Martial Arts Magazine 
Biblical Fighting Arts
by TMAN Freelance Writer Ben Smith

This month in Martial Arts magazine we touch on a very interesting and exciting topic. Over the years many martial artists cross train to learn about various arts. Others read books like the Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee or the Book of Five Rings by Musashi. Still others look to SunTzu's The Art of War for not only martial thoughts but also business information and philosophy. Martial Arts instructor Kurt Frankenberg took another major book-The Bible- to look at some martial philosophies and explain them in a very unique yet secular way.


BS-.Can you give us an overview of you and when you started martial arts training and why?

KF-I started my love affair with the martial arts at the age of seven on an Air

Force base in Alaska. That was 1974, and we studied Tae Kwon Do at the Field House on Elmendorf. Later, as my father's career advanced and we moved to South Carolina, I studied American boxing at the Optimist's Club in Sumter. I later studied at the Air Force Academy youth center in the following arts: Tang Soo Do, Shotokan, and Chinese Kempo-Karate. Chinese Kempo appealed the most to me and in 1980 I made it my sole source of training for the next thirteen years.

BS-What happened then?

KF-Well, the Kempo organization I was a part of was an international outfit. My branch school had grown to be the second largest in Colorado. Then the local representative that I answered to and I had a falling out due to different views on business, etc. Unfortunately, to terminate my business relationship with this man meant that I had to leave the organization altogether. So in 1993, with no "home" organization to back me and no one to further my training, I began looking around. Since then, I have had the opportunity to learn under some of the great martial artists of our time, picking up techniques and philosophy from great men like Daryl Johnson, Wally Jay, Stewart Lauper, Bob Orlando, and others.

BS-You have many disciplines at your school, Many times children have a hard time with some you have a select process where one person starts in an art and climb to a different one or do students select their favorite?

KF-Our White to Black Belt curriculum gives an overview of several different disciplines. Chinese Kempo is what I know best, so that's the real "meat" of what we do. Adding to that, we give the basics of several other arts, so students can be familiar with what's out there. Now, as a student progresses to Black Belt and beyond, he'll definitely show strength in one or more areas.

Students are then encouraged to make the most of their "long suits", whilebeing aware of their limitations also. It's a good mix. Many of my studentsexcel in an area that I've introduced them to, to the end of being better thanme at it. That's how our system grows.

BS-What is your teaching workout routine look like (in a normal class)?

KF-Our workout routine is probably just like anyone else's: We do a safe and thorough warm-up first to reduce injuries. Then we practice a few basics, do a LOT of drills, and then work application. Since we cross-train a lot of different skills, an advanced class might include anything from stick arts to grappling, pressure point work to kickboxing. Beginners start with American boxing skills, because I believe that to be our indigenous martial art. No one is feared more than Americans in the boxing ring.

BS-Is there concentration on self-defense or sport karate etc.?

KF-Self-defense is our main gig, but I don't subscribe to the belief that training for point karate actually hampers your self-defense. Cross-training is important to other physical disciplines, like football players that do racquetball or ballet. As long as a student remembers not to use point sparring techniques and apply point sparring rules to an actual street conflict, I believe that competition can only help. Sport karate demands heightened athleticism, helps one to seek and seize opportunity, teaches the intricacies of using feints and combination strikes. Very few of my students actually do tournament karate, but those that do are equally talented in their self-defense skills.

BS- You began seeking information on training from outside the normal philosophies. Why did you seek from the Bible?

KF-The real answer? Because I knew that the information would be both reliable and applicable. The Bible is not a book on how to wage war. Neither is it a book of medicine, astronomy, finance, agriculture, or political science. But when it speaks on these subjects, the information it contains has found to be accurate and relevant. I looked to the Bible for wisdom in battle doctrine because it's there. General Patton, one of this country's great military leaders, claimed that he got many of his great battle maneuvers and principles from the Old Testament. My thinking was that, if Patton could get large scale strategic movements from the Bible, that I might find principles and tactics for the individual soldier.

BS-You found practical instruction in the Bible? Can you explain some ofwhat you found?

KF-Well, I started in the Old Testament because that's where all those battles and great heroes are described. The first mention of martial training is in Genesis, with the servants of Abram. Later, in Exodus and Joshua, themovements of troops, espionage, and different types of attacks are detailed.

In Judges and the books of Samuel are the meat and potatoes of what I teach in my seminar, Martial Arts of the Near East (MANE). These books have the most references to the tactics of hand-to-hand combat.

BS-This sounds very interesting... When we spoke earlier, you mentioned that you found six principles and sub principles. You also said there are some principles that are practical and applicable immediately. Can you give us some examples?

KF-Yes, Ben. I think all practitioners search for the ultimate art, once theyrecognize that their own is limited. Well, years ago, I began a quest, ratherthan just learning the techniques of other styles, to look for the underlyingprinciples that made the maneuvers work. Once one understands the principles, then the techniques naturally begin to develop. My theory was that all martial arts, regardless of their emphasis (striking, grappling, handtechniques, kicking techniques, etc.), have a common root. My research intothe Bible confirmed this theory! There are only six major principles inmartial arts training, regardless of the culture from which the art comes.Mastering the six principles, then, is key to understanding self-defense andimproving one's own program.

As an example, here is one of the six principles: Number 3, Space Management. Whether you practice boxing, kendo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or gunfighting, it is critical to control the distance between you and your opponent. This maximizes your mobility and leverage while minimizing his. Being in control with this category of techniques, which includes footwork, checks, and holds, will enable you to enjoy a great advantage over your opponent.

BS- A lot of peole look to the Bible for pacifistic answers to problems intheir lives but there are areas and a lot of them where violence plays a role.

David and Goliath is one that comes to mind. So people should not be worried that someone is "reading" more into a parable. Do the violent sounding areas in the Bible play a part in your studies?

KF-Absolutely! But I'll tell you something strange. I've drawn almost nocriticism whatever from atheists that have attended my seminar. MostChristians that have taken the class have thanked me repeatedly because theyfelt weird about doing Karate and being a Christian. By the end of the class,it's clear that there is no contradiction. The only folks that seem to have aproblem with me teaching fighting techniques from the Bible have never read it for their own enjoyment. I had a young mother tell me that fighting is not Christian, and I asked her for the chapter and verse where she read that. She couldn't tell me! After I gently told her that, though I don't condoneviolence, sometimes it's necessary to be prepared, and the Bible teaches how. Now her little ones are in my class, so obviously she's OK with it now.

BS- Tell us a little about your seminars, Martial Arts of the Near East.

KF-MANE is a hands-on seminar where we practice the six principles at work. At the beginning, I remind everyone that this is NOT a time to be discussing religion, but rather to open up the book and see what it says about fighting principles. We are all to respect one another's freedom of will andupbringing, and there will be no "altar call" at the end. Next, each studentreceives a sixteen-page syllabus, including five pages of scripture quotes, touse as a reference. Then, we blow everybody's mind with a demonstration of the first principle, Girding the Loins. With two verses of Scripture and one minute of lecture on how to do it, suddenly everyone understands the principle that's behind Aikido's mystical Unbendable Arm and Thousand Pound Man demos. We also show the three keys to escaping any hold.

From there on it's action every minute for about two hours, and we take a tenminute break. By then, everyone's dying for water and oxygen, and sincethat's related to the second principle, we learn that one really well. Afterthe break, we take the more experienced volunteers from the group todemonstrate their favorite self-defense maneuvers from their own art. Whether it's Kenpo, Arnis, or Greco-Roman wrestling, all the participants start to get excited. "That's Girding the Loins," they say. "Ohhhh, he's Using the Shield!". I've seen veteran Black Belt's eyes light up from the excitement of knowing WHY a certain strategy works-- and how they can improve it in their own arsenal.

After three hours, we've done an overview of all six principles and some oftheir sub-principles. We've gone into depth only on the first three, and Iask to return for a three hour, follow up seminar to cover the second threeprinciples in detail.

BS- What have you noticed people say after taking a seminar from you?

KF-The first thing the host usually asks is,"When can we do the follow-up?"

Seriously, the three most common things that are said are comments about some techniques and sub-principles: Wiggling the Key in the Lock, the Lightning Arm Bar, and the Double Minded Man. Also, when a participant comes up afterwards to talk with me, he'll say something like, "You know, it's like I've known this stuff all along...I mean, this is the first time I've heard it put this way, but it makes sense." That's because truth is truth. Anybody that cross trains starts relating one art to the other, because of what's common between them. Well, that's what my seminar is all about, getting to the common root of all martial arts, the principles that make them work.

BS- When you go to martial arts schools to speak about martial principlesin the Bible..did you see some hesitation from students thinking that thismight be a "preaching" sort of seminar?KF-Well, that's why I start off the seminar by saying, this isn't an altar call,I'm not a preacher in disguise here to trick you...People are intelligent.They don't want to waste their time listening to a religious nut, so that'snot what I give them. I've found out, though, that I don't need to overcome alot of resistance with martial arts students because their instructors are soprotective. If the school owner calls me because he's interested in myseminar, it's usually because he's open minded enough to look at it anyway.After we talk, or meet, I'll come out to his or her school to present and thestudents are receptive because they trust their instructor's judgement.

BS- How can one improve their skills with the knowledge of Bible philosophies?

KF-First by being exposed to them. It doesn't have to be in my seminar. Irecommend reading I Samuel 17, Psalm 18 and 144 for starters. The entire book of Joshua is like the Art of War, except from a spiritual perspective. For some specific techniques and target areas, I recommend Judges and II Samuel. For the advanced searcher, use a concordance of software program to look up words like "smite", "sword", "armor", "shout", et cetera, and you'll find both theoretical and practical application.

BS-You have been booked solid for the last quarter of '98 with yourseminars..what is in store for you in '99?

KF-I'll be doing more seminars, mostly follow-ups, and developing a network of schools interested in the study of Biblical fighting arts. Also, I'll be coming out with a few magazine articles and perhaps the first in a series of instructional videos. I'd like to get input from any of your readersregarding historical Bible lands warfare, or instruction in the use of a sling(like David's).

BS- Some martial artists have gone on to write about their version of oldertexts such as the book of five rings. Do you see writings from yourself about what you have found in the Bible?

KF-Yes! Right now I have a book in progress, and I'm looking for a good editor.

BS-Have you discussed these philosophies with the religious heirachy? What have they said about your views?Most clergy people have been very open, and surprisingly, I've also bookedseminars for churches. There are a lot of people interested in self-defense,and when I show them that it's perfectly OK with God to know how to defend one's self, all the reasons not to go away. One thing that I thought was interesting was that the pastor of a huge church in Colorado wanted a"statement of faith"--basically, what my religious views are. I provided himone, though I assured him that I wouldn't be "preaching" at all, but showinghistorical passages and practicing in a hands on setting. After reading thesyllabus, he was so enthusiastic about the seminar that he even paid for itdirectly rather than me charging the participants!

BS- If a school owner would like to schedule a seminar, how can they getin touch with you?

KF-Thanks for asking, Ben. I'm available by E-mail at:, or at the Freedom School of Martial Arts 7659 N. Union, Colorado Springs, CO 80920 (719) 548-9559. I prefer to speak with potential seminar hosts by telephone if possible, because we both have our schedule books open at the same time and can figure out details much more quickly.

BS-Thank you very much for this explanation. I'm sure many people wouldlove to know more about this extremely interesting seminar.

KF-Thank you for the opportunity!