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The philosophy of Wing Chun Kung Fu. The creed

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Раздел Боевые исскусства
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Traditional Wing Chun has its own philosophical creed:
He who excels as a warrior does not appear formidable.
One who excels in fighting is never aroused in anger.
One who excels in defeating his enemy does not join issues.
One who excels in employing others humbles himself before them.
This is the virtue of non-contention and matching the sublimity of heaven.
My analysis of these maxims follows.
He who excels as a warrior does not appear formidable.
A warrior understands that a dominant or frightening persona will not generally assist him in meeting his goals. A person of calm disposition and unremarkable appearance has greater opportunity to move in a variety of circles without attracting unwanted attention.
Generally his life will be more fruitful and less stressful, as others will be more comfortable in dealing with someone who looks and acts like a calm, rational being , rather than an attack dog or steroid monster.
Cultivating an overly imposing appearance or aggressive personality may evoke fear or resentment in others, and provoke attack rather than submission. However, a skilled and experienced opponent will be unaffected by appearance or demeanour; he will be unimpressed by your Special Forces T-shirt and belligerent facial expression, only with your fighting techniques and strategy. He will be watching your elbows and knees, not your snarling teeth or deaths-head tattoos.
If a combat situation arises, the warrior of non-threatening appearance may be able to take advantage of an enemy’s complacency, where an opponent of more belligerent appearance may provoke a more ferocious initial attack, or even a massive preemptive strike. If one presents as a person of violent bent, one may find oneself the first target in a brawl.
He who excels as a fighter is never aroused in anger.
I have already discussed the true nature of combat, its potentially fatal risks, and the potential need for massive and total retaliation in the face of a truly lethal threat.
The excellent fighter realises the true nature of combat. Realising the risks involved and the potential costs – pain, injury, criminal charges, remorse – he seeks to avoid it wherever possible. He will try to resolve potential conflicts using his brain rather than his fists, to use psychology on an opponent rather than smashing his face in. To do so requires awareness, confidence, and self control.
Anger is the enemy of control. Anger causes overreaction, resulting either in rushing in, creating openings which can be exploited by a calmer, thinking fighter, taking on an opponent or opponents due to wounded pride that in a more lucid moment we know we should run from, or in losing control of ourselves and causing unjustified pain or injury, resulting in guilt and remorse at best, criminal charges or violent retribution at worst. Strategy and tactics demand the ability to analyse the situation rapidly, which is impossible when we are burning with anger, out of control.
While a skilled fighter generates and recognises emotion, adrenalin, and the fight or flight reaction within himself and allows them to carry him through, the point is to consciously channel the emotions to achieve victory, not to allow oneself to become consumed by them.
He who excels in defeating his enemy does not join issues.
The practice of martial arts and its underlying philosophies (Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism) teach us respect for others. Buddhism also advises us to practise detachment.
Human interaction often involves conflict. Conflict is not necessarily violent; conflict of a sort arises when two people who live together want to watch different television programs at the same time. Conflict can often be resolved through negotiation; often, everyone involved can win. We watch one program, and tape the other.
Respecting others includes allowing them to carry out their own affairs, and giving them the opportunity to resolve their own conflicts. People learn and grow through fighting their own battles. To involve oneself unasked in the affairs of others is patronising.
Kung Fu is for defence, for situations where body and soul are under threat. While we should attempt to conduct our affairs in harmony with its philosophies, it is not for us to impose our will and desires on others using our fighting skills as an inducement or threat to force submission. To do so is to trivialise our art and our training. Freedom of thought, opinion, and association is the foundation of a free society. We must respect the opinions and wishes of others, even if we disagree.
However, we are morally bound to use our art in the defence of others. This is a complicated ethical area, even more so than when we are personally attacked. One of the urban myths of martial arts, with enough real instances to back it up, is the practitioner attempting to break up a fist-fight between husband and wife by attacking the husband, only to have the enraged wife attack her would-be rescuer (after which the husband joins in as well).
When one comes upon a fight in progress, neither its cause nor the guilt or innocence of any involved parties is usually apparent, and wading in full bore against one side or the other while ignorant of the facts may later prove to be a mistake. No doubt both sides of the conflict would argue (and probably believe) that theirs was the just cause.
It may be better to act to defuse the overall level of violence rather than to take sides – try to talk the combatants down, showing disapproval towards violence from either side, but indicating approval of rational action and discussion. Block and restrain the aggressors rather than flattening them. This probably takes more than one person.
If you are outnumbered or outgunned, common sense indicates a withdrawal. If a brawl is in progress, even the most proficient martial artist would be better getting out of there, and calling for reinforcements, the police usually being the best bet.
The martial artist is not a superhero and, usually, not an officer of the law. You and others have a right to defence, but not to punish others. Guilt and punishment are matters for the law.
He who excels in employing others humbles himself before them.
A good leader recognises the contributions of others, the value of their ideas and the contributions of their labour.
An atmosphere of mutual respect is the only environment in which effective communication is possible. One who rules through fear or authoritarian methods may find that his employees, subjects, etc. may hide or distort information he needs to act and decide effectively, through their fear of bearing bad news, or through resentment.
Respect given to subordinates by a boss does not imply informality or over-familiarity. An effective working relationship requires boss and employee to respect each other’s person, but also the nature of the relationship and their roles within that relationship.
Friendships between bosses and subordinates certainly may arise, as they get to know each other on a personal level; but if the friendship and the working relationship should conflict, one or the other may well suffer, probably leading to a breakdown in both.
It is important that a boss or Sifu recognise and subordinate as necessary his own personal traits and preferences to lead effectively, be they a dominant tendency leading to the stifling of his subordinates, or a desire to be liked, leading to ineffective management of the work at hand.
Humility before one’s employees certainly does not mean acquiescing to their whims and desires, nor an abrogation of one’s role as leader and decision maker.
Rather, humility means that an employer puts the welfare of the group and of the enterprise as a whole before his own wishes for power over others, or for their approval, and to act accordingly.
This is the virtue of non-contention and matching the sublimity of Heaven.
Until recent times, the majority of Chinese were as involved with war, whether perpetrator or casualty, as they were with culture. Survival was a continual preoccupation. Students of Kung Fu were taught skills of violence for the protection and survival of themselves and their society; common sense indicates that in times of lethal conflict, provoking fights (contention) is not a recipe for long life.
Confucianism teaches benevolence and the way of civilised interaction; indeed, even in Europe the rules of social etiquette were originally developed as a set of conventions for interacting with real or potential rivals without resorting to violence.
Buddhism teaches respect for all sentient beings, and detachment from desires and Samsara, the illusory world of conflict and emotion.
Taoism teaches the oneness of all things, the union of opposites, and the virtues of non-action (non-contention), living in harmony with the Way and the natural order of things.
Philosophy then, as well as practicality, indicates that a path of non-violence leads to a long and peaceful existence.

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