Humility is a key attribute to attaining both a high degree of martial skill and a high degree of martial morality. It is also a very shaolin trait.
Our school doesn’t focus on punching (such as western boxing). It doesn’t focus on kicking (such as some tae kwon do). It doesn’t focus on chin na/grappling (such as aikido and jiujitsu). It doesn’t focus on shuia jiao/wrestling (such as western wrestling and judo). It requires training and development in all of those skills and then some. Because of this, our school’s kung fu is very comprehensive, complex and demanding of the student. It also requires a student to remain humble as they learn and develop… excellence in all of these disciplines undoubtedly takes time.
Because of the comprehensiveness of our art, students will find certain parts of training more difficult than others. This is mostly due to natural abilities and athleticism that were brought to the school on the first day of training. Some will find kicks particularly difficult because they’ve never kicked anything in there life and may be relatively inflexible or unbalanced. Some will find shuai jiao to be quite hard as they’ve never had to wrestle anyone before. Whatever it is, EVERYONE has strengths and weaknesses. Humility allows your ego to accept that others are better than you at certain things at various points in your training. Kung fu is all about the process… the training. Where you are at the moment is what matters – not where you think you should be.
In addition to individual strengths and weaknesses, everyone has good days and bad days. Perhaps you didn’t have a good night sleep, had an exhausting day at work or school, or skipped lunch and breakfast. Maybe you were just having a “bad day”. Your humility will accept that you are not perfect and that your training effort (read: consistency) is more important than your performance on any given day. It will allow you to accept “off” days as they are and get you back in class the next day.
Humility is equally important outside of the school. Understanding your own weaknesses and need for improvement is reason to never take anyone for granted should an altercation occur with someone. There are always going to be others out there who have trained hard in their respective martial disciplines or maybe you’ll encounter someone with friends lurking nearby. In such an event, you need to lose your arrogance, sink your chi, and calm yourself for what you’ll need to do. Remember, avoiding a fight shows superior technique when the only thing on the line is your “ego” – for someone who trains hard to defend him or herself, walking away from a fight shows great humility.