Wudang Blog / Fuchen
Fu Chen is a soft weapon originally used by Taoists for their travels designed to whisk away flies and mosquitos. Later generations have created the Fuchen form performed with a Horsehair Whisk.
The use of the Fuchen as a martial arts weapon was popularized by the Wudang Daoist Monks. They brought the whisk to its current level of notoriety especially given that many lay people believed it to be the only thing the Wandering Monks had available to protect themselves while out on their pilgrimage for acceptance by their masters. In actual fact, one of the other things the Wandering Monks were given when leaving the temple was a sword, so it can safely be assumed they would have used both weapons for self-defense if required. Wudang Fuchen is a weapon that truly combines the Yin and the Yang, with a hard handle and a soft tail. A weapon that on its shaft has one end rounded and the other end mounted with a conical metal tip hidden under its tail.
The movements of this form are made up of dusting, sweeping and picking. This weapon looks very soft and gentle but is extremely hard and strong for the opponent. The Horsehair Whisk or Fuchen is a special Taoist weapon. There is a saying: “The person who holds the Fuchen is not an ordinary person.” In Taoism, the Fuchen is for those who want to study seriously.
The Fuchen is essentially a whisk made by binding the hair from a horse’s tail to a long wooden handle. Throughout Chinese history the Fuchen has come in many guises from being as simple as palm fibers bound to Smilax root, through to the use of a variety of animal hairs including Yak, being bound with hemp onto a wooden shaft. The most luxurious and expensive were of course the whisks combining unusually colored horse hair with handles made from things such as Cinnabar, Ivory, Mahogany, Sandalwood and Ebony.
A long time ago, the Taoist temple was very serious in finding students. Usually, the Taoist master takes a long period of time to test and observe a disciple, after which the master will especially choose him for deeper teachings. Usually, a disciple will do simple work in the first three years, and learn some basic skills about Tao and kung fu, during which time, the master is still testing and observing the disciple’s patience. After 3 years of testing is complete, the master throws a ceremony to show his acceptance of a real disciple. Then the master allows the disciple leave to travel and study more, but he is worried the disciple will be tempted by many things and will not return. Therefore, before the disciple leaves, the master gives him a few things to remind him. One of these things: 1. a red belt (3.3 feet means to tame the mind) for this time period, he has to be serious and keep his mind at peace. 2. the Fu Chen, during his travels, befriend good people and help others. If he is enamored with something and is tempted to return to society, he must whisk away these ideas, like the Fu Chen. 3. the sword. If he has lost his way and has lost himself, the disciple remembers that his master has given him the sword to cut away these ideas, so that he may continue on his path. After 3 years of traveling and studying, he returns and the master sees that he has enough patience and steadfastness to live a lifetime at the temple, to learn the Dao, and finally for the master to teach him how to be immortal.
The Fuchen style is one of the soft weapon styles. wrapping and pulling, snapping, whisking, poking, sweeping, etc. It can be used like the broadsword, straight sword, scourge, and dart weapons. When you practice the Fuchen, your movements must be in tune with your intention, your intention must be in tune with your Qi, and your Qi must be in tune with your Shen. Its movements are smooth like the wind and flowing like water.