Wu De (Martial Code of Conduct)

Wu De is the Chinese martial arts code of appropriate social interaction. Ethics and etiquette is ingrained not only in the culture of China but also pervades throughout the philosophy that holds the society together. There are five points in Wu De: Respect, Humility, Trust, Virtue, and Honor.

Respect (Zun Jing; 尊敬)
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 martial arts, respect is the cornerstone of all the teachings of martial arts. 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 and why we use titles.

Humility (Qian Xu; 谦逊)
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 or color around your waist. Keep your cup of tea empty allowing yourself toyourself to always learn.
"The taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bows." - Chinese Proverb

Trust (Xin Yong: 信用)
Who do you trust? Do people trust you? Trust is the belief that a person is of good character and will seek to fulfill promises, policies, ethical codes, and the law. In martial arts, we make a promise to ourselves, the school, and the teacher. When starting 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 martial arts it is a breach of trust to ask for more knowledge from the instructor. Excessive questioning suggests that the student knows the material well enough to advance. Advancing is at the discretion of the instructor, not the student.

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