Five Moral Pillars of Martial Arts Martial Arts 31 OCT 2008

Tie Hou QuanWithout controls, teaching a person a martial art is dangerous. That person, with just a little bit of training, immediately becomes a more dangerous member of society. Without proper restrictions placed on that student, it is possible that they may end up using their training and hurting other members of their community.

It is imperative to ensure that some sort of controls is set in place to ensure this newfound power is not abused. The only real way of achieving this is by allowing a martial arts practitioner to accept a strict moral code in such a way that it becomes a way of life to them. Gong Fu (Kung Fu) in particular is based on the following five moral pillars: Effort, Etiquette, Sincerity, Control and Respect. If this code is accepted and practiced, then society should not have to fear the martial arts practitioner, but rather be joyful to have such a valuable member of society in their midst.

These five aspects that form the moral code should be visible in every aspect of the student’s everyday life.

1. Effort

Gong Fu literally means hard work, or a skill learned over time. Nothing can be achieved or mastered without hard work, or rather without effort. From nothing must come something, but something cannot come from nothing. To achieve one’s goals and perform some sort of action, one needs to put n the required effort. A student must put their all into everything they do so that one day they may master that very action.

2. Etiquette

A Gong Fu student must be humble and courteous all of the time. A student does not learn his skill to impress his worth upon others – rather it is a skill learned to better one’s self and to help the rest of society. In all manners of life, a student should act humbly and nobly, knowing right from wrong and respecting society’s traditions.

3. Sincerity

A Gong Fu student should be sincere in all their actions. This applies to both their actions untoward other people as well as themselves. By sincere it is meant that actions should not be undertaken without the purest of intent. There should not be any foreign intent or hidden agenda in a student’s actions.

4. Control

A good student should at all times be in control of their actions. They should never be allowed to use the excuse that something happened simply because they lost control. Because of the dangerous techniques that a student is subjected to and learns to master, utmost care has to be taken that these skills are never used incorrectly. A student must learn to control their emotions as well as their bodies.

5. Respect

Society is built upon respect for other people. In martial arts, respect applies to the student’s respect for other people and martial arts practitioners as well as respect for their own bodies. Students must respect their peers and elders.

About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.