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I know some people, Christians, who study Eastern martial arts. They explain this by saying that they do not practice the spiritual aspects of karate or kung-fu; but they use only the physical component of martial arts (i.e., they study it as gymnastics).

The spiritual component of Eastern martial arts can be substituted with prayer to God.

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If you do martial arts without the spiritual component you are losing many of the benefits. Many of the teachings won't necessarily contradict Christianity, for example, Ghandi was probably more Christ-like in his life than most Christians. You don't have to believe in reincarnation for martial arts, but the non-violence of Buddhism helps. You may want to explain more about the "eastern spiritual component". –  James Black Oct 4 '11 at 12:56
    
I second that. I don't see any conflict in this. –  Nick122 Oct 4 '11 at 13:06
    
I think even if you don't practice yoga, meditation or something like this, it may be dangerous for yourself because of mystic part of martial arts. But my opinion may be wrong. –  Massimo Gatti Oct 4 '11 at 13:38
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There is a certain amount of eastern mysticism that goes part and parcel with some of these martial arts that Christians need to be aware of. –  Neil Meyer Oct 4 '11 at 17:23
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1 Answer

In general, yes, it is allowed. However, I want to point out this verse:

1 Corinthians 10:23 (NIV)
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.

This verse comes right before a passage talking about eating meat sacrificed to idols. In general, this is allowed for us. However we have to be careful to make sure that what we are doing does not take us away from God, but brings us closer.

1 Corinthians 10:31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

If we follow God and do everything for his Glory, we're doing things the right way.

Summary

If you're feeling like God is calling you to not participate in any activity, you should avoid that activity in order to glorify God. Otherwise, feel free to participate in that activity so long as you do it for God's glory.

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