Kung fu is the way to train in developing good habits of mind and body and shaolin martial morality is an integral part of this training.
People who do not do kung fu might think of martial arts as somehow encouraging violence, but the exact opposite is true. Martial arts is the way to train in developing good habits of mind and body and morality is an integral part of this training.
It seems that in today’s society bad behaviour is rife in the community and in sports. Violence, drug taking and heavy drinking is widespread and yet it is widely believed that this behaviour will have little effect on the sports person’s ability to play and improve in their chosen sport.
In kung fu, the exact opposite is true. The level of a person’s achievement in martial arts is in direct relationship to their morality. If they have low morality, he or she will find it difficult to continue and improve in their martial arts.
In fact, many people of low martial morality begin their training and drop out after a few months or years. Morality as a condition of life is lived every second of every day in thought and deed, it should be part of your everyday character. In martial arts, morality is not as simple as “thou shalt not lie, cheat or steal”. It is a total way of acting and thinking.
There are two categories of morality that are taught in kung fu at eh Golden Lion. The morality of action and the morality of mind.
The morality of action can be defined as how a martial artist should behave outwardly. Five important traits encompass this. They are Humility, Respect, Righteousness, Trust and Loyalty.
Humility, or being humble, admits in a sense that there is something above or beyond your reach. It is the foundation for all learning.
Imagine if you felt there was nothing more for you to learn, you would then stop improving. If a martial artist feels he or she is good enough then why continue practising as hard? By being humble a martial artist realises that there is always a gap to fill by constant practice and learning. The result is a better martial artist.
Respect occupies a special place in the martial arts as it ensures that every person from the beginning student to the instructor realises that martial arts is not mere fighting but something that strives for pure spirit.
In this way respect and obedience to the master become absolutely imperative, as it is the master who will be your guide to higher levels of ability and learning.
Respect also occupies a special place in the relationship between martial artists of all styles. By giving respect dignity is gained for all martial artists.
Loyalty involves faithfulness to ideals of family, culture, nation and martial style. As a student you may be called upon to teach your particular style one day. This you should honour by teaching what you have learned to be the traditional aspects of the style.
Without this loyalty, the style would undergo as many changes as instructors and proper techniques will eventually be lost through time.
Righteousness and Trust, if the kung fu student has these traits he or she will stand up and fight for what he or she believes is right and just, wherever they can.
This has four major categories. These are Will, Perseverance, Patience and Bravery. These deal with the inner spirit or soul of the martial artist. Of all these, Will is the central point.
The will of a martial artist grows in significance once the student realises that the study of martial arts is a lifelong commitment. It is not a hobby that a person drops after a few months or years of practice.
It requires a lifetime of devotion and a guiding force through times of personal trouble, laziness and self doubt. Only the will can provide such force. It is easy to say everyone needs a strong will but for the martial artist this is very important.
Perseverance and Patience can be seen as supporting the will. When the mind is in pain or exhausted, perseverance and patience must be present.
Sometimes it can take weeks, months or even years of practice to perfect certain techniques. By having perseverance and patience, the student will succeed.
Bravery for the kung fu student it is the courage to face the truth. In facing the truth the martial artist must stand up to any situation and deal with it in a courageous way.
He or she must meet the challenges of life and training head-on in failure and success. Many more points can be made about morality but as a student progresses in learning, some things become apparent.
As an example, once humility becomes a trait in the student’s character the thought of showing off or being boisterous disappears as he or she realises that showing off and boasting are the result of pride and limited martial ability. It is not productive and does not contribute to personal growth.
© Copyright Richard Tsui-Po 1971-2013. All Rights Reserved.
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