Wudang Blog / Wudang Mountains

Wudang Xingyi Quan

Introduction to Xingyi Quan

Wudang Xingyi QuanXingyi Quan is one of the three most famous styles of internal wushu.It is believed to have been developed by Song Dynasty wushu hero and general, Yue Fei and gained wide spread popularity during the Qing Dynasty. Xingyi Quan uses Five Element Theory in its application and relies on the Six Harmonies in its practice and cultivation.The Six Harmonies can be broken down into the Three External Harmonies and the Three Internal Harmonies.

Three External Harmonies:

   1.The arms and legs in synchronicity and harmony.
   2.The elbows and knees in synchronicity and harmony.
   3.The shoulders and hips in synchronicity and harmony.

Three Internal Harmonies:

   1.The heart/mind acts in harmony with the will/intention.
   2.The will/intention acts in harmony with the internal energy.
   3.The internal energy acts in harmony with the power.

In Xingyi Quan great emphasis is placed on the intention leading the power through the body – the body then must work as one cohesive unit to allow for full expression of the explosive power.The intention, internal power, and external movement must coordinate and be synchronized – requiring total focus.

Health Benefits of Xingyi Quan

As in all systems of wushu practice, the fundamentals are most important.And in Xingyi Quan having correct posture is paramount. In Xingyi Quan one starts by first learning the correct posture which is maintained throughout all different aspects of the practice; as can be gleaned from the Three External Harmonies.When practicing Xingyi Quan one must keep the neck and back straight while at the same time being sure not to tense the muscles and tendons; the hips must be relaxed and dropped while the tailbone is tucked in so that the entire spine is straight – from the base of the skull, to the tip of the tailbone.This practice allows for a natural realigning of the spine as the muscles and tendons in the back begin to relax.For this reason it also promotes a release of tension that may be built up in the neck, shoulders, hips, and waist.

The practice of Xingyi Quan is also helpful in building up the strength of the leg muscles, particularly the thigh muscles.It is also helpful in strengthening the tendons and ligaments of the knees and ankles. As Xingyi Quan focuses on the synchronization of the intention and body, and requires focus, one can certainly improve their focus as well as mental organization.In the standing posture and moving practices deep dantian breathing is important to maintain which is helpful in lowering stress and bringing clarity of mind.

The Practice

When beginning to learn Xingyi Quan one must first learn the correct posture and alignment – focusing first on the Three External Harmonies and then gradually moving into the Three Internal Harmonies.When first beginning, the correct posture is first taught.After the posture is correct and familiar and firm foundation in the leg-work is then learned. One must build up the muscle and tendon strength in the legs and be able to perform large, low stepping that is also quick. Once a practitioner is familiar with these fundamentals, they can then go on to learn the next step which is the five basic fists that comprise the XIngyi System.As Xingyi Quan uses Five Element Theory in its application and practice Eech of the different fists corresponds to one of the five elements (water, wood, fire, metal, and earth).Each of these different fists has its individual practice.Once one is familiar with the five different fists, they can thenmove on to learning the Five Elements Linking Form and later to the 12 Animals of Xingyi Quan.

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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 Wudang Mountains

Wudang Mountains are one of the most famous Daoist holy mountains in China. The palaces and temples on Wudang Mountains were all built into the actual mountain face, adhering to the topography of the land, which dictated the scale of the buildings, the spaces between them and their layout. Palaces appear on the tops of peaks, in the middle of ravines, on the edges of cliffs and nestled within rock faces.

Apart from its unique architecture, Wudang is renown for its wealth of cultural relics.Throughout its history, but most especially during the Ming Dynasty, Wudang was the recipient of numerous religious gifts. Feudal rulers and Taoist devotees provided funds for the moulding of thousands of statues of gods and the crafting of thousands of musical instruments made of gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, jade, pearl and stone.

The first temples on Mount Wudang were constructed during the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). By that time Taoism had become a state religion, coexisting with both Buddhism and Confucianism as one of the three great religions of China. Taoism is essentially a reinterpretation of an ancient tradition of nature worship and divination. Taoists believe that the Dao (or Tao , meaning "way" or "path") is the origin of all creation and the force behind all the changes in the natural world. Simplicity, harmony, peace and retreat into nature are some of the basic principles of Taoism.

Taoist culture has existed on Mt. Wudang since the East Han Dynasty (AD 25-220).The movement began with a few early Taoists settling on the mountain in order to practise their worship of nature. As time passed, more Taoists converged on the mountain, making Mt. Wudang a Taoist holy place in central China. During the Zhenguan period (AD 627-647) in the Tang Dynasty Emperor Taizong constructed the Wulong (Five Dragons) Temple , the purpose of which was to spread Taoism on the mountain. The temple structure is one of the ways of expressing Taoist culture in physical form. A temple provides a container for the integration of the various elements of Taoism. Mt. Wudang remained a sacred Taoist site for several hundred years. The buildings were enlarged during the Song and Yuan Dynasties, but many of the buildings from this period were destroyed during warfare and battles at the end of the Yuan Dynasty when the Mongols invaded China.

The greatest period of development was during the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644). In AD 1413 Emperor Yongle (AD 1403-1424) sent more than 200,000 soldiers and labourers to transform Mt. Wudang into the largest Taoist complex in the world. It took thirteen years to complete construction, which included nine palaces, seventy-two temples and halls, thirty-six nunneries, thirty-nine bridges, twelve platforms and countless stone steps winding their way along the entire mountain. The floor space of all of these complexes came to over one million square metres, although now, with the destruction of many buildings the floor space totals 50,000 square metres.
In 1994 the ancient building complex in the Wudang mountains was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Wudangshan is located in a quite mild area of China. The Temperature in the summer usually dos not rise over 37degree, while in the winter it will not sink under -5 degree. It is a very green mountain with a vast flora and also fauna. Therefor it has since ancient times always attracted people, who want to practise Martial Arts, meditation or any other kind of self cultivation or arts.

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Learning Wudang Calligraphy

The brush is the traditional writing implement in Chinese calligraphy. The body of the brush can be made from either bamboo, or rarer materials such as red sandalwood, glass, ivory, silver, and gold. The head of the brush can be made from the hair (or feathers) of a wide variety of animals, including the weasel, rabbit, deer, chicken, duck, goat, pig, tiger, wolf, etc... Calligraphy brushes are widely considered as an extension of the calligrapher's arm. 

Today, calligraphy may also be done using a pen, but pen calligraphy does not enjoy the same prestige as traditional brush calligraphy.

Paperweights are used to hold down paper. A paperweight is often placed at the top of all but the largest pages to prevent slipping; for smaller pieces the left hand is also placed at the bottom of the page for support. Paperweights come in several types: some are oblong wooden blocks carved with calligraphic or pictorial designs; others are essentially small sculptures of people or animals.



Chen Shiyu is the only Master in Huilong Temple teaching Wudang Calligraphy. Including ancient taoist words and phrases. Master Chen Shiyu is teaching personally every calligraphy class and gives every student the full attention that is required to understand this traditional art.
Calligraphy has alot of similarities and the sensibility of Tai Chi. Learning Tai Chi is highly recommend when attending calligraphy classes at Master Chen Shiyu's school.
Official english website: http://www.wudangmartialarts.com/
You can support the traditional school from Master Chen Shiyu with a simple facebook like!
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3 Year Traditional Class Program (Limited to 15 People)

Master Chen Shiyu is now accepting enrollments for the first traditional program to take place in the heart of Huilong Guan  "Returning Dragon Temple"  in the Wudang Mountains.

The three year traditional class program was created by Master Chen Shiyu in order to spread Taoist culture and train excellent wudang kung fu practitioners and coaches around the world.

Because of the commercialization and dramatization of Wushu, some Wushu schools solely focus on the external and superficial aspects of training, placing all emphasis on performance. This type of training cannot achieve the original intent and purposes of Wushu; which are knowledge of and proficiency in self-defense, a strong body, cultivation of heart and character, longevity, and spiritual development.

I want to spread Wudang Kung Fu in the traditional meaning, the teachings of the ancient Taoist traditions like: Baji, Xuan wu, the eight Immortals, Liang Yi, Xing Yi and much more are rarely known or even mastered in these days. I want to give people the opportunity to help spread these important things which teach Taoist culture,  the balance of the mind and body, and to spread the internal and external meaning of Wudang Kung Fu. - Master Chen Shiyu

 

The way of the Wudang tradition

The beginning of the traditional training will focus on strenghtening the body, basic exercises and proper flexibility training. Only a strong and healthy body can hold a calm and quiet mind for proper concentration and meditation. The internal arts are later explained and Master Chen Shiyu goes very in-depth into the traditional internal Wudang Kung Fu.

Good vegetables can only grow in good soil, so to do the basics of Wudang Kung Fu, which are essential for the students to devote their full attention. Only then can Wudang Kung Fu be further understood and mastered. Like vegetables in good soil, the mastery of one's hard work will blossom into fruition. As every student gives their full focus, so to will I give them my full focus down their path of Wudang Kung Fu. - Master Chen Shiyu

The student will live the same way as traditional Chinese students and must integrate toward the customs and culture.

Besides the general traditional class schedule, students of the three year traditional training program are free to choose from the following cultural subjects:

  • Chinese language class
  • Calligraphy class
  • Traditional music class (Guqin or Xiao)

Understanding the language, the way of writing and the ancient traditional music will help the student to further understand the ways of traditional Taoist thinking. Instead of only touching the surface, I want to give my students the opportunity to also understand the deeper meaning of Chinese traditions and Taoist culture like no other school has done before. This will also improve the Tai Ji as well as influence their perception toward Wudang Kung Fu. -Master Chen Shiyu

 

 Content and qualifications

Master Chen Shiyu leads and teaches the traditional program personally, as he wants a proper acclimation of the full content of Wudang Kung Fu. Students of the traditional program will go off to become representatives of Wudang Taoist kung fu and culture. The training is therefore strict and in accordance to traditional standards.

View the training content here.

 

The traditional class is not merely a Kung Fu class, it teaches important things for life and will strengthen the personality. Teamwork is as important as the focus on your own improvement. Respect and tolerate your fellow students and be straight forward and disciplined in training. The way of the Taoist is an endless way of improvement, working hard and realizing your path will also help in the way of living. The way of Taoism is the way of life. - Master Chen Shiyu

The recommend age for traditional program students is between 18 and 28 years. Younger or older students who want to participate are also welcome, but must first write Master Chen Shiyu personally via email. Please use our Contact Us form regarding this matter.

After completing the three year traditional program, the students can become coaches and spread Wudang Kung Fu to their country. During the traditional program, the students will become knowledgeable in every aspect of Wudang Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Liang Yi, Xing Yi, Baji, Ba Xian, Xuan Wu. In addition, every Taoist main weapon will be taught as part of the program with deep internal healing aspects like Nei Gong, Wuji meditation and inner alchemy.

As the way of the Tao cannot be properly guided in words, it must be understood with experience. Teaching our culture and our way of how to do things is a very important part of the traditional class. Speaking, eating, writing and practicing our way will help one to realize and understand the meaning of Wudang Kung Fu on a deeper and different level, which is not accessable by foreigners without a proper master or guide. Like father and mother guide the way of their child, the responsibility can be said is the same for a master and his students. - Master Chen Shiyu

Program Details and Costs

The traditional program will start at the beginning of september 2015!

Student are also welcome to come before or a little after. However it is recommend to send your application earlier as only 15 people will be accepted. Master Chen Shiyu is focusing on quality over quantity and with a small class he is able to really focus on each individuals' advancement.

The program costs covers the following:

  • Students receive two sets of school uniforms
  • Three meals a day
  • Traditional room (6 people room)
  • Tuition for training and culture subjects
3 Year Traditional Class Program  40.000 CNY per year

 

Go to the Application Form!

You can support the traditional school from Master Chen Shiyu with a simple facebook like!
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