Martial Virtue

The essence of martial virtue is based on the idea that all things are sustained by virtue. A person who possess martial skills must embrace the concept of karmic retribution, discerning between good and evil. Understanding that actions have consequences and strive to eradicate evil, promote goodness, and cultivate virtue. This holistic perspective is known as Wu-De, or martial virtue.


Lao Tzu teachings emphasize that the Dao generates while virtue nurtures. Virtue is the driving force behind all things, providing sustenance and harmony. Conversely, the absence of virtue leads to decay and dissolution. This principle applies not only to martial arts but to all aspects of life.

武 德

live virtuously

mind - body - spirit

武 德 Wu de

Combining the two Chinese characters, “Wu” (), which means martial or military, and “De” (), which translates to virtue or morality.


Together, they represent the idea that martial arts practice should not only focus on physical skills but also emphasize the development of character, integrity, and ethical behavior.


True martial virtue lies in conquering toughness with gentleness, as Lao Tzu stated, “Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it. The soft overcomes the hard; the gentle overcomes the rigid.

Discernment between good and evil

Martial virtue is acquired through a belief in karmic retribution and the ability to discern between good and evil, righteousness and wickedness. It involves nurturing the heart, elevating moral standards, learning the Dao, maintaining indifference towards fame and wealth, and embodying kindness and unwavering resolve. Despite enduring numerous hardships and enduring countless tests, one with martial virtue perseveres without wavering. In the face of formidable or evil natured adversaries, their fearlessness remains intact, and their skills remain uncompromised. When martial arts skills are developed in harmony with virtue, a practitioner embodies martial virtue.


Martial virtue fades when individuals are unable to differentiate between good and evil, when they mistreat the virtuous and fear the wicked, exploit the weak with their power, or assist in the perpetration of evil deeds. Those devoid of virtue not only lose their virtuous qualities, but also their benevolence and righteousness. As a consequence, their martial arts skills deteriorate, and they inevitably face negative karmic repercussions.

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