There is an old saying pertaining to martial arts, which states, “One must first learn civility before he learn the art, and one must first know his ethics before he knows his skills.”
Civility here refers to good manners, courtesy, respect and consideration for others. Ethics, on the other hand, is a fundamental set of acceptable behavior which codifies the spirit of martial arts and which martial artists can rely on to cultivate their body and mind, and to guide their everyday actions and judgement.Ethics is an indivisible part of the study of martial art and sets the moral guidelines for martial artists. Ethics principles serve as the traditional, cultural and social standard by which practitioners are trained in martial arts. Central to these principles is the concept of non-violence, respect for oneself and others, loyalty to one’s family and country, and the following of the natural way.The adherence to ethics confirms our moral obligation of society and fellow human beings.
The concept also includes the attitudes, lifestyle as well as the social and moral behavior of the practitioner. It is the manner in which one behaves in both word and action. A practitioner of martial arts is not only a superior athlete, well-versed in combat, but also upstanding citizen with good moral and social virtues.Fulfilling the ethics principles is the true spirit and ultimate goal of the way of martial arts inspire all of us (less than perfect beings) to continually strive for perfection within ourselves.As the martial arts modernized and became a more open-ended activity and pastime, the once-ingrained moral codes of the warrior class, the Bushi, had to be taught to the martial arts practitioners, who moved from a social class system to a modern-day democracy and a relatively class-less society.Thus the dojo ku (sayings) and other such admonitions became even more important in order to teach the proper attitude among its practitioners.
In today’s modern society, a person can expect to experience many difficulties throughout life. This can be attributed to many things: some social irresponsible behavior, a degradation of the family unit or even the rapid evolution in technology. We are a product of society; therefore, we are affected by these as well as other negative forces during the course of our personality development. In today’s modern society, people are looking for ways to improve the quality of life almost at any cost.Training martial arts is a transformative and holistic mind-body-spirit experience because martial arts can and should allow us to transform ourselves. Through its training, we should develop a healthier body, an ethical and moral fibre, and a spiritual side. Martial arts should be able to show us that all things are connected in the universe, that our mind is connected to our body, which is connected to our spirit.