Kung Fu and the path to God



I have two questions: Is Practicing kung negative on the path to God?

Is practicing it against the no violence priciples?

—Mattia, Italy


Dear One,

You asked two very good questions. I hope and pray I can answer them proficiently.

Regarding the first question: “Is practicing Kung (Fu) negative on the path to God?” – to make a short story long, Kung Fu originally meant, “Way of Life.” It had little or nothing to do with being combative, and the movements were taught as yoga in motion.

In fact, Buddhist monks taught the movements, breathing and philosophy of Kung Fu as a way to deepen one’s meditation and improve the practitioner’s way of life. It wasn’t until warlords began attacking the sacred grounds of the monasteries, and monks had to defend themselves, that the combative aspect of the art took on the prominence and popularity it has today.

I have been practicing Kung Fu for more than 40 years and the practice has helped me in numerous ways. It keeps me fit, relaxed, flexible and confident, but most importantly the training helps elevate my humility, calmness and devotion to God and Guru. I find the art to be quite a blessing. The more I train, the more focus and discipline I develop, and I feel these help me to be a better devotee.

Another thing – Yogananda taught stick-fighting to the students at his school in Ranchi. Stick fighting is one of the disciplines taught in some Kung Fu classes.

In summary, If one were to use violence to control or manipulate another for personal gain it would be a terrible sin. But if you use violence to stop someone from doing harm to another then that act of violence could make you a hero.

It all depends on the motivation in your heart. Even if your mind goes to violence to stop an attack, it doesn’t mean you are a violent person: to act to protect another is to allow yourself to be an instrument for God.

When it comes to self defence, do the deed and forget about it. Pray for peace to return to you and all involved.

Know that one can practice martial arts and think violent thoughts, or one can practice martial arts and think about how beautiful the movements and the motions are.

A couple of prayers I like to say when there is a possibility I might have to use my training in order to protect others are:

I will reason, I will I will, I will act. But guide my reason, will and activity to the right path in everything.


Lord, let this cup pass. But, not by my will, Lord, let Thy will be done.

Give it all to God. Focus on the blessings you’ll receive when practicing Kung Fu and carry the blessings into deep meditation. Love God with all your heart, mind and body. And remember all this is God’s dream. We are only actors in His divine play.

Nayaswami Gopal