Wu 武


Wu De (Martial Integrity)

I grew up in Los Angeles during the Civil Rights era. My parents—white, Jewish—brought along their three young daughters to marches and rallies in support of integrated housing (unbelievably, segregated housing was still legal in the early 60’s.) These marches led to later ones, against the Vietnam War, for Women’s rights, etc. These were as much a part of my education as learning to read or write, and undeniably contributed to the person I would grow up to be.

I was never so naive as to believe that what we did back then could put a stop to racism, but hoped that changing laws would at least start to dismantle the institutionalization of racism, and maybe help to change some minds, too. Actually ending racism requires thought, work, self-inquiry, education, and an openess to change itself.

Sound familiar? Is this not the same list that you might make to become a martial artist?

The character Wu (武) that is used in the word Wushu (Martial Arts) contains elements that mean, essentially, “Stop the fighting.” Is it ironic that martial artists should want to stop the fighting? No, the idea is that no one wants to stop wars more than those who have to fight them. I would add that stopping war also requires stopping the causes of war.

Waking up to the horrific news of this brutal shooting and hate crime in South Carolina does not inspire me to get up and write something political; it inspires me, with my own heart breaking, to get up and write to my community, to say to those of you out there whose own hearts are filled with sadness and anger today that I am with you, too; to say this is wrong, that this is not what we are here to do.

The Plum community is international and we cannot all stand together, physically, and protest this rip in our fabric. But maybe we can, when we go into practice this evening, or do our morning workout or afternoon stretch remember, for a moment, this idea of ‘stop the fighting.’ Let us stand with martial hearts and say “no more” to this type of hatred and violence.

And let us never forget that, without change, people will continue to lose their lives—daily—to this poison.

3 Responses to “Wu 武”

  1. Angelika says:

    PEACE! Let’s spread peace on all levels. Body, mind, world.

  2. Well felt and well said, Debbie.

    Undoubtedly, many of us had/ have the feelings that you expressed so eloquently.

  3. Dennis says:

    Ever hopeful. Do you think that sapiens will last another 500 years? Have they gotten wiser as they’ve gotten smarter? Can 7 billion people become one with.

    In the ’60s Ron Cobb drew an image for Ramparts magazine depicting a bloated, starving child devouring the planet earth which he grasped in his hands like a giant cookie. In the ’90s Kevin Carter photographed famine in Sudan with bloated child and patient vulture.

    Will the cell phone bring the Spring of hope, or will the selfie reveal the Winter of our discontent?

    From the fringe, what a blessing to be passing beyond this madness. What a blessing you are, ever hopeful.


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