The cloth does not the man make

Story

Grand Master Nam Anh, 2013

For most of us, clothing protects us from the cold and the wind; it maintains our human warmth and preserves our cultural identity… For the rich, it’s different: clothing gives them the proper appearance and confirms their success, and in this case, clothing does make the man.

In the field of traditional Martial Arts, and particularly in Kung Fu, the clothing or uniform unambiguously indicates the practitioner’s accomplishment. Thus, the black uniform reflects the proper heartfelt learning realised along the Path. It is through this understanding that He who wears the black uniform shares and teaches the future generations his knowledge and experience, commands proper respect and earns the name «Master» or «Protector of the Path».

From time immemorial, the uniform worn by Kung Fu Masters has been considered sacred for it represents the great moral qualities unambiguously admired and sought after both in the Martial Arts and contemporary society: fidelity, loyalty, solidarity, courage, humanism, and more importantly, an unwavering gratefulness towards the Ancients, the Masters, and all those that teach us, guide us, and eventually all those that contribute to our well-being.

Obviously, a person’s real value cannot be determined from personal pretences. True value rather comes from bodies of work, accomplishments and good deeds accepted and recognised by society. In light of this assertion, the uniform and the belt in traditional schools are always granted at the Master’s discretion, as an indubitable acknowledgment of competence and required qualities, marking space and time in the disciple’s training.

Without exception, granting one-self such a status is in fact a form of self-betrayal. Be it from usurpation of the title or illicit wearing of the Master’s black uniform, granting one-self this sacred rank would attest to a lack of knowledge and intelligence on the part of one who, delusional in his over inflated self importance, should suddenly decide to violate the honour code of the Ancients.

For clothing does not the man make, no more than the black uniform makes one a Master !!!

Share this Story