There is an old saying pertaining to martial arts, which states, “One must first learn civility before he learns 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 behaviour 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 to society and fellow human beings as well as towards nature which surrounds us. The concept also includes the attitudes, lifestyle as well as the social and moral behaviour 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 ethical 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.