- Bow on entering and leaving the class
- Show respect and consideration for others,
- Always avoid confrontation outside class,
- Do not show techniques outside class without permission from your instructor.
- Obey your seniors in class (regardless of personal opinion),
- Stand correctly at all times,
- No yawning - breathe correctly.
The tenets set out above are the basis of the martial artist's attitude and it is the attitude that distinguishes the martial artist from the martial arts practitioner. In then drawing or painting anyone can practice the techniques, anyone can hold a pencil or a brush, but what is it that distinguishes practitioners from the artist? An artist goes beyond technique, and in martial arts terms this involves a comprehension and implementation of the tenets above. No matter to what level a Master reaches, the basis of his art does not recede but rather becomes more integral to his way of life.
Westerners seem to have difficulty in accepting oriental ways of thinking, but such difficulties arise from a lack of understanding. Thus, the discipline of martial arts is seen as restrictive, as trying to mould the individual, whereas it is rather to give the individual a framework within which to channel their energies towards their own improvement. To show respect for others is more than to be polite: to show compassion is not just to sympathise. Similarly, being a good fighter does not improve integrity; self-control and perseverance are not proved by training every night.
Respect and humility are closely linked - the greatest Master commands respect yet is humble enough to answer questions from a very beginner. Humility is not thinking that you are not good, it is knowing that you can always be better. Respect is recognising another person as an individual with their own potential. Compassion is the desire to help, but that desire must be linked to a drive to achieve a position such that you can help others. Compassion can be illustrated as follows; the martial artist, if attacked, rather than hurt his opponent will try to prevent them from hurting him. for why hurt someone if you know that they cannot hurt you? Integrity is rather an abstract concept. In literal terms it is "wholeness". You must try to amalgamate all aspects of the martial arts tenets and assimilate them in order to fulfil yourself as a martial artist. This does not only mean understanding the concepts involved but also accepting them as valid. It is not understanding ideas that is difficult for most, it is accepting them, though to what extent you can understand something you do not accept is arguable. Learning a martial art does not come easily, and self-control and perseverance, discipline and endurance are needed. In a class you are not in competition with others but with yourself, your concern is always to improve your own standard, your own understanding, and with this comes the realisation that it is ultimately up to the individual to improve and change. Perseverance is more than training for a long time, even for a lifetime, it is always to be aware of the changes in attitude that are required of you as you improve, to take on responsibility for your class and your club.
In explaining (or at least trying to) the tenets of Fujian White Crane Kung Fu, I hope that it has become a little clearer what is needed for an Individual to become a martial artist and not just someone who "goes through the motions". Whilst some may think that it is restrictive, individualism is in itself restrictive. The student who is only concerned with his own development and not with that of his fellow-students is restricting the development of others by not taking on responsibility. He is also restricting himself by not helping others; there is a great difference between a good practitioner and a good instructor, and the student should aim to be both.
Never be afraid of asking a question if you do not understand - if it turns out to be a stupid question then you have only been stupid once. If you had never asked the question at all you may have been stupid all your life.