Keysi Fighting Method for youth ministry?

“i don’t think as christians we’re meant to be just stomped on”


here’s the headline:
Youth pastors learn Batman’s fighting techniques
Highland Park United Methodist Church hosted a two-hour, hands-on session on the Keysi Fighting Method. The session was designed to help youth pastors learn safety and security issues.

uh. and, one of the dudes talks about the need for youth workers to trained this way because we take students on missions trips to “scary places”?

here’s the link for the video clip

man, i hestitated posting this (because last time i posted a video of a youth worker saying something that bothered me, it caused a storm of ugliness and one very upset protagonist). but, c’mon, it was on the dallas morning news.

so… i’ll just open it up for discussion: what do you think?

oh, let me just throw this wrench in the works a bit — a really old quote:

But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

(ht to tony jones, who has a post about this, and heidi turner via fb)

33 thoughts on “Keysi Fighting Method for youth ministry?”

  1. I have mixed feelings.

    As I read the words of Jesus and turning the other cheek, I understand it as taking a physical insult. When Peter struck the servant with a sword, Jesus didn’t condemn Peter for trying to defend him but rather stated the reality of fighting.

    I’ve struggled with this for a while, so I certainly don’t claim to have the answer. But I don’t think Iw ould go so far as to get trained in self defense for a mission trip.

    BUT…if someone is trying to hurt my family or even the kids in my youth group physically, you better believe I’m going to do what I can to protect them. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s just me.

  2. I love this quote: “I don’t think as Christians that we’re meant to be just stomped on.”

    Reminds me of Driscoll saying “I don’t respect a Jesus I can beat up.” This all seems to me to be a part of a larger movement of hyper-masculinity in the American church that confuses manliness with violence and passivity with femininity

  3. For me the thing that was troubling was the image of the suffering Jesus in the background. Jesus death on the cross was not only to save us from our sins but also served as an indictment against violence. I often see the bumper sticker that reads Jesus is Coming, Look Busy. I don’t believe this is the busyness that was intended.

  4. i dont think there is anything wrong in learning techniques to help defend yourself i suppose. but when those techniques lead to striking someone, then i at least have to ask some tough questions.

    what part of this looks like Jesus?

    how do i protect others and still be faithful to the gospel?

    how do my actions reflect loving my enemies and blessing those who curse us?

    what example, good or bad, am i leaving for our youth?

    i do not pretend to have the answers to these questions, but we have to be able to ask them.

    to also remember that because a person chooses nonviolence as a way to being faithful to the gospel doesnt mean they “do nothing”.

    and lets be honest, nonviolence doesnt always work. but we dont choose that way because it “works” every time, we choose it because it is how we understand being faithful to Christ.

  5. Marko- We talked about this so I thought I’d post here. Phil is a good guy, the church is just about a mile from my house and I had lunch over there last week. They do some great stuff in this community. Like anything this might be blown up and video clips can be cut anyway to make a point. On the other hand I think that there might be some usefulness to the skills. Yesterday I challenged their youth pastor to a fight and told him I thought we’d win because of the sheer numbers of my staff. He said that’s what the training was for dealing with numbers. How quick he minimized my advantage and only with his words :)

    On another note maybe they are learning skills because that is George and Laura Bush’s church. You never know when you might have to kick some terrorist tail.

  6. I always thought that one of the points of Jesus (ascended into heaven, seated at the right hand of the father) being able to beat anyone up was that we then didn’t have to. Vengeance is his to repay and everything.

  7. “But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

    That is totally fine for me personally, but when it comes to my kids (as in the ones I produced) or the kids in my youth group, I think it’s appropriate to be able to defend a teenager in the face of danger. Once we were in Costa Rica and a group of 3 young me in their 20’s came and started rubbing the butt of one of teenage girls. We asked them politely, in all languages to stop, and it didn’t happen. One pulled a knife to let us know he had no intentions of stopping. Had we not known how to handle someone with a knife, that coulda been bad. Again, when it comes to me personally, beat me all you want, but when it comes to your responsibility over kids, you should be ready to protect them. Being trained would only help you stay level headed anyway. My .02

  8. So if you came home to somebody raping your wife, you’d just sit there? Come on. That verse about turning the other cheek is so far out of context. Yeah this is very weird and in the video they look even weirder but to use that verse to say we can’t ever defend ourselves or others, no way.

  9. How is the passage about turning the other cheek out of context? Show me in the Scripture where Jesus fought back. Show me where he defended himself physically.

    For years I had people tell me that Jesus’ “turn the other cheek” saying wasn’t to be taken literally. Then I realized that he lived out that teaching for the rest of his life, and then let people nail him to the cross. If he told his disciples to turn the other cheek, then lived something else, then you could make the claim that it wasn’t to be taken literally, but he lived it.

    I find it ironic that people throw a fit when yoga classes are taught in a church, but don’t bat an eye when they’re teaching people how to fight like Batman.

  10. I think it looks silly and the sound bite quotes are easy to jump on. I’m not opposed to any of us being able to protect and defend our students or ourself, if we ever find ourselves threatened physically.

    A shepherd must tend his flock. And at times… fight off the wolves. Rev. Oliver in The Patriot

  11. Len- right on

    Brad- You said, “Show me in the Scripture where Jesus fought back. Show me where he defended himself physically.” Okay, here is just one occasion where Jesus uses violence:

    Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.”
    (Revelation 19:11-21 )

  12. Brad!?

    I forgot, you should answer this: “If you came home to somebody raping your wife, would you just sit there and pray for her?”

  13. I think it’s interesting that contextual approaches are being throw casually around. As for the selection of a scripture where Jesus used violence I would have been more inclined to to use Jesus in The temple with the whip, overturning tables. But it doesen’t provide info that he hiot anyone. Are you really seriouds about using a metaphorical, symbolical book to explain Jesus being violent? AS for the wife and rape issue. I don’t think I’d be so inclined to kick the crap out of the person but instead free my wife first.

  14. this is sad, sad, sad

    in a culture that is already drenched in violence & men hurting other men & women at disturbing levels – this is the Good News ?

    so much of the world is organized as a system of dominations: men over women, whites over blacks, rich over poor, powerful nations over weaker nations. Jesus embodied a new order, based on partnership, equality, compassion, and nonviolence.

    the Good New of Jesus is that violence is never redemptive.

  15. Bob – Jesus embodied a new order, based on partnership, equality, compassion, and nonviolence.

    Don’t forget helping the weak who can’t help themselves and I’m sure you’d say stopping oppresion. If my student is being threatened or hit, my duty is to protect them. I haven’t signed up for Batman Ninja Skills but I don’t think it’s wrong to protect those that we can if we have to.

    If my daughter was in your group and was in trouble because someone was trying to hurt her, I hope you wouldn’t say, “Jesus said forgive, turn the other cheek!”

    I don’t think you would. I think this clip is a strawman begging to be jumped on and beat up, so to speak. ;-)

  16. len,

    protect is one thing – meeting violence with violence is another

    here is the thing: I think Jesus meant “turn the other cheek” – not as option before we beat the other person, but as an actual response to violence. brian’s hypothetical about rape is equaly challenging – but YES, after we helped our spouse, I think Jesus would call us to pray for the rapist (not to beat them).

    for me, this is why the Crucifixion is so powerful – transforming an icon of violence into a signal of new life

  17. Brian, using the most metaphorical and cryptic book in the scripture to prove your point is a bit of a problem. As far as the rape issue goes, see Poul Wilson’s answer to that and you have mine. You’re assuming that the only way to free your wife from that situation is to beat/kill the dude. The fact that we see violence as the only way to remedy a situation shows just how far afield we are from Jesus’ message and way of life.

  18. When I have these questions pop up, I always look to my spiritual hero, Dog the Bounty Hunter.

    Telling people about Jesus + Boot to the throat = AWESOME!

  19. the “somebody raping your wife” scenario is a bit overplayed. first off, being nonviolent is not being relegated to just pray. we live with these extremes and it is rarely the case.

    i think restraining a person is not violence. or pulling someone off someone else is not a violent act. if we are making up hypotheticals let’s say you cant get between them, or pull her free or restrain him in any way whatsoever. the only course of action is to shoot him between the eyes. ok go…

    it is never a choice between the extreme of violently beating or hurting someone and doing nothing. it is trying to find appropriate action that brings justice for the one being harmed while trying to be faithful to what we believe.

    i’m not a perfect person. my actions in a situation like that may not be christ-like. but i hope that my faith is ingrained well enough in me to make a quick right choice.the answers arent always easy or clear. but to say my only choices are violence or nothing is unfair and not true.

  20. btw, i am not belittling or making light of anyone’s situation by saying this is overplayed. i am just saying that this particular scenario seems used to stir emotion and provoke.

    i hope no one thought i was being uncaring or flippant by using the term “overplayed”.

  21. Wow – cool discussion…just can’t resist but so many thoughts

    1) Moreso than passivism, we are called (pastor/elders at least) to not be violent in nature/pugilistic (1 Timothy, Titus qualifications lists) BUT we are also called to defend the help less (pretty much the whole Bible, specifically when God talks about sin in the nation and reform)

    2) About 2 years ago I witnessed an interesting scene at a Christian school – the least aggressive ones in the scene were the trained off duty police (parents) who stepped in and the former martial arts instructor (another parent) who was put on the defense. The latter was pushed and didn’t respond at all though he was ready if it escalated. THE RIGHT TRAINING ALWAYS LOOKS TO DEFUSE THE SITUATION as in the case of the the police and instructor above.

    3) Maybe, if training is truly necessary for trips, it’s time to rethink some of the trips we’re taking our students/minors on. I know it’s cool to head different places and that the gospel needs to be sent out but that doesn’t always mean it should be the youth doing it. Before all of you jump on this one…if you’re not a parent of teens, pause and ponder for a bit. Full disclosure: our College/Young Adults have been going to Haiti (not a safe place).

    4) Careful with the example of Jesus. He definitely showed a predominantly passivistic lifestyle (except of the whole whipping/beating in the temple clearing thing) that we should mimic but He also had a clear destination that affects things like the Garden/ear incident. To fight at the moment would have stopped the cross. That’s His point in Gethsemane…Peter, you still don’t get it…they’re supposed to arrest me…I just told you that…it’s my plan!

  22. I used to work in a boys home doing very hard, challenging youth ministry with kids and parents more than capable of beating me up. Part of my training to work there was to defend not only myself but the students in my care. We never learned how to physically attack someone, but restraint (physical and verbal) was on the dockett.

    We can’t pretend that we’re “being like Jesus” because we’re namby-pamby about hurting someone. We can’t pretend to be like Jesus because we’re “following his example” in the temple. Neither one works.I think pbj’s comment number 4 is the most appropos these particular theological discussions.

    Truthfully, if I can defend my kids without beating the crap out of someone, I will; and I’ll certainly make sure that if we’re ever in that situation that they’re praying for the guy afterwards, and that the whole church is involved in reaching out to them, but I won’t just betray the trust of their parents by leaving them unprotected. Remember Jesus’ analogy about shepherds that run when the wolf is present. THAT CAN’T BE US.

  23. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.

    Add a little context…

    This is a commentary on Matt 5:39-42 from Dallas Willard’s The Divine Conspiracy pg 178

    “All is changed when we realize that these are illustrations of what a certain kind of person, the kingdom person, will characteristically do in such situations. They are not laws of “righteous behavior” for those personally imposed upon or injured. They are not laws for the obvious reason that they do not cover the many cases. Additionally, if you read them as laws you will immediately see that we could “obey” them in the wrong spirit.

    Will there, then be cases in which persons of the kingdom will not do what is said here by the way of illustration? Quite certainly, but they will be very rare, so long as it is only an individual injury that is at stake and no issues of a larger good are concerned.”

  24. This video is only talking about defense. I think all people should know how to defend themselves so they can get away from a dangerous situation as quickly as possible. If any of you who are commenting knew anything about most martial arts you would realize that the point is diffusing a situation, not escalating it to the point of beating someone up. In the past we have taught our high school students techniques to escape danger and confrontation so that they aren’t around to have to turn the other cheek…unless it’s their buttcheeks as they are running away. It’d be good for all you to get off your butt and get some exercise anyway.

  25. It’s a no brainer. Sometimes you need to protect yourself, your family, and definitley children who may not be able to protect themselves.

  26. “I find it ironic that people throw a fit when yoga classes are taught in a church, but don’t bat an eye when they’re teaching people how to fight like Batman.”

    Fact: Batman is not real
    Fact: Batman used many inventions to subdue is opponents

    What i saw in this short video clip was nothing close to what i saw on Dark Knight or Batman Begins or any of the other Batman movies that have been put out in the last 20 years…there might have been remants from the old Adam West movie, but i most definately did not see any “POW”s or “BANG”s…not even a single can of shark repellant bat spray.

    (this is all in good humor, it’s just this comment made me laugh in the midst of a heated debate that will never be finished…ever)

    This is the Christian version of the 2nd Ammendment debate…

  27. Just a few ?’s, why is there even a debate about the second amendment? Second I don’t think I’ve ever seen any harm done by down-dog. Why compare yoga to a self-defense class? Am I missing something?

  28. Oops, I did miss something. It is rediculous when people object to yoga. Sorry.

  29. here is my 2 cents….

    I live in Dallas….I currently train in KFM (Keysi Fighting Method)….and I’m also a Student Pastor. I absolutely believe that KFM can be beneficial to Student Ministry…and its not just for “violent” defense….that is strictly last ditch effort scenario. I have read all the comments….and unfortunately most of these people are simply just misinformed…so..not there fault. they are only going off what they heard in some ridiculous news story.

    Here’s the deal….I was there!… at that Demo in Highland Park…and it was amazing. the news clip only gave half the info…it was totally cut to pieces. they of course left out all of the quality benefits that KFM truly has. Jeff (KFM Instructor) is a Godly man…and I completely support this cause. the media made it out to be like some “Martial Arts Showcase”…which KFM is NOT by the way. yeah…its “ballistic defense”….but when my life is on the line…you better believe im not going down with out fight……..but everyone’s comments are interesting….opinionated (including mine)…but none the less good stuff. : )


  30. Thanks Josh_Mac and others who “defended” our defense…lol ;-)

    Honestly, guys, the point was well made by several who remarked, “Do you think what you ‘saw’ on a few seconds of video depicts everything KFM teaches?” Not by a LONG SHOT! Also, for those regarding the violence aspect, I would suggest Luke 22:35-36 where Jesus DID INSTRUCT his disciples to carry a SWORD with them on their travels. Yeah, that one even caught “me” offguard years ago. In fact, He felt that particular item so important, he said “And if you do not have a sword, sell your cloak (clothing) and BUY ONE.”

    KFM is not about “going after” someone, but when someone “comes after” you…not because of your faith…but your vulnerability. Predators know how to spot prey–plain and simple. And again, it has nothing to do with your spiritual values, but more often the valuables (cash, jewelry, car keys, etc) you have on you or with you. And if they ask for those–GIVE THEM AWAY– absolutely! But when they’ve taken your possessions and now wish to take “possession” over you? Ruh-Roh, Shaggy!

    I also notice that the vast majority, if not everyone responding, are “men.” The ladies would have a different perspective on this, I assure you, especially in cases of rape, incest, domestic abuse, etc. Tell them to “turn the other cheek” and see what response you get. How would you want your wives and daughters to someday respond if in such a situation? Just imagine it being a Ted Bundy, Henry Lee Lucas, etc type of person as well.

    Jesus realized we live in a violent and fallen world, hence his instruction to his closest friends to defend themselves. But when it comes to those non-violent, casual confrontations that are about ego…absolutely, turn the other cheek and walk away as is Biblically directed (and hermaneutically correct). But anyone who has done any theological studies will tell you, the context of “turn the other cheek” is about a challenge or insult, not a physical attack. Someone “slapping/challenging you” is not the same as someone attacking you or your loved ones. “There is a time and place for every activity under heaven” afterall (Ecc 3:1) ;-)

    God calls “some” to be martyrs, but I don’t think he calls anyone to simply be a victim.

    But like all else…”Let each man/woman work out his OWN salvation with fear and trembling.” But also remember the words of Jesus that “Whoever is not AGAINST us is FOR us.” This goes for those trying to protect you and your congregations as well. Whether you personally buy into it or not, we are on YOUR side ;-)

  31. By the way, if you want to take a little closer look at some of the training, let me recommend:
    Both the main video and those on the right.

    Also, our approach is to train youth pastors, not go into churches ourselves, so “ultimately” the filter for how KFM is taught and presented at any local church will be that local pastor or youth pastor. This will insure the consistency from the pulpit with the integrity of our program. To that end, we are hitting the road this year at a number of youth pastor/leader events.

    We will be at the Jenny Mayo National Youth Leaders Conference March 30-April 1 as well as all three National Youth Workers Conventions next fall in LA, Atlanta and Cincinnatti. If you have any questions, just stop by and say “hello.” You’ll find us amazingly friendly and approachable people…honest ;-)

    Jeff McKissack- U.S. KFM Ambassador
    [email protected]

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