History and Style

The GMAU (Gospel Martial Arts Union) was founded in 1986 when the three largest Christian martial arts groups in the United States combined to form an organisation to encourage and aid Christian martial arts. In the years since, the GMAU has grown to include membership in 19 countries across the globe. We are currently one of the largest Christian martial arts organisations in the world. The GMAU has developed a distinctly Christian brand of martial arts instruction that is Bible-centric in its origin and purpose, with discipleship as the primary aim. We endeavour to publish, propagate, and set an international standard for true Christian martial arts. Simply put, the GMAU is a Christian martial arts organisation, not an organisation for Christians who practice the martial arts.

The GMAU is not style-specific, meaning practitioners of any style or system are welcome. We have members from many different backgrounds including Judo, Okinawan and Japanese Karate styles, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Pankration and even Western-style fencing.

The Style taught in the GMAU UK is based on Shuri-Te with additions of; Systema, Kali Silat, Jiu Jitsu, Chinese Kenpo, and Goju. These teachings lead to our method of combat and most advanced teaching, Pankration. Pankration is a Greek word which translated means “all powers.” Pankration was a sporting event in the ancient Greek Olympic games that was first introduced in 648 BC. The rules of the sport were simple, no biting or eye gouging and victory was secured through knockout, submission or death. There are few historical records of early Pankration, and many of the accounts are mixed with Greek mythology. It is therefore unclear if these limited reports of championship bouts and feats of strength were myth or actual events. What is known is that, just like the boxers and wrestlers of the Olympic games, Pankration competitors refined their skills for many generations through hundreds of years. The athletes became extremely proficient at all elements of their sport, including throws, submission holds, strikes, and kicks. Many of the techniques can be seen depicted on earthenware jars in the Louvre and other museums with ancient Greek collections. Pankration matches are distinguished by both the fighter’s positions, and the lack of hand wraps on the combatants.