Why Etiquette and Manners are Important

In today’s information age, we are constantly presented with more choices and challenging decisions than ever before. At the same time, our society provides fewer sources of positive moral guidance. Martial arts can be an excellent opportunity for developing character and ethical behaviour.

Learning kung fu requires self-discipline. This includes taking responsibility for our own decisions and actions. Those who achieve this goal are no longer controlled by negative emotions (i.e. anger, envy, fear, desire, and despair). They become free to deal with the demands of daily life in a healthy, positive way.

Kung fu promotes self-awareness and self-development. Through the holistic training, we can realize our own strengths and weaknesses, and use this information to continue to improve our selves and refine our character. Self-acceptance leads to inner peace and consciousness of our intrinsic worth. When a person learns to respect and value themselves, they will be able to show respect and value towards others

Most people have a basic understanding of right from wrong. However, our guiding inner voice is often muffled by the opinions of those around us. On the path to moral development, we must learn to make our own decisions, rather than succumb to peer pressure and the prevailing trends of society.

It is said that the true martial artist embodies not only physical skill but also a high level of intellectual and moral refinement. The ethical martial artist questions his own actions and motivations in order to better understand his own character. We are constantly challenged to grow and evolve, finding our own balance in the journey of life.

Ethics in Martial Arts

Before you learn any art, you should first learn civility and manners.
Before you practice martial arts, you should understand martial ethics.

This proverb stresses the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions. When we acquire privileged skills, we have an obligation to our selves and society to employ them justly.

Civility refers to good manners, courtesy, respect and consideration for others. Ethics codify the spirit of martial arts. Martial artists rely on this moral code to cultivate their body and mind, and to guide their everyday actions.

Martial arts are holistic, cultivating the entire self. Traditionally, martial arts study consists of skills practice and adherence to ethics. The practice of skills hones our physical bodies, sharpens reflexes and strengthens resolve. Adherence to ethics confirms our moral obligation to society. Ethics are an indivisible from the study of martial art and set the moral guidelines for martial artists.

The Kung Fu Salute (Bow)

Martial artists have a special code of ethics and etiquette. Bowing is an important gesture with special significance.

First, it shows respect toward another person or principle. This includes the martial tradition in which we learn, our school and its founders, and our teacher and classmates. It is also a gesture of humility. Self-respect and humility set the foundation for the martial virtues.

Secondly, bowing represents the ideals of the true martial artist. In cultivating these virtues, we can further our intellectual and spiritual development.


I. The salute or bow is always done at the beginning and end of training. The Instructor calls the class to line up. All students promptly return to their place in straight rows, standing in Shoulder Width Stance, facing the instructor.

The Instructor will give a verbal cue. At this time, the Instructor and students perform the salute together. This is standard for in class training. In other situations, the junior should always initiate to one of senior rank.

Bowing represents both respect and humility towards one’s Instructor and classmates, and reinforces the kung fu mentality and a healthy attitude towards learning and selfworth.

Bowing always begins and ends training, reminding us that as a martial artist, when we start something, we see it through to completion. We don’t give up half way or look for greener pastures when times get tough. We make a commitment to ourselves and to others, our duty never forgotten.

This is a basic principle applied to martial arts, education, to a relationship or family. We acknowledge that we have a responsibility and we are fully committed. The message we share is not merely the physical refinement, but also the ethical understanding. The symbolism of continuity and completion is reflected as part of the art.




  • Left Palm
  • Thumbs
  • Right Fist
  • Hands Travelling To Meet
  • Hands Meeting
  • Left Hand Pressing To Right
  • Left Hand Wrapping Right
  • Hands Merged, Moving Forward