Wudang Blog / Wudang Kung Fu

The Spirit of Wudang Kung Fu

Wudang SpearWudang Kung Fu is one of China’s most famous systems of Wushu. It possesses a long established history and is well known both in China and abroad. By using traditional self-defense and fighting technique as its foundation, implementing theory derived from the Yi Jing (Book of Changes) and Taoist Neidan technique gradually a distinct system was created that gave shape to a truly unique style of training. The core of Wudang Martial Arts is comprised of the theory of the waxing and waning of yin and yang, the changes of the Bagua (the eight trigrams of the Yi Jing), and the phases and interactions of the Five Elements. Wudang Kung Fu encapsulates the deep and profound philosophical traditions of China including Tai Chi, Yin Yang, Five Element, and Bagua philosophical traditions and theories.It combines this theory with fighting theory and technique, training and cultivation principles, and fighting strategy as methods of searching to understand the natural laws of life.We use wushu as a method of self-cultivation in order to improve our health and our wisdom. This is the great treasure of Wudang Kungfu.

Wudang Kung FuThe entire body of Wudang Kung Fu is comprised of Wuji, Tai Chi, and Liang Yi. Taijiquan, Liangyiquan, Xingyiquan, Baguazhang, Wudang Sword and other internal Wushu systems are representative of Wudang Wushu. Wudang Kung Fu maintains the traditions and unique styles of the different systems.It uses Daoist philosophy and theory to guide, and also combines the study of Daoist medicine, the Yi Jing, and nei dan health cultivation methodology as its overall guiding principles and disciplines.Alongside these it fuses wushu fighting skills and exercises to strengthen the body and places great emphasis on understanding the body’s energy channels and acupuncture points.Wudang Kung Fu greatly stresses the importance of establishing a strong foundation in internal practice.By practicing to synthesize and coordinate the internal qi and the external body there is born a unification of internal and external.Using the qi for explosive power, borrowing power, becoming adept in using the soft to overcome the hard, using stillness to regulate movement, possessing a great unification of soft and hard, nimbly turning, circling, and evading and many other techniques are all characteristic traits of “internal kungfu”.

Relaxed, natural movement, a soft external and strong internal, moving like clouds and flowing water, continuous and unimpeded action and many other techniques are Wudang’s great attributes that distinguish it from other wushu.

Taoist Health Cultivation

In keeping with improvements in modern living conditions, people all over the world are looking to improve their health. As a result there are many different systems of health improvement that are springing up all over. China possesses thousands of years of development in self-defense practices, different artistic forms of self-expression and various methods and systems of health cultivation.The reason that Wudang Wushu has been able to continuously prosper up to today without being drowned out by modern trends is because it maintains a truly unique cultural character; its primary focus is on its oldest and most practically applicable value – health cultivation.

Wudang Taoist Kung FuAncient Taoist practices apply the theories of combining movement and stillness, internal and external, refining and cultivating, and the physical with the mental/emotional/spiritual as the major focuses for cultivation.These practices are used to balance and fortify the body’s original qi, vitality and spirit.The cultivation of jing, qi and shen as well as the physical body are given significant importance.Specifically in the methods of refining and cultivating one follows the method of the meridians or energy channels of the body. Taoist Health Cultivation uses dao yin (Taoist stretching and breathing exercises), qigong, wushu/gongfu methods in order to harmonize and improve the circulation of the meridians, improve the circulation of qi and blood, and harmonize yin and yang within the body – thereby achieving great improvement in overall health.

At the present time there are several Taoist Health Cultivation practices that are suitable for all to learn and practice, including Taiji, standing meditation, Ba Duan Jin (the Eight Pieces of Brocade Qi Gong), Taiyi/Liangyi Quan, Five Animals Qi Gong, Taihe Quan, push hands, etc.These practices are soft and slow-moving, and are helpful in coordinating breathing and intention/thinking, regulating blood and circulation, and relaxing the spirit and mind.They can help in lowering the degree of blood viscosity, reducing cholesterol, and blood stasis; improving blood circulation, and can greatly improve the condition of blood clotting related problems of the internal organs that may be at risk or in poor health and cause for concern.For example – those at risk of heart attack, cerebral thrombosis (blood clotting), early stage cirrhosis of the liver, etc. can greatly benefit by adopting these practices into their daily lives.By opening the meridians and removing sickness and toxic substances from the body one can therein begin to improve the overall yin yang balance of the internal organs. Taoist Health Cultivation methods can greatly improve and strengthen practitioners’ immunity to sickness and disease as well as slow the aging and deterioration of the different organ system of the body.It can be seen that these practices are quite suitable and beneficial for everyone – especially young children, the elderly and infirm and those suffering from waist and neck problems.

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Wudang Baguazhang

Introduction to Baguazhang

Wudang BaguazhangThe Chinese word Baguazhang, when broken down by character, literally translates to 'Eight Trigram Palm'. The style derives its name and history from the Chinese book of divination, the Yi Jing, or 'The Book of Changes'. Baguazhang derives much of its practice from Taoist ritualistic circle walking and theory. Its practice and application is based on the principles and theories of the Yi Jing, Yin Yang Theory, and Five Element Theory. Baguazhang is one of the internal styles taught at the academy and can be characterized by its main foundation building training known as Bagua circle walking, major use of the palm and fingers for striking, and indirect circular attacks.

Health Benefits of Practicing Baguazhang

The basic practices of walking the Bagua circle and standing in the different still postures of Bagua can be greatly beneficial to one’s overall health.Walking the Bagua circle can help with strengthening the legs as well as promoting better joint mobility, flexibility and circulation in the lower body and establishing a greater sense of balance in the lower body. Because Bagua walking relies on constant movement for correct practice, this also engages the lungs for deeper respiration which can be greatly beneficial for strengthening the lungs as well as aerobic exercise for those looking to lose weight.Wudang Baguazhang
As with all internal Kung Fu practices, correct posture is important in Bagua practice.The Bagua circle walking posture is one that can greatly improve upper body flexibility and fluidity, loosen tense muscles and tendons, strengthen lower back and abdominal muscles and help to loosen up tension that is built up in the waist, back and shoulders. As one becomes more used to the straightened posture, muscles and tendons around the spine are allowed to relax while the spine itself becomes the major support for the full body posture.Improved spine posture helps to promote softer and more elastic tendons and muscles in the neck, shoulders, back, waist, and hips.By strengthening the waist, the health of the kidneys is also greatly improved.
Bagua circle walking also promotes improvement in all circulatory systems of the body and can bring about a greater bodily awareness and improved focus.Through continued development in all of the Baguazhang practices, a practitioner will be able to develop internal feeling and experience a greatly fluidity in movement.

The Practice

BaguazhangAs circle walking is the major foundation building component of Baguazhang training, students who train in Baguazhang must practice Bagua walking continuously. Once a student becomes comfortable with circle walking, they can then move on to learn the different palm changes that comprise the Bagua form. Baguazhang contains a variety of different techniques in application, utilizing the palm, fingers, elbows, quick, evasive footwork, kicks, joint locking, take downs, etc.An accomplished practitioner of Baguazhang can adapt their body to many different movements in striking postures and methods of attack as their body and intention has been trained to be stronger, adaptable, quick, sensitive, and fluid with improved coordination; developing a fluidity of motion that allows for adaptability much like water in a creak swimming around rocks. Fighting application of Baguazhang has been described as flying like a dragon, guarding like an ape, crouching like a tiger, and circling like an eagle. There also is a giant Saber called Bagua Dao which is used for exercising the Baguazhang movements.
 
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The Monk Spade (or Fangbian Chan) a Buddhist and Taoist Weapon

wudang monk shovel

The origin of the Monk Spade

A monk’s spade (Traditional Chinese: 月牙鏟; Simplified Chinese: 月牙铲; pinyin: yuèyáchǎn; literally “Crescent Moon Spade”; also, Traditional Chinese: 禪仗; Simplified Chinese: 禅仗; pinyin: chánzhàng; literally, “Zen Weapon”. Romanized Japanese: getsugasan, Hiragana: げつがさん), also called a Shaolin Spade, is a Chinese pole weapon consisting of a long pole with a flat spade-like blade on one end and a smaller crescent shaped blade on the other. In old China, Buddhist monks often carried spades (shovels) with them when travelling. This served two purposes: if they came upon a corpse on the road, they could properly bury it with Buddhist rites, and the large implement could serve as a weapon for defense against bandits. Over time, they were stylised into the monk’s spade weapon.

wudang fangbian oksana zabudska

The Monk Spade as Taoist weapon

The Fangbian Chan (or Monk Spade) is an unusual kind of weapon, which also Taoists possess and wandering Taoists bring with them in their travels. It is said that the Fangbian Chan is Laozi’s creation. In the field of Daoist studies, practicing the Fangbian Chan not only demands rigor, but it also builds rigor. The Fangbian Chan is divided into 3 parts.

First, the head of the shovel: its length of 1.8 feet represents the secret space between the 18 levels of Hades. The shovel face’s 2 curved edges each have a ring, which represents the 2 energies of Yin and Yang. The neck of the shovel head has 5 iron rings, representing the 5 elements (fire, wood, water, metal, earth). So the idea of the 5 elements is that practicing the Dao to keep Yin and Yang balanced in order to have the power to break away from the abyss of misery, and suppress the 18 levels of Hades with the shovel.

Second, the handle of the shovel: its length of 3.3 feet represents the middle 33 heavens. The idea is to manage cause and effect, good and bad oneself.

Third, the end of the shovel: its length of 8.6 inches represents the 8 directions and 6 sides because the 3 curves of the drill it forms brings about conformation and represent 3 Cai (Heaven/Earth/Humanity). In addition, each curve has a loop representing 3 treasures (Jjing/Qi/Shen). In this way, there is Heaven and Earth, and people have life from the 3 heavenly treasures. For this reason, people who go out into the world and experience life must follow the natural way of the existence in this world and universe. Laozi created the Fangbian Chan form with 81 movements; the original idea was to remind his disciples to always keep Yin and Yang, always practice with the heart, body, and mind, and help others along the way. Keep doing this again and again throughout your life and you can become immortal in the end. After this, you can suppress the force of Hades and rise to the Heavens.

The Fangbian Chan is a complete weapon. It can be used as a staff, spear, long broadsword, and trident. It can be used to hook, hitch, chop, block, thrust, shovel, sweep, smack, beat, twist, etc. These applications are used to understand the principles of defending and attacking, backwards and forwards, slow and fast, hard and soft, etc. Here is the path to the product list with Monk Spades

shaolin monk spade

 

 

 

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