So far, in The Definition of a Truly Great Martial Arts Practitioner we have looked at Humility, Loyalty and Respect. We now continue with the fourth of the 5 Important Actions, Morality.
Morality (义 – Yì)
The Oxford dictionary defines “morality” as “principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour”, and so too, should we apply the same definition to the martial arts and WǔDé.
The life of a wushu practitioner is not one lived in isolation. We are connected to our teacher, our classmates, our training partners and our friends and family who enable us to practice. If any one of those people did something to upset you, or simply did something you felt was “immoral”, how would you feel? If your teacher deliberately taught you an incorrect movement or technique what would you think about him or her? However, morality should actually go further than simply “doing no wrong”. It should be a proactive philosophy whereby if we see a situation where we should step in and do something to improve things, we shouldn’t hesitate to step up. Conversely, we shouldn’t rush into anything without first considering the implications it will have on others.
You expect the people around you to consider how their actions affect you, and to see them living by a code of ethics; you want to believe the truth in what they say and do, so you must lead by example and do the same thing in return.
Furthermore, morality is not just something we need to think about when we are dealing with other people. You also need to be honest with yourself. Are you really practising as well as you could be? Are you really as good as you pretend to be? Are you really listening to the people around you or merely paying lip service?
If you follow a genuinely moral path through life, not only will you blossom as a martial artist, but as a human being as well. You will be amazed at the number of doors that open to you if your mind is free of deceit and you always aim to “do the right thing”.
"When you see a worthy person, endeavour to emulate him. When you see an unworthy person, then examine your inner self." Confucius