A Christian View on Practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

We would be wise to pay attention to the links between martial arts and spiritualism or religions that can sway people away from Christ. There are a lot of martial arts with Eastern disciplinary practices that are steeped in spirit worship. For example, Taoism (among others) is in the origin of many martial arts and the philosophy of this religion is practiced and taught within the classes. This is where the line is observed in where Christians should not participate in something that is counter to Jesus’ teachings. The Bible says:

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

BJJ focuses on teaching an understanding and application of body mechanics such as leverage and techniques. It is a grappling martial art that focuses on practical and functional self-defense; using techniques such as escapes, takedowns, and submissions to achieve positional dominance over the opponent. BJJ is taught with the emphasis on self-defense and self-improvement in the form of physical conditioning, self- confidence, discipline, respect, etc.

While Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has evolved from traditional Jiu jitsu in Japan, BJJ is not representing nor evolving a spiritual philosophy – it began and remains for self-defense. There is no meditating on spiritual energies, like ying and yang forces, to tap into a “higher pathway” as, for example, Tai Chi Chuan promotes. BJJ is not paying homage to a spiritual belief system such as traditional yoga that centers itself on Buddhism. I caveat that to say that the structure and emphasizes of the BJJ classes lie in the instructor’s overarching philosophy and the approach he/she presents the sport/martial art.

Like anything else, BJJ can be used for the good and for the bad. There are people who train for the spirituality just as there are people who train for the money – both serving other gods. Unfortunately, we can look at the world today and see a lot of people trying to find the fulfillment, meaning and purpose that is only found in Jesus, but they are looking towards other things such as career, money, other people/relationships, etc. This doesn’t mean that careers or making money is wrong; it is the motives in going after them and the way they are used.

Loving the world or things of the world can come through one’s practice of esteem of things in the world, be it through emotions, will, or intellect. We as humans are a spirit that has a soul that lives in a physical body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Our soul includes our mind, will, and emotions. Anything that imposes on who we are in our spirit, soul or our relationship with God, even as Christians, means we are not walking in the full freedom that Jesus has intended when he bore our sins. We are to exercise the power and authority, which we have been given through Jesus, over our body, mind, and emotions.

BJJ should never take the place of Jesus in our lives. But BJJ in and of itself does not create unholy connections. And, on the contrary can be used to become even closer to God and to bring glory to Him, be it through building discipline, perseverance, fellowship and community, etc.

While BJJ is a physical discipline, we can still make the effort to dedicate it to Christ, along with all that we do (Colossians 3:17); for in all things be for the glory of God. If the BJJ instructor does not use philosophy to sway a person away from Christ, and better yet, if he/she is a Christian, BJJ being practiced in such an environment does not itself lead us astray or open ourselves up to the enemy but rather can be used as a tool for God’s glory.

  • Written by Amy Passos

About Amy Passos

Amy is the Managing Director of Team Passos Jiu Jitsu. She is a believer and witness that Jesus performs miracles and uses Jiu Jitsu as a tool to change lives. Amy has a background in organizational development and international economic development. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and business to advance human flourishing. She believes that the most beautiful thing in life is someone enjoying the work of their hands while pursuing their passions to realize their purpose and potential. Amy enjoys cycling, strength training, traveling, and exploring life.

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