Book Review--The Warrior's Heart Revealed

I must confess, I love all things related to the martial arts.  Movies like The Bourne Identity pull me in because I know I will be served a feast of kicks, punches, and testosterone laden fighting.  Admittedly, a Christian warrior is different than that. (But I still like the fight scenes...)

Joseph Lumpkin, founder of a the system known as Shinsei Hapkido has an excellent book for those who love the martial arts and would like to use them in the Christian setting.  My review of his The Warrior's Heart Revealed is enclosed below. I hope you enjoy.  Feel free to leave a comment and tell your friends to subscribe to the blog.


Available at Amazon
The Warrior’s Heart Revealed [Softcover]
by Daryl Covington & Joseph Lumpkin
336 pages, $18.50
ISBN-13: 978-0974633619

Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

The world of martial arts is a very compelling combination of art and mystery.  Perhaps since most of the East is opposed to the American way of doing things – such arts are often misunderstood.  Admittedly, as a Christian, I struggled with whether or not I should be involved in the martial arts. Like some, I have felt that what is presented in the martial way was somehow diametrically opposed to my Christian beliefs.  Sadly, nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps my journey in the martial arts would have been different had I had a copy of Joseph Lumpkin’s The Warrior’s Heart Revealed

This tome of essays provides a unique philosophical glance into the true nature of martial arts; often quoting masters from the founding of various arts.  Lumpkin, himself a committed martial artist and Christian, brings a refreshing coherence to the intellectual depth observed behind martial masters of the past.  If you are a Christian practicing the martial arts, this book will provide insight to how you may balance your study of the martial arts with your Christian heritage.

Reading the book in one sitting does not do its content justice, however.  In the section entitled, “What is a Warrior?” one can easily get lost in the ample quotes provided by martial arts masters. To get the full effect from the book, one really needs to digest it in a devotional atmosphere—to give greater depth to the truth contained.  Lumpkin’s work would serve as a classroom textbook for martial arts ministry.  For instance, what Christian could find fault with the quote attributed to Bruce Lee:

Out of a martial art, out of combat I would feel something peaceful. Something without hostility.

No punches are pulled for martial arts instructors, either.  Lumpkin rightfully condemns the “McDojo” approach to martial arts—where students are given trite instruction and psychologically coerced to “test” up to the rank of black belt. These styles produce colorful belts to adorn one’s uniform, but seldom do they produce true warriors.  A true warrior is one who realizes that inner peace and harmony is the goal—and if one must fight, and then fight with a seasoned grace to take your enemy with no more force than is needed.  As the Korean proverb asserts, you do not get much substance from licking the outside of a watermelon.  Too many schools never help kids learn accurate arts, much less give them the time to truly contemplate the essence of a martial art.

Aside from his growing publishing business, Lumpkin is also the Do Ju Nim, or founder, of Shensei Hapkido.  Shensei Hapkido is a true mixed martial art—combining Akayama Ryu Jujutsu, Judo, Shotokan karate, and the finer elements of Hapkido. The result is a truly lethal martial art whose primary philosophy can be summed up in three words:  Evade—Invade—Control.  The precision of the art helped students from a largely unknown “Shinsei” style to sweep the World Cup Martial Arts Competitions in Cancun, Mexico in 2003.

In the 1300’s, Shiba Yoshimasa wrote "The Chikubasho," which were a series of precepts for those in his clan.  In it he states, “The man whose profession is arms (fighting) should calm his own spirit and look into the depths of others. Doing so is likely the best of the martial arts.”  Lumpkin’s work, The Warrior’s Heart Revealed corroborates this statement and is a must read for the dedicated martial artist.


  1. Well, that was an interesting review. I'm glad to find another Christian reviewer. There's so few I was considering unsubscribing to book blogs and focusing my energies elsewhere.
    I never thought Karate was unChristian although I don't believe yoga can be.
    I review Christian (and some not Christian and then some posing as Christian) books for different pub co. If you'd like to read some, come visit at

  2. After reading this book, are you inspired to read more books about martial arts? Are there recommendations for other books that talk about martial arts in conjunction with Christian beliefs?

  3. Hi Sharon and Shanan,

    I have read a few books about Christians and martial arts. I commend The Way of the Christian Samurai by Paul Nowak. I have written a review of it and will try to post it in the near future.


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