Wu - De
Wu De is the Chinese martial arts code of appropriate social interaction.
Ethics and etiquette is ingrained not only in Chinese martial arts but also in their culture and society.
Wu De has five points:
These are the basis of Wu De just as the five tail feathers of the Phoenix represent the five basic elements, Fire, Water, Metal, Wood and Earth.
Respect (Zun Jing)
What does respect mean?
Respect means to acknowledge the feelings of others, treating them how you want to be treated to a standard that rules out selfishness and self-righteousness.
Respect starts with your attitude towards people not your behaviour, you must show all people a sense of worth or value, be that in a quality or ability they have.
To truly respect others you must respect yourself and treat people accordingly, you will then in turn be respected.
Respect must be earned as well as displayed. Not bought or won in a fight.
In martial arts respect is the cornerstone of its teachings that is why we bow and have grades.
Humility (Quan Xu)
The term humility comes from the quality of character of a person that is modest and unpretentious.
Humility comes from controlling your pride and ego.
Pride and ego are the killers of good martial artists and good character.
Putting your own pride and ego first will infiltrate your rational thought and you will make decisions based on self-pride and not on the facts.
When your ego and pride take over you will become satisfied with yourself and stop thinking deeply and learning new things.
Try to always display humility in all that you do.
"The taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bows.“ Chinese proverb
Trust (Xin Yong)
Who do you trust? Are you a trustworthy person?
Trust is a belief that someone is a good person and will make efforts to fulfil a promise.
When starting a new job or starting martial arts you trust that your employer or instructor has your safety, has the necessary insurances, and has your best interests in mind. In martial arts it is a breech of trust to ask for more knowledge from your instructor. Excessive questioning suggests that the student knows the material well enough to advance. Advancement is at the discretion of the instructor. Not the student.
Understand that sometimes routine instruction is good for you and helps to become proficient in the art.
Trust the path you take is the right one.
At times instruction will contradict itself. Know that perceived contradiction is one dimensional.
The instruction you receive is designed to help you navigate the correct concept of the art.
Honour (Rong Yu)
Martial arts is built on honour. As people we honour our art, ourselves and those that care for us.
We do this by showing loyalty and having the will to train while still maintaining wisdom about our art.
To give loyalty is to honour. Not just to the learning of the arts but to all those that came before us.
As sir Isaac Newton said if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
Virtue (Dao De)
The concept of virtue comes from the idea of character.
The framework for this is based on four basic virtues.
Temperance is moderation, when we do any activity we should do them all in moderation to maintain balance, this should be applied to all things.
Martial arts should enrich your life, not consume it.
In martial arts the idea is to take the knowledge and self discovery from the lessons and apply them and there principles to daily life.
Prudence is the act of having sound judgement on all of your actions in life.
In life it is prudent to look at situations that appear and show wisdom and insight by using knowledge of the facts and your experiences.
Courage is the ability to take action when confronted by fear, be that physical or mental.
Physical implies being frightened by your surroundings, a thing or person.
Mental is the fear of failure.
With martial arts you can move forward through life with courage by accepting the challenges life throws at you and not being held back by fear.
Justice is something that is always under debate and always has been. Phoenix asks that each individual seeks justice by researching the facts and makes their judgement based on what they believe to be right and just in their hearts.
Justice uses all the virtues in Wu Du and its teachings.
To use Wu Du in life is by being just.
As martial artists we should hold ourselves to a very high standard of character.
Yours in training and martial discipline,
Sifu Joe Susans