Tony Anthony, former World Champion; evangelist answered your questions
Tony Anthony is a three time World Champion in Kung Fu, former elite bodyguard. The founding Director of the International mission Avanti Ministries. Author of books Taming the Tiger and Cry of the Tiger.
Tony Anthony was born in England to an Italian father and a Chinese mother. When Tony was four years old his parents decided to put their son under the supervision of his grand father who lived in China and was a Shaolin monk and a famous master of Kung Fu. Eight years that Tony spent in China were closely related to studying of Kung Fu. The only grand child of a famous master had to become the best student and Tony reached this goal. While living in China Tony became a follower of Buddhism – the skill of Kung Fu was inseparable from the eastern religion. At twelve years old Tony came back to England and continued his training. Soon he started to take part in international championships in Martial Arts. For three years in a row Tony held the World Champion title. Later he continued to work as a coach for The International Federation of Kung Fu.
Soon Tony became an elite bodyguard of famous politicians, diplomats and businessmen, traveling all around the world. In 1989 his career that included robberies and murders led Tony to Cyprus prison, which was famous for its violent and cruel prisoners. But it is in prison of Nicosia, where Tony found Christ and became a Christian.
In 2003 in England Tony Anthony along with a group of like-minded friends founded a mission Avanti Ministries. The name Avanti comes from Italian word that means “to go” and is taken from the Great Commission of Jesus Christ – to go and make disciples of all nations. The main goal of Avanti is to work with local churches, helping them to bring the Good News to people. Now Tony Anthony travels around the world and tells people about his life in Buddhism and in Christianity. He meets with people in schools, prisons and homes for elderly people.
In December of 2009 Tony will visit Ukraine for the second time. His first visit to this country was in 2008 on the invitation of Ezra Publication.
Hello, dear Tony! Please, tell us what made you come to Christ? How did you find Him in prison? (Angelina, Kiev, Ukraine)
I came to Christ when a faithful Christian missionary from Northern Ireland called Michael Wright came to visit me in a Cyprus jail to shared the Gospel message with me. Michael told me that the Bible says that God is “Holy”, which simply means perfect. God can not allow anything imperfect in to Heaven, otherwise it would not be Heaven any more. All of us have a body and a soul, and when we die, our soul lives on forever, either in Heaven or Hell. If we’ve broken just one of God’s laws, for example if we’ve ever lied once, cheated once or hated once, then our soul becomes imperfect and we cannot enter Heaven.
The Good News is that God wants to forgive us! According to history, Jesus Christ came to our world to live a perfect life, and then die a cruel painful death on a cross to take the punishment that we all deserve for breaking his laws, so that if we put our trust in the sufficiency of what Jesus did for us and do two things we can be forgiven and one day enter Heaven.
1st …be willing to turn away from anything that we know is wrong in our life and say sorry to Jesus. God promises to help us with the things that we are powerless to give up, if we allow him.
2nd …we must surrender our life to Jesus Christ, acknowledging him as God, and then humble our lives to him in service.
If we do these two things, one day when we die we will go before God on judgement day, and God will say to you, “My beautiful son or daughter, you have accepted my free gift of forgiveness through the death of my only perfect Son, Jesus Christ. So, welcome to heaven!”
That is what I did!
Were those years in China hard for you? Or you enjoyed training?
Yes, they were hard. Although I reached an age when I began to enjoy the training.
Was it hard to leave Buddhism? What is the difference in being a Buddhist and a Christian? Both of these religions seem quite peaceful to me… (Dan, London)
Yes, I found it hard to leave Buddhism as it was something I was programmed to believe in and practice from childhood. You can find a lot of information on the internet or library to explain the difference between Christianity and Buddhism. I would like to answer your question by sharing this story with you.
A man fell into a pit and couldn’t get himself out.
A subjective person came along and said, ‘I feel for you down there.’
An objective person came along and said: ‘It’s logical that someone would fall down there.’
A Christian Scientist came along: ‘You only think that you are in the pit.’
A Pharisee said: ‘Only bad people fall into a pit.’
A newspaper reporter wanted the exclusive story on this pit.
A fundamentalist said: ‘You deserve your pit.’
Confucius said: ‘If you would have listened to me, you would not be in that pit.’
Buddha said: ‘Your pit is only a state of mind.’
A realist said: ‘That’s a pit.’
A geologist told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
A tax man asked if he was paying tax on the pit.
The council inspector asked if he has a permit to dig a pit.
An evasive person came along and avoided the subject of the pit altogether.
A self-pitying person said: ‘You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen my pit.’
A charismatic said: ‘Just confess that you’re not in a pit.’
An optimist said: ‘Things could get worse!’
A pessimist said: ‘Things will get worse!’
Jesus, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of the pit!
Are your parents saved? Have you had a chance to share your faith with your grand father? (Marina, Russia)
I do not believe that my parents are saved as yet, but I really do pray that they will be. I did share my faith with the, and they rejected it. I trust that the seeds that I sowed may one day germinate in their hearts.
Some people question your story saying you cannot prove being a Kung-fu world champion. Can you do that? (Natalia, Ternopil, Ukraine)
Yes, there are a few people that have questioned my story, and for those that have shown interest in actually making contacting with me, I have been very pleased to send them a free DVD that has interviews of people that validate my story. If you would like to receive a copy, then please send me an email request to: email@example.com and I would be glad to send you one.
I heard that Chuck Norris also became a believer. Is it true? Are you friends with him or not? (Ruslan, Noviy Rasdol, Ukraine)
It is true that Chuck Norris publically identifies himself as a Christian. I do not know him personally though, however I am familiar with his work and political action through the media.
Hello. Historically England encouraged formation of Israel, but later a compromise was made in order to please the Arab world and England started to prevent the emigration of Jews to Israel. And lost many of its colonies and spheres of geopolitical influence. Now England along with the whole Western world in order to please the Arab world move away from Christianity. Why is it so? What does the next passage from the Bible mean: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about… a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it?” (Zakh. 12:2-3) (Haim, Israel)
There are numerous reports that suggest that the UK as well as the rest of the EU is facing an era of vast social change. Europe’s low birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants from non-Christian beliefs, will change fundamentally the very religion and politics of the population. That is why it is all the more important that Christians around the world begin to take the Lord Jesus Christ’s words more seriously. The Lord told His followers as recorded in Mark 16:15 to, “Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation”. Why don’t we just do what the Lord requested? This is the only solution that the Church has, and it is about time the Church wakes up to the opportunity, responsibility and challenge.
What are your plans for the future? (Denis, Odessa, Ukraine)
My plans for the future are to reach the most number of people in the shortest space of time with the Good News of the Gospel! There are two ways that my organisation (Avanti Ministries) already sets out to do this: REACHING & TEACHING. We are doing the reaching by sharing the Gospel with as many people as we can around the world in audiences and through the media. We are doing the teaching by training and equipping other Christians in evangelism, as well as developing tools to help Christians share the Gospel. The mission goal of our ministry if to get the Gospel to every person on the planet, and we are trying to set up an office in every country on the planet.
Do you consider your ministry as the ministry of an evangelist or you just share what you have received from God? (Valeriy, Dneprodserjinsk, Ukraine)
The calling that I believe and know the Lord has placed on my life is to do the work of an evangelist, which is the task of spreading the Gospel, as well as preparing and training God’s people for evangelism.
Dear brother! Doesn’t your skill in martial arts stand on the way of your spiritual ministry? I myself had been trained in martial arts for 7 years and understand the influence of the spiritual world on the human abilities very well (Vladimir Kurinniy)
I stopped doing Kung Fu while I was in prison, which is why I do have this as a problem to deal with.
How can we buy your book? (Vladimir)
You can order my book direct from my Ukraine Publisher:
Ezdra Publishing House
K. Libkneht str., 99
Tel. +38 (05235) 42754 (office)
Skype ID: EzdraPub
Precious brother! Thank you for you ministry. Where can we buy your book in Russian? Thank you! (Sasha, Russia)
You can order my book direct from my Ukraine Publisher:
Ezdra Publishing House
K. Libkneht str., 99
Tel. +38 (05235) 42754 (office)
Skype ID: EzdraPub
Shalom. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, will you turn to that person your other cheek also? Thank you. (Vasia, Riga, Latvia)
As a Christian my intensions would always be to turn the cheek. However, I am only human – which means that I am weak and make mistakes like any other human being. Many years ago when I was in prison, I was faced with this same dilemma, and I managed to resist hitting a man that was attacking me, and I then called on the name of Jesus Christ to help me. The Lord helped me in a miraculous way, and my prayer is that this will be my same response if I am ever faced with that situation again.
Is it possible to train in karate and still be a Christian? (Sansay)
I personally believe that it is possible for any person on this planet to be a Christian, no matter what the person practices. However, the effects of a person’s choices and actions can affect and influence our walk with God. The Bible says with respect to the subject of money, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one or love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Hello, Tony. Do you still train in martial arts? What is your opinion – can a Christian train in Thai box or Kung Fu? Thank you for your answer. (Pavel, 31 years old, Kharkov, Ukraine)
I stopped doing Kung Fu while I was in prison for personal reasons. I would not condemn anyone for practicing Martial Arts, because I believe that God is able to work through anyone He chooses to work through whether they are practicing Martial Arts or not. However, the way I have evaluated things for myself is very simple and basic – and I feel that God has given me a lot of peace because of that.
There are a number of reasons why I would choose to not go back to practicing Kung Fu or any other form of Martial Art. They are as follows:
1. I can’t really see Jesus doing Kung Fu to be honest with you! I know I risk coming across slightly sarcastic by saying this, but I make this point because everything that Jesus taught was about turning the other cheek. Now many people would rightly say that Jesus was referring to verbal insults as opposed to a physical slap in the face. However, I would argue that He was referring to turning the cheek to anything whether it be verbal, emotional, physical, mental or spiritual.
2. A lot of people practice Martial Arts because of self-defence. Looking at Jesus’ response to self-defence when the soldiers came to arrest Him, His mate Peter drew his sword in self-defence to prevent the soldiers arresting an innocent man. As it says in the Bible, Peter cut a man’s ear in the process – and it was then that Jesus told Peter to stop and put the sword down. Jesus said, “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:50-53), and Jesus surrendered to the soldiers that day and was later crucified. You see, I take this reaction and response of Jesus as an example for us all to follow, and so I see no justification in my life as a Christian to retaliate or practice self-defence.
3. I could quote many incidents where God has protected me in physical situations, but some would argue that if things went belly-up then I could ultimately defend myself – and although I would argue that I would put my trust in God, people’s perceptions are that a man is strong enough to defend himself. Well, a dear friend of mine called Jane, who suffers from a severe case of arthritis and is very badly affected in her hands, and would by no means be able to fight off an attacker, was once grabbed by a man and dragged into some bushes as she was walking down a road in north London. The only thing that Jane was able to do was to speak out to the man in the name of Jesus, and she recounts he immediately ran away.
4. If someone was attacking my family, of course I would want to stop them. Although I wish I didn’t know how to kill them through a simple sequence of moves. There are many things that I have learnt in this life that I wish I did not know. This is why I would never recommend someone to learn martial arts. And if someone wants to keep fit, then there is a great choice of harmless sports to keep the body fit such as swimming, athletics, squash, tennis, the list is endless.
5. It is also worthwhile thinking through the scenario of what would happen if we were confronted by someone that had a greater knowledge of a self-defence system than ourselves. This situation only leads to a desire to learn more and be better at it – and as there is always someone bigger, faster and stronger around the corner, where does it all end. Ultimately, that is why in some countries where the law permits, a lot of people carry fire arms as a means of self-defence. Many people have said that it doesn’t do any harm to learn some basic self-defence moves – but that is a compromise in my opinion.
6. Martial Arts give people a self confidence in the knowledge learnt, however God continually challenges us to place our confidence in Him. I use to walk through very shady places in this world and fear nothing because of what I knew I could do to someone. Now, as a Christian I can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and fear no evil because God is with me.
7. The spiritual background is something that I have great concerns about as well. In the majority of the western world Martial Arts is taught to students without any emphasis on the spiritual background – which on face value sounds quite harmless. However, what a lot of people do not even realize is that so many of the rules, moves and positions that are taught, are derived from prayer positions relevant to Buddhist and Taoist beliefs. For me to integrate these qualities and practices into my own life, I feel I would be dishonoring Jesus, as I would be allowing a bad influence into my life that contradicts what the Bible teaches. There is almost an element of idolatry, and as we practice it we are giving it more power over our lives. If a Christian was to fill his home with statues of Buddha, just because it looked nice, I would struggle to see how his home would bring glory and honour to God.
I don’t know if I’ve made any sense in what I have said, but please ask if you’ve got any questions. Once again, I would not dare say that God will not work through someone involved in martial arts – as I believe that God could talk through a paper clip if He wanted to. However, as I have done martial arts to a very advanced level and seen what it has done to my own character – I would rather turn away from it. Everyone needs to discern for themselves what they should do before God; however this is just a decision that I have come to for myself through discerning God’s will in my own life. You will need to come up with your own decision.
Tony, your book really impressed me. I read it 3 weeks ago. Please, tell me – is Shane alive? And why do you think God let him experience such a terrifying trial? Why didn’t He at least deliver him from the rape? It is so scary for me to imagine… (Yulia, Kiev, Ukraine)
I am so pleased to hear that you enjoyed reading my book. Shane was very severely hurt, however he managed to survive the attack in prison. After completing his prison sentence he returned to his family in his home town of Columbo in Sri Lanka. Michael Wright has continued to correspond with him. I am afraid that God does not promise to take away our problems in life, but He does promise to be with us all the way through them (Hebrews 13:5).
Tony, please, tell us about your new book “Cry of the Tiger”: what is it about? Do you plan to visit other regions of Ukraine in the future? And is it possible to invite you to visit our church? And one more question about the conference that will take place in Vinnitsa: what is the goal of it? Who can take part and who helps you to organize it in Ukraine? Thank you for your ministry and may the Lord bless you! (Anatloiy, Kiev)
Cry of the Tiger is written for our younger readers, and is my autobiography (life story). I would love to visit every region of Ukraine, as it is such a wonderful country. I would be very pleased to visit your church. You can contact my office direct to discuss this further (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So you know the secrets and the off-stage life of politicians, diplomats and businessmen. Jesus Christ said: “the prince of this world is reigning” Can you prove that in reality it is not politicians and world leaders rule over countries and geopolitical game, but the powers that stand behind them: “the peace of this world”, “mammon” – oligarch, masons, rulers of the darkness of this world? What do these words of Apostle Paul mean: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices?” (Vitaliy, Sacramento)
I would love to hear your answer first!
Do you think a person can protect him- or herself physically? Would you use your skills if there was a conflict with a danger to your life? Thank you! (Yulia)
Of course, I believe that people are able to do their best to protect themselves physically – and many people do. I would like to think that I would not use my skills if a conflict was to arise.
Have you read Cervantes? If yes, what exactly?
Have you studied Ukrainian history and mentality before coming to this country? (Igor Vers)
I have tried to learn as much as possible before coming to Ukraine.
I visited your service. I really liked it. Do you plan to visit Ukraine one more time in the future? (Andrey, Volochisk, Ukraine)
I am very pleased to hear that you liked my message. I do look forward to returning in the future.
Tony, do you still train in Kung Fu or you stopped?
No, I stopped soon after becoming a Christian.
Do you plan to write more books in the future? If yes, what about? (Yuriy, Ukraine)
Yes, in fact I am about to bring out my 4th book in the New Year. This is going to be a book about passionately sharing what is most important in our lives with others.