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I feel like I'm going to regret asking this but...should Catholics stay away from learning eastern martial arts? I realize that yoga is steeped in Hindu religion and worship but what about other martial arts such as tai chi or kung fu? (yes I know, both steeped Daoist/Buddhist teachings apparently)

Personally I wish there was much more research and widespread availability of European Medieval/Renaissance martial arts. I practiced tai chi in high school and loved the fluidity of the movements. As far as I remember, the instructor had no interest or even taught anything with regards to Daoism. I actually took tai chi because I injured myself in judo, which I never took again. I feel like taking something like this would help my body stop being so tense. But I'm also aware of the links that eastern martial arts have with mysticism, which is not compatible with our Catholic faith.

Help? I'm assuming the answer is "no," I should stay away from tai chi? ???
Thinking you're going to summon demons or whatever by doing martial arts is ridiculous and superstitious. Too many American Catholics suffer from irrational paranoia of anything "eastern."
(03-04-2015, 08:05 PM)Ave Castitatis Lilium Wrote: [ -> ]Thinking you're going to summon demons or whatever by doing martial arts is ridiculous and superstitious. Too many American Catholics suffer from irrational paranoia of anything "eastern."

Where exactly in my post did I state just that? I think there is irrational paranoia but at the same time one must approach with caution. Just as there may be Catholics who abhor such practices I also think that many slip into the usual thinking that Asian religious teachings are extremely compatible with traditional Catholic teaching; or in some cases "even better."
I do Hapkido, and I'm sure you could go down some weird path with some eastern thoughts about Chi/Ki,  but I don't know anyone who thinks more of it than it being the convergence of practice, timing and effort directed in motion. Anything more than that, and I would say the person suffers from an over-active imagination and has watched too many cartoons.

[Image: p2BqcMGysholi.gif]
Nothing wrong with it at all. Do it if you like. We have canonized saints who were samurai. Distinguish between sins and everything else. What we can't do is sin.
I know my post will be extremely unpopular around here, but what the heck, its the truth, eh.  :grin:

What we do with our bodies is not something neutral, the movements, exercises, etc., are always intended to form us as persons and express us. In the Middle Ages this was a very big thing, and the education of what we do with our bodies as expressions of the higher reality was taught from childhood.
Of course, later, with the general decay of society and the loss of the sense of hierarchy of reality and the connectedness of the immanent with the transcendent this practiced degenerated into the early modern stiffness, ultra formality and whatnot.

So, doing a whole set of foreign exercises that worked inside a particular religion that we know almost nothing could be dangerous. It wouldn't really be a sin, but in time it could make one into an incongruous person.

To be fair I also struggle with this. I go to the gym and sometimes I listen to some not very Catholic music to get me more excited when the audiobooks don't do the trick—you know, Rammstein would be the extreme example. And surely this deforms the soul somehow. And unfortunately we live in a society that simply doesn't care (and even think this is a joke or superstition, as the fellow above said; heck, we live in such a crazy world where Stravinsky with his thoroughly modern le sacre du printemps is considered classical music) so we don't have many masters from whom we can learn and we have to figure out by ourselves.

(03-04-2015, 09:17 PM)Renatus Frater Wrote: [ -> ]I know my post will be extremely unpopular around here, but what the heck, its the truth, eh.  :grin:

What we do with our bodies is not something neutral, the movements, exercises, etc., are always intended to form us as persons and express us. In the Middle Ages this was a very big thing, and the education of what we do with our bodies as expressions of the higher reality was taught from childhood.
Of course, later, with the general decay of society and the loss of the sense of hierarchy of reality and the connectedness of the immanent with the transcendent this practiced degenerated into the early modern stiffness, ultra formality and whatnot.

So, doing a whole set of foreign exercises that worked inside a particular religion that we know almost nothing could be dangerous. It wouldn't really be a sin, but in time it could make one into an incongruous person.

To be fair I also struggle with this. I go to the gym and sometimes I listen to some not very Catholic music to get me more excited when the audiobooks don't do the trick—you know, Rammstein would be the extreme example. And surely this deforms the soul somehow. And unfortunately we live in a society that simply doesn't care (and even think this is a joke or superstition, as the fellow above said; heck, we live in such a crazy world where Stravinsky with his thoroughly modern le sacre du printemps is considered classical music) so we don't have many masters from whom we can learn and we have to figure out by ourselves.

Yes I wholeheartedly agree.

I guess I want to do something different from just taking the usual daily walk and not to mention my work schedule has completely changed again out of the blue. I think the problem with yoga is that it is more than just physical exercise; Bhakti yoga for example, being a devotion to one of the specific Hindu deities (Shiva, Vishnu, etc.). However, I'm not so sure with tai chi and/or kung fu. I know many stances in both tai chi and kung fu are based on movements of animals or other things in nature.

Would this be an "ask your priest" question (well to be honest, I have not received too much good advice from priests; perhaps I should speak with a monk I know?)?
I recall reading about Hui (Chinese Muslim) masters in a martial arts magazine about 15 years ago or so. Wikipedia suggests that Muslims in China are prominent in a number of martial arts traditions:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_art...Muslim_Hui

Perhaps inculturation in a Chinese context might include some similar embrace of martial arts as a legitimate cultural tradition that can be baptized.

There might be some old Chinese priests remaining who could give a traditional perspective. Unfortunately, many lack a good command of English. My old dentist did work for those residing in a nursing home and rehabilitation center for Catholic clergy and religious, and I remember him telling me about an old Chinese Jesuit, with virtually no command of English, who fled China following brutal suppression in the Cultural Revolution. He was very old then, and this was 20 years ago, so I suppose he is probably long dead.

I would imagine that many of the people who could provide good answers on these questions are quite old and not active online. Foreign missionaries were virtually all expelled by 1953, and the native clergy and religious who remained were subject to brutal oppression.

edit: Perhaps those with experience with in ministering to the Chinese people in places that escaped the Communists (Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and among the Overseas Chinese) might be more accessible.
I would not have expected these answers, I thought this was a traditional catholic place.I was taught nothing with eastern influence.
(03-04-2015, 11:01 PM)olgamarie.tanon Wrote: [ -> ]I would not have expected these answers, I thought this was a traditional catholic place.I was taught nothing with eastern influence.

In general, that might be a good rule of thumb for Westerners, since the New Age movement uses eastern influences to undermine Christianity.

But there are tens of millions of Christians now in China, including many who are newly evangelized, and some who receive the sacraments illegally from the "underground" Catholic Church. These sorts of questions reflect real pastoral concerns both in China, where as much as 5% of the overall population may be Christian, and in the West, which has increasing exposure to the cultures of the Orient, as well as large immigrant communities. Many immigrants from East Asia become Christian (South Koreans in the USA are often stereotyped as being very religious), and Asian Christians need to negotiate their faith lives, cultural assimilation, and retaining their own identity and heritage.
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