A Code of Ethics for the Tai Chi Lifestyle
When we say “hello” to our co-workers, hold open the door for a stranger, call our Moms, or wave at our neighbors (using ALL our fingers), we are showing Wu-De, or Martial Virtue.
Wu De is the Chinese Martial Arts code of ethics that is ingrained in the culture of China. From the formalities of the ruling classes throughout it’s rich history down to the social and family interactions of it’s people. It is the fine silk suit we wear when in public. It’s what holds a community, a society, and a culture together.
As a Martial Artist, Wu De is responsible for the long lineage of our Arts and it’s survival through the ages. It is the code of ethics we practice when in class. It is the framework we adhere to in our daily life. And as a teacher and father, it is the set of ideals and traditions that I teach to my students and my daughter.
There are two aspects of Wu De, Virtue of Deed and Virtue of Mind.
Virtue of Deed
Virtue of Deed encompasses our social interactions and relationships that we have with our family, neighbors, co-workers, teachers, and our community. To show good Wu De to others, our actions are guided by humility, sincerity, courtesy, morality, and trust.
Virtue of Mind
If Virtue of Deed guides the external, Virtue of Mind guides the internal. We have much conflict within our minds. We must have harmony between the emotional mind and the wisdom mind using courage, patience, endurance, perseverance, and will.
Wu De in Other Traditions
We see similar concepts in many religions including Jewish traditions, the Bible, the Qur’an, Hinduism, Taoism, the Sikhs and Buddhism. Other cultures such as the Greeks and Romans spoke of virtues. In our own culture, Benjamin Franklin had his “Moral Perfection.”
The ideals of Chivalry and the Japanese Bushido mirror Wu De in that they tie together martial systems with virtues, a code of ethics or honor.
Wu De Today
We are slowly being isolated by our use of technology. We’re more likely to see a group of people with their heads buried in their cell phones or tablets than interacting with each other. It seems even the simple act of saying “Hello” to someone is disappearing. Even when we do interact with each other, we lack humility and sincerity in our words and actions creating conflict.
Wu De is just as relevant today as it was hundreds of years ago. Living a Tai Chi Lifestyle with virtue takes a little humility, sincerity, courtesy, morality, trust, courage, patience, endurance, perseverance, and will.