Martial Morality, Wu De

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Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Dvivid » Wed Nov 03, 2010 10:00 am

I recently visited a couple other martial arts forums, and I was shocked by the rudeness and combativeness of the users. I guess we are lucky in this forum to attract serious practitioners who are usually polite, friendly, and helpful. I've had many thought-provoking discussions here and I appreciate it.

Because of this experience, I wanted to post on this topic:

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"Martial morality 武德 has always been a required discipline in Chinese martial arts society. Teachers have long considered martial morality to be the most important criterion for judging students, and they have made it the most important part of the training in the traditional Chinese martial arts. It includes two aspects: the morality of deed and the morality of mind.

Morality of deed includes: Humility, Respect, Righteousness, Trust, and Loyalty.

Morality of mind consists of: Will, Endurance, Perseverance, Patience, and Courage.

Traditionally, only those students who had cultivated these standards of morality were considered to be worthy of teaching. Of the two aspects of morality, the morality of deed is more important, because itconcerns the student’s relationship with master and classmates, other martial artists, and the general public. Students who are not moral in their actions are not worthy of being taught, since they cannot be trusted or even respected. Furthermore, without morality of deed, they may abuse the art and use their fighting ability to harm innocent people. Therefore, masters will normally watch their students carefully for a long time until they are sure that the students have matched their standards of morality of deed before letting them start serious training.

Morality of mind is for the self-cultivation which is required to reach the final goal. The Chinese consider that we have two minds, an “Emotional mind” (Xin) and a “Wisdom mind” (Yi). Usually, when a person fails in something it is because the emotional mind has dominated their thinking. The five elements in the morality of mind are the keys to training, and they lead the student to the stage where the wisdom mind can dominate. This self-cultivation and discipline should be the goal of any martial arts training philosophy.


MORALITY OF DEED

Humility comes from controlling your feelings of pride. In China it is said: “Satisfaction (pride) loses, humility earns benefits.” When you are satisfied with yourself, you will not think deeply, and you will not be willing to learn. However, if you remain humble, you will always be looking for ways to better yourself, and you will keep on learning. Remember, there is no limit to knowledge. It does not matter how deep you have reached, there is always a deeper level. Confucius said, “If three people walk by, there must be one of them who can be my teacher.” There is always someone who is more talented or more knowledgeable than you in some field. The Chinese say: “There is always a man beyond the man, there is a sky above the sky.” Since this is so, how can you be proud of yourself?

Respect is the foundation of your relationship with your parents, teachers, your fellow students, other martial artists, and all other people in society. Respect makes a harmonious relationship possible. However, the most important type of respect is self-respect. If you can’t respect yourself, how can you respect others or expect them to respect you? Respect must be earned, you cannot request or demand it.

In China, it is said: “Those who respect themselves and others will also be respected.” For example, if you despise yourself and become a villain in this society, then you have lost your self-respect. Since you have abused your personality and humility as a human, why should other people respect you? Only when you have demonstrated that you are deserving of respect will respect come to you automatically and naturally.

Righteousness is a way of life. Righteousness means that if there is something you should do, you don’t hesitate to take care of it, and if there is something that you should not do, you don’t get involved with it. Your wisdom mind should be the leader, not your emotional mind. If you can do this, then you will feel clear spiritually, and avoid being plagued by feelings of guilt. If you can demonstrate this kind of personality you will be able to avoid evil influences, and you will earn the trust of others.

Trust includes being trustworthy, and also trusting yourself. You must develop a personality which other people can trust. For example, you should not make promises lightly, but if you have made a promise, you should fulfill it. Trust is the key to friendship, and the best way of earning respect. The trust of a friend is hard to gain, but easy to lose. Self-trust is the root of confidence. You must learn to build up your confidence and demonstrate it externally. Only then can you earn the trust and respect of others.

Loyalty is the root of trust. You should be loyal to your teacher and to your friends, and they should also be loyal to you. Loyalty lets mutual trust grow. In the Chinese martial arts, it is especially crucial that there be loyalty between you and your master. This loyalty is built upon a foundation of obedience to your master. Obedience is the prerequisite for learning. If you sincerely desire to learn, you should rid yourself of false dignity. You must bow to your teacher both mentally and spiritually. Only this will open the gates of trust. A teacher will not teach someone who is always concerned about his own dignity. Remember, in front of your teacher, you do not have dignity.


MORALITY OF MIND

Will (Yi Zhi)
It usually takes a while to demonstrate a strong will. This is because of the struggle between the emotional mind and the wisdom mind. If your wisdom mind governs your entire being you will be able to suppress the disturbances that come from the emotional mind, and your will can last. A strong will depends upon the sincerity with which you commit yourself to your goal. This has to come from deep within you, and can’t be just a casual, vague desire. Oftentimes, the students who show the greatest eagerness to learn in the beginning, quit the soonest, while those who hide their eagerness deep inside their hearts stay the longest.

Endurance, Perseverance, and Patience (Ren Nai, Yi Li, Heng Xin)
Endurance, perseverance, and patience are the manifestations of a strong will. People who are successful are not always the smartest ones, but they are always the ones who are patient and who persevere. People who are really wise do not use wisdom only to guide their thinking, they also use it to govern their personalities. Through cultivating these three elements you will gradually build up a profound mind, which is the key to the deepest essence of learning. If you know how to use your mind to ponder as you train, it can lead you to a deeper stage of understanding. If you can manifest this understanding in your actions you will be able to surpass others.

Courage (Yong Gan)
Courage is often confused with bravery. Courage originates with the understanding that comes from the wisdom mind. Bravery is the external manifestation of courage, and can be considered to be the child of the wisdom and the emotional minds. For example, if you have the courage to accept a challenge, that means your mind has understood the situation and made a decision. Next, you must be brave enough to face the challenge. Without courage, the bravery cannot last long. Without the profound comprehension of courage, bravery can be blind and stupid.

Daring to face a challenge that you think needs to be faced is courage. But successfully manifesting courage requires more than just a decision from your wisdom mind. You also need a certain amount of psychological preparation so that you can be emotionally balanced; this will give your bravery a firm root so that it can endure. Frequently you do not have enough time to think and make a decision. A wise person always prepares, considering the possible situations that might arise, so that when something happens he will be ready and can demonstrate bravery.

YMAA schools and students must understand, demonstrate, and promote these concepts, and work to reestablish martial morality as a integral aspect of all martial arts training." - Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Dvivid » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:01 pm

Does anyone consider themselves out of step with today's morality and ethics nowadays, or are we all really as dark and cynical as the popular media portrays?
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby yeniseri » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:53 pm

Dvivid wrote:Does anyone consider themselves out of step with today's morality and ethics nowadays, or are we all really as dark and cynical as the popular media portrays?


Some great points! Because we are adults (at least, based on age and legal criteria) people choose to be dark and cynical and the opposite, positive, openminded, etc.

With CMA, I have actually seen and experienced teachers spouting wude as the guiding principle but allow their students to do the opposite! I believe in judging someone by objective criteria of decency, behaviour and some level of observable characteristic.

In the civilian world, I am entertained by the vulgarity by which people carry themselves thinking they are "all that" (the common descriptive) but deep down it is not so good. In that sense I am out of step with that level of discourse but it is difficult to stay focused and keep from following the 'bad behaviour'.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Sanfung » Tue May 29, 2012 5:26 pm

I was reading the archives here before I signed up. I was actually surprised at how remarkably respectful everyone is. While some threads I followed certainly did come to a point of heated discussion, these disagreements are an aspect of the human condition. On most message boards I'm a member of, people are far more aggressive when it comes to expressing their viewpoints. It's sad to see, for instance, a forum on Japanese animation descend into political backstabbing. Sadly enough, the example I'm using is a real one from my own memory. Perhaps the fact that like Dvivid said, this forum attracts serious practitioners helps to ensure that those that post here are on the up and up.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby pete5770 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:30 am

Sanfung wrote: It's sad to see, for instance, a forum on Japanese animation descend into political backstabbing.


Not to try and take this "off topic" but most forums that I have attended, wrote in to, watched and or listened to generally start to deviate(descend) from the orginal theme into all kinds of other subjects and have people really "pushing", if you will, their ideas. That it often breaks down into name calling, etc. is not at all unusual. People want their ideas heard and will often shout it out to whomever will listen. Just watch the talking heads, going pro and con, on TV and you'll see what I mean. Sorry if that was a detour from morality but it seemed to apply. :?
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Sanfung » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:09 am

No, I don't believe what you were saying was off topic at all. That made a lot of sense. People always want to incorporate aspects of one thing or another into every conversation that they have. It ends up belittling both what they were talking about originally and the new ideas that they are trying to push onto other people.

The mask that the World Wide Web provides is one of the reasons for some of this behavior, though I don't mean to criticize Internet technology itself when I say that. People tend to act brasher on the Internet for obvious reasons. They can't see the person that they're speaking with, so they can't suffer the logical consequences for what they're saying.

Learning to control my own emotional responses to things on the Internet, and learning to ignore them, hasn't been easy. However, it's a pretty important skill to learn when working with online forum sites or anything else online. People don't have to worry about what others might say or do to them if they tick them off online quite as much as they would in real life.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Josh Young » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:48 am

Maybe one of the reasons this forum seems less likely to delve into petty conflict laden with insults is that most of those who post and participate here are passionate martial artists pursuing self mastery..?

It reminds me of the idea that those who have better self control, developed through practice and effort over time, are less likely to engage in conflict or insult others.

I also think this forum has a better standard for conduct and content than most other martial arts forums.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Sanfung » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:49 pm

It makes sense that the reason that people here would be more understanding is because of better self-control. Self-control comes with correctly applied practice and training. Slinging insults is completely contrary to this idea. Human nature is very strong, so no place is immune to it. Like you said, though, this forum certainly has a high standard of conduct. I don't think most people here would want to behave badly at least.

Whenever I see fights break out on other forum sites, I tend to think that they're doing it just for the sake of doing it. I hope that no one minds if I throw out a training aphorism I've heard passed down. "When two tigers fight one dies and the other is scarred for life." People with strong egos and personalities might like to throw their weight around, but it's really not accomplishing anything.

That being said, I'm not at all trying to sound self-righteous and I hope I don't sound that way at all. I'm not trying to comment on anyone in particular, or in any way say that I'm superior to anyone on this planet. As you've alluded to, serious practitioners are supposed to have no false pretenses about myself and I sincerely hope I haven't shown myself to be bragging in any way at all.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby pete5770 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 5:38 pm

Sanfung wrote:
"When two tigers fight one dies and the other is scarred for life." People with strong egos and personalities might like to throw their weight around, but it's really not accomplishing anything.



The only animal that has remorse is man. If my dog catches the neighbors cat and kills it he has no remorse, no sadness, no grief over what he has done. Same for the winning tiger.
As for the strong egos throwing their weight around I believe it does accomplish something. They are looking to up their self esteem in their own eyes. While not a good accomplishment it is still one none the less.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Sanfung » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:46 pm

Please understand that I was not attempting to start an argument at all. While I could debate on animal emotions, that really wasn't the point and I'm sure the individual whom I was quoting was speaking in matters of allegory. Even if a tiger could not feel remorse, the big cat in question could very well be physically scarred. If an individual human being were not physically scarred, they could very well be done so emotionally. Even if the part of the being that is harmed is not the same, the concept remains the same. If people spend all of their time arguing, I would feel that they might be hurt in some context.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby sub_human » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:58 pm

A tiger lives by the tao.

When u learn to live without regret, ur every moment is in the now. When ur shen is centered, there is no ego to battle with, just conscious curiosity.


Coincidentally, a "thought" is not an arguement. It is just another oppertunity to filter something through ur shen. The arguement arises when u have an untrained shen, incapable of dealing with ur thought. often times this waivering of thoughts grows relentless and we vocalize our thoughts aloud, seeking resolution.

This unknowing & frustration leads to defense mechnism to protect the ego... the face.



Lastly, One should not deride those who seek betterness within their being.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Phalanxpursos » Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:05 am

Thank you very much Dvivid for posting about Martial Morality.

Dvivid wrote:I recently visited a couple other martial arts forums, and I was shocked by the rudeness and combativeness of the users.


Indeed Public Morality is very low on the Internet, this is the reason why I started reading about Fallacies and Argumentation study. It helps a lot to find out what mistakes people actually make in daily life, this is also with Martial Morality.

So it is wise to do Asian philosophy and also Western philosophy.
Strategemata Liber Secundus;
"VIII: Restore Morale with Firmness"
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Sanfung » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:38 am

I did not mean to deride anyone really. That's not my goal, but I still tend to put my foot in my mouth more often then I'd like. I'm really only learning now when to stand up for something and when the frustrated defense mechanism isn't really worth it.

One could suggest that public morality is low, once again, because of the fact that people cannot see whom it is they're talking with so they're free to do whatever. I've noticed something similar to flame wars when looking through the letters to the editor in publications that predate the common availability of the Internet.

I recognize for me that even just being here is a great learning opportunity for me in the ways of social interaction. If I have wronged any in that respect, I was not trying to violate any run of morality but instead misunderstood the social rules. Not to get too off topic, but I recently got really frustrated in a conversation with a friend on an instant messaging client. It got really heated, but later the entire thing turned out to me not fundamentally knowing when I should say things and when such things lack balance.

If you would like to say more on a balanced Shen, I would be welcome to hearing it.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby sub_human » Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:18 am

Sanfung wrote:I did not mean to deride anyone really. That's not my goal, but I still tend to put my foot in my mouth more often then I'd like. I'm really only learning now when to stand up for something and when the frustrated defense mechanism isn't really worth it.

One could suggest that public morality is low, once again, because of the fact that people cannot see whom it is they're talking with so they're free to do whatever. I've noticed something similar to flame wars when looking through the letters to the editor in publications that predate the common availability of the Internet.

I recognize for me that even just being here is a great learning opportunity for me in the ways of social interaction. If I have wronged any in that respect, I was not trying to violate any run of morality but instead misunderstood the social rules. Not to get too off topic, but I recently got really frustrated in a conversation with a friend on an instant messaging client. It got really heated, but later the entire thing turned out to me not fundamentally knowing when I should say things and when such things lack balance.

If you would like to say more on a balanced Shen, I would be welcome to hearing it.



My friend,

My previous post was not refering to Your post, it just happened to follow it.. :D



Conversation is easy^, when u train urself to have zero pre-conceived thoughts. (training the mind is more difficult than training the body)

Most people don't even listen (or read) what others are saying to them.. their minds are already reeling with a rebuttal/comment, instead of... letting that same person finish their sentence, or sentiment!

Don't go tit-for-tat until you understand the scope of the conversation/argument. Allow urself to breeeeaaathee.



Now, on-the-other-hand... listening to people, takes a concious effort. And respect.

How often do u witness others taking a cell phone call, without first excusing themselves from the conversation? It is not only rude to do so, but very odd to let someone stand there eavesdropping on an un-wanted conversation. Or that, their time is more important than my time... standing there. Are we concious of ourselves?


Coincidentally, impersonal arguments are 100% without context... because the(ier) body language, and/or pauses of speech, or simply the atmosphere.. <-- in face to face conversation, is missing data.

: ) <does not equal> watching someone smile. Or... even though someone just lol'ed you.. hearing them laugh, (or more importantly how they laughed) is more tell-telling than knowing that they laughed., etc.

There is dichotomy in everything. There is no black or white... just gradiant of perception (best guesses?).



I do not believe Morality is elusive.. i just find that people cloud thoughts with emotion, based on their morality.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby yeniseri » Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:42 pm

Amongst people who are like minded, basic courtesy ends up to be nothong special because all is in harmony. Disagreement is a part of life and there are some people who spout wu de but behave the exact opposite when you do not agree with their POV. I reminded of a saing that says/ "As a man sows, the same he will reap" and that is is universal as any!
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby pete5770 » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:19 pm

Morality is herd instinct in the individual.

Friedrich Nietzshe
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby Phalanxpursos » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:25 am

Morality is concerned about the good life
Strategemata Liber Secundus;
"VIII: Restore Morale with Firmness"
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby John the Monkey mind » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:04 pm

Phalanxpursos wrote:Morality is concerned about the good life


Morality is concerned about our response to the bad in life and not being over come and unmanned by the good in life.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby wpgtaiji » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:52 pm

I am glad we are all noble souls, but in reality, good and bad are not real. There is no absolute good nor absolute bad. In fact, yin/yang theory tells us that the more we move to one extreme, the more it becomes the opposite.

I truly wonder how much of this modern focus on morality (and the rest of the pillar of society teachings) didnt come out of the general shift in Japan to Do vs Jitsu? I mean, we are talking about folks who used the arts to kill when needed. Maybe we are focusing alittle too much on the white pajamas and not focusing on what is important: doing the art.
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Re: Martial Morality, Wu De

Postby sub_human » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:19 pm

Who is "We" ..?
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