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Kung-Fu for Christ connects Canadian community to church

Kung-Fu for Christ connects Canadian community to church

Kung-Fu for Christ connects Canadian community to church

More than 100 children, as well as teenagers and adults, attend weekly kung-fu classes at The Salvation Army's community church.

By Simone Worthing

Martial arts, popular with children, teenagers and adults across Canada, has given one particular corps in Ontario, Canada, an effective way to begin connecting the community to the church.

The Kitchener Community Church has run Kung-Fu for Christ, an evangelical martial arts ministry, since 2013. Leaders use martial arts as a vehicle to share the gospel of Jesus, and demonstrate Christian values – in and out of the classes.

“We offer martial arts classes twice a week to children, youth and adults during which we teach values like respect, courage and perseverance,” explained Kitchener Corps Officer, Major Corinne Cameron. “We also spend time each class talking about Jesus as well as how biblical stories and values relate to us in martial arts and in daily life. Students are encouraged to read their Bibles, demonstrate Christian values in and outside the kung-fu program, and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s a positive program that is so well received by the children and their families.”

In 2013, the leaders of the ministry decided they wanted to use their skills and give back to God and the community. Sifu Alan Braganza has a black belt in Kung-Fu, and Laoshi Morgan Braganza (a green belt) is skilled at administration and planning. They discovered a need in the community for a program like Kung-Fu for Christ, incorporating martial arts with a strong evangelism and discipleship component.

The children and young people develop skills in Kung-Fu, as well as confidence, self-discipline and respect.

The Kitchener Community Church is located in the connecting point of three city regions, all of which have a low-income development within their boundaries. These sub-divisions were intentionally targeted as the areas in which to promote this new ministry.

“This ministry has proven to be a wonderful way to begin to connect people in our community to the church,” said Major Cameron. “There are also many in our community with little disposable income to invest in their children’s sporting activities. Kung-Fu for Christ is entirely donation based, so families on a low income are able to receive a great opportunity for their child’s development.”

More than 100 children under the age of 13 attend weekly classes, with more names on the waiting list. An adults class, with childcare provided, has also attracted 40 participants.

Each class includes a warm-up, kung-fu instruction, devotions and open prayer. A home Bible-reading schedule is built into the ministry.

“During the children’s class it is incredible to sit and feel like you are in a rain shower of prayer as many pray out loud all at the same time,” shared Major Cameron.

Kung-fu classes have proven to be an effective way of connecting all age groups in the community to the church.

Additionally, each week, around 20 young people who have been identified as potential leaders and have earned their yellow belt, are trained to help teach in the beginners’ class. An adult leadership class offers advanced teacher training, as well as the pedagogy of teaching kung-fu.

“Kung-Fu [for Christ] develops a plethora of great values,” said Major Cameron. “We have had testimonials from parents of how other areas of their children’s lives have been positively impacted through a ‘trickle down’ effect from Kung-Fu for Christ. This is true of the Kung-Fu for Christ program and kung-fu itself as a sport.

“For example, kung-fu requires a heavy focus upon self-control and concentration. Children who have had academic and behavioural challenges in school are receiving skills in kung-fu that transfer into other learning environments.

“Children are also gaining in self-confidence which helps in school areas such as public speaking and interactions with their peers.”

Kitchener Community Church is now actively looking at how they can feasibly expand this program, which is currently volunteer driven and in a limited physical space.

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