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Martial Ethics

 

Chinese Wushu embodies a profound philosophy and a sense of human life and social values (some people therefore call it "philosophic Chuan"). It emphasizes traditions, experience and rational knowledge, all of which are clearly reflected in the martial ethics of Wushu. That's why it can display the oriental civilization via combat skills and become an inexhaustible treasury of the human body culture.

As a form of social ideology, morality differs in different historical periods. It is the summation of the code of conduct of a given society for the adjustment of the relationships between man and man and between man and the society.

Generally speaking, it evaluates man's behavior and adjusts each other's relations with such conceptions as the good and the evil, justice and injustice, fairness and partiality, and honesty and dishonesty.

Wushu is a system of skills and theories the Chinese people have developed through their struggle with nature and in the course of their social life, for combat and to promote health and improve one's temperament.

Combat in the usual sense means violence, bloodshed and death. For this very reason, few of the various combative techniques and skills in the world are combined with morals.

On the contrary, Wushu has been influenced ever since its birth by moral principles and has developed a complete code of moral behavior.

Martial ethics, formed in such a Chinese cultural environment, has become a distinct feature of Wushu and is an essential part of the study and understanding of Chinese martial arts.

The main points of the martial ethics are

Respect for Human Life
In ancient China, human beings were regarded as the most valuable treasure of nature. Man is called one of the "four greats," together with the heaven, earth and truth, or law of natural activities. Who respects human life loves life better and who knows human life better knowns Wushu better. It was for protecting and maintaining human life that Wushu took birth.

Emphasis on Moral Principles
Moral principles provide the basis for maintaining a stable relationship between man and man, and between man and society. Those who want to learn Wushu shall respect these principles and never do anything harmful to these Chinese cultural traditions.

Emphasis on Moral Conduct and Manners
While learning martial skills, one should also cultivate the fine qualities. A sense of justice, diligence, persistence, honesty and hard work are also encouraged.

Respect for the Teacher and Care for Each Other
In learning Wushu, one should try hard to master everything that is taught. Both teacher and student should take care of each other and treasure the friendship between them.

Modesty and Eagerness
Those who learn martial arts should keep improving their skills and refrain from being arrogant and imperious, and flaunting their martial skills while belittling others.
Everyone should learn from each other to improve and be united and cooperative with each other.

Freedom from Personal Grudges
In learning Wushu, one aims at self-defence, and improving one's physical conditions. One should not contend with anyone on account of a personal grudge or bully the weak. No martial skill should be overused or be resorted to for deliberate provocation.
No bullying of the innocent is allowed and it is enouraged to take up the cudgels to uphold justice and truth.

Persistance and Perseverance
The practice of martial arts is a hard task which takes time and requires arduous efforts. Steadiness and persistance are required. One should learn and try to fully understand the essentials and inner meaning of each routine. The very cream and true essense of Wushu can be learned only through thought and actual body movements.
Various Wushu schools in Chinese history had their own detailed code for martial ethics. The Shaolin school, for example, established the ten commandments for its followers. The Wudang school also regulated "five notes" in recruiting followers and teaching martial arts Martial arts are taught not to people with bad qualities, not to evil-minded people, not to bellicose people, not to drunkards, and not to those who flaunt their martial arts.

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