Fr Jacob John -Master, in service of God

Written By: on Sep 28th, 2011 and filed under Columns, Features, Opinions.


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fr Jacob John was often confused about what to tell his students when they addressed him as ‘Master.’ His wards too were in a bit of a dilemma about what to call their teacher – ‘Master’ or ‘Father.’ This dilemma has persisted for the past 15 or more years, ever since Fr Jacob started teaching Karate to the public.

Fr Jacob, an Orthodox priest with the St Mary’s Church, Edamon, near Punalur, has been teaching various martial arts – Karate, Kungfu and Kick Boxing – at many centres in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. When City Express caught up with him at his dojo opposite the AKG Centre, the priest was busy teaching ‘horse stance’ to his students.

Amazed at the sight of a priest teaching Karate, we could not hold back from asking whether teaching martial arts suited a clergy man. He evaded the question as deftly as he would evade a face punch. Later, sensing the connotations of the question, he returned to it with a graceful smile, one that suits a priest more than the martial artist. “If you can cultivate tranquility and spiritual guidance through martial arts, why hesitate?” he says, bringing a more serious look on his face.

Jacob John was inducted to a martial arts school run by his cousin as a young boy. “Only after getting trained in the martial arts did I join the seminary,” he remembers. Earning a black belt under Renshi R Gopakumar, he created his own martial arts school ‘Dragon Karate and Kobudo Academy.’

The man doesn’t shy away from conducting Karate classes dressed in cassocks, his clerical attire. And he has no remorse for taking Karate so close to his heart, although at times he receives criticism from some sections of his community who say he was embarrassing them by teaching martial arts.
Fr Jacob has a different take on the issue.

“My tryst with spirituality began after practising Karate,” he says. According to him, this indifference to martial arises out of ignorance.

“Whether as a priest or a master, my duty is the same, to guide people. A true spiritual mentor should make use of all the available options he has. I don’t hesitate to introduce my students to new vistas of learning by providing them basic knowledge of Reiki, Pranic Healing and Yoga,” he says.

For this purpose, he started the Chaithanya Healing and Training Centre at Kottarakkara.

He had also conducted a month-long yoga camp for the public in Punalur during the month of Karkidakom. The revered season is suitable for treatment and physical maintenance, he says. Apart from that, all official functions of his academy begin by lighting the lamp, which is a thoroughly Indian tradition. Fr Jacob is adept in blending the local culture with his Christian beliefs in the same manner he incorporated Kalaripayattu to his syllabus.

Source: The New Indian Express dtd Saturday 27 Aug. 2011

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7 Responses for “Fr Jacob John -Master, in service of God”

  1. Love India says:

    Good question about yoga and pranic healing. In earlier times the life in this Indian sub continent, people lived as tribal forms. Kings and kingdoms were all in tribal nature. There were different classifications of people in the same tribe according to their function of duties. Classifications were done according to their nature of life, Brahmana, Kshatriya…..etc. That too not by their birth right, just according to their functions in their society. Even a person taking birth from a Chandala father could be a Brahmin in nature. That depends how much a person is conscious about the bio-energy and how he connects it to his surrounding nature. Sainthood was the goal of that life. Later when the British started ruling this land for more than 400 years(started from the middle of 15th century),materialism flourished and almost all those life has been forgotten, but still the Brahmin tribe is dominant among all the other tribes. The only tribe still holds those secret knowledge among all is theirs. Now all those tribes are known as the sub castes of Hinduism, which is ridiculous. All those Indian energy arts were known as the Hindu religious practices. For example the Patanjali Saint who wrote Yoga sutra is considered as a hindu Saint. Where as that Saint never thought about that of Hinduism at his time. He never knew that he was a Hindu. Even Adi Shankara was unaware of that he could be a Hindu in the future. Just like that we say the Mayan’s had a religion. This modern world frame that illusion. In fact there was not such religious practices at those times. What they were doing was with full practical knowledge. Now those knowledge’s were all lost to us because of corrupted understandings.When corruption started in life for the material benefits, every knowledge were corrupted.
    So no wonder in this world religions started and functioning for the material benefit. They will approve or disapprove only according to their code of practice. Ancient practices for the physical fitness and wellness are not the intellectual property of any religion. They are the property of the entire mankind.

  2. Matt says:

    @Abraham (Old): Why should the Orthodox disapprove an art which is useful for the well being of other fellow human beings? STRANGE..!!! I remember an article regarding an Orthodox priest using ipad or laptop for Holy Qurbana as ‘The Taksha’. These type of things should be disapproved!

  3. please tell your students not to say lies because they are saying that the wkf approved shito ryu is not approved . avoid telling lies about others for self gains

  4. Jithin says:

    @Ashkar kick boxing is taught in Father’s Karate Class, its just a subset of Karate….

  5. Ashkar says:

    i want to learn kick boxing .My hometown kollam

  6. Joe G. says:

    I don’t understand why yoga should be considered oppositional to Orthodoxy. I find Fr. John to be prolific based on this story alone.

  7. Abraham (Old) says:

    This news led to lengthy discussions in OrthodoxChristianity.net. The conclusion, was a disapproval of Yoga, Pranic Healing etc, practiced by a christian priest..

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