by Du Peizhi

The most important goal of learning Kung Fu is self-defense, in ancient time before firearms were invented, Mastering Kung Fu was considered a matter of life and death for many people.

Today, that goal has shifted toward defending oneself against an enemy or to protect dear ones in a battle. But some kung Fu masters and their students believe that the end goal of practicing kung Fu was not for fighting but for enhancing their health, in other words some Kung Fu masters believe that the health-promoting function of kung Fu is essential but without it is self-defence function it cannot be considered as Kung Fu but as a kind of health promoting exercises.

Enhancing one’s health is another important function of learning Kung Fu, when a person practices Kung Fu very well it will help him/her to become mentally and physically fit.

The other important goal of learning kung Fu is character development, this is an important factor that Kung Fu masters should instill into their students.

Kung Fu requires students to follow a certain moral code. There are three qualities that students naturally acquire during their long journey of learning Kung Fu, these three qualities are- patience, insight, and calmness, for you need patience to develop your Kung Fu techniques, insight to understand how Kung Fu principles work, and calmness to anticipate your opponent’s movements and respond in the most appropriate and efficient manner.

The character-developing function of learning Kung Fu is shown clearly in the Shaolin Moral code.

The Shaolin Moral Code contains three parts:

  1. 12 shaolin ethics
  2. 10 forbidden acts
  3. 10 obligations

12 Shaolin Ethics

  1. Respect the master, honor the Moral Code and love fellow disciples.
  2. Train kungfu devotedly and build up a strong, healthy body.
  3. Forbidden to molest or rape, forbidden to go astray.
  4. Forbidden to show off the arts nor to offend the seniors.
  5. Forbidden to laugh for no reason, or to tell lies.
  6. Forbidden to bully those under you, or to take advantage of high office to settle personal differences.
  7. Forbidden to quarrel loudly, or to wave the hands wildly.
  8. Forbidden to kick about aimlessly, to stand at fighting stances, or to make accusations against others noisily.
  9. Forbidden to spread false rumors, or to boast of strength and oppress the weak.
  10. Forbidden to be greedy, neither to rob nor to steal others’ properties.
  11. Be humble and soft-spoken, be unbashful in seeking advice for knowledge.
  12. Develop self-control, be co-operative and helpful.

10 Forbidden Acts

  1. Forbidden to molest or rape.
  2. Forbidden to rob another person’s wife, or to force someone into marriage.
  3. Forbidden to bully kind and gentle people.
  4. Forbidden to rob.
  5. Forbidden to take advantage of intoxication to do evil.
  6. Forbidden to torture or to be cruel.
  7. Forbidden to be involved in improper activities.
  8. Forbidden to show disrespect to elders.
  9. Forbidden to repel against the master.
  10. Forbidden to associate with villains.

10 Obligations

  1. Obliged to maintain peace.
  2. Obliged to eliminate bullies and help the weak.
  3. Obliged to save lives and to contribute to humanity.
  4. Obliged to eliminate the cruel and the villainous.
  5. Obliged to protect the lonely and the oppressed.
  6. Obliged to be chivalrous and generous.
  7. Obliged to right wrongs courageously.
  8. Obliged to spread Shaolin teachings and kungfu.
  9. Obliged to learn the Art for self-defense and to overcome calamities.
  10. Obliged to pass on the Art unselfishly to selected, deserving disciples.a

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