Christian Martial Arts Association - International


An introduction to Three Treatises on Spiritual Art of Swordsmanship
and Short Comment on Grace and Action in YESHUA-DO SHIMMYO-KEN RYU
- Christian View on the Art of Swordsmanship -
By Sensei Vitold Jordan, Th.M
(Originally published in Iowa, Apr.2003; improved in the Yukon, Jan.2009)

"To know (believe) and to act are one and the same".
- WANG YANG MING, Chinese philosopher

It is said in the past by great warriors in China: "A sword by itself rules nothing. It comes alive only through
skilful mastery. Be strong, yet gentle. This is the way to rule." And this is true - the mastery in martial arts
leads to deep understanding of life and self-improvement of character through discipline, warrior's values, and virtue
can enhance our will power, even hope and so our faith. So it's beneficial.
Good to notice that we learn martial skills in order to prevail in an encounter. And certainly don’t spend years
of training in order to be defeated. But martial art training involves much more than merely learning how to
injure or kill person in fighting. So learning practical “street-fighting” skills, or carrying the swords under belt, walking
 down the street and cutting with katana at the enemy to defend himself like the samurai of old sounds rather ridiculous. Winning then is not merely defeating an opponent; it’s perfecting yourself, both personal character, spirituality,
and skills, and to the degree that an opponent cannot prevail against you. Physical skills alone, no matter how highly perfected, are simply not enough. There will be always someone more skilful, or playing dirty tricks for which you are unprepared,
and you can lose. But always attitude/character is more important than skills alone in real combat. Therefore people
who are trained in a Christian way of
swordsmanship will probably never be engaged in a real sword combat – and paradoxically that’s the greatest benefit of sword training. So, those who are involved in such training rather skill themselves in developing inwardly which goes
beyond physical level of self-defense in order to refine mental and spiritual aspects.
Therefore, the art of the sword develops and cultivates true qualities of character to improve one’s experience
in daily life, and only handfuls adequately emphasize it in practice today. For this reason, the training in this seemingly “impractical” art is far more practical than some might think of. Henceforth, the highest purpose of swordsmanship in a Christian way is to develop the mind of the warrior, an attitude and strength of character
 that wins the battle before it ever begins. And that takes years of daily commitment to cultivate these attributes and
 to rid oneself of bad attitudes, habits, and reactions, such as: fear, selfishness, hate, anger, and etc.
 in order to be victorious without fighting, or even trying to win by force. Since winning without fighting is
the true ideal of Yeshua-Do Shimmyo-Ken Ryu Iai-Jutsu.

The Following three Treatises on Spiritual Art of Swordsmanship are written (between 1998-2010) for
Yeshua-Do students who are open minded and Christians who would like to benefit from the training in
martial arts knowing that such philosophy provides the knowledge and wisdom for spiritual growth and won't jeopardize
their faith. Of course, those who do not share our faith are very welcome to read and benefit from
it as we do. These writing gather the important teaching of some of my Masters and Mentors throughout all
the years of my spiritual journey and study, but also the wisdom of great Warriors of old, Sages and Saints.
Some parts of essays are written in a style that echoes the oriental tradition of instruction from master to apprentice other
in a simple/plain language, so I tried to keep balance between both.
The first Treatise: “Transforming-Sword” reflects a warrior's journey from his re-birth to knowledge, preparedness for warfare and strategy, from warfare to spiritual power, then death to self, and one's re-birth.
The circle of life's experience and quest is repeated in order to progress from the ordinary/mediocre stage of
life to more advanced and spiritual.
The second: “Mind-Sword” teaches about necessity of being awakened, open-minded, flexible, and
courageous. This is the stage when you understand that awakened mind is a real power towards transformation.
Finally, the third: “Heart-Sword” conveys the message of unconditional kindness which involves awakening
 the healing powers of the heart that can lift a man beyond himself to love without fear, limit, or reason. Thus,
understanding true meaning of love and living it in the power of the Spirit.

Now, concerning the basic Christian teaching/doctrines the following views are rather important to understand:
Contrary to some Eastern religions and philosophies, according to Christ and Apostles teaching, the main
problem of mankind is not just ignorance or lack of enlightenment, as some modern gurus would emphasize in their
teaching. Our problem is much more serious than that – a sinful nature which is manifested in constant inclination of
man towards evil and his rebellion to God. Here probably, some of my non-Christian friends
won’t agree with that view. However, we still must acknowledge that evil in this world must be fought with all energy
and determination we have; the battle must starts from dethroning ego from our own hearts, and till
the ego is dethroned the suffering and deception rules.

... Also, from the beginning I want to stress that the Yeshua-Do Art of swordsmanship, strategy and body/
mind techniques of self-defense, teaching and philosophy of life, are not meant to promote some "new" or
"additional ways" in order to obtain enlightenment, salvation, or so called secret knowledge! Absolutely not!
The purpose of Christian Martial Art altogether is to convey holistic way of life, health, fitness, godly virtues, values,
and principles, pointing to the Way and the Truth and the Life already revealed in the Scriptures
(John 14.6).

Therefore, for us, the sword by itself is not and never will be the tool for an inner transformation or salvation
of individual like it's strongly stressed in the Buddhist's, Shinto or Zen philosophy, or any other tradition.
So again, from the Christian view/theology only a pure faith expressed in love towards God and what He has
done for us has the power to save, change, and transforms us. If we are in Him we become alive for God in
Christ forever. However, the sword can be used in Yeshua-Do as wonderful instrument for self-discipline. Reclaiming
one's will-power to action in the Art of the sword is a first requirement, because one's will is the greatest weapon we
already have. Swordsmanship can also helps us to develop character and many important qualities, such as: fearlessness, watchfulness, peacefulness of mind, timing, speed, decisiveness, flexibility, bravery, and both physical and spiritual

In spiritual warfare and prayer, the sword also can be used as a prophetic act or Rhema-proclamation (spoken Word of
God in faith). There are many other possibilities, just as in worship or intercession, like some
prophetic dancers practice worldwide today. In such swordplay, both movements and actions of our whole
being should be performed in freedom under divine inspiration and guidance of the Spirit.

Henceforth there’s important fact that must be taken into our consideration during Yeshua-Do
 swordsmanship which emphasizes the spiritual meaning of the sword. For a Yeshua-warrior the sword is
a symbol of the spirit, but we have to distinguish between the two kinds of the sword, first:

“Bushi-no-Tamashii-Ken” (Warrior-Spirit-Sword), or metaphorically speaking – “Polish and Sharpened Sword”,
which is our renewed mind or spirit; and
“Yeshua-Ken-Sei” (Sacred Sword of Yeshua),
which is the Holy Spirit.

Another expression which is widely used is - Tao/Logos (道). Here again we have to realized that Yeshua is presented
as the Way (Do/Tao) and the Word (Logos). For the Christian then it is not an abstracted term, uncertain and not clarified way, which is particularly distinguished mark of Eastern religions. It is a real and mysterious Way which we follow
in order to re-discover our identity and destiny in our Creator. As it is said
by ancient Saint: For by Him, through Him and in Him we have everything!!! As stated, the Treatises are
written from a Christian point of view. Therefore my purpose is to maintain Christ-centred message of
salvation and God’s unfailing plan for the transformation of the inner man through revealed to us Grace of Tao/Logos (Eternal Christ - The Way/Word). However, for a warrior training purpose, combined with the
 wisdom of great spiritual masters, knowledge in the Holy Scriptures, and dynamic action in the Christian
Martial Art called –

Iai-jutsu in action, Kanai Sensei and Vitold, Boston, USA, 1988

Grace and Action

“Like new-born [warriors], crave pure spiritual milk,
so that by it you may grow up in your salvation”.
- PETER, the Apostle of Christ

The Grace of Tao/Logos means an undeserved mercy of God bestowed upon mankind by which we might
be saved. In fairness it should be noted, it must be Grace and Grace alone! Not Grace plus our religious ceremonialism, duties, or works save us (Gal.2.21; Eph.2.8-9). Salvation is obtained solely by Christ’s
atonement outside of our good works, meditation, religious or non-religious good looking life, etc.
Without any additions to that!

However, transformation of the inner man is possible by one’s disciplined spiritual life. So, definitely involves
our vital action, denial of sin, spiritual warfare, and above all a deep personal relationship with the LORD,
because we are change by what we behold. If we behold Him as He is, we will be change into His likeness (2 Cor.3.18).
I will emphasize beholding and reflecting much more then imitation, since trying to imitate can
be very hard thus leads to struggle and frustration. Balance between Grace and Action in order to continue
and victoriously finish our warrior’s journey is unquestionable.

That’s why Yeshua-Do training in swordsmanship combines the Grace of Tao/Logos with our vital and aggressive action towards salvation. This conveys the words of the Apostle Paul to “Milis Christi” at Philippi:
“Saints… continue to work out your salvation…for it is God who works in you to will and to act” (Phil.2.12-13).
And Peter’s exhortation:
“Like new-born [warriors], crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow
up in your salvation”
(1 Pet. 2.2).

Passivity and procrastination is a covenant with the evil one, but uniting all our creative efforts and will-power with
Grace is the only key to find freedom through the victory over ego, rebellion, and sin. Daniel, the Prophet said; “But the people that do know their God shall be strong, take action and do exploits”. Therefore, our
personal commitment and action is no less important than the supernatural power of Grace. May the LORD Himself
who is our Wisdom – that is our Righteousness, Holiness and Redemption, give us necessary help
and understanding how to walk on His Holy Path, which leads to the higher mountain top, the glorious city,
where He dwells.

Finally, it might be said, the ability to see all struggles and existence from a non-self-centered perspective is central
to true Christianity and spiritual Art of swordsmanship in
Yeshua-Do, which in its higher expression
 is the Art of Peace, of compassion and non-violence, where the primary goal is to know the Holy One and
to serve His creation in love.