The Best Kind of Training—Judo? Karate? or What?
IN THESE dangerous times people are concerned with self-protection. Schools teaching judo and karate are flourishing. Is this the training that will be most profitable, bringing the greatest peace of mind and happiness?
The experience of a young man in the African country of Senegal helped him to find the most satisfactory training.
This young man was a lover of sports and excelled in several. At the same time he was a member in good standing in the Roman Catholic Church. When his priest began to teach boxing and karate, the young man welcomed this training to improve in defensive skills. Here was an opportunity, the priest told him, to show his devotion to the Church and thus gain God’s favor. How? Well, this training would enable him to ‘defend the Church’ at certain religious events. At such events people sometimes become unruly, and a young devotee who was handy with his fists could help to keep things in order.
This young sportsman did not limit the exercise of his skill to keeping order at religious events, though he employed it frequently there also. He was tempted to use his training at other times, and so came to gain a reputation throughout the area as a brawler.
Then one day, while engaging in a high-jumping contest, he had a bad fall that left him permanently handicapped. His career in sports was finished, and his special training in boxing and karate was now of no value. Schooling by his priest in these violent arts had prepared him to beat up people at religious events and on other occasions, but it had left him totally unprepared for this crippling experience. What was he to do now? He became bitter and began to blame God as being responsible for his woes.
About this time he was contacted by one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Witness showed him that there is a hope—that his handicapped condition would not last forever. Then the Witness explained that God promises the healing of all mankind’s ills. He pointed out that when Jesus was on earth he healed people having all sorts of maladies—persons disabled in foot and hand, paralyzed people, even a man who had been born blind. In several instances Jesus raised the dead. Those people later died, as did everyone else. But Jesus was performing these cures partly to demonstrate what he will do during his thousand-year Kingdom rule over the earth.
The young man agreed to look into the Bible to see whether these things are actually true. He found that it was not God who was responsible for his trouble. Rather, his condition was the result of imperfection and sin, and lack of knowledge of God. He discovered that this system of things operates on a wrong set of values, being materialistic and selfish, and that even the religions of the world have held the people back from understanding the Bible and coming to know of God’s purposes. While seeking to do the best for himself, this young man had taken the path of worldly thinking, and it had led him into difficulty.
Bible Training Changes Personality
As the young man continued to study he came to see that the Bible was truthful and reasonable, that it explained, not only the reason for the troubles he was having, but also the way for a good life in spite of his handicaps. He began seriously working on his personality, as the Bible recommends: “You should put away the old personality which conforms to your former course of conduct and which is being corrupted according to his [the old personality’s] deceptive desires; . . . you should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.” (Eph. 4:22-24) He recognized that his personality had gradually deteriorated because of his past violent course of life so that when he ran up against a real test, instead of facing up to it like a strong man, he became bitter against God and his fellowman. But now, having a goal in life, he began to change.
Before long, this former brawler became mild-tempered, controlling his violent ways. His former associates could not believe that the change in his personality was genuine. One of them slapped his face to test him. The peaceable reaction of this new student of the Bible so amazed and impressed the man that he and his family later began to study the Bible with the young man whose face he had slapped.
So, despite his permanent injury, this former sportsman says that he is much happier than when he was able to concentrate on physical training. He has a purpose in life, fine upbuilding friends and a joy in living.
The former fighter is now spending much time taking the good news of peace to others in his community and, through the knowledge he has gained about God, has changed his reputation as well as his personality. He is in hearty agreement with the apostle Paul’s words: “Bodily training is beneficial for a little; but godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.”—1 Tim. 4:8.
“Be Training Yourself with Godly Devotion as Your Aim”
This man’s experience is convincing proof that the apostle Paul’s admonition, “Be training yourself with godly devotion as your aim,” is not merely a religious opinion, but a practical, sound, workable principle that, if applied, brings lasting beneficial results. (1 Tim. 4:7) The same is true of the other Bible principles and counsel on living. The reason is that they were given by the Creator, who knows what is in man. He knows how his creatures operate and what is needed for peace, cooperation and happiness.
Take, for example, God’s principles concerning marriage and the family unit. The world today has deviated from these. Their tendency is to discard marriage as ‘out of date,’ or else as something that can be taken lightly. Has this disregard of Bible principles resulted in better living, better morals, happiness? The divorce rate, the broken homes, the tremendous increase in juvenile delinquency, and even the rising incidence of robberies, muggings, gang wars and murders by young children, are evidences that the world’s viewpoint is wrong.
You no doubt want your life to turn out well, with enjoyment now and a good future. By looking into the Bible you can have a great measure of happiness now and a fine hope. It is easy to find out what its principles are. They are very simply and plainly stated. And they are really not hard to apply, because they actually set out the way that mankind was made to live from the beginning. The course the Bible advises is the reasonable, sensible way.
You, as an individual, are the one to decide for yourself whether you want to accept the Bible’s principles as your standard of living. However, you may not be familiar with the Bible. If you are not, you will do yourself and your family a great service by reading it so that all of you can see firsthand what it says. You will find therein wisdom that outlines training for life.