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
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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