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Fighting and Faith

October 2, 2011

I am a priest and a fighter.

With fighting, the bullshit only lasts so long. Someone can be (or claim to be) a 35th Dan, Grand High Wombat, but there’s an easy way to test it. Can they actually do it​? Can they do the art they claim, whether it be kung fu, karate, MMA or whatever, it doesn’t really matter… can they do what they say.

You turn up to a club and you know very soon, not only whether or not the style is for you, but also whether they are play-fighting with some exercise, or whether they are learning to fight.

I learned tai chi for a while. I enjoyed the way the movement calmed my mind and many in the class were happy to leave it there. But I wanted more. I wanted to learn about the fighting style that had given birth to the forms and I was lucky enough to have an instructor that could teach me the fighting art. Strangely, learning the martial side of tai chi made it more not less powerful at calming my mind and body.

I now practice wing chun. I chose this style because it is practical and direct. No messing around. I’m also over 40 now and the high kicks are getting harder. I can imagine needing to fight and having to say, “hold on half an hour while I warm up!”

I like the directness, the realness of having a punch coming towards you. You counter or you get hit. Simple. You have 2 or 3 coming at you, the mind goes calm, empty and you deal, … or not.

That brings me to being a priest. Just like in martial arts, and self-defence there are hoards of con-artists and bullshitters out there. They claim they can give you heaven and earth, and end up just taking your money. “And what about that amazing relationship with God; or the prosperity, or happy family?” Well, if you didn’t get all those things then you weren’t praying or trusting enough. Just keep paying (sorry praying) and you’ll learn in the end. Yeah right!

When it comes to fighting and faith, the bullshitters tend to be the most plausible, at least to begin with. They both have the fanciest websites, the biggest classes, the fanciest training halls/churches, and as you find later, the highest fees. In both cases it takes time and experience to tell the good from the bad.

Like with fighting, walking a path of faith makes demands and there are no promises that you will be the world’s greatest saint (or fighter), at the end. You’ll just be better than you were to start. The most important changes in both fighting and faith happen in the mind. In both cases it is not until you start to act correctly in situations, without thinking, that you are starting to find what it is really about. And in both cases once you experience the real thing you can never turn back, you are never the same again.

Respect and God bless,


  1. I love the similarities between faith and fighting! It also occurs to me that they share a couple of additional things: the basics of tai chi (or kung fu) are very simple: stance, block, punch. Mastering these simple things takes a lifetime of dedication and desire to improve.

    Likewise, the fundamental concept of the Christian faith is (at its core) very simple: Love. Easy to grasp, truly difficult to master and implement in life.

    I’m looking forward to more posts.

    Charlotte, NC, U.S.A.

    • Thanks Carey.
      I fully agree. So simple in principle but both take a life time trying to master. I’m away from home at the moment but once I get back I’ll pop over to have a look at theFourOhProject.

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