Wudang Blog / Wudang Qigong
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.
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.
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.
Qigong is a practice that incorporates breathing techniques and specific movements and postures to help adjust balance in a practitioner’s body and mind, heighten feeling, internal awareness, and bodily communication, and to promote an overall more balanced and healthy existence. As a result of aligning the consciousness and the body in more harmonious communication with each other we find the body healthier, with a stronger immunity to protect against invasive forces like sickness and disease. As well as specific practices for attaining longevity and making the body and mind overall stronger, more robust, and proficient. Having more internal awareness and stronger bodily communication can also help practitioners to find their individual strengths and weaknesses, develop life goals, and learn to train their bodies and minds together.
Wudang qigong has two systems of qi gong practice: hard qi gong and internal, or soft, qigong. Hard qi gong can also be called ‘tong zi gong (桶子功),’ or ‘bucket’ qi gong. There are three levels of training in the practice of hard qigong; beginning with basic level training and moving to the more advanced stages.
The practices of qi gong involve specific breathing technique, as well as the practice of swallowing air in order to cleanse the internal organs and digestive tract, gathering, distributing, and circulating qi throughout the body, storing qi, compacting qi, using qi for explosive power and protection, and strengthening the internal organs. Hard qi gong practice trains the tendons, bones and skin, while internal qi gong practice focuses on the cultivation of ‘essence’, qi, and ‘spirit’.
Combining these practices together with the conditioning of the skin, muscles, and tendons through repeated hitting with various technique and instruments and various movements can increase the strength of the external body and internal organs. The practice of qigong is meant to awaken and strengthen the vast potential each individual has; both internally and externally. It can also teach a practitioner how to be in better communication with their body and thus have better internal coordination as it has been conditioned to higher levels of health and power. Once a practitioner of hard qi gong has trained the higher levels of training they can then break objects over their body and be struck with kicks, punches, etc. without sustaining injury.
Internal qigong practice can also be called ‘soft’ qigong. Buddhist practice focuses on the cultivation of the mind or spirit with little attention paid to the body. Taoist qi gong’s main focus is on the body and health preservation. Both are considered internal/soft qigong. In internal qi gong the focus is placed on deep breathing without allowing the thoughts to wander too far. The practice of soft qigong does not require the use of large amounts of physical energy. This type of training can help to open the lungs and strengthen respiration, strengthen the organs, and also open the energy channels and meridians of the body. We practice both hard qi gong and soft qigong to connect the body as a composite whole.
The benefits of internal qi gong practice are vast. Internal qigong practice is beneficial for all people and can help with physical and emotional ailments that a practitioner may be suffering from. The main practice of internal qi gong is the practice of taking in healthy fresh qi and expelling the waste, toxins, and unhealthy qi that have accumulated in our bodies over time. Alongside this practice is the practice of collecting qi and storing it in the dantian to strengthen the body and revitalize the energy, and the spirit. After extensive practice and enough qi has been cultivated in the dantian of a practitioner they can then learn to use it to strengthen the five organs and also to use the mind an intention to circulate qi to open the body’s energy channels and meridians. The result being that a practitioner’s body and mind then gradually returns to the calm, soft, supple state of a child.
The practice of qigong is a practice that people of all body types, ages, and goals can partake in. The practice of qigong can help strengthen a practitioner's external and internal bodies, vital energies, spirit. By awakening the potential of our bodies, strengthening their immunity and inter-communication, and understanding them more we can eventually have success in having a clean and calm body and mind.