the list is very extensive, to say the least, and although I
will tell you many of the important ones, you must be able to see a
situation and handle it with the proper Wu De (ethics) or you may
run the risk of losing face in front of your teacher.
1. Always bow when you see your teacher. The hand sign is generally
enough. However, if you use a formal bow, you must bow lower than the
teacher, and your eyes should always face downward as a sign of trust for
2. Never forget your teacher's birthday, or special holidays such as
Chinese New Year. A red envelope is usually given containing money.
Usually a gift is not given since it may be a gift that the teacher has
no use for. Money is the hardest thing to give up and is the most
useful, so a money gift is always best. The amount depends on your
means to give.
3. Always wear the proper uniform and be sure it is clean and pressed.
4. Always bow when entering or leaving the training area.
5. Always call your teacher by his proper title, never call him/her by
6. Always pay proper respects to the higher levels in your Kwoon by
calling them by proper title.
7. Always pay your dues on time. To be late is like saying, "I'll pay
you when I can." Traditional teachers collect money to maintain the
Kwoon, so when you don't pay, the teacher must front the money for the
Kwoon expenses. If a problem arises it is
always best to let your teacher know why you failed to live up to your
8. If you want to bring a guest to the Kwoon you should ask you teacher first.
9. Always keep the Kwoon clean. Your teacher should not have to tell you
to do this.
10. Keep talk to a minimum while in the Kwoon. It is a place
of reflection and training, not gossip.
11. The higher level students are always responsible for the novice students.
A novice must always have a guide so he/she learns what is expected.
12. If you see that your teacher needs assistance with something you should always ask if you can be of any help.
13. If you are asked to demonstrate your skills you must show them
correctly or you will cause your teacher to lose face. Therefore, always be ready to show what you have learned.
14. Never miss classes. If you must a call is required so your
teacher knows the reason. Missing classes should be something that
seldom happens, if ever. You must plan your life around your training,
not the other way around.
15. No matter what your level is, even if you are a teacher level and
running a Kwoon elsewhere, you should always visit or call your
teacher and pay respects to stay in good standing.
16. The teacher should never have to pay for anything while in the company of students.
17. If an encounter should ever arise, the student must always step in
to defend his teacher's honor. You should be honor your teacher as
you would your own father or mother.
18. Never ask to learn more. That is a sign that you think you are ready to move ahead.
That is for your teacher to decide, not you.
19. When you are not sure of the proper Wu-De always check with a
higher level student first and find the answer to your question before you make a mistake. When you make mistakes you lose face in the eyes of your
teacher. To regain face a red envelope and explanation is usually
20. Never speak of other art forms or teachers in the presence of your
teacher. This in an indirect insult to your teacher. You have chosen
your teacher to be your teacher and as far as you are concerned your teacher is
the best. The only one who can speak of other teachers or styles is
21. Fighting (Da Jya) is never permitted in the Kwoon unless the
teacher gives the OK. The teacher is the only one who can determine if
you are ready or not.
22. When in a Shao-lin class never practice any other art form other
than Shao-lin. This is sign of focus.
23. The highest level student should always announce the beginning of a
formal class by saying "Shang Ker," or "begin class."
24. The highest level student always calls for a bow to the teacher
after students are lined up and ready to start class.
25. When the teacher writes on a blackboard, the student should always
erase it, when the teacher is done.
26. When offering tea or refreshments, the teacher should always be
27. If you give the teacher a gift, never expect him/her to open the
gift in your presence.
28. Never speak for your teacher unless he/she indicates a comment from
29. If you commit yourself to a task that must be done, always have it
done in the time requested. Your word is always your bond in Shao-lin.
30. Never criticize your teacher's methods of teaching.
31. Never teach anyone anything unless your teacher has told you to do
32. Always be humble. This is a sign of one who knows truth
These are but a few of the Wu-De ethics that must be followed. There
are many more that can arise and it is your place to learn them as time
progresses in your training. When in doubt always ask the next highest level student. If he or she doesn't know, then ask the teacher. It's better to ask than to make a mistake, which can be hard to rectify later.
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