Ethics in Chinese Kung Fu
Our Kung Fu Ethics (武德, Pinyin: Wu De) is the Chinese Kung Fu code of appropriate social interaction. These Ethics and etiquette is ingrained not only in the Chinese culture but also pervades throughout the philosophy that holds the Chinese society together. There are Six Points in Our Kung Fu Ethics or Wu De : Righteousness, Respect, Humility, Trust, Virtue & Honor.
Righteousness for Kung Fu practitioners are being able to distinguish Good From Evil. As a Kung Fu practitioner, one Shall Never bullies the good or weak, fears the wicked, uses one's power to take advantage of the weak, or helps the wicked perpetrate evil deeds. When unjust occured a Kung Fu practitioner shall raise to help, if he can't help he shall speak up against it, if he can't speak up against it he shall detest it. If a Kung Fu practitioner lost his Righteousness, he will no longer be able to keep his martial arts skills, and will only receive bad karmic retribution.
The term respect means to acknowledge the feelings and interests of another in a relationship and treating the other at a standard that rules out selfish behavior. Respect is derived not by behavior but by one's attitude. Respect is appreciated as demonstrating a sense of worth or value of a person, a personal quality or ability. In Chinese Kung Fu, respect is the cornerstone of all its martial teaching. In regards to Wu De, respect begins with the individual and manifests outward meaning that those who respect themselves as well as others will, in turn, be respected. Respect must be earned as well as displayed. This is why we bow & use titles to address each other in our training and competitions.
The term humility is the quality or characteristic of a person that is unpretentious and modest. Humility comes with controlling one's pride and ego. Pride and ego are the killers of good martial arts and good character. When we allow our own pride and ego to infiltrate our rational judgment we start to make decisions based on self-pride and not solid facts. When your ego and pride take over you will become satisfied with yourself and stop thinking deeply. Try daily to display humility in everything you do. Train for yourself and not the title in competitions.
Trust is the belief that a person is of good character and will seek to fulfill promises, policies, ethical codes, and the law. In Kung Fu, we make a promise to ourselves, the school, and the instructor(Sifu). When starting out in a school or job there are underlying trusts that both parties expect to have in place such as safety, compensation, and knowing what is in each other's best interest. In Kung Fu it is a breach of trust to rush for more knowledge from the Sifu. Excessive questioning suggests that the student knows the material well enough to advance. Advancing is at the discretion of the Sifu, not the student.
Understand that sometimes routine instruction is for your own good as it allows you to become proficient at the art. Trust the path you take is the right one. At times instruction may seem to contradict itself. Know that perceived contradiction is one-dimensional. The instruction you receive is designed to help you navigate the correct concepts of the art.
Chinese Kung Fu has many strong connections to honor. We honor our art, ourselves, and our ancestors by showing loyalty and having the will to train while simultaneously maintaining wisdom about our training. To give loyalty is to honor the art through belief in the practices and wisdom of the people that have lived and died in perfecting the art so that it could be passed on to future generations. We should honor the people who came before us not because they were all superior but rather the effort they had put in & the knowledge they have left for us.
The idea of virtue in Chinese thought pertains to the notion of character. Framework for this concept is given through the three classical virtues of; Temperance, Prudence & Courage.
Temperance is moderation. When we engage in any activity we should approach it with moderation in order to maintain rationality and balance in every facet of our world. Chinese Kung Fu will enrich our life, not necessarily consume it. One of the goals in Kung Fu is to take the knowledge and self-discovery from the training hall and apply its principles to daily life.
Prudence is the act of having sound judgment over all one's affairs in life. In life it is prudent to look at situations that manifest and show wisdom and insight by drawing on facts, knowledge, and experience. It is ideal to be mindful and weigh the outcome of any action.
Courage is the ability to act when confronted by fear. Fear can be physical and mental. The former entails being frightened by the environment, a person, or a thing. The latter concerns mainly a fear of failure. With Kung Fu one can move through life with courage by accepting its challenges and not being tied down by fear.