Patrick Guinan in the CMA document. “New Age philosophy is well defined in the recent Vatican document, ‘Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Waters of Life.’ New Age is the belief that conscious reality consists of cosmic energy and pantheistic forces that can be known and controlled by an elite knowledgeable in this mystical system. New Age is in direct contrast to traditional Western Judeo-Christian culture that posits a personal God and humans endowed with a free will.’”


CHRISTIAN OR NEW AGE? PART IX by Susan Brinkmann, Special to the Herald, November 2, 2007

This is the ninth part of a series that examines how Catholics are being challenged by followers of New Age philosophies. A nurse who practices energy medicine claims in a journal for Christian nurses that she was told “God had blessed her with the gift of healing through the manipulation of a person’s energy field.” One Web site claims that energy medicine is “in alignment with the Bible.”

Yet another advises: “Reiki provides a very wonderful way for Christians to make use of God’s power. . . . When giving or receiving Reiki attunements or treatments, just call on God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to work directly through you and do the healing for you.”

Those are examples of the way practitioners of energy medicine are drawing Christians into a wide variety of healing methods, such as Reiki, therapeutic touch, Qi Gong, polarity therapy and crystal healing, all of which are based on the alleged existence of a universal life force that can be manipulated for healing. Can we simply substitute the name of Jesus, or the Holy Spirit, for this energy, or choose to believe that the source of the energy is God? Unfortunately, no. The basic concept of energy medicine — the energy, itself — is not a Christian belief. It belongs to New Age and non-Christian religions.

“The New Age god is an impersonal energy, a particular extension or component of the cosmos; god in this sense is the lifeforce or soul of the world,” states the Vatican’s document on New Age practices and philosophies, “Christ, Bearer of the Water of Life.”

“This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life,” it continued. “God is in Himself personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion of His life with creaturely persons.”

That aspect of a loving God is missing from the “force” in energy medicine, according to Father Anthony J. Costa, the director of Spiritual Formation at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary College Division in Philadelphia.

“There’s an intimacy with God that is integral to our faith. he loves us unconditionally. We look to the different texts in the Old and New Testaments and see the intimate love that he has for us,” Father Costa said. “We see all the examples of his love for us and his desire to be with us. We see this in the petitions in the Our Father, the intimacy with Abba, our Father — this desire Jesus has for us to be in union with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You don’t have that with an energy force.”

He added that healing through energy medicine also lacks one of the most important components of Jesus’ ministry — spiritual healing. “There are many examples from the Gospel where the healing leads to conversion, with conversion being a central aspect of our faith, which is not noted in any of these methods,” Father Costa said. Meanwhile, plenty of people involved in the propagation of energy medicine try to convince their followers otherwise, and they are not afraid to use distortions of Scripture to try to make their point.

Perhaps the most common error is to confuse the Christian laying on of hands with New Age methods of energy manipulation. For instance, William Lee Rand, founder of the International Center for Reiki Training, in his article, “Was Jesus a Reiki Master?” goes so far as to suggest that because Jesus sometimes laid hands on people while healing them, he may have been using Reiki. “There are many similarities between the laying on of hands healing Jesus did and the practice of Reiki,”

Rand writes. He goes on to list only those episodes in the Gospels where Jesus used his hands to heal — excluding every other method, such as the casting out of demons and healing by command. Rand’s article “seems to cite different examples from Scripture about healings, and give an interpretation that misses the real spirit of the [Gospel] text,” Father Costa said.

“Sure Jesus touched people when he healed. But there are other cases — such as when he healed the centurion’s servant — when he “said but the word,” and they were healed. The foundation is that it comes through Christ,” Father Costa added. “It’s not simply powers that are being passed from one person to the other. The source is Jesus.”

Kathleen McCarthy, president of In His Sign Network, who has been involved in a charismatic healing ministry for 33 years, notes significant differences between the Christian laying on of hands and what is done by energy healers.

“In the charismatic gift of healing and the laying on of hands, the hands are a just a symbol of service,” McCarthy said. “We’re not acting as a channel. We’re not a conduit for any energy. We are an instrument of God’s healing. There is only one healer — Jesus Christ — and we’re calling upon him to touch the person. Our hands are just an outward sign showing this person that we’re joining with them in prayer.”

That is an important difference from practitioners of energy medicine techniques such as Reiki, McCarthy said: “The Reiki master and students think this is their power — a power that stays with them, that they can’t lose. When I lay my hands on a person, I know this is a passing manifestation of God’s power.

“It’s the power of the living God. It’s not a power that I have. All I do is come in the name of the one who has atoned for the world. I come in his name.”

Thinking that we can participate in these practices simply by believing that the energy comes from God can be a dangerous delusion, particularly in the case of techniques such as Reiki, which employ “attunement” rituals involving secret symbols and the use of spirit guides. On his Web site, Rand says that the attunement process “opens the crown, heart and palm chakras and creates a special link between the student and the Reiki source.”

He goes on: “The Reiki attunement is a powerful spiritual experience. The attunement energies are channeled into the student through the Reiki Master. . . . The attunement is also attended by Reiki guides and other spiritual beings who help implement the process.”

The process Rand describes is riddled with dangers, from the unnamed Reiki “source” to the channeling of energy and the use of spirits to implement the process.

“Nowhere does Scripture teach us to ‘channel energy’ in the way characteristic of Reiki,” writes Father Gareth Leyshon, a Cardiff, Wales-trained astrophysicist who was ordained a priest in May, 2007, on his Web site’s “Catholic Critique of the Healing Art of Reiki.”

“In fact, presuming that God will assist in a way which He has not revealed to be His will constitutes the sin of ‘tempting God,’” Father Leyshon stated.

Particularly problematic in the case of Reiki is its process of initiation, which uses secret symbols. Even though first-level practitioners are initiated by having the symbols replicated over them, rather than being taught them — they may not even be aware of the symbols at the time — the ritual incorporates into it what Father Leyshon describes as “divination.”

“If these symbols originate in a non-Christian mystical experience (which they do, according to Reiki sources) then any attempt to use them (including the attunement to become a first-level initiate) constitutes a use of knowledge obtained by divination,” he writes.

“The mere fact of needing to be initiated rather than simply being taught to manipulate ki gives Reiki the character of a ritual rather than a therapy,” Father Leyshon adds. Indeed, the fact that there is any initiation at all should be the first warning that Christians are entering a dangerous area,

he said: “One who submits to a Reiki initiation allows spiritual authority to be exercised over oneself. Since the authority is not clearly sourced in the Triune God, this act of submission must constitute idolatry; and the indispensability of initiation is the clearest sign of why Reiki cannot be compatible with Christianity.”

Father Leyshon advises pastors and superiors who must confront Reiki in their ministries not to worry so much about whether there is such a thing as Reiki or whether it is effective. They should simply stress that “Christians are committed to turn to no spiritual source other than the Triune God, who has not revealed Reiki as a means of harnessing his power.”

According to Father Costa, we can confront the advance of “energy” medicine in our own time and place by reaffirming what we believe — and who we believe Jesus is. “Any time we have anything that is not pointing to Jesus — that is not rooted in the healing that comes from him — is always an indicator that we are not being authentic, that we are not following the way of the cross,” he said.

(These articles originally appeared in The Catholic Standard and Times, the Philadelphia archdiocesan newspaper.)



From: erikagibello To: Sent: Monday, March 28, 2005 4:31 AM

Subject: Re: NEW AGE/question

Dear Micheal …I was in Belarus and Lithuania and so I had no time to answer you. New Age is very much alive there, in Belarus … Thanks for your diligent research. I made a shorter flyer from it, especially Martial Arts. It will be in my book, with reference to you.

Some of the material you used is from Evangelical sources. I know some of these people from my own work in the USA. I do not hold all their reasons, why it cannot be done, some of these opinions are too simplistic for Catholic theologians. Basically it is not the philosophy we have to be avoiding, Catholics do not search for another philosophy, but rather want to “exercise” and some priest want to inculturate, and there I tried to show via your research that it cannot be done. All is translated in Russian and German. Love to you and Angela. Erika I forgot to tell you what wonderful thing happened with reference to Martial Arts: On the last day of the Inner Healing retreat in Ross (Belarus) in Church, three priests were laying on hands, whilst I was aloud praying from the pulpit for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I was not able to get into the aisles, what I usually do, due to my bad leg! Whilst praying for some people who came up, my lady translator, a German friend came rushing to me telling that I should pray for the young priest, as no one was falling when he prayed over people, she felt sorry for him! I should pray for him,

so that people may also fall when he prayed!!! Whilst praying aloud for the people in the church, I prayed quietly for him, I felt a strong blockage and felt that I should rush to the sacristy and telephone Fr. Rufus in India to pray for this priest for the blockage of Martial Arts, as he had told me that he and another monk of his community were trying to extract the exercise of Martial Arts, which could be used for

defense (see your nuns! in one of your articles). I told him he could not do this! He did not believe at that moment. I reached Fr. Rufus in a split second (grace of God alone!) and told him about this monk and his praying over people etc. Fr. R prayed immediately and immediately the people started to fall. He prayed for the blockage of Martial Arts to be removed!!!!! Of course later I witnessed this to that priest/monk and he was fully converted that his attempt to “inculturate” the soft form of Martial Arts is also NOT ok. (see your ending of your research, you seem to give way a bit for defense only!) Also

this cannot be done. In this case this is due that the arts is in the mind all along and never in the exercises, as you also wrote, but… why then your ending that those exercises if only for defense etc are acceptable. I understand with St. Paul, I Corinthians 6: 12, that a Christian can do everything in the freedom of Christ, but not everything is helpful (for salvation), and nothing should dominate us. A sign of New Age practices is this domination . .. people get hooked. Love, Erika.

From: erikagibello To: Sent: Saturday, January 28, 2006 5:38 AM Subject: Re: REPLY JAN 06

Dear Michael …Praise God for all what is happening. My story tops your story… I will tell when I have the strength. It all started to get hay wire when I wrote about Martial Arts, using very much your work, but reducing to the bare essentials for a simple audience to understand and leaving out all evangelical reasons. There are true reasons not to get engaged with this as the exercises themselves have transforming effect on the attitudes of the persons. They change from the Christian ideal of humility and “loving your neighbour” to defensiveness, aggression and haughtiness! Naturally the philosophical

outlooks influence people, but mostly like in Yoga is the influence of the exercises, the inner aggression, which happens at the concentration. Anyhow, you know this subject better then myself, but I had to write all in German and I will have you mentioned in my book. Love, Erika

From: erikagibello To: Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2007 5:46 AM

Dear Michael …At all cost the evil one wants to break my ministry with Father Rufus together. We are invited all over the world and now he is free again to follow this call (priests retreats, lay inner healing and conventions and seminars on healing and deliverance, where I give teachings, apart from prayers and counselling on New Age, etc) Mostly: our trial started when I used your Martial Arts article (you are named as the researcher in it) to write it in my book. Before we had attacks, but after that 2006 it does not end. [Details edited] The attacks seem altogether always from the far eastern spiritual side, which maybe, spiritually explains why all seem to start so dramatically, after writing on Martial Arts.

From: erikagibello To: Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 8:22 AM


Dear Michael, It is 3.30 am, but I have to write to you. You are right and we pray for (meaning Fr. Rufus and myself) your courage is very needed in our days. Similar to the time of the appearance of my book, since then the attacks are endless and it has not yet appeared in English, which [the attacks] will be much worse. The book is totally sold out and pray that I finally can edit the English version. I pray for your work and think about you often. Love, Erika

From: erikagibello To: Sent: Monday, November 24, 2003 2:24 AM

Subject: Re: Fw: Letter to Fr. Rufus regarding Seminar on Deliverance

Dear Micheal, To uncover the works of darkness (EPHESIANS 5:11) is one of the major needs of our times. The essential discernment is the sin against the first commandment. The connection to this sin in many of the New Age practices is not easily recognised!


Returning to the sin against the first commandment:

In the case of YOGA the creative energy in us (sex) is used to achieve self-salvation. This directly opposes God’s plan for us to act, and co-create with His creation.

TAI-CHI is a calling-in and chasing-away of “good” and evil spirits for the day. It belongs to a form of spiritism maybe connected with traditional shamanistic ideas. REI-KI wants to manipulate the UNIVERSAL energy, to make it flow through me as a channel into another person for the

purpose of healing. It is spiritism in the form of mediumship. QI-GONG, similar to martial arts tries to concentrate the” inner energy to achieve control over one’s own body as well as over others’, by sending that energy out. In fact in martial arts the other person gets “killed” before any attack takes place. I hope this helps a little towards your work. Write to me in short on these lines the principle of Pranic healing. In Christ, Erika



04 July 1996 HONG KONG (UCAN) Catholics and Protestants here who practice “taiji,” a traditional Chinese “wushu” (martial art) form, say the training strengthens their faith by fostering concentration and a sense of unity with Creation. Taiji (tai-chi) has been a common practice among middle-aged and elderly Chinese. Younger people seem to be less willing to get up for the traditional early morning discipline and too impatient for its slow and steady movements.

In the last decade, though, some Church people have combined the taiji exercises and spiritual training to form a new way of faith formation. Such classes are being launched at one of the parishes in Hong Kong diocese. Paul Yau Yu-hong, a taiji master at St. Margaret’s Parish, told UCA News in late June that the faithful may experience God’s presence through taiji, a tool to lead them to meditate on the deep realities of the world and the self.

Taiji is rooted in transcendental Daoist (Taoist) philosophy of nothingness, which reminds people not to indulge in the material world but seek the “tao” (essence) of life through meditation, said the 59-year-old layperson. Catholics who practice taiji are encouraged to reflect, meditate and feel God’s creation, said Yau, who has practiced the art for more than 20 years. Taiji-spirituality classes were first started by Father Dominic Chan Chi-ming, now a vicar general, who has practiced taiji for decades. Beginner and advance levels have a total of about 20 learners.

At each session, Catholics practice taiji, meditate and engage in Bible sharing within the two hours’ time, Yau said. Similarly, Kwan Ka-leung, a Protestant, said taiji brings a person to blend oneself with nature, God’s creation. Taiji involves not only “aerobic exercises” to keep one physically fit, but also “psyche training” in concentration, said the 23-year-old graduate, who began taiji practice in his childhood. Kwan said the techniques and routines of taiji, along with proper breathing patterns, are its essence, while the movements help people align the flow of “qi” (energy) through them to enhance their psychic and physical well-being.

Though considered a martial art, taiji develops humility, wisdom and perseverance rather than brutality, he said. The meditation and concentration on the qi help one attain tranquility of the soul.

The training, he noted, is similar to yoga, an ancient Indian system for uniting the body and mind/spirit. Among the various forms of yoga, “hatha” yoga combines body postures and movements, breathing and meditation. People are usually more spirited after practicing taiji, according to Kwan. He added that the best time for the practice is early in the morning and that a complete taiji sequence takes about 35 minutes to finish.

Taiji can be traced back centuries in China. As a form of wushu, it is commonly called “shadow-boxing” because of its gentle techniques and its emphasis on qi, the universal life force within each person. Other forms of wushu include fighting techniques, defensive and aggressive, and sometimes with weapons such as a sword or sticks. Hong Kong Wushu Union, a civic organization, is the main promoter of Chinese martial arts in Hong Kong with financial support from government sports offices. It runs various wushu classes for children on up to the elderly.


Australian Study Shows Lower Interest in Religion by Father John Flynn

October 15, 2006 MELBOURNE, Australia, ( EXTRACT: A study of the younger generation’s spirituality in Australia revealed fairly low levels of religiosity and practice. “The Spirit of Generation Y: Young People, Spirituality and Society” was recently released under the authorship of a team of researchers, led by Redemptorist Father Michael Mason, of the Australian Catholic University. From 2003 till early 2006 the researchers studied a national sample of young people in their teens and 20s. The methodology relied on surveys and face-to-face interviews.

Researchers found that 48% of Generation Y believe in a God, 20% do not, and 32% are unsure. Two-thirds of those who do not believe in God, or are uncertain, do believe in a “higher being or life-force.” Generation Y refers to the cohort born between 1976 and 1990. They followed Generation X (1961-1975) and the baby boomers (1946-1960). The youngest members of Generation Y were aged 13 when interviews began in 2003, and the oldest were aged 29 at the end of 2005… A private affair The study identified three main strands in the spirituality of Generation Y.

— Christian, 44%. Overall, only 19% of Generation Y are actively involved in a church to the extent of attending religious services once a month or more. Conservative Protestant denominations — 16% of Gen Y — have by far the highest rates of attendance. Nevertheless, many more believe in God and Jesus, and pray regularly. In general, religion is seen as a private matter. And there is a strong tide of movement among Generation Y Christians away from involvement or identification with a church, and even from religious belief.

— Eclectic, 17%. This consists in believing in two or more New Age, esoteric or Eastern beliefs (reincarnation, psychics and fortunetellers, ghosts, astrology, etc.) and perhaps engaging in one or more alternative spiritual practices (yoga, Tarot, tai chi). Some of these people attend religious services but most do not. Such beliefs and practices are more common among young women than among young men.

— Humanist, 31%. This group rejects the idea of God, although a few believe in a “higher being.” Almost half believe that there is very little truth in religion, and fewer than a quarter believe in life after death. They also largely reject alternative spiritualities… ZE06101529


Source: The New Leader, September 1-15, 2007 pages 10-12

EXTRACT: CNS story on “Fr. Leo Patalinghug, the break-dancing martial arts guru”, “a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, U.S. who recently was appointed to serve as Director of Pastoral Field Education at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg. Calling himself a ‘typical kid’, he found his way to martial arts at an early age and is a third-degree instructor of tae kwan do, a Korean self-defense system similar to karate, and a third-degree black sash instructor in a… weapons defense system known as arnis which originated in the Philippines. As a youngster he was also into break dancing.”


CathNews August 2, 2007

What began as a joke in the kitchen will become a published cookbook next month and a US cooking television series next year, said Fr Leo Patalinghug, the break dancing, martial arts guru


By Henrietta Gomes Herald Staff Writer, August 2, 2007 Arlington Catholic Herald

The media project, “Grace Before Meals,” aims to bring families together around the table, said Father Leo, a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, who recently was appointed to serve as director of pastoral field education at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland… The cookbook, which is in its final editing stages will be published this fall. Each recipe is linked to a feast day in the liturgical year, a family milestone or even disappointments. Cooking gives families a reason to come together, said Father Leo.

Filled with Scripture passages and essays about various feasts, the cookbook includes 50 original home styled comfort food recipes created by Father Leo. But it is not a typical cookbook — it is partly theological. According to the author, it is “bitesized theology.” Every meal has a reason to celebrate, and the combination of faith and food “makes faith bite-sizable for the entire family.” The creative nature of cooking can allow people to become “co-creators with God… While in seminary at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, Father Leo would cook for his fellow seminarians on his days off. He still enjoys cooking…

The entire project is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he said. “If we take the Holy Spirit out of it, then we’re talking about fast food,” he said lamenting the fact that society has become immersed in the fast food mentality of instant gratification…

He recounted his childhood days when he was “easily bored,” …Calling himself a “typical kid” he found his way to martial arts at an early age, and is a third degree instructor of Tae Kwan Do, a Korean art of hands and kicking defense and a third degree black sash instructor in Arnis, a Filipino art of full contact weapons defense. As a youngster he was also into break dancing and was part of a group, “Breakanics” that won Baltimore’s Best Break Dancing Group in 1983. He said he was “fascinated by it because it requires skill.”

His vocation to the priesthood was “the next logical step,” he joked. All sarcasm aside, Father Leo, the youngest of five, including a brother who died at birth, had no idea he would one day be called to the priesthood. He was not particularly “churchy,” and admitted that he failed the altar server test the first time. In fact, he said, the only reason he signed up to be an altar server was to ensure a spot on the annual Kings Dominion trip. By age 19 he realized “there was a God and it ain’t me.” It was the age when he began to understand the “sacred meal,” he said, referring to the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Although he went to Mass every Sunday, he did not understand the Mass until it was explained to him by a priest who invited people to come to a conference by telling them that if they decided not to go to Mass afterwards, they were free not to. Trying to find any excuse not to attend Mass, the teenager happily attended the conference only to be overwhelmed by the power of God. During consecration at a Mass following the talk, “I saw the presence of God and it reduced me to tears of sorrow and joy. Even though Christ was always present to me I was not always present to Him,” he said. “His blood is pumping through our veins.”

Diving deeper into the faith along with a pilgrimage to Medjugorje, he experienced a deep conversion, which eventually led him to consider a vocation to the priesthood. He felt the Lord say, “your past might not have been perfect, but I can use it. Every saint had a past and every sinner has a future,” he said.

Although he cannot do some of the same moves from the past, he uses his break dancing skills during youth conferences, “to get the crowd going.”

“We’re supposed to be able to dance and have a good time,” he said. “I also challenge people to dance appropriately, and I’d rather see young people break dance than see the ‘junky moves’ that young people today call dancing.” It is his vocation as a priest to “feed God’s children, body, mind and soul” and through “Grace Before Meals,” he hopes to “bring families to the table and prayer back to the families.”

MY COMMENT: It is difficult for me to imagine how this priest can give the Holy Spirit credit for his cooking-theology project and then go out and practise Tae Kwan Do; read Erika’s testimonies again, page 16.


by Florine Roche, Mangalore April 7, 2008

The South American country of Brazil is no doubt famous for its soccer, beaches, coffee, volleyball, carnival and those hot women who sashay the international modeling scene with aplomb. This former Portuguese colony no doubt boasts of a unique and flamboyant culture of its own as its carnival festivities are famous across the world attracting thousands of people. Despite the distance that separates But Indian dance, yoga art and culture is finding its flavour in Brazil thanks to the efforts of a few Indian missionaries and other smitten Brazilians who have been instrumental in spreading Indian flavour

in this coffee land. Today about 5 million Brazilians are practicing regular yoga and several dance and art schools have mushroomed all over Brazil, says Fr Joachim Andrade, a Mangalorean SVD priest who has been working in Brazil for the last 17 years. “Major Hindu influence began in Brazil to be exact was in 1953, when yoga was taken by a French man, who took the Indian name as Shivananda, who started a yoga academy in one of the towns of Brazil. Later, many other forms have entered such as Hare Krishna Movement, Vedanta Philosophy, Indian classical music and finally Indian classical dance. The Brazilians got hooked to Indian music, vegetarianism, food and culture and there has been no stopping its popularity”, Fr Andrade declares.

Indian way of life has penetrated deeply among the people and some of the Brazilians have great admiration towards Indian culture. Many have ventured out to take a trip to India visiting several ashrams and gurus. They have taken back to Brazil a kind of Indian culture which has created a deep rooted impact among Brazilians.

This receptiveness among Brazilians prompted Fr Andrade to make a deeper study on the phenomenon of the diffusion of Hinduism in Brazil. Born in Vamada Padavu in Bantwal taluk, he joined seminary and was initiated to Bharathanatyam during his college days in Mysore. Fr Andrade gave a public stage entrance in Pune in 1991 in Bharathanatyam and left for Brazil in 1992 after his ordination. He continued his passion in Brazil and did his masters in Anthropology choosing the topic “Dance as a ritual: a case study of Indian Dance” for his dissertation. For his doctorate he chose the topic of “diffusion of Hinduism in Brazil” and used Bharathanatyam as the medium for diffusion.

As Fr Andrade worked in southern part of Brazil where the church activity is mostly pastoral and was compelled to make a slight shift in his missionary work and concentrate on ecumenical as well as inter-religious dialogue activity. Because of his close involvement in inter-religious dialogue activities, he has been appointed as the coordinator of the Ecumenical and Inter-religious dialogue dimension of the arch diocese of Curitiba.

Responding to public enthusiasm Fr Andrade has opened an academy of dance in Brazil recently where Brazilians learn the Indian dance and propagate it to the Brazilian people. “My motive behind this is to utilize the art form to diffuse Christian themes and combine the art and spirituality to the Brazilian culture” he says modestly.

Recently his pupil Ivanilda Maria Moreira Da Silva, a yoga teacher for the last 20 year hailing from Curitiba in Brazil was in Mangalore to add perfection to her Bharatanatyam dance which she has been learning in Brazil from Fr Andrade for the last four years. Ivanilda spent two months at Sandesha College of Fine Arts finetuning her skills in Bharathanatyam and left back for Brazil with a promise to come back against next year with her 13 year old daughter Yane to learn more about Indian dance.

“I learnt the techniques and perfection of the movements of the Indian classical dance. I am greatly impressed by the visuals, the grace, the music and the expressions of Bharathanatyam. Having stayed here for two months and learning dance I feel dance comes from within and it is very satisfying to make the movements, articulations and gestures. It is made me what I am”, Ivanilda confesses.

Ivanilda came to be associated with yoga just by fluke. Her husband wanted to learn martial arts and yoga formed a part of martial arts. She had accompanied her husband to the university and when her husband got specialized in Martial arts Ivanilda got a tryst with yoga and since then as the cliché goes there has been no looking back for Ivanilda. A few years back she was exposed to Indian dance and got enamored by it prompting her to join the academy as Fr Andrade’s student.

Apart from learning dance Ivanilda toured around Dakshina Kannada savouring Indian cuisine and the diverse culture of the land. A strict vegetarian she was fascinated by the colourful clothes people wear, and liked the six-yard wonder – the saree. She greatly relished the coastal cuisine especially the crunchy papads and the pickle. She left for Brazil last week with the promise to propagate Indian dance in the samba land.

No doubt Indian culture has crossed the seven shores to find routes in the distant land of Brazil. It only goes to prove that art and spirituality makes a great combo to make a striking impact.

From: To: prabhu Cc: Leo Rajiv Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 5:26 AM Subject: Re: NEW AGE

Hi Mike, Thanks for getting in touch with me! Leo sent me two of your articles, one on homeopathy and one on martial arts. Boy you have done your homework!

Ironic that they were the only two of your articles he had, and I am (was) involved in both. Your article pretty much sold me on the dangers of homeopathy. I jumped into it thinking it was harmless, and all natural, but did not do any homework. Aside from the spiritual ramifications, the whole theory of treating like with like does not make sense to me. Why would you treat nausea with something that induces nausea?

I agree with some of your points on the martial arts. I do agree that Tai Chi, and yoga should be avoided, but many forms of martial arts have virtually (perhaps “virtually” is the problem!) nothing to do with either. The school I attend teaches kenpo, which is American karate. Karate has changed so much over the years, even in the 10 years I have been taking it. Many of your assertions might well have been true 50 years ago, but not now. Your starting premise believe said, something like “Assuming other branches of martial arts are like tai chi…” That assumption does not hold with the system I know. I think tai chi is quite distinct from most branches. We do calisthenics, stretch, do self defense techniques, and “forms” which are techniques done against a series of imagined attacks, not unlike dancing really. The

pagan roots are pretty much seen only on the terminology sheet, which occasionally get mentioned on a test, but is not taught as part of what we do. I guess it feels less threatening because I am the teacher now, so I know what is being taught, and it is not Buddhism, or mind control.

One thing you said struck a nerve with me, and that is your comment about turning the other cheek. I can’t argue with you on that one! I often use the “Mary” test, would Mary watch this show? wear this bathing suit? read this book? I must say that I could not see Mary taking karate. It does indeed seem unchristian to spend time learning how to hurt people albeit in self defense. I guess the best branch if there is such a thing would be ju jitsu which is wholly defensive in nature, and not intended to inflict harm, but rather deflect attacks.

Other issues: Do you have anything on iridology, reflexology, kinesiology, or applied kinesiology, BioSet, or acupressure? Even herbal products were suspect I believe. Yet Ezekiel 47: 12 says “Their fruit will serve as food, their leaves for healing” I find it hard to believe that taking ginger or ginger ale to sooth a belly ache would be unchristian! Natural substances were all that were available from Adam until 100 years ago or so. I need to do some internet research on these things. have a friend who is so drawn to just about everything the Vatican article included in its New Age list. I read in our diocesan paper that the Vatican was going to analyze all these different therapies and define which ones are problematic

and which are not. I will anxiously await it. One last comment wish list item. I read very slowly, so a condensed version would help me a lot!! Do you have one particular book that discusses all this New Age Medicine that you most prefer? I read very slowly, so the more concise the

better! Thanks for all you do, and keep the faith! Liz and Dave Smith, USA

Letter dated March 3, 2005 from K. Ostin Gnana Jegan, Kanya Kumari district

At first I was a Master of Martial Arts, KALARI PAYATTU (fight). I have many photos of my kalari fights. I have studied kalari for at least 9 years. At that time I could not find peace of mind. One day my friend told me about Jesus Christ. Then I studied the Bible and joined a Christian fellowship. Now I am doing ministry. I am studying the Bachelor of Theology [B. Th.] 3-year course… K. Ostin Gnana Jegan, s/o G. Krishnakumar, Pilavilai, Kattathurai P.O., K. K. District 629 158 T.N.

From: dawson gomes To: Michael Prabhu Sent: Thursday, July 14, 2005 4:53 PM Subject: Need Help

Dear Mike, Praise Jesus I have a very peculiar case that has recently taken place. On Sunday we had an ordination of a very close neighbour, when he just joined we would have real close talks about Jesus and how the seminary is being infiltrated with wrong teachings etc. In short in these past 2 years before his run up to priesthood our relationship distanced that he avoided me on all occasions. It was a private ordination as he was wonting his sister from Dubai. The whole celebrations was blessed and I was thanking God for him, until the last part the thanksgiving where he had 2 friends make a thanksgiving prayer from the Gita and the Koran, besides the Hindu friend keep chanting some slokas on the lectern. Please give me material as to what the church has to say in this matter specially the Lectern is only used to proclaim God’s word as far as I know. He is a Jesuit priest.

Secondly I am ministering a girl who was very active in Basic Christian Community, but went to do some stress exercises with a Hindu, she got oppressed as the lady laid hands and prayed over her. I have been helping her and she is coming out beautifully. As she is doing Tai-Chi for relaxing, could you send me some material on the subject that I may show her? God Bless, Dawson Gomes, Leader, Fellowship of The Burning Bush Intercession Ministry, Mumbai

From: “Ed Hird+” <> To: “prabhu” <>

Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 8:58 PM Subject: RE: FROM INDIA

I am an Anglican priest in the Anglican Coalition in Canada

You may also enjoy the following articles that I have written on New Age influences in the church: Taekwondo & the Martial Arts: Mere Exercise or Trojan Horse?? ; Dr Jean Houston & the Labyrinth Fad Blessings, Ed Hird+MY COMMENT: Ed Hird is Past National Chairman of Anglican [Charismatic] Renewal Ministries of Canada, Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church, Vancouver, and is internationally known for his articles exposing the error of enneagrams, the labyrinth, etc. After his report on the Myers-Briggs Temperament Indicator [MBTI] Anglican Renewal Ministries decided, in November 1997 “after much prayer and reflection to no longer use the MBTI in the Clergy and Lay Leadership Training Institutes.” For his articles, see the respective reports.


An article for the February 2000 Anglicans for Renewal Magazine, page updated April 5, 2000 I 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 Corinthians 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 are far more than just physical gym exercises. Rather Taekwondo and Martial Arts are Zen 1) Nathan Johnson, Zen Shaolin Karate, “Ch’an (zen) monks of the Shaolin Temple” (Ch’an comes from an Indian word dhyana meaning meditation.) 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) 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)’ It is no coincidence that the occult circular symbol of Ying-Yang constantly appears on even many innocuous-looking Taekwondo websites and brochures. 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
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) Encyclopedia Brittanica, 15th Edition, ‘Martial Arts’, p. 886 In the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs 5) John Ankerberg & John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House, 1996, Oregon, p. 351 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) Ankerberg and Weldon, Op. Cit., p. 356

Taekwondo 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) Richard Chun, Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art, Toronto, 1976, p. 2

Since Taekwondo’s Olympic debut in 1988, its popularity has spread like wildfire across the world. 8) Fighting Back: Taekwondo for Women, YH Park Publications, 1993, p. 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) David Mitchell, Official WTF Taekwondo, Antler Books, London, 1986, back cover Eddie Ferrie holds that ‘every child in (Korean) school is compelled to practise Taekwondo…’ 10) Eddie Ferrie, , Taekwondo: Traditional Art and Modern Sport, The Crowford Press, UK, 1989, p. 101 David Mitchell notes that Taekwondo ‘is taught to all members of the Korean armed forces’. 11) Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 9 It is estimated that 20 –30 million people worldwide now have been initiated into Taekwondo. 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 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) Fighting Back, Op. Cit., p. 150 “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) Op. Cit., p. 150 Mitchell claims that ‘…the empty mind (is) needed to master taekwondo.’ 15) Mitchell, Op. Cit., p. 12 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.

Another 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) Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 99 The eight Taegeuk poomses performed in taekwondo are derived from the eight triagrams of the occult ’Ching. 17) Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 99, p. 100 Richard Chun holds that ‘the forms of Taekwondo… are more than physical exercises: they are vehicles for active meditation.’ 18) Chun, Op. Cit., p. 34 One 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) Ferrie, Op. Cit., p. 100

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) Taekwondo Textbook, Op. Cit., p. 235, p. 506 (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) 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)” 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) Op. Cit., p. 506 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.

In 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 (Matthew 6: 24) The Reverend Ed Hird, Rector, St. Simon’s Anglican Church, North Vancouver, BC., ARM Canada Missioner

Yoga is not compatible with Christianity. I should know:

  1. I am Indian, living in India among Hindus.
  2. I have been battling New Age in the Indian church for years.
  3. I have written/compiled hundreds of pages of evidence/information on the dangers of doing yoga.

I only hope that my informant misunderstood or misquoted you. Could you please let me know what you were saying in the referred article?

Thank you and God bless,
Michael Prabhu, Catholic apologist, INDIA

Exorcism EXTRACT

By Father David C. Trosch

Preliminary actions for those recognizing satanic activity in relation to themselves:

Immediately reject any and all types of unnatural insights whether they occur in a dream or while in a waking state. Such insights commonly originate in the occult and are of satanic origin. Such insights may refer to a past, present of future event. They are intended to seem worthy with resultant enhancement of self-esteem. Eventually the evil spirits giving these insights, feelings, or seeing of auroras will seek full control over a captivated persons being. Such possessions or manifestations frequently occur to those who have used or participated in the following:

Ouija boards, Séances, Magic 8 balls, Palm reading (even as a game), Tea leaf reading, Fortune-telling, Potions, Incantations, Yoga (even as exercise), Martial Arts (in most cases), Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter Books, Eastern Mysticism, Tarot Cards, etc.

When one begins honestly trying to live the Christian life, one MUST break with all Satanic influences that one has accepted in one’s life. This would include all organized occultic behavior. Many of these things are presented as games or midway attractions at a county fair, but they’re actually portals of access for the attack of one or devils. It may have been years since one was involved but until it is recognized as sin, confessed, and absolved with proper penance, the doors remain open for Satan’s entry.

Many people never know that the games they were involved with as children are mortal sins that will send them to hell without proper repentance.

It is not enough to say that you never did it yourself. To be aware that any of these things are being done and not to say something against it is to give tacit approval by your presence. Such failure jeopardizes your own soul.

The Only Pilot without Arms Greets Pope

VATICAN CITY, March 23, 2011 ( Benedict XVI greeted Jessica Cox, a 28-year-old Arizona woman who was born without arms, after today’s weekly general audience. Cox is a motivational speaker who uses her personal achievements to inspire others. She is the first person without arms to get a black-belt in American Tae Kwon-Do Association, and the first person without arms in aviation history to fly with her feet.

Today, Cox gave Benedict XVI a medal — with her feet –that testifies to her impulse to value life always and in every condition. “It is a lifestyle that I try to spread to young people,” she said to L’Osservatore Romano, “who live in desperation and without authentic values.”

Eastern well being for Catholic school

June 30, 2008 – St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in NSW’s South Murwillumbah will introduce tai chi, yoga and elements of martial arts in a program to educate “the whole child”.

The new Well Being Program will be introduced over the next few months, thanks to a $50,000 federal government grant, through the Healthy Active Schools program, to run a 12 month program focusing on “ensuring a healthy mind, body and soul,” the Tweed Daily News reported.

Under the program, tai chi/yoga lessons will be conducted each week for all classes from Kindergarten to Year Six, primary classes will participate in the “mad sports” during term three, detailed physical activity programs will be developed for all classes and there will be health and fitness assessments of all students in order to monitor attitudes and abilities in physical activity. “The aim is to produce well adjusted, well balanced children,” said Principal Paul McDermott. The program aims at teaching getting along, organisation skills, confidence, persistence and emotional resilience. With studies showing that 30-40 percent of students across NSW under achieve, the St Joseph’s Well Being Program targets going beyond just teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. “We are talking about the whole child,” said one of the school’s teachers, Barb Quinn. “If a student is feeling bad about themselves they are not going to achieve.”

SOURCE Educating the ‘whole child’ (Tweed Daily News)


This school would be well advised to research more deeply into the roots of yoga, which has elements tied to a seriously erroneous belief system, one which is antithetical to belief in the one Lord, Jesus the Christ. This move highlights concern that more and more of our Catholic schools are being sucked into belief systems, “New age” and so on, which lead away from the path of the true Light. My prayer is that well meaning people not be deceived by the superficial appearances of these practices, and that our Prelates jealously guard the purity of Christ’s teaching in our schools.-Paul Gleeson

This is disturbing. Why in the world would a Catholic primary school need to teach children about TAI CHI and YOGA? I have written to the Diocese of Lismore where the school is located in and sent a letter protesting such programs. I hope that others here will join in as well in writing to the Diocese of Lismore in Australia. Here is the website for the Diocese of Lismore’s Catholic School Education url: You can write to the director at or call at Tel: 02 6622 0422 The Diocese of Lismore’s website is Here is St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School url You can write to the Principal of St. Joseph’s, [B]Mr Paul McDermott at OR you can call him directly at 02 66721867 The school’s website is

Let your voices be heard!-Veritas

Reiki, Yoga good for the soul? EXTRACT

By Bishop Julian Porteous, Sydney Auxiliary Bishop, April 21, 2010

Yoga, Tai Chi, Reiki, these are now familiar terms to most Australians. They are relatively recent imports into our culture, but they have spread with extraordinary pace across the nation. Yoga has been around the longest, while Reiki is a more recent immigrant. Coming from Asia, they have been marketed as good for relaxation, fitness and general health. They are widely used, and many speak of their benefits. One could say that they are not viewed as exotic practices but are a part of mainstream

Australian life. Sports people use them. Business people turn to them. Many Christians have been drawn to them, seeing them as supplementing Christian spiritual practices. Despite the large scale acceptance of these practices, we need to ask: are they good for the soul?

The seemingly graceful art of Tai Chi

The origin of Tai Chi is China. We are familiar with seeing people practise the slow, graceful movements in parks and halls. Once again the movements are associated with other practices which are in common with Yoga. The exercise of Tai Chi requires the control or slowing of breathing. The practitioner will be encouraged to empty the mind so that peace and harmony can be found through the absence of thoughts.

Tai Chi is touted as providing a means for the reduction of stress and generally improving overall health. It is commonly used in schools and businesses, in nursing homes and on Catholic retreats. Tai Chi claims to enhance the spiritual aspect of life. It is also claimed to enable people to experience healing powers. The promotional material is quick to claim, however, that it is not a religion. They propose it as simply a technique.

Those who teach Tai Chi are conscious that there is, in fact, a spiritual philosophy that underpins it. Slowly, this deeper dimension comes to the fore, particularly for those who want to go further with the practice. The ultimate source of this philosophy is Taoism. Tai Chi aims at releasing the Chi, or life force, or divine energy. As with Yoga, various places in the body are understood to be centres of the Chi.

The understanding of the nature of the human person, which is found in Taoism, is quite at variance with the Christian understanding. There is a completely different spiritual worldview.

Having an open mind

To benefit from Tai Chi at a deeper level one is asked to have an “open mind”. It is claimed that the person will only be able to discover the supernatural power within when they let go of rational thought and open themselves to these new realities. One of the paths to having an open mind is to be able to move beyond a reliance on the difference between good and evil. In other words, a person has to suspend moral thinking. The reason for this view is found in the Taoist philosophy of the yin and yang. Harmony and stillness are found when the yin and yang are in balance. Thus, there is a requirement to move beyond the use of moral facilities and enter a new realm of free floating openness.

Such a position of radical openness is extremely dangerous. We have abandoned those faculties given to us to direct and protect our lives: our reason, our emotions and our will. The normal use of these faculties assists us in making fully human decisions, and enabling us to be responsible for our actions. Abandoning these faculties in search of a deeper spiritual existence opens the person to all sorts of unknown forces. Our defences are down. It can lead to exposure to demonic powers.

To pursue Tai Chi to its fullest, a person must surrender to the Tao, the supreme creator. Once again we come to realize that something that is declared to have no religious meaning is in fact a path to a new set of religious beliefs. There is a fundamental deception at work.

Not good for the soul

Entering into the spiritual world beyond the simple practices is clearly not good for the soul. They are particularly inimical to Christian faith. While they may offer practices that can be helpful at a superficial level they are a Trojan horse for dangerous spiritual infiltration. Engaging in them opens the person, in their desire to know more of the technique, to the possible exposure to demonic powers. Indeed, a person who follows these religious philosophies to their full extent find themselves worshipping of a false God.

There are a number of common elements to Yoga, Tai Chi and Reiki. They all offer a physical practice that is readily accessible. They claim to offer methods that achieve relaxation and offer paths to greater wellbeing and healing. Many people find this to be the case. At the superficial level of these systems there may be no more than providing a source of simple benefit for the person – being able to de-stress, being able to relax and experiencing some personal healing. However, these experiences can be seductive. The advocates of these practices declare that the practices are not religious. They clearly want to re-assure people that they are not being duped into another religion. Yet, each of these practices has a strong “theological” basis. They carry a vision of the human person and clear understanding of the nature of the divine. Each of them, in fact, has a spiritual origin and can easily draw practitioners into these religious philosophies. They all offer an alternative understanding of the make-up human person and they invite people to discover their view of divine reality.

By their nature they do not stop with the simple physical exercises – their advocates know the deeper spiritual meaning of what they are doing. They can’t help but promote this deeper reality. They want to lead people to the truth as they see it. Thus people are drawn into this new and exotic spiritual realm. This is at odds with Christian faith and belief. The divine, as they see it, is an impersonal force – and not the personal God revealed in Christianity. The practitioner, fascinated with the discovery of new powers, is drawn to surrender to this divine force. Simple exercises of relaxation have led to idolatry! Having said this, it is important to state that it is not an inevitable process for everyone who uses Yoga or Tai Chi or seeks some healing through Reiki. These practices can be used simply as physical exercises that are helpful. If a person is wary of getting caught up in the spiritual philosophies, then they can be used with no detrimental effect at the moral or spiritual level. Indeed, it may be possible for the development of similar techniques grounded in a healthy Christian spirituality. As the Church has done in past times it is possible to find ways in which they can be “baptised” and integrated into the Christian faith.

However, an understanding of the spiritual roots to these practices is necessary to ensure that prudence accompanies their use. These practices can be dangerous at the spiritual level. In this sense they can be not good for the soul.


Martial arts is not just a harmless method of exercising or letting off steam as in sport or keep-fit but is in reality a highly dangerous occult deception and one so cleverly disguised, that even many practitioners have little or no idea of the dangers and risks involved.

The word ‘MARTIAL’ means ‘OF WARFARE’ or ‘SUITABLE FOR WARFARE’. Martial Arts techniques were developed in India, China and later in Korea and Japan. They are all forms of combat (usually unarmed) and are grouped together under names such as “KUNG-FU” (China), “TAEKWONDO” (Korea), AIKIDO, KARATE, JUDO (Japan). The word ‘ARTS’ indicates that they are not just forms of combat but expressions of EASTERN SPIRITUAL philosophies and it is this SPIRITUAL LINK which lights the fuse to a deadly keg of mental and spiritual dynamite! In the words of Fred Neff, author of “Hand Fighting Manual”, “UNDERSTANDING OF BOTH THE PHYSICAL AND THE PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLES IS REQUIRED OF EVERY MARTIAL ARTS STUDENT”.

In these days of growing spiritual darkness and confusion with “Everyman doing that which is right IN HIS OWN EYES” (Judges 21: 25), we ask you to compare what you are about to read, with the light and truth of God’s word, the Bible, and in particular, the words of Jesus Christ himself who said, “RESIST NOT evil; whosoever smites you on your right cheek, TURN TO HIM THE OTHER ALSO” and “all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword.” “Know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free”. Judge for yourself, our task is to warn you, the rest is for to decide. May the truth set you free. It is believed by Martial Arts instructors, that through a series of repetitive physical exercises, access can be gained to a realm known as the “spirit world”, where tremendous power is available to the practitioner.

This belief is common to all occult Philosophy, including Yoga, T.M., Taoism, Spiritism, Zen (Buddhism), etc. and it is the height of foolishness to think that a person can engage in just the physical aspects (branches) of Martial Arts without being drawn into the deeper spiritual realm (the root).


As he enters this spirit world; the practitioner believes that this dynamic power, known as Ki (Chi or Qi) is actually a force within him and that he is in control. In reality he has entered a realm expressly forbidden by God, who declares in His Word, the Bible, that this is the realm of demonic power over which the devil reigns! Everything to do with Martial Arts will lead further and further into demonic bondage and deception. So be warned. God says, “Thou shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20: 3).

We are told by one female expert for self defence, a ‘Black belt’, that “the techniques of Martial Arts have their origin in the SPIRITS OF ANIMALS, such as Tigers, Cobras, Monkeys, Bears etc. and the student is encouraged to TAKE ON THE SPIRIT UNDERLYING THE TECHNIQUE. In the same book, the author encourages women to fight back by “pressing their attacker’s eyes into their brains” or “paralyzing them with a kick in the groin” or “making them dance with the threat of breaking a little finger” (Kaleghl Quinn, “Stand Your Ground). “Even the voice” she

says, “can be used to damage an ear drum.”

AIKIDO – A coupling of Martial Arts and Buddhist Meditation.
HAPKIDO – Combined traditional arts used by warriors of feudal Korea.
KARATE – Meaning ‘Open Hand’, the ‘CHOP’ can kill, a victim instantly.
TAI-CHI – or “Great Ultimate Fist” develops inner power and Relaxation.
Parents, will you encourage your children on the broad way to hell?
Church groups, are you encouraging “harmless” Judo, Karate etc in church or village halls?
The man who was responsible for the development of Judo, Dr Jigoro Kano, founded a school in Tokyo called the KODOKAN which means “The Way”. This final insult in the face of the Son of God and Saviour of the world JESUS CHRIST who said, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER BUT BY ME” (John 14: 6).
Will you choose the KODOKAN? Or will you choose the SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST?

Extract from a discussion on MotherofGod2, a U.S.-based Catholic forum in which I am a member MoG2, May 3, 2010

Dear Desmond,

So I understand that yoga, even if people think they are just using it as an exercise, is not something we as Christians should practice. I was wondering though, what about the martial arts known as Tai Chi? Is that to be treated the same as yoga or is it ok? Thank you and Kyrie Eleison, Manuel

Dear Manuel,

I stopped developing my skills in Gung Fu as a young man for the simple reason that it dawned on me that the mental exercises of such were potentially opening me up to influence from malevolent spirits. MOST EASTERN PHILOSOPHY IS HAS AT LEAST SOME PATENT EVIL WITHIN IT. Now, one can learn the Kadas of various martial arts without in the least resorting to their ‘philosophy’ – but you have to fake it with the martial arts ‘master’ under whom you are studying – or he will get angry.

After all, aren’t the martial arts sort of the antithesis of turn the other cheek??? I’m not saying that dogmatically. But it is something to weigh and consider. All my love in Christ. Desmond Birch, Moderator I understand what you are saying. But what about girls learning something similar to martial arts for self defense? Or carrying something in their purse like mace or something so they have time to run? If it’s self defense, would it then be considered okay for a Christian girl to defend herself against an attacker? Edie Sando The Church teaches that a person has a natural right to defend themselves from unjust aggression.

2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not.” 2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s. 2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. THE DEFENSE OF THE COMMON GOOD REQUIRES THAT AN UNJUST AGGRESSOR BE RENDERED UNABLE TO CAUSE HARM. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.

2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people’s rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people’s safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.67 A girl has a right to defend herself against rape, etc.

Many times throughout the history of the Saints, an individual has given up that right and turned the other cheek and allowed themselves to be sinned against. There is no demand that a Christian do so. It is the requested practice within heroic virtue. Desmond


This goes to show how one can be fed error along with correct teaching by presumed Catholic experts pontificating on themes that they know little about. As a member of several such groups, I have experienced that their members accept such pronouncements religiously and with minimal resistance because of their not wanting to be seen as challenging the knowledge of their moderators. Desmond Birch of MoG2 does little or no research to ascertain the opinions of Catholic or Christian experts on Martial Arts themes but answers the question put to him from his own, personal experience. What amazes me is that while he correctly assesses that the mental exercises of Tai Chi opened him up to influence from malevolent spirits, he advises Manuel not to avoid Tai Chi but to go ahead with the classes and fake it with the martial arts ‘master’ under whom you are studying – or he will get angry.

Do Twilight, Harry Potter open door to the Devil?

By Linda Morris, March 21, 2010 EXTRACT

The appointment of a new exorcist by Sydney’s Catholic Church precedes a warning by a senior clergyman that generation Y risks a dangerous fascination with the occult fuelled by the Twilight and Harry Potter series.

Julian Porteous, the auxiliary bishop of Sydney, warns that pursuing such ”alternative” relaxation techniques as yoga, reiki, massages and tai chi may encourage experimentation with ”deep and dark spiritual ideas and traditions”.

Bishop Porteous, who is second to Cardinal George Pell in the Sydney Archdiocese, told The Sun-Herald the Twilight and Harry Potter books and films ”are attractive to adolescents and can be innocent enough. ”However, they can open up a fascination with this mysterious world and invite exploration of various phenomena through the use of occult practices like séances.”

Exorcism is no fantasy according to the church, with the Sydney archdiocese last month appointing an as-yet unnamed priest, suitably ”endowed with piety, knowledge, prudence and integrity of life” to conduct exorcisms, as required by Catholic canon law.

In Rome, the Vatican is preparing its first official English translation of the rite of exorcism, which was promulgated in 1614 and reissued in 1999. Its chief exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, claimed this month to have carried out 70,000 exorcisms.

Bishop Porteous – who has stood in as exorcist for the Sydney archdiocese over the past five years – warns that yoga, reiki massages and tai chi can lead to people being in the grip of ”demonic forces”.

”A person can move from the use of a simple practice to de-stress to embracing the underlining theory and religious beliefs because these all come out of religious traditions of the East and people can then find themselves in the grip of demonic forces,” he said. ”People can be naive in that regard.”


October 29, 2011, 8:00 PM IST

Your Grace,

I received information that in an article in the “Messenger of Saint Anthony” of September 2011 you wrote that “yoga can be utilized as a physical exercise”. I cannot ascertain how accurate that information is. Your own article titled “Reiki, Yoga good for the soul?” which I accessed at

states the very opposite. Also, the report citing you at


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 Op. Cit., p. 506