Virtue, Wisdom, Humility, Martial Arts
The art of Kuoshu (from the Chinese characters for “national art”) is the traditional Chinese term for the full range of Chinese martial arts and is designed to enhance the person from a physical perspective. We practice the Tien Shan Pai motto to develop the total person, not just the physical, but the mind, body and spirit.
Virtue includes qualities such as morality, kindness, ethics, good character, doing the right thing, honesty, mindfulness, and even heroism. The dedicated martial artist makes choices in their life – inside and outside of the US Kuoshu Academy – consistent with the principles of virtue.
Wisdom is insight that comes about as a result of life experience. It is not just knowledge gained from reading a book or taking a course. The wise person has a perspective that is broader than their own point of view; they are able to integrate many perspectives, and understand the long term implications of choosing one path or another. To cultivate wisdom, one needs to be open, aware, and mindful at all times.
As martial artists develop physical and mental prowess, it becomes increasingly important to temper these accomplishments with humility. Martial arts are used to defend oneself as a last resort. If we abuse our skill through arrogant behavior, boasting, or intimidating others, we bring shame to our System and our teachers. There is always the possibility that we can learn more about any endeavor, including martial arts. The more we feel that we know, the less open we are to learn. Cultivate a “beginner’s mind” when approaching Kuoshu training or other matters in life. Consider yourself an empty cup waiting to be filled with something fresh and exciting. If you are already full, everything new will simply overflow and be wasted.
This character carries the meaning of martial arts expertise. It can also imply valiance, courage, and ferocity. All of the characteristics in our motto are important, but we place this value last. This placement is intentional. Improving our martial arts skill is the focus of our daily training at the US Kuoshu Academy but it is not our ultimate goal. Our primary purpose is to develop into the best possible human beings we can be. Diligent and dedicated training in Chinese martial arts can help us better ourselves. This traditional Chinese approach – our teaching methods, our course material, and our emphasis on character — distinguishes the US Kuoshu Academy from other, less traditional schools.