Chinese Goju Virtues






1. Love is our Law.

2. Truth is our Worship.

3. Form is our Manifestation.

4. Conscience is our Guide.

5.  Peace is our Shelter.

6.  Nature is our Companion.

7.  Order is our Attitude.

8.  Beauty and Perfection is our Life.


After years of training in an effort to perfect their art, a major turning point in the life long journey of a martial artist occurs the moment we become aware of the fact that the measure of our accomplishment is not entirely determined by our mastery of combat techniques.


After that critical awakening the question becomes, to what extent does ones stature as a martial artist depend on spiritual attunement and the functional application of Budo’s philosophical concepts in our daily lives as much as demonstrating the ability to kick someone’s ass? This fundamental question which often takes a back seat to our desire to become more combat proficient is in actuality, the essence of the martial arts experience.


A notable example of this higher consciousness can be seen in the manifesto conceived and created by Chinese Goju’s Grandmaster Shidoshi Ron Van Clief, titled “Chinese Goju Virtues.”  What follows is an interpretation of the Grandmaster’s opening declaration and the eight principles that are the mantra of Chinese Goju Association members throughout the world:


“Chinese Goju is my secret I bear no arms. May God help me if I ever have to use my art” The seemingly simple introductory statement in the opening stanza of the familiar credo is in fact an invocation, a summoning of super natural powers through the assistance of deities, a petition to God almighty,  which is a practice rooted in spirituality.  This prayerful petition to “The Supreme” for help, protection, inspiration and guidance can empower the petitioner with capability that transcends physical boundaries and elevates one’s art to a higher esoteric or spiritual level.


“Love is our law,” and it is the antidote for neutralizing negative energy.

It is well known that when love truly comes from the heart, it mitigates violence, counters hatred and promotes peace!


“Truth is our worship” speaks for itself. Truth invariably overcomes deceit, and will in all cases set us free.


“Form is our manifestation” refers to the physical expression of our art, which is a reflection of our spiritual nature as expressed through our practice of Chinese Goju.


“Peace is our shelter” that provides refuge from the vestiges of evil, violence and injustice.


“Nature is our companion” and we are respectful of the natural order of things, and endeavor to be in harmony with our environment while adhering to the laws and principles that govern the universe.


“Order is our attitude” speaks to our sense of discipline and respect for our selves and the rest of humankind.


“Beauty and perfection is our life” and we are mindful to strive for quality and excellence to the highest degree in all matters that are a reflection of our lives and our art.



All dedicated devotees of Shidoshi Van Clief and his Chinese Goju System are expected to live by the principles embodied in The Chinese Goju Virtues. When the beginning student declares their allegiance to the system the expectation is that equal emphasis will be placed on developing physical attributes as well as nurturing one’s spirit. Over the course of training we are often reminded that we should never forget that we are the architects of what will ultimately be our legacy as martial artists and more importantly as human beings.  In the end after all is said and done, it is the beauty that is demonstrated in the execution of form and technique and the majesty of righteousness and high character that is a reflection of those who have truly mastered the martial arts, as well as the art of living.





Thomas Richard Joiner, Renshi