The Wudang Mountains are located right next to the small city Wudangshan, where our tailor is working with his wife in their own atelier, every piece of clothing he tailors is made accordingly to traditional ancient Chinese standards, the materials he is using are of natural fiber - a special combination of cotton and linen material, which was used by tai chi masters and students long time ago in Old China, so it is until now. Each taoist garment and tai chi uniform ordered from our store you can be sure is made by hand up to your exact body size using best materials possible.
Wudang-Store is supported by local taoists in Wudangshan, since we opened our store in year 2012 we have happy customers only, because to find a better quality is simply not possible in whole China nor the internet.
On the picture below is the inner life of the working place of our tailor Lou He Hua
When I visited our tailor Lou He Hua I made few pictures of the view outside his atelier, those are rare pictures of Wudangshan, because since now it is forbidden by the Hubei province government selling vegetables from the ground and street food in the Wudang Mountains area.
Now everybody has the opportunity to buy a Tai Chi Uniform directly from Wudang online in our Online Shop.
Wudang Kungfu offers a complete package of traditional martial arts, malleable from different perspectives and individual perceptions. The Way of the Tao is a contradiction in terms, since according to Lao Tzu the Tao is always everywhere and every time. The path of self-development is the way of the Tao. Where, When and How exactly do you start, is less important because the way is always there and will always find to the self – the Tao.
But what exactly now is important in Wudang Kungfu?
Is best explained in 3 points:
1.Your own personal identification with the self and integration of mind and body. By emotional self-reflection one gets the balance and control. The preoccupation with oneself is important for a better understanding.
2.Mental and physical freedom. Only those who are free, also have the most selection and thereby a better natural order. In the life of a child we learn for the first time one of the greatest physical and mental freedoms. Strength, speed, agility, and extensibility are important features that make up our physical vitality and are essential for our advancement. The child itself does not have own prejudices and opinions, so it has no mental limitations. What makes Taoists, is the acquired wisdom and understanding that you can learn something from children.
3.The personalization and identification of the Immortals, different animals, dragons, Phoenix, Zen Wu of the immortal warrior or the five elements. These are important role models and philosophical guidelines on the implementation and understanding of Wudang Kungfu. The Taoists maintain ancestral traditions and legends, many of these things do not make it over the language barrier to the West. But are an essential component of Wudang Kungfu (Neigong, Qigong, Liangyi,Taichi).
By the Taoist origin of Wudang Kungfu the focus is particularly high on life support exercises.
According to the principles of the bagua (TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine) Wudang Taoists tried to keep away from extreme opposites by compensation. They learned to understand to live a balanced and healthy life. Immortality was not reached by this, but the mental and physical balance was also the meaning of life, the way of the Tao clearer to understand. Since everyone is unique and has its own connection to the Tao, one’s self is important as a model. There is no universal formula or policy, to adapt the Taoists. While there are forms that have the same sequences, but the implementation, intuition and adaptation is individual.
Thus, the application of the Taoist healing arts is only effective if the intuition and identification fits with the Self. Everything before is therapeutic exercise and has nothing to do with the intrinsic values of Wudang Kungfu. Self-knowledge is the way to Wudang Kungfu and the way to your own development. It may be seen from the surface as a bit selfish, but real changes always take place in yourself. Development is always based on yourself and at best inspire the others.
Till there can be spoken about healing, we must understand and analyze ourselves. Each Taoist is his own doctor, we observe our emotional, mental and physical state. This knowledge cannot be learned quickly but requires its own experience and self-reflection. There is no quick way or a universal formula to memorize, also it is advised to avoid persons who assert exactly that. The right approach and exercises to real Taoist healing practice you learn with Michael Weichhardt, from this knowledge you can then find your own way. The healing aspect of Wudang Kungfu is not very beginner-friendly and requires some basic knowledge, both mentally and physically.
Wudang Kungfu acts as preventive cure against the following:
Stress, anxiety, aggression, agitation, depression, negative self-awareness and -befinden.
Joint and muscle pain, muscle cramps, weak bones, spinal complaints, back and shoulder tension.
Cardiac arrhythmia, renal malfunction, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, weakness, dizziness, circulatory problems and poor blood pressure.
If you already have serious health problems, please seek medical attention from a proper doctor. Wudang Kungfu is like TCM, best as a preventative cure.
Wudang Kungfu as a martial art includes in a real fight many aspects, because mental and physical condition play a major role. In addition to the proper technique the chance to defend yourself is higher if you are trained and better balanced at all levels than the attacker. When someone attacks, it forces a reaction of defense, through the training of Taichi and Liangyi the forces of Yin and Yang can be deliberately manipulated and used against the attacker.
The interaction between the various disciplines
By Neigong one attains spiritual peace and the necessary speed in the reaction. Only those who are not rushed and remains quiet, also have the most of reaction time. With Qigong you gain a stable posture, good breathing, body tension and strength. Only through the interplay of all Wudang disciplines the agility, speed, flexibility, relaxation and strength is properly trained and are in any fighting technique the necessary advantage. The Kungfu forms are emotional and situational scenarios, which are suitable for daily training and preparation. The internalization of these forms is important for smooth and intuitive execution of the contained fighting techniques. The learning of a variety of applications and methods is possible, including many hand forms but also the handling of weapons (sword, staff, saber, giant saber, fan …) Michael Weichhardt guides the entire martial arts aspect of Wudang Kungfu, on mental, emotional and physical level.
The Origin Of Quanzhen Taoism
The Quanzhen School of Taoism originated in Northern China. One of the founders of the school was the Taoist Wang Chongyang, who lived during the rise of the Jin dynasty. When the Mongols invaded the Song dynasty in 1254, the Quanzhen Taoists were among those who exerted great effort in keeping the peace, thus saving thousands of lives, particularly those of Han Chinese descent.
The meaning of Quanzhen can be translated literally to "All True" and for this reason, it is often called the "All Truth Religion" or the "Way of Completeness and Truth." In some texts, it is also referred to as the "Way of Complete Perfection." Kunyu mountain in Shandong province Weihai city is the birthplace of Taoism (Quan Zhen Religion). With strong Taoist roots, the Quanzhen School specializes in the process of "alchemy within the body" or Neidan (internal alchemy), as opposed to Waidan (external alchemy which experiments with the ingestion of herbs and minerals, etc.). The Waidan tradition has been largely replaced by Neidan, as Waidan was a sometimes dangerous and lethal pursuit. Quanzhen focuses on internal cultivation of the person which is consistent with the pervading Taoist belief of Wu Wei, which is essentially "action through inaction."
Like most Taoists, Quanzhen priests were particularly concerned with longevity and immortality through alchemy, harmonising oneself with the Tao, studying the Five Elements, and ideas on balance consistent with Yin and Yang theory. The school is also known for using Buddhist and Confucian ideas.
The Founder of Quanzhen
According to traditional legend, Wang Chongyang met two Taoist immortals in the summer of 1159 CE. The immortals, Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin taught him Taoist beliefs and trained him in secret rituals. The meeting proved deeply influential, and roughly a year later, in 1160, Wang met one of these men again. In this second encounter, he was provided with a set of five written instructions which led to his decision of living by himself in a grave he created for himself in Zhongnan Mountain for three years.
After seven years of living in the Mountain (three inside the grave and another four in a hut he later called "Complete Perfection Hut"), Wang met two of his seven future disciples, Tan Chuduan and Qiu Chuji. In 1167, Wang traveled to Shandong Province and met Ma Yu and Ma's wife Sun Bu'er who became his students. These and others would become part of the seven Quanzhen disciples, who were later known as the Seven Masters of Quanzhen.
After Wang's departure, it was left to his disciples to continue expounding the Quanzhen beliefs. Ma Yu succeeded Wang as head of the school, while Sun Bu'er went on to establish the Purity and Tranquility School, one of the foremost branches of Quanzhen.
Another notable disciple of Wang was Qiu Chuji who founded the famous White Cloud Monastery in Beijing. Qiu Chuji was the founder of the school called Dragon Gate Taoism. Qiu was on good terms with the Mongol monarch Genghis Khan who put him in charge of religious affairs in Mongol-controlled China. As a result, the Quanzhen School of Taoism continued to flourish long after Wang's death, right through to the present.
The most notable ones among Wang's seven disciples were Sun Bu'er and Qiu Chuji. Sun's husband, Ma Yu, was one of the seven, while she became an important role model for female Taoists. Ma Yu later succeeded Wang as the leader of the Quanzhen School.
Qiu Chuji gained the favour of Genghis Khan and founded the White Cloud Monastery in Beijing. Genghis Khan granted tax-exempt status to all Quanzhen schools and placed Qiu in charge of all religions in China.
Each of the seven disciples founded his or her own lineage of Quanzhen Taoism. They are as follows:
Ma Yu (馬鈺) founded the Yuxian lineage (Meeting the Immortals)
Tan Chuduan (譚處端) founded the Nanwu lineage (Southern Void)
Liu Chuxuan (劉處玄) founded the Suishan lineage (Mount Sui)
Qiu Chuji (丘處機) founded the Longmen lineage (Dragon Gate)
Wang Chuyi (王處一) founded the Yushan lineage (Mount Yu)
Hao Datong (郝大通) founded the Huashan lineage (Mount Hua)
Sun Bu'er (孫不二) founded the Qingjing lineage (Clarity and Stillness)
Nature inspires in its simplicity and perfection. Whether complicated or simple, is only capable assessment once you think about it. So many things are self explaining in the cycle of life, from which we can learn by conscious attention.
It is surprising that our understanding often is in need of words, but many important things will be learned without it. These teachings without words in life are important in their own issue, because they are personally related without external and subjective factors.
Taoists learn from nature and their environment from which we live together. Like water, which takes all forms in places where it is, Taoists live without conflict with their environment and themselves. With the simplicity of nature Taoists inspire the wordless teaching by their actions.
The bond between heaven and earth is an important model in Taoism – it symbolizes a durable and everlasting coexisting connection, as well as in the Wudang Kungfu, the physical and mental movements are performed with emotional intuition and are thus connected with the laws of nature.
Through determination and willpower, with balancing tolerance and wisdom the Wudang Sanfeng Taoists go their way. Thus, the posture is stable, powerful and directly connected to the earth, but the spirit and the movement weightless and free as the sky. By maintaining the inner balance one becomes aware of the elements and the personal relationship. From Yin follows Yang and vice versa, each connection has a contrast and it is important to understand about this to maintain the balance and lead a healthy life.
Connecting with the Tao
Stillness is the root of the Tao. Meditation is the key practice for internal transformation. In stillness we allow the regeneration of the Jing, Qi and Shen – essence, energy and spirit. In meditation we bring the mind into single threaded thought and allow the natural process of internal cultivation to progress. In seated meditation we cage the monkey and tie up the wild horses, bringing both body and mind into the clear and quiet space which supports the regeneration of the Three Treasures of the Body, allowing healing, rejuvenation, transformation so that we can move through the stages from ordinary mortal to extraordinary human, immortal on earth and, eventually, immortal in heaven.
Sit, either in a chair or better, cross legged with the hips comfortably supported. The spine should be straight and unsupported. Place the hands on the knees with the thumbs folded in the palms and the fingers wrapped around the thumbs. Place the tip of the tongue on the roof of the mouth just behind the teeth. Lower your eyelids, women may close the eyes, men keep a slip of light showing through, and focus the eyes towards the tip of the nose. Turn the internal gaze gently to the Dan Tian in the center of the belly. As you inhale gently contract the belly, as you exhale, allow the belly to gently expand. See and not see. Withdraw the senses from the external world and simply be an observer, a companion to the Dantian.
From stillness comes motion. With time a sensation will arise in the Dantian as the Qi begins to move. Remain the observer, do not engage the mind, the awareness, or the emotions and allow the Qi to move naturally.
With stillness internal transformations begin to manifest. The three treasures of the Tao: Jing, Qi and Shen are cultivated. In the first stage Jing is built up until it is mature and Jing transmutes to Qi, then, when the Qi is mature, it transmutes to Shen, then Shen returns to the Void and the Void to the Tao. With each stage of internal transmutation, external changes manifest as well as the body first heals itself, rejuvenates and finally becomes immortal.
It is required that we have a physical body to do internal cultivation and we must both create a “supersonic jet” or superior physical body, as well as to cultivate the very best pilot in order to achieve immortality. Because of the variations in both physiology and energetic structures between men and women there are differences in their internal alchemy practices. For example, where men’s initial focus is in the lower Dantian, women focus on the middle Dantian.
Body is a Yin-yang form, which we receive from parents and is called "inborn" .
After birth, we must eat and drink to absorb nutrients, then transport this nutrients to each organ to burn, consume, and extract the essence. After that, our body will gather the essence together through a meridian system, which is the original vital essence and is postnatal. This vital essence after being processed by the kidneys will transform into something ancient Taoists called "Jing." "Jing" can make marrow, which makes blood, which in turn supports the entire body, i.e. the internal organs of the body (heart, spleen, liver, lungs and kidneys), the four limbs, muscle and bones. "Jing" can provide energy to the body and convert to "Qi".
"Qi" can resist cold, heal bruises, and improve blood circulation. "Qi" is the life force of all humans; if we had no "Qi", then our organs would simply stop working, and life would cease to exist. "Qi" can provide life force to body and convert to "Shen." "Shen" can create inspiration and wisdom; it is the chief director of our body. Without "Shen's" direction, one cannot survive, live, and develop. "Shen" can direct every part of one's body. Human bodies are made up of the internal organs, the four limbs, muscles and bones, however, only the "Jing", "Qi" and "Shen" together can turn on each function and make the body operate smoothly.
"Yang Sheng"(nourishing life) is made up of the words "Yang" and "Sheng."
"Yang" means "look after" and "save power", in other words, it means to protect our bodies, to provide the support to nourish our essence, vital energy, and spirit, to use these resources reasonably and to let essence, energy and spirit remain intact for a long time.
"Sheng" means "cultivation" and "production." It is a way to transmute Jing to Qi, Qi to Shen and transform Shen to Void, return void to the Tao. What is more, it is also a way to improve one's Jing Qi and Shen, conserve life energy, and develop hidden potential, and perfect postnatal shortcomings to return to pre-heaven. Sheng will make sure the energy can be used continuously and will be not completely depleted before its time. Nourishing life is about understanding nature, complying with nature, being in harmony with nature, and making use of your natural condition to become intelligent, understanding, healthy, and long-living. People, who has life, body, energy and intelligent, has the creativity and influence. So that he can make contribution to others through that to beautify his life and make it significant.
Health and longevity have a deep connection with the pre-heaven body condition, living environment, and post heaven activities. This being so, we must know how to protect our bodies, conserve our energy, and develop potential, that is to say, we must know how to stay in good health.
Taoism, as well as being a religion, also refers to natural science, human anatomy, and biology, or "Yin-yang and five elements science". The philosophy of Taoism revolves around natural harmony and natural science, the ultimate goal being healthy, happiness, and longevity. The culture and methods for nourishing life date back as far as several thousands years ago, as well as countless longevity people. Before learning these methods, however, we must first understand the relationship between life, body, and nature.
Zhang-Sanfeng, the founder of Wudang Internal Boxing, was the famous Wudang Taoist in Wudang Mountains at the turn of Yuan Dynasty and Ming Dynasty.
It was said that Zhang-Sanfeng, originally named Zhang-Quanyi, nicknamed Sanfeng, was born in Yizhou City, Liaoning Province and was tall and strong, with tortoise shape and swan bone, big ears and round eyes, hard beards and moustaches. He always wore a coir raincoat and a pair of straw scandals. No matter in summer or winter, he lived in the lonely and deep mountains or traveled in the crowded cities. He could remember what he had read just by one look and talked nothing but moral, kindness, faith and filial piety. He could talk with the gods and understand Taoism, so he could forecast the future and solve all the difficulties in the world. He could live without a meal for five days, even for two or three months; He could penetrate the mountain and drive the stones when he was happy; he lived in the snow when he was tired; He traveled here and there without any trace, so all the people at that time were amazed at him and thought him one of gods.
Wudang Taoist medical cultivation has a long history, especially the inner medicine, which is to cultivate the breath into medicine so as to make one strong and healthy, and prolong the lifespan by way of breathing. Zhang-Sanfeng had a profound cultivation in inner medicine. He said in On Taoism"To cultivate the mood before cultivating the medicine; to cultivate the character before cultivating the good medicine; when the mind is steady, the medicine will come naturally by itself; when the mood and character have cultivated, the good medicine will be in reach", which figuratively explained the progress of medicine cultivation. He had written many books on medicine such as The Gist of Gold Medicine, The Secrecy of Gold Medicine, A Song of Inner Medicine, Twenty-four Principles of Rootless Trees, Taoist Song of Earth Element and Real Immortal, which had been published in the Ming Dynasty. Later, the people had compiled them into The Full Collection of Zhang-Sanfeng's Works, with eight volumes.
Zhang-Sanfeng was not only profound in medicine cultivation but also in martial art, especially good at boxing and swordplay. He, on the base of Taoist theories, such as the naturalness of Taoist theories, keeping in a humble position and so on, had combined Taoist internal exercises, guarding skills of regimen, boxing acts of martial art, military sciences of militarists into one, and then created Wudang Boxing, which takes the internal exercises as the body, attacking as the purpose, regimen as the first important thing, self-protection as the main principle, and to defeat the tough with a tender act, charge the active by the still movement and attack the opponent with his own force, strike only after the opponent has struck. From the Ming Dynasty, martial art world have respected Zhang-Sanfeng as the founder of Wudang Inner Boxing and Taiji Boxing. Wudang martial art, through many generations' succession and development, has become one important school among China martial art and spread in the folk with a long and profound influence.
During the beginning years of the Ming Dynasty, Zhang-Sanfeng came to Wudang Mountain to worship Emperor Zhenwu on Heavenly Pillar Peak and built a hut to the north of Flag-stretching Peak in which offered incense to Emperor Zhenwu. Then he built a hut in another place, named Meeting Gods Temple. He once said to the seniors in the mountain that Wudang Mountain would be different from that day. Later, the second emperor of the Ming Dynasty did order to build Wudang Mountain at a large scale and made Wudang Mountain the head of the Five Famous Mountains in China, naming the Biggest Mountain.
In the twenty-second year of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty, he left Wudang Mountain without any information. When the King of Hunan Province, Zhu-Bai worshiped Wudang Mountain and could not find him. Then Zhu-Bai wrote a poem which eulogize Zhang-Sanfeng, which said to the effect that Zhang-Sanfeng loves gods. He drinks the water from the clean river in the morning and sleeps under South Cliff in the evening. He has cultivated Taoism in Wudang Mountain for many years, paying no attention to the changes of seasons and landscapes. When I could not find him in the bare mountain, how sad I am! There is only an empty hut left, an old Taoist sleeps under the pine tree."
In the 24th year of Emperor Hongwu, Zhu-Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty, sent profound Taoists to put in order all Taoism in China. For that Zhang-Sanfeng was so famous, he specially ordered them: "If you meet Zhang-Sanfeng, invite him to me." But they could not find Zhang-Sanfeng.
When Zhu-Li became emperor of the Ming Dynasty, he wanted very much to invite Zhang-Sanfeng who was famous and highly influential among the folk to work in the central government, so he sent many men to look for him many times, but all ended in failure. He himself had written a letter to Zhang-Sanfeng, which said to the effect that: "A letter from the Emperor to Zhang-Sanfeng: I admire you so much that I want to learn from you. I have tried sending men to look for you all over the country, but you are a profound god, full of wonder and mystery, so I couldn't find you. Though I am not so clever and special, I look forward to meeting you day and night. So I send envoys again to look for you with my letter, waiting for your coming, so as to express my faithful feeling to you. On February 2, the tenth year of Emperor Yongle." From the letter, we can understand his anxiety and admiration to meet Zhang Sanfeng.
Had looked for him for many times, but all ended in failure; so Emperor Zhu-Li ordered to build Meeting God Palace and copper statue for Zhang Sanfeng and sent officials to clean the palace. That the highest emperor built temple, made statue, and offered incense for a Wudang Taoist was the only one in China Taoist history.
Wudang internal martial arts most notably Taichi Quan, Xingyi Quan, Baji Quan and Baguazhang – utilizes Qigong training as its foundation so that efficient whole-body movement may be employed in a martial arts context. Within these arts the self-cultivation and refinement of the practitioner is emphasized rather than the sport competition that is often found in other types of martial practice within this country. Internal boxing is a traditional martial art and thereby stresses the development of proper respect for one’s lineage, teacher, community and self. As such, it is a powerful tool to empower the practitioner by enhancing feelings of self worth and heightening one’s self awareness. The internal martial arts, furthermore, yield many positive psychological and physical health benefits because they are essentially an extension of Qigong training. Finally, internal martial arts places the practitioner within a healthy and supportive community that is able to uphold the individual for life and is very literally considered to be one’s extended family
Qigong the Foundation of Internal Martial Arts
In Chinese philosophy and medicine there exists the concept of "chi" (Qi), a vital force that animates the body. One of the avowed aims of Qigong is to foster the circulation of this "chi" within the body, the belief being that by doing so the health and vitality of the person are enhanced. This "chi" circulates in patterns that are close related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts.
Another aim of Qigong is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body's vital centre, and so on. Many practitioners notice benefits in terms of correcting poor postural, alignment or movement patterns which can contribute to tension or injury. Furthermore the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in and of itself.