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WuDe - The 10 Shaolin Virtues

At Shaolin Arts our culture is based on the 10 traditional Shaolin virtues which guide our conduct and guide us within the martial path known as WuDe. WuDe (武 德) can be translated as “martial morality” and is constructed from the words wu (武), which means martial, and de (德), which means morality. WuDe deals with two aspects; “morality of deed” and “morality of mind”. Morality of deed concerns social relations; morality of mind is meant to cultivate the inner harmony between the emotional mind (心; Xin) and the wisdom mind (慧; Hui). The ultimate goal is reaching “no extremity” (無 極; Wuji) – closely related to the Taoist concept of wu wei – where both wisdom and emotions are in harmony with each other.

Virtues of Deed

Monk in sitting meditation

謙 Humility

Humility can only arise when one is willing to control one's pride and to practice in overcoming it. Satisfying one's own desire is not to be placed above all else.

Students bowing to their kung fu teacher

禮 Respect

Respect is the basis of all relationships with humans, animals and all beings. This also includes the respect for oneself. It is the foundation on which the Shaolin community is built.

Man and elephant give alms to a monk

義 Morality

Morality is an attitude towards life. What is rightful to do, you should do and what is wrongful to do, you should not do. Taking responsibility for your own actions is expected.


信 Trust

Trust includes trustworthiness towards others and also your ability to trust in yourself. Each practitioner of the Shaolin Arts should develop a personality that can be trusted without reservation.

Dog sitting and waiting in the middle of the road

誠 Loyalty

Loyalty may be the most important of all the virtues of action and behavior. Loyalty is the basis of trust and any relationship. Those who are missing it or can’t develop it, won't proceed.

Virtues of the Mind


志 Will

A strong will is necessary to not lose sight of our goals and to intensively study the arts. An iron will, can be advantageous, at the same time it may not be used to the detriment of other beings.

Piled rocks demonstrating patience

忍 Patience

Patience enables us to continue even when there is no understanding of the meaning of the practice, or if a goal seems inaccessible and unreachable. It is expressed by self-discipline and calmness.

Silhouette of a man practicing kung fu at sunset

毅 Perseverance

Perseverance means to practice and train incessantly. This applies both to the physical and mental development within the Shaolin Arts. It is expressed by the continuous effort to work on oneself.


恒 Persistence

Persistence enables us to detect mistakes and to correct them. Persistence never lets a Shaolin practitioner become tired of improving oneself and expresses itself in the capability to withstand hardship.

Man jumping over a chasm

勇 Courage

Courage is necessary to learn the Shaolin arts and to act properly in difficult situations. It enables us to attain a state of the mind which is rooted in confidence to overcome our fear or anxiety.

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