Guide for New Students
Code of Ethics
— Martial School Etiquette
— Visiting other schools or teachers
A Message from Grand Master Lee
Many people who want to learn martial arts are apprehensive in making long term commitments. Unfortunately, traditional Chinese martial arts cannot be learned in a few short weeks. Agility, stamina, strength, quick reflexes, confidence, self control and true ability to defend oneself, are all qualities that require diligent practice over an extended period of time under the guidance of a qualified instructor. If one is sincere about learning, then a commitment of time and a financial investment are required. If you make this commitment, the rewards will be great. Always remember, what you put in, you will get back, many times over.
Grand Master Johnny Kwong Ming Lee
Code of Ethics:
- Always honor one’s family without expectation of receiving. Strive for family honor because it is a lifelong responsibility.
- Honor your teacher or teachers. Give and sacrifice without the expectation of receiving, as it is a lifetime responsibility to your teacher, who gives you the gift of the art.
- Treat your fellow students as a brother or sister. By giving and helping them to be better, you will strengthen yourself.
- Senior students, be humble. Treat junior students as equals, thus enabling you to have the respect and position of a senior.
- Junior students, be respectful to your senior. Their treatment of you as an equal is a sign that they are starting to understand a deeper Wu Shu and are worthy of senior respect. This humbleness is to be respected.
- Never consider yourself knowledgeable, regardless of time in training. We are only on a staircase that is very long with no apparent end.
- Recognize that everyone will have strengths greater than yourself, regardless of their time in the art. Try to help their weaknesses and your weaknesses will be eventually strengthened.
- Senior students are responsible to demonstrate the Code of Ethics in and out of class. This demonstrates the strength of your art and makes good practitioners and teachers.
- Rely on your teacher’s judgment. Many times you may not agree with policies, or actions, but it is your responsibility to stand behind them and strive for better understanding as junior students do towards you. Remember one is just on a step and possibly the next step will give you better understanding.
- Remember teachers are human. They make mistakes and have human problems – like anyone else. Realize that no one will be a perfect example. It is this kindness and understanding that makes you strong by humanness and appreciating their gains of self-perfecting Wu Shu.
- Be an example of courtesy, regardless of what step you are on in Wu Shu. Courtesy in and out of class is a sign of strength. By giving courtesy, you get courtesy and respect.
- Allow criticism and suggestions by anyone. Others can catch something that is very true and helpful, if you are open. Remembering we are all equal humans and thinking we know a lot, means we know little.
- Never openly criticize your teacher. Hold your doubts or criticisms to yourself and possibly your view will change later on the matter. Criticizing back to your teacher says your are their equal in knowledge. This is considered very poor code and essentially you need another teacher.
- Don’t think of criticism as personal. Criticism is only suggestions or sharing to gain better refinement from outside eyes. This is the reason to take classes in the first place.
- Pride. Carry yourself earnestly, try your best even if it’s not up to your expectations.
- Sparring practice is practice in containing one’s ego. Approach this practice with a smile and from that you will be better at it. Containment of one’s ego is essential for proper energy and totalness.
- The showing of too much power in any joint exercises shows you have low-Ievel ego containment. Use of technique with kindness and appreciation is a sign of strength. To intimidate others is low level.
- Tenacity. It is your responsibility to try your best in all classes. Do not allow yourself to just follow or stand idle. Practice yourself, regardless of your grasp of or ability of the technique. It is your responsibility to not complain of tiredness or your ability to do the practice. Keep your frustrations to yourself.
- Cleanliness. Refined cleanliness means refined mind. Clean clothes and body show by example the honor and ethics you hold.
- Never ask for knowledge. Let the teachers decide when you are ready. To ask is a sign that you have done what has already been given you. Remember any knowledge has a lifetime of perfecting. By working hard on what you have is the first sign that you are ready for more and deserve it.
- Always remember your teacher’s birthday or any special holidays. Give them a gift of appreciation from your heart no matter how small.
- If you are far away from your teacher and you visit them or any other teachers, it is proper to bring them a small gift each time. This can be food for casual visits or – presents suitable for more important visits. This is traditionally important.
- If you have had a falling out with your teacher, but want to reestablish your connection, it is most important to bring a gift upon your first contact and to give your humble apology, regardless of whether you feel it is totally deserved.
- Anytime one invites the teacher over to their home or anywhere else, it is essential that there is always food and drink available. This shows good manners and respect.
Martial School Etiquette
- Always address your teacher with their respected title in or out of class. They should not be addressed by their first names unless told to do so. The title of teacher, Master, Sifu, Simo, Mr. or Mrs., shows respect. By calling them by their first name means you are not acknowledging their training level, and breaches martial code.
- Always introduce your teacher with their title to students, friends or to the public, in or out of class.
- Always address your teacher by their title when writing letters to them or signing checks. This is a lifetime responsibility of respect.
- Bowing to your teacher, other students, coming in or out of your training area or in public is a sign of respect. It is the Oriental way of hand shaking. Bowing is purely personal and does not mean we bow down to one person or another. It is simply a pure sign or respect and gratitude.
- Never debate the cost of instruction with the teacher. If you feel it is too high, find another who charges less. Also, always be timely with your tuition. Teachers in turn will always be timely with their instruction. It is a sign of respect.
- Try not to be late to class. If you are late, apologize to the teacher upon entering the class. If you must come late or must leave early, discuss this matter with your teacher ahead of time. It is disrespectful to leave class early without an explanation. Always bow to the teacher when entering or leaving. *Especially if entering late or leaving early.
- Each system has traditions if it is a complete art. Pay good attention to these traditions, for these represent that particular system. Proper acceptance and usage of these traditions shows your skill level. Sloppy tradition means sloppy attitude which means sloppy practitioner.
- Without being asked, clean training area or various parts of the school, like the bathroom, etc. This shows good humbleness and respect, regardless of how senior one is.
- Senior students should know and feel comfortable with the teacher’s rules and be able and willing to explain with understanding these traditions to junior students. Traditions have reasons and one should understand the necessity for them.
- The longer you study from a teacher, the more you represent them. After five years, you represent your teacher.
Visiting other schools or teachers
- When going to participate in other schools, it is always important to ask the teacher’s permission first.
- If allowed to participate, make sure you always pay for the class or leave some kind of tribute to show your appreciation, regardless of whether the teacher says that money or tribute is necessary.
- If inviting a teacher or senior from another school or system out to dinner, always open the door for them, allowing them to enter first. Always pay their meals with no reservations as to cost. Never allow them to pay. This represents your teacher’s training of you and gives face to not only you but the system you came from.
- When eating with anyone senior, especially your teacher or with other teachers, always wait until they have eaten their first bite of food before starting to eat yourself. Eating before your seniors start is considered very poor ethics and shows a lack of respect.
This Code of Ethics will help you understand our art and its players and they will make you a stronger practitioner. It is believed that this strength will also bring wisdom. There is no order for these rules. If you empty your cup of tea you will see your strengths and your weaknesses and, individually will have your priorities to work towards.