A priest discusses the faith with Tokashi Kishi before his baptism.
September 12th in St. Nicholas Church of the Russian
Orthodox Church Missionary Department, with the
blessing of the Department President Metropolitan
John of Belgorod and Stariy Oskol, the sacrament of
Baptism was performed over Japanese fighter Tokashi
Kishi, reports ruskline.ru. Tokashi
Kishi’s path to Orthodoxy is very interesting
and it shows us once again that God's Spirit
breathes where He wills.
Since his school years, Tokashi has been practicing
various kinds of martial arts. In the process he started
to gradually realize that the knowledge of fighting
techniques and methods alone could not satisfy his desire
to become really strong. This made him wonder where the
strength comes from and who grants it as he felt it is not
just the result of training and exercise. Muscles only
serve as a gateway for the power, but not its source,
which rather lies outside a person. Tokashi turned to the
study of traditional Eastern religions, especially
Buddhism and its teachings about life as a kind of road.
Where does this road lead a person, and where is he going
to get the strength to complete the journey? Tokashi had
many good Buddhists teachers, but he never received clear
answers from them. He turned to Christianity, about which
he had read much in high school. But Christianity seemed
to be just another religious and moral teaching that only
offers a set of rules. It seemed to be quite similar to
The baptism of Tokashi Kishi.
along with his religious quest, he remained
interested in various forms of combat and martial
arts. In his search he came across the Ryabko martial
arts system of ancient Russia. It immediately came
across as unusual, not similar to any of the martial
arts he previously learned. It was not the techniques
of unarmed combat that were unusual, but the way the
fight itself went. Fighter’s spirit and
character play a vital role in many types of martial
arts, while aggression is one of the main features
and attributes of a battle. The aggressive frame of
mind is where marshal artists derive their energy and
strength. Knowing that, Tokashi was immediately
impressed by the fact that in the Ryabko system the
aggression was not present. However, the defense
techniques were highly effective. He arrived to
Russia and began to participate in trainings. Tokashi
saw what he had never seen before among his fellow
marshal artists—a high degree discipline of the
spirit, unusual endurance and stamina, and once again
a complete lack of aggression against the enemy.
Socializing and exercising with his Russian
colleagues, Tokashi felt the growing desire to get to
know their religion and faith. The simple
explanations of his new friends helped him realize
that the main thing is faith in the Lord Jesus
Christ, following His teachings and commandments, and
communion with Him through prayer and the Sacraments.
After returning to Japan, Tokashi learned more about the
teaching of the Orthodox Church; he also read the Orthodox
Catechism in Japanese. The desire to become an Orthodox
Christian overwhelmed him and became even stronger. He
realized that the Lord Jesus Christ is the God Whom he
sought and that He came to Earth for the salvation of
everyone, including him—Tokashi Kishi. He is his God
and Father, He gives him the strength and the Source of
his life, both this life and eternal life.
his next visit to Russia, Tokashi announced his
desire to be baptized into the Orthodox faith.
Founder of the martial arts system of ancient Russia
Mikhail Vasilyevich Ryabko told Metropolitan John
about Tokashi and his wish to become an Orthodox
Christian. With the blessing of His Eminence
Metropolitan John, the Rite of Baptism was performed
by priest Valeriy Bulannikov. In Baptism Tokashi
Kishi took the name of the Holy Prophet the
Remarkably, the Japanese fighter’s Baptism took
place just before the visit of His Holiness Patriarch of
Moscow and All Russia to Japan. The first person to preach
the Orthodox Christian faith in Japan one hundred and
fifty years ago was St. Nicholas of Japan.
Let us hope and pray that the light of the Christian faith
will continue to enlighten the hearts of those who seek
the true God in Japan and all over the world.
Translation by Ksenia Dolgova
4 октября 2012 г.