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The Art of Being A  True Master


           by Grandmaster Glenn Luscher

     Many come to study the martial arts for various reasons: defense, health, love of culture etc. The reasons vary from person to person. If one stays with it long enough, he or she may progress to the level of Instructor or Master.     
     If you look around the world of martial arts, many call themselves Masters. There seems to be a master at every school. But what is a master? The general public may think that outward skills - punching and kicking - determine if a person is a master. It is true that having good skills plays a part in the overall picture, but many practitioners have skills and still are not worthy to be called Master. Sad to say, few make it according to the standards embedded in true Wushu mastery. What makes a master a master is dedication to the arts and to all of their traditions as well as mastering good ethics. It is the never-ending search for improvement.

      It is said that the true martial artist embodies not only physical skill but also a high level of intellectual and moral refinement. The ethical martial artist questions his own actions and motivations in order to better understand his own character. We are constantly challenged to grow and evolve, finding our own balance in the journey of life.

      I believe humans are born innocent, having no awareness of what is wrong or right, these thing are a learning process. As we develop we are introduced to new experiences and that certain actions and behaviors are acceptable while others are not. We are learning about ethics, good behavior, and morality.
    Today, we live in a world that has lost the sense of what is right and what is wrong. Morality is no longer the disciplining of one's mind and actions to an agenda that is acceptable, but rather, morality is based upon what one is willing to live by, whether it be right or wrong. By ignorance or deliberate choice we disregard the consequences of wrong doing, and further, we lack the understanding and importance of reaping the benefits of making right choices.
     Who or what establishes or defines what is morality or good ethics?  What was once considered an abomination against heaven in a Biblical sense, now, from a human point of view, may be acceptable forms of behavior.  Is morality based on the opinion and emotions of the day or is morality defined by specific actions from a higher source than ourselves?  If we can not clearly define and understand what morality is, then all we are left with is speculation.  The Martial Artist needs to consider all the issues of culture, religion, and popular opinion and consider the outcome because of his actions.
     The Martial Art requires discipline. It starts with the "I can do" attitude then the many hours of training  to learn and develop a high skill level.  Living a lifestyle of what is right also takes discipline.  When it is easier to give in to temptation, or do what everyone is doing, or any of the other influences, it takes a mindset like a steel trap to hold onto the ways that are right, and then act upon what we believe are right.  We are going to stand for something in life, why not stand for what is right?  People  will read us, what will they read that makes us different from others?
      In Wushu, one is a master who has mastered himself or herself, who has won the battle raging within. The battle within is a mental battle.  It is not so much the awareness of things that are good and things that are unacceptable, wrong, or even evil. The real battle is the conscious and deliberate will to do what is right despite personal or popular ideas. It is the victory over self that qualifies one to be called master. How can anyone who has not won the internal fight teach others to do so?

     "Hua xian bu yao gwo chu" means you must draw a line and never cross it. You set your priorities in life, then make no excuses to break your vows.  We donít give up half way or look for greener pastures when times get tough. When you see a true master you will see a man or woman who has drawn the line, and who has never stepped over it.

     Martial arts are holistic, cultivating the entire self.  In Chinese there is a term " xing ming shuang xiu" which means, Spirit and Body cultivation.  If you look at a true master you will find both the skill and, most important, a person who is above reproach. He is of good character and is an example of good ethics (Wu-De). If ethics are followed without question, then the art is preserved, and all that it stands for is also preserved. A master is a master when he/she not only teaches the art, but also lives it.


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