|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries||Oriental religions|
Tae-Kwon-Do and Orthodoxy
– A spiritual child of fr. Alevizopoulos remembers
The following article was written with the euche of my spiritual father as well as the euche of my geronda, to whom I had confessed these things fifteen years ago after the end of my spiritual search, when God finally led me to the most blessed fr. Anthony Alevizopoulos. This article treats the story of my conversion from an atheist to a [Orthodox] Christian with the help of our Lord. Also, through this text an attempt is made to interpret the difference between Tae Kwon Do (TKD, a Korean martial art) and Orthodoxy.
Chapter 1 refers to the aim of Christian life which, according to the holy fathers, is nothing else but the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. Through the words of holy men we describe the means for Its acquisition (God willing). At the same time, I give a definitive reply as to whether this aim can be combined with exercising TKD or not.
Chapter 2 refers to TKD, where a little historical background is mentioned first and the aim of this martial art and Olympic game is analyzed second, namely the realization of the ideals of Confucius and living the beliefs of Taoism and Buddhism.
Chapter 3 includes the famous conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov as a living example for the realization of the Kingdom of Christ in our lives. On the other hand, I bring my personal past as a testimony and an example to avoid.
1. The purpose of man’s existence
What is the purpose of man’s existence? The answer is given to us by our Lord and also by His Saints through the ages, whose bodies were wasted in hard asceticism, fasting, vigils, prayers, and virtues in general. In all these, they lived freedom in Christ. This answer is also given through the conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov (cf. Chapter 3). According, therefore, to the Saint, purpose of Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, namely the living of the Kingdom of God from this life.
The euche that follows is used by us when we beg the Holy Spirit to become our guide, and cleanse us from sin and its causes.
O Heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
Through this euche, the Christian calls through his own will the Holy Spirit to come and dwell inside him, to transform him into a temple. The Holy Spirit respects man’s independent will and waits for this invitation. On the contrary, TKD, as we shall see further down, violates man’s independent will, since man becomes possessed and believes he has the right to impose his will to others, and nullify, that is, his fellow man’s personality.
The characteristics of the Holy Spirit
St. Seraphim [a] by his prayer places his spiritual child visibly inside the grace of the Holy Spirit. He does not abolish Motovilov’s person and he in turn does not go mad, like some of the victims of the eastern religions do, who, through meditation, end up in a vegetative state, but on the contrary fills him with an unutterable peacefulness and serenity, an incredible happiness, a singular sweetness, an internal warmth, and he in turn feels the divine fragrance of the Holy Spirit, becoming like St. Seraphim of Sarov full of the Holy Spirit.
According to the teachings of St. Innocent of Moscow [b], the characteristic traits of the Holy Spirit are faith and illumination, love, power, wisdom, happiness, joy, as well as peace, humility and, finally, prayer.
St. Silouan the Athonite [c] mentions among other things that the Holy Spirit teaches the true faith, It is the means of communicating and becoming acquainted with God, It grants love, wisdom, sweetness, joy, sight and knowledge of God, prayer, illumination, power, understanding of Scriptures, spiritual rest, and a foretaste of the blessedness of paradise.
Internal holy spiritual peace and external relaxation
One of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit is peace. The teachers of TKD also show a peaceful face, as sheep-like wolves that they are, and their bodies are relaxed through too much exercise. They do not have virtue. They can be debauchers, meditating gurus, participants in mental suggestions, whereas their soul does not rest in the Holy Spirit, as it is dead, not alive; in it live demons (this is what I understood in the school where I was taught TKD).
Why do we need the Holy Spirit?
St. Innocent replies that “without the help and cooperation of the Holy Spirit, it is impossible not only for us to enter the Kingdom in Heavens, but even to make a single step on the path that leads there”.
Continuing, the saint tells us that there is a necessary pre-condition for the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, namely true faith. “This is given only to the one who is truly faithful. And truly faithful is he who confesses correctly our holy Orthodox faith, without making any additions or subtractions or changes, exactly as it was delivered to us by the holy apostles and as it was phrased and sanctioned by the Holy Father in the Œcumenical Synods. Every doubt or sophistry in matters of faith is disobedience. And the one who is disobedient can never become a temple and habitation of the Holy Spirit”.
In other words, it is pointless for one to meditate on one hand and try to lead a spiritual life inside the Church on the other. As we shall see in the next chapter, TKD (and martial arts in general) contain breathing exercises and techniques of meditation in movement. It is a form of yoga whose aim is self-deification (and a witness to one’s personal powers). Apart from the above, we must also note that there are many martial arts Schools that conduct meditation before and even after training.
It is madness for someone to wish to combine the path of extreme humility that our saints walk with the Luciferian self-deification path that we are subject to through TKD training.
Means of acquisition of the Holy Spirit
The same saint tells us that in order for us to acquire the Holy Spirit in our lives, the means are: clean heart, pure body, humility, obedience to the voice of God (i.e. to the Word of God), prayer, daily self-denial (mainly through fasting and almsgiving), reading and listening to the Holy Writ (and holy books in general), participation to the divine mysteries of our Ecclesia and in the divine Eucharist in particular.
Continuing, the saint tells us: “every soul can be filled by the Holy Spirit, if it is cleared from sin, self-love and freed from pride”.
When does the Holy Spirit leave?
St. Innocent tells us “Every sin drives away the Holy Spirit. Most hated, however, to Him are pornic sins among the bodily ones, and pride among the spiritual ones. The Holy Spirit, the perfect purity, cannot live inside a man defiled with sins. How can He stay in our heart, when it is filled with cares, desires and passions?”
Exercise in an art whose aim is self-deification is either the result of ignorance on the part of the trainee or the result of pride. These two (ignorance and pride) can by themselves drive away the Holy Spirit. In other words, the battle for living the kingdom of God goes out of the window. St. Silouan continues and tells us:
“One falls to deception either due to inexperience or due to pride. If one falls to deception through ignorance then the Lord will heal him quickly; if however he falls to deception due to pride, then his soul will suffer for a long time, until it learns what humility means, and then it will be healed by the Lord.”
If someone has fallen to the deception of TKD, depending as to whether this fall was due to ignorance or pride, then both the way to remove his dependence as well as the time until he is freed from its lures varies accordingly.
According to St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, in his book “Unseen Warfare”, there are three things that stop man from living the kingdom of God. These are: the world, the devil and his self.
Psychological problems and the Holy Spirit
If one practices TKD for a time and also reads about Buddhism, Taoism, telepathy etc., and then suddenly stops TKD, he might suffer from phobias, persecution manias and psychological problems. These eventually leave through the mysteries of Holy Confession and Holy Eucharist, and more generally, through living an Orthodox spiritual life, through which the Holy Spirit clears the spots from the Christian person’s garment, recreates the soul’s virtues and brings the faithful back to the point he was when he had been baptized. Otherwise, if he does not turn to the Church, one might eventually need the support of a neurologist …
In this first chapter I tried to give with simple words, the teaching of Saints (with my deepest respects to them) on the purpose of Christian life and also to show their experience on the third person of the Holy Trinity, by also bringing some of my own remarks. From the words of our Saints it becomes clear that TKD training is incompatible to the Orthodox worship, and my experience has shown to me that sometimes it can seriously harm the spiritual health of the trainee.
2. Tae Kwon Do (TKD)
TKD is a martial art that contains one spiritual road (one DO), one of the paths to spiritual development for the trainee. It is at the same time an Olympic sport. In this chapter I will discuss its purpose, and will also mention some related information.
According to the website http://ww.barrel.net, training in martial arts began in Korea around 50 B.C., and later on we meet a class of highborn youngsters (HwaRang = flourishing youth) in the kingdom of Silla that used to train in various martial arts. The ancient code of honour of these young men constitutes the philosophical (my note: and religious) essence of TKD.
Since 1910 and until the end of WWII, Korea was under the rule of Japan. After the war and the defeat of Japan in Korea, many martial arts schools began to appear. In 1955 these schools united under the name of Tae Soo Do. Later, in 1957, this art was renamed Tae Kwon Do. A trained eye can easily discern similarities in the hand movements with Japanese karate.
There are two martial arts federations of TKD: ITF, which exercise a more traditional form of TKD, and WTF. This martial art became an Olympic sport in 2000.
What religions thrive in the peninsula of Korea?
According to the website http://atheism.about.com (that uses CIA sources) South Korea contains 49% of Heterodox Christians, 47% Buddhists, 3% Confucian followers and the remainder of the population follow other religions. TKD comes from this nation.
The website http://welcome.korea.com mentions that Seoul also hosts an Orthodox Church where the Divine Liturgy is conducted in both Greek and Korean.
Purity of faith and (Asiatic) Korean mentality
In the website http://www.shs.ohio-state.edu I found a reference to the religious situation in Korea (mother of TKD). The University of Ohio group informs us that “many Koreans follow more than one religion. For example, many who turned to Christianity also continue their worship in the traditional religions …”
As we shall see further down, TKD is a religious amalgam. This is how one can truly interpret the symbols on the Korean flag.
Great role to the Korean culture plays an occultist book of oracular art going by the name of I’ Ch’ing or, according to a different designation, “book of changes”. I have in my own hands its translation into Greek that was made by the New Age author Casey (publications Spartan). The book consists of 64 hexagrams. One chapter is entitled “asking the counsel of the oracle” where the reader is advised to throw a coin heads or tails in consecutive trials, in order to be informed which hexagram will give a reply to his question.
According to the website http://www.bartleby.com, this book combines Confucianism with Taoist philosophy (yin – yang).
It is well known that the devil performs pseudo-miracles and is even able to calculate a possible immediate future for his follower, if said follower has resorted to some oracular art. These things however do not hold rein on us Orthodox who have been freed by the Blood of Christ. This all-holy Body and Blood of Christ found inside the Holy Chalice keeps us free from the devil.
In one of the two TKD (in WTF), the forms used until one reaches the level of black belt are dedicated to the initial eight hexagrams of the oracular book I’ Ch’ing (http://www.barrel.net/patterns.html).
In Cook’s book, “Tae Kwon Do, Ancient Wisdom for the modern Warrior”, which is a book that is prefaced by Richard Chun, who holds a black belt of 9 Dan, there is a photo of trainees in the martial art working diligently on the oracular art through I’ Ch’ing (p. 60).
In many TKD schools one can find the Korean flag. This flag (according to http://www.barrel.net) has its philosophical foundations in the Chinese traditional philosophy (religion, rather) of Yin and Yang. It is called Taeguk and has imprinted on it a summary of the ideas of the (occultist) book of changes I’ Ch’ing.
It consists of three parts, the white font that symbolizes peace, the red one and the blue circle, that symbolize the Taoist symbol of yin and yang as well as four tri-grams, one in each corner. The tri-grams symbolize Heaven, Fire, Water and Earth. They also contain a second “embedded” symbolism: the symbolism of the balance between opposites.
The trainee bows before these symbols before entering the training ground, where this respected-by-all yet foreign-to-Orthodoxy and full-of-secret-occult-symbols flag hangs.
Imagine a flag having as a symbol four playing cards and in the middle an upside Greek coffee mug; would anyone condescend to bow before it? Perhaps we modern Greeks are attracted to the exotic and foreign instead of looking at the truth that is next to us.
In the website http://www.taekwondobible.com, one can find information that proves that this martial art is based upon eastern beliefs borrowed from Buddhism, Taoism and Confucian philosophy.
In a free translation [in Greek] I give the reader a section from the prologue to the Nannangbi text that was written by Choi Chi-Won. He tells us that “there is a powerful spiritual path in Korea known as Pung Ryo Do … This path contains these three principles, of Confucianism, of Buddhism and of Taoism, that illumine the whole of the human race. Those who walk this spiritual path honour their parents but also dedicate themselves to their country, which is what the teaching of Confucianism is about …”
The author of the e-book “On Samjae and Kang-Yu” uses all of the above in order to stress to us the fact that “the philosophy of Pung Ryo Do is the essence of the philosophy of TKD”.
In other words, the Koreans are open about their faith. They openly tell us who they are. The one who wants to can follow them. In Greece one meets the same TKD. Why do the teachers here not tell us about the above?
We saw what its purpose is. But what is TKD? To this question I found some interesting answers.
On the website http://www3.telus.net/st_simons/arm07.htm one can find the re-publication of an Anglican article from the magazine “Anglicans for Renewal” (February 2000). In a free translation, its title is: “TKD and martial arts: Simple training or Trojan horse?” The author, after mentioning a number of things, concludes saying “In conclusion, my research and my personal experience have led me to the conclusion that TKD and martial arts are not simple training, but Buddhist practices of meditation” and continues saying that this training coincides with the initiation to the first stages of eastern occultism. Author of this article is the Anglican pastor Edward Hird.
Maria Dimitriadou mentions in her website http://www.maria-dimitriadou.net/martialarts.html, among other many things, that the martial art forms are meditation in movement and a martial art is a form of yoga. This article was published in the well-known Orthodox periodical Dialogos (no. 23, Jan-Mar 2001).
The website http://web.otenet.gr/martialartsclub/yoga1.htm contains publications from various martial arts followers, ending with concluding remarks made by many martial art trainees who claim that in the end a martial art, like TKD, brings man to the same place that yoga would.
In Doug Cook’s book “TKD, Ancient Wisdom for the modern Warrior”, there are three chapters on meditation. The first is entitled “Poomse – Moving Meditation”. There, the author, a holder of third Dan, confirms that TKD does include meditation in movement. In the second chapter, Cook describes the profits made from meditation (which is the Luciferian route to self-deification). In the third chapter, he presents a form of meditation called Active Meditation which is a necessary part for training in this martial art.
When I had asked my TKD teacher on the relation of TKD with yoga, he had told me that it is a form of yoga.
According to the above, TKD is clearly a form of yoga and as such includes breathing techniques and meditation in movement through training in forms and through meditation in the lotus position (cross-legged) as these are taught in India or in Korea.
What is meditation in movement?
For someone to obtain a belt in TKD, he needs to learn to execute certain “choreographies”, as Cook calls them, namely forms of TKD. The repetitive execution of these movements is essentially a form of meditation because it trains man’s imagination against imaginary opponents, having always as an aim self-deification.
Sometimes, those who meditate either see demons, always granted by God’s mercy and not by their own will, or become possessed (this constitutes the witness of an anonymous nun).
The fathers (cf. St. Nicodemus, advisory manual) tell us that fantasy (imagination) is the result of man’s fall. Adam before the fall had no imagination, and the same holds for the devil. Christ did not have an imagination while he was on earth. Through imagination, the devil attempts and many times, alas, also succeeds in controlling man, offering him glass beads in exchange for the most precious thing he has, namely his immortal soul.
According to Cook, as he himself mentions in his small glossary that is found in his book (see p. 213), Ki is a term that is used by the Japanese and Koreans and denotes the internal (esoteric) power of life, which consolidates the techniques of those who deal with martial arts.
According to the Cypriot web page http://www.shiatsu.com.cy/kig.htm, Ki is a basic and fundamental substance/element of the Universe. I believe that this position has to do with the monist belief of things that everything stems from one element; if we extend this belief a little, we arrive at the belief that man, being one with god, is himself god, but he doesn’t usually know it. The purpose of man’s life is to learn that he is god, knowledge that he obtains through the martial art, independently of ethics and virtues. In extreme cases, man can lose his personality and even his mind coming to be in a vegetative state. Such men, who cannot even help themselves through their unnatural training, are considered to be enlightened in areas of India, as Farasiotis mentions in his book (see further down).
Cook, in another of his articles entitled “Ki Energy”, that can be found at the website http://www.blackbeltmag.com, mentions that Reed defines Ki as the “Universal energy, able for infinite extensions and compressions, which can be directed by the mind but is not contained in it”. Fa Xiang Hou says that Ki or Chi “circulates in all living beings and is a composition of yin and yang powers”. Further down, Cook notes that meditation and deep breathing are among the ways one can use to acquire Ki; exactly what takes place in TKD.
We as Orthodox must first and foremost aim to acquire the Holy Spirit. We do not believe in the monist view that man is God. We would like to be God-like, of course, always though in Christ and thus by grace.
The teacher is the one who trains his pupil in the technique and philosophy of TKD, and he is essentially his guide in Do, the spiritual path of the martial art. He places the pupil to begin meditation in movement (forms) and teaches him more or less about Buddhism, Taoism, even Confucianism and this without using many words; irrespective as to whether he himself is doing this consciously or not.
In the Gospel we find written that we must not call anyone else a teacher except Christ. The TKD teacher plays the role of a teacher in place of Christ, i.e. of someone who teaches foreign and opposite things to the written and oral tradition of our Orthodox Ecclesia. Those spiritual fathers who give their blessing for their spiritual children to participate in such arts are certainly either deceived or in ignorance (if they do it for reasons of supposed economy, God can only enlighten them!)
For us Orthodox, the ideal Christian, in other words the true Christian, is the Holy man of God, the one, that is, who has the Holy Spirit inside him.
Who is the ideal teacher of TKD? What is his main characteristic?
According to Maria Dimitriadou (cf. above website), the whole point of martial arts is the controlling of Ki or Chi, i.e. of the so-called “internal energy” which can even transform the trainee to a superman, making him able to kill even from a distance or put this energy into therapeutic purposes (demonic healing charismas). For such purposes of therapy, the martial artist can use acupuncture, massage or potions.
Cook, in the chapter “The Holistic Approach” of the aforementioned book, writes (on p. 37) that those who dedicate their lives to becoming an example in the arena of martial arts, deal not only with the obvious physical exercises, but also need to deal with issues such as anatomy, meditation, ethics, therapeutics, nutrition and Eastern philosophy (my note: often we will find Taoism and Buddhism mentioned as philosophies instead of religions). In other words, he confirms the words of Maria Dimitriadou.
Media, Hellenic society and TKD
Martial arts, and more specifically TKD, are advertised by the media because they are Olympic events. There are films and books on martial arts,; even Greek champions of TKD who bring medals back home from international games. There is however lack of knowledge of the true nature of the martial arts in our country.
Meditation, Ki or Chi and Orthodoxy
Fr. Paisios had said that there is only God and the devil [that cause the various “metaphysical” events]. This is repeated continuously throughout the book “The guru, the young man and elder Paisios” by Farasiotis, namely that the energy of Ki or Chi, viz. the “breaks”, fatal blows from a distance, acupuncture and massage techniques must either be of God or of the devil. Man is not god and he has a by-grace given immortal soul, which is created once by the Creator and has limited capacity. The mental suggestion that was done on me (see next chapter) by my TKD teachers, who, due to their constant training had obtained large amounts of Ki inside them, and which they were directing onto me, is the energy of mages, and their Ki is demonic energy. It is another matter altogether that they thought that this was human telepathic ability.
Meditation in movement, breathing techniques, meditation, the lotus position; all these are concentration techniques of Ki or Chi but at the same time constitute the means for self-deification and self-illumination. The Do trainee (following his own path to spiritual “advancement”) will change; he will follow a spiritual path opposing the path of the Gospel. If one reads Maria Dimitriadou’s book “The truth on martial arts” on the experiences and testimonies of trainees, he will understand what I mean.
Sweat dripping on the carpet, time lost, and money spent; and in the end one is in danger of also losing both his bodily and spiritual health. If however he comes to Church, where, through Confession, Communion, the Divine Liturgy, and more generally through the life-giving communion with God, given to us “for free”, man will walk the path to salvation, even if this path is narrow and full of sorrows.
According to the Fathers, one must first thirst for God, to feel as the prodigal son of the parable and to wish to quench his thirst from the water that quenched the thirst of the Samaritan woman, at the time when the Lord offers it to him. Then God, once he finds the door open, even though the house of man’s soul will be dirty from passions, sin, and deception, He will condescend to enter and make it again new, clean and shining.
3. Theosis and anti-theosis
In the third and last chapter there is a great antithesis. The first part contains the conversation of St. Seraphim of Sarov with Motovilov as an example of a holy spiritual experience. There follows a commentary on the conversation, with an emphasis on the differences found between this holy spiritual experience and the experiences I had in the TKD school but also later on. The second part follows my personal witness.
Comments on the conversation of St. Seraphim with Motovilov
For this “metaphysical” experience many things can be said. I would like to point out only the following:
St. Seraphim respects Motovilov’s independent will, in opposition to TKD where mental suggestions take place, as we shall see further down.
The saint becomes informed on Motovilov’s wish through the Holy Spirit; there is no “telepathy” where the devil will whisper in everyone’s ears the same thing so that a certain form of invisible communication appears to take place.
Father Seraphim with his prayer that reaches God through His Holy Spirit convinces Him to grant these experiences to Motovilov. Neither does he meditate, nor does he apply techniques of self-deification but through his humility and virtue, attracts the Divine Grace and causes the miracle to happen.
Motovilov does not go mad or “ecstatic” but is exulted by the Holy Spirit, for God granted the experience according to his ability. On the contrary, when the devil, in his evilness, makes people meditate, he may even reach the point of driving them mad (after divine granting, of course, if there is nothing better that God can do for this man).
Finally, I would like to underline that neither St. Seraphim’s nor Motovilov’s faces (persons) are cancelled. God is personal; these are and continue to be independent persons, and they participate in the experience by a different amount each, while continuing to remain independent persons. There is no absorption of man by God, but His condescension becomes visible in order for Him to show mercy to His creation.
The following story is real, chronologically placed between 1985 and 1989; the people are real, and I intentionally use different names because I do not wish to judge these people, but their actions, hoping that some of them might change … Some of these are still in deception, having one foot in TKD and the other in Orthodoxy.
The one who writes this story is one of the protagonists. I used to be a Marxist atheist. When I was in the military I would not do the Sign of the Cross. After my military service ended, and during the course of my studies at the American College, I trained with TKD and other martial arts, as there was a school of TKD at college. For a time I would study books on Zen (Japanese “version” of Buddhism), Taoism, martial arts, telepathy. I would conduct experiments on “telepathy” (as I thought this phenomenon was at the time). I had, in other words, fallen into the deception that man is a god and that he has spiritual powers. It is easy for an atheist to become a yogi for essentially he deifies himself. It had made an impression to me that I was able to understand (as if someone was whispering this to me) whether a co-trainee had worked in the past with some other martial art, weights etc. or not.
Lakis is a bus driver in a Northern district municipality in Athens. He was the one who first took me to School, participating also in the induced mental suggestion that took place later, as he himself admitted, while also giving me the names of a few other participants.
Eleni is the sister of teacher Akis, the girl for whom I was driven to participate in the suggestion. She had a black belt and together we did telepathy experiments. I liked all this, but something was keeping me alert and puzzling me about this woman. She strongly believed that she is a Christian, despite the forms that she knew, the meditation she had done through the training, and despite the suggestion to which she had participated.
Akis, teacher of martial arts, had a black belt of “three Dan”. He had a Greek martial arts teacher and was spiritually confused. He used to say a lot of contradictory things. For example, he would speak on the “plan of God” or tell me to “think of Eleni, she is from God”; yet at another time he would tell me that I need a teacher (a spiritual leader or a yogi) or that TKD is the same as yoga (since it contains breathing exercises as well as meditation in movement). On one hand he would do the Sign of the Cross and on the other hand he would have a (full) relationship with a girl who was a medium! He seemed to believe that god is a mountain and that each faith is a path that leads to him. He must have been able to understand my thoughts (this is what I used to think then) because sometimes what I was thinking would happen, and he used to say that TKD is unbeatable and gives one a lot. He would read books on Theosophy and telepathy and he must have conducted related experiments. He had convinced himself that inside him is the truth, god (the dogma of monism that we are all parts of the One God, not His creations with a separate personality, and that our aim is to unite with Him losing also our personality in the process). Another time he would say that one must make sacrifices for TKD if he loves it, like for example giving up his studies in order to dedicate himself to it. Once, he even told me that he would accept monetary contributions.
Makis, teacher, took place in the suggestion. The demon used his voice, and I recognized this voice later on during a demonstration.
Robert Nadjemy, yogi, who created the centre “Harmonic Life” in Chalandri.
Dreams and Visions in the tradition of the Church
In the tradition of our Church, it is mentioned that we must not pay attention to dreams or visions because these can be traps of the devil. A characteristic example is that of St. Pelagia in Tenos where the saint did not make hypakoe to the Panagia who would tell her to go and find her icon, and in the end our Panagia told her off.
Once, a taxi driver fell asleep while driving. Then in his sleep he saw our Panagia asking him to “stop”. He woke up and stopped his taxi from falling off the edge of a cliff.
This way I too was walking towards the edge of the cliff, and the Lord informed me by a miracle, and I changed; now I try to follow the example of our saints.
I would like to mention a few words on the metaphysical experiences I lived in those years. These are: hypnosis, “seizure” and suggestion. Let everyone draw their own conclusions. I would like here to underline that St. Seraphim, and by extension our Lord, respects and loves man; he does not force him but makes suggestions. On the contrary, the devil enforces his own wicked will based upon the rights that man gives him each time he moves further and further away from the Lord’s path.
One day, during warm-up at School, I was sitting on the carpet doing some exercises to warm up before training when I fell asleep. Someone, Akis perhaps, had hypnotized me. Similar experiences are mentioned in the book “The guru, the young man and elder Paisios” by Farasiotis. Despite my own will, someone had hypnotized me.
One night, while I was asleep, I saw my body from a distance. Around my body were shadows of people, when I heard a voice that told me to marry this woman. A few months later, I went to a demonstration and teacher Makis would talk using the same voice I had heard that night in my dream. Out of curiosity and ignorance, I began reading and doing experiments on telepathy. Lakis, after some pressure, confessed to me that some people had gone to Hymettus to participate in a Circle. Then he stopped talking and did not wish to say more. I asked teacher Akis too, who would tremble out of fear that I might destroy his “image”. I don’t know what had happened to him. It was as if someone was hitting him on the face. I told him that I do not obey to demons and later on, after a long time, he replied to me and said that indeed he is a demon, but was wondering what I was. It was a good point he made. Later on, I would return my belt that he had given me and would leave his school. I would have no need for a teacher that cancels my personality. The one who would be most “cool” about it would be Eleni, who only told me that I cannot prove that suggestion had taken place, without denying the fact that it had.
Finally, I would like to mention another experience. One day during training my mind was “seized” and I was found on top of the room. Down below, I could see each athlete transparent. Inside each one of them I would see a demon with little horns and a tail, as we see them depicted in holy icons. In other words, God wanted to show to me through this that the moment the trainee would tell God that through his training (meditation in movement) he would be deified, he would become a temple of the devil, and appear like a demon. Basic dogma of Buddhism is that through meditation man is illumined. This illumination coincides with the occupancy of the unfortunate meditating one by demons.
When I was at karate school I had relations with a girl called Dimitra. After we split up, she started dating a mage, would tell me that at night I would caress her hair from far away, and that sometimes I would stop the power she had inside her to affect a specific person. One day that we were talking together, my leg was hurting and she told me. We were both far away from God, and that is an understatement.
Also, I used to conduct telepathy experiments with Eleni, who would put on her mind geometric shapes and I would then tell her each time what shape it was (the devil would tell her what to think and he would whisper to me the name of the same shape afterwards).
Once, I tried to “throw light” using my mind onto a Korean teacher. He understood it and turned and looked at me carefully.
The teachers at school would break stones and wood using their fists.
Eventually, I got the sense that I had changed. This made me think that I owed my strange spiritual growth to someone, and that someone would in turn ask something from me one day.
What had changed me was the training, i.e. the meditation through the training.
When I gave up my belt to Akis, I went to Harmonic Life, a yoga centre in Chalandri. I had read a book “the autobiography of a yogi”. In this book, it would say that the yogi had met Christ. I followed a seminar on how breathing techniques and yoga can help man’s health. Each Saturday, we would conduct breathing exercises.
One day while I was coming home, the Lord brought a logismos to my mind to open up the Bible that had been dusting in my room since high school. I thought to myself: “I have read so many books on karate, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, TKD, Marxism … Why don’t I also open up to read the Gospel?” Indeed, I opened the Gospel and then the light that does not burn sprung out and hit me on the forehead. It was the same light that Motovilov had seen, but in a smaller amount and for a shorter period of time. That was it. I went to Nadjemy, the American teacher of yoga, and told him that he does not pray to Christ as he believed and then I left. I found the blessed fr. Alevizopoulos, who sent me to a holy hieromonk spiritual father.
Many years after these events had taken place, I prayed for Akis and the rest, obeying our Lord who has told us to love our enemies and to pray for them, even a little “belatedly”. But in my room there came a strong demonic presence when I did this. I took a small prayer rope and said the euche. It left …
[a] The Saint of Joy (St. Seraphim of Sarov and Orthodox spiritual life) pp. 47 – 59, Harry M. Boosalis, editions I ELAFOS.
[b] The Voice of the Fathers, St. Innocent of Moscow, “The breath of the Holy Spirit”, edition 1, Holy Monastery of Paraclete.
[c] The Voice of the Fathers, Devout Silouan the Athonite, “The acquaintance with God”, edition 6, Holy Monastery of Paraclete.
 This means “The one who begs for us”; translations sometimes use the term Comforter. – Ed Transl.
 Maria is a friend and an official translator of many critical patristic texts into Greek (e.g. fr. Seraphim Rose’s Life and Works), author of patristic-minded books including a treatise on Martial Arts. Her works are included in top theological bookstores in Greece. She is one of the major theologians who unmasked Martial Arts, the other being of course the widely acclaimed fr. Alevizopoulos – Ed.
 For more details on the Indian demonic beliefs, see the biographies of Elder Paisios and Porphyrios. – Ed
 This is the same Ki found in the Do of Aikido – Ed.
 All this fully agrees with fr. Alevizopoulos’ and Maria’s work, as well as with the words of Elder Paisios found in Farasiotis’ book – Ed.
 Occult’s well-known dogma “everything is one”; cf. Mme. Blavatsky’s Theosophical teachings – Ed.
 Cf. Farasiotis’ book “The guru, the young man, and Elder Paisios” written with the blessings of Elder Paisios himself, which fully unmasks the demonic teachings of the Hindu philosophy – Ed.
 Cf. the New Age pseudo-scientific films “What the [Bleep] do we know?”, “Pi” etc. – Ed.
 Our note: it does not matter because by condemning Origenism the Orthodox Church has also condemned indirectly Religious Philosophy, which is what this is – Ed.
 A fantastic book, 500 pages long, that you cannot put down that unmasks all the demonic actions of the Gurus in India, and how Farasiotis was literally saved through the prayers of Elder Paisios when he was in India. He wrote this book according to the wishes of his spiritual father, the Elder himself.
 The technique of telepathy and tele-vision, through the use of black mirrors, black candles and magic, is common at high levels of Freemasonry, Rotaries, Rosicrucians, and even Lions.
 A delusion that is common to those who participate in Martial Arts. – Ed.
 The last is a real name. All of the above can also be found through the works of Alevizopoulos (in more accurate ways, using patristic analysis) on martial arts, new age and Indian demonology; his 40 anti-heretical books that he left us are formally accepted as a treasure house of Orthodoxy by the Holy Synod of Greece. On the same frequency one finds many other enlightened Fathers and Elders, including the late saintly Elder Paisios and Archimandrite Vassilopoulos of blessed memory. – Ed.
 One of the characteristic traits of the victims of occult is that they foster a great amount of unnatural curiosity and are led to read strange books, watch strange films and so forth, leading themselves deeper into the devil’s web – Ed.
Translation by Panaiotis Spanos
Article published in English on: 16-11-2006.
Last update: 16-11-2006.