Street Smarts from Christian Martial Arts by Pastor J. Brown is a compilation of Master Brown’s wisdom from both teaching karate and working in Christian ministry. These life lessons convey a holistic (mind, body, spirit) approach to healthy living.
While the benefits are usually clear, the wisdom of martial arts is generally a mystery. Master Brown does a wonderful job of unveiling this wisdom and helping students apply it to their lives. His fun-loving sense of humor make this book easy to read and enjoyable, and an invaluable resource for any student who wants to get more out of martial arts training and life.
The Christian life lessons in this book teach on the greatest commandment, balance, life choices, relationships, prioritizing, being adaptable, focusing, succeeding, positive attitude, competition, submission, authority, quality, communication, listening, good manners, responsibility, perception, learning, perspective, teaching, goal-setting, accomplishing your goals, group dynamics, effort, conflict-resolution, hope, fruit of the Spirit, setting a good example, giving, fasting, paradigms, testing, being the real you, seeing the best in people, respect, discipline, teamwork, setting boundaries, self-love, taking initiative, persevering, talent, skill, bullies, parenting, growing up, making excuses, not giving up, problem solving, confrontation, strengths, benefits of pain, health, safety, and excellence.
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Excerpt from Chapter 28, Give Me a Break
Life Lesson: Succeeding in life is like breaking a board; it takes Foundation, Faith, Focus, Fitness, and Follow-through.
One of the most popular activities in the martial arts seems to be breaking objects. I don’t think that I would dare do a public demonstration without performing some sort of breaking feat. The crowd wouldn’t understand. There’s just something exciting about smashing wood or concrete with bare hands and feet. It’s not only fun to watch, but fun to do. In fact, it’s one of the most popular activities among students, too. Maybe it’s the release of aggression into the object that makes it so enjoyable. Or, maybe it’s the representation of the object to be broken. These boards and bricks represent many obstacles in our lives, and our breaking through them to the other side means smashing obstacles and achieving success.
To help students understand what it takes to break a board, I recommend mastering “The Five F’s” of breaking. These five elements are Foundation, Faith, Focus, Fitness, and Follow-through. Just as there are five key elements needed to break a board, there are similarly five key elements to breaking through any roadblocks that lie in the path of life. As you learn about what it takes to break a board, I encourage you to apply these elements to other trials that you may be facing. As with breaking a board, it won’t be easy, and you may have to make several attempts before you succeed, but I assure you that victory can and will be yours if you can only persevere.
The first thing that we must always consider when attempting a break is Foundation. You see there are different kinds of foundations. When the foundation is a person holding a board for someone to break, it is weak. It’s tough to break a board this way because a great deal of the energy exerted into breaking the board is absorbed by the give or movement of the foundation, or in this case, the person holding the board. Although a good holder can provide a sufficient foundation, there’s no question that there are stronger and better foundations to use in breaking. The easiest way to break a board is by placing it correctly on top of a couple of bricks. When the board is struck, the bricks won’t budge. Because the board has been set on a rock-solid foundation, it’s a lot easier to break.
How about your foundation in life? Is it strong and secure like the bricks? Are your feet firmly planted? If so, then in what are they planted? Be careful, the world is full of lies and distractions. We can be planted in worldly trends, our own physical strength, or our own wisdom. Maybe we’re leaning on someone else (a friend, spouse, or caregiver), or even how much money we have in the bank. If we’re planted in these things, then our foundation might as well be shifting sand. Every one of these things (and other worldly things) can be here today and gone tomorrow. The only true foundation that we can be sure of never shifting out from underneath us is Jesus Christ. Read Job 22:15-17, Matthew 7:5, Luke 6:48, and especially Ephesians 2:19-21.
 Job 22:15-17 – Will you keep to the old path that evil men have trod? They were carried off before their time, their foundations washed away by a flood. They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’
 Matthew 7:5 – The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
 Luke 6:48 – He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
 Ephesians 2:19-21 – Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.