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  • Michael Weichhardt
  • July 23, 2017 08:22:22 AM
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A Little About Us

Traditional Daoist Academy Following the teachings of our founder Zhan San Feng himself, the International Wudang Academy maintains the tradition, and quality – thus guarantees the authentic cultural heritage for future generations.

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Wudang Friends – Pictures

We found many new friends and a lot of new impressions. I want to share a few pictures of our most important moments

We found many new friends and a lot of new impressions. I want to share a few pictures of our most important moments:

Master Ziji - Michael Weichhardt

Stay strong in spirit and practice!

 


Wudang Martial Arts – Flexible Body and Mind

The standard stretching routines in the traditional Wudang schools demand high flexibility to improve ones internal power. Being flexible puts less strain on the body and relaxation becomes more efficient. This will prevent injury and establishes freedom in the mind. Freeing oneself from physical and mental blockades to prevent stagnation of...

In the traditional Chinese martial arts, it is important to be soft. Only the soft overcomes hardness, making the body stronger, more resistant and prevent sickness.

Wudang Martial Arts

The standard stretching routines in the traditional Wudang schools demand high flexibility to improve ones internal power. Being flexible puts less strain on the body and relaxation becomes more efficient. This will prevent injury and establishes freedom in the mind. Freeing oneself from physical and mental blockades to prevent stagnation of energy.

Only flexibility is not enough

It is a misconception in the Wudang martial arts that endless stretching may lead to a better condition. One more important factor is the power of the muscles and the elasticity of the tendons. It is common practice to use balancing stances to improve the fine-musculature of the body. The power to balance and hold the body is as important as the softness while being in this stances. This leads to better control of the body and more efficient use of the muscles.

Why it is important for power

Once the body can move unrestricted and freely, the power can be easily transferred through the body. Once we understand the Taiji – Yin Yang principles of power generation than it becomes clear how we train our coordination to work internally with our Qi. It is the time where students discover their Qi once they are flexible enough.


The Hidden Heart of Daoism in Wudangshan

Between all of the politics and competitions, deep in the valleys of the Wudang mountains is the last refuge. The purpose is to live in the mountains and practice the internal arts. Deep in the Yiren valley is a circle of seekers and believers of the...

Between all of the politics and competitions, deep in the valleys of the Wudang mountains is the last refuge. The purpose is to live in the mountains and practice the internal arts. Deep in the Yiren valley is a circle of seekers and believers of the truth.

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Practicing in the quietness of nature to find the essence of the Dao. The Yiren valley does not want strangers or visitors, it is a location for friends. The only way to visit is by personal invitation. The mountain path is very steep and thus the valley remains hidden from outsiders.

The owner of the location is Liang Yue (written like full moon) or her English name: “Julia”. The location is very inconvenient for older or weaker people and the delivery of oil and other basic supplies is hard work. Some of the food is directly produced in the valley though. It is completely off the grid with no close route to a street or any kind of civilization.

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The valley has room for not more than 10 students, those who are of a positive heart are welcome and can regularly visit. All the content of the San Feng Pai is instructed, as well as Gujin, Xiao flute, and Daoist medicine.

We are not allowed to tell you more details about this place. But it is nice to see that Daoism slowly regains its feet back on the Wudang mountains.

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Chinese Martial Arts: Baguazhang

Baguazhang is derived from the philosophy of I Ching. Practitioners move in eight directions represented by eight trigrams: Qian, Kan, Gen, Zhen, Xun, Li, Kun and Dui. Practitioners should keep walking in circles with swinging and hooking steps, and strike with different palm...

During the reign of Emperor Xianfeng of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a new kung fu style, Baguazhang, emerged.

“The hands shake the sky and earth. The feet seal the yin and yang” is one of the 129 remaining Chinese fist positions in the country’s traditional martial arts.

The I-Ching

Baguazhang is derived from the philosophy of I Ching. Practitioners move in eight directions represented by eight trigrams: Qian, Kan, Gen, Zhen, Xun, Li, Kun and Dui. Practitioners should keep walking in circles with swinging and hooking steps, and strike with different palm positions.

They should also keep the moves and breath stable. One of the basic moves, “the mud-wading steps,” requires people to keep their feet flat all the time and grasp the ground with their toes while moving.

Aside from the complicated and elegant moves, the philosophy of the practice has contributed to the people’s admiration of Baguazhang.

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“You don’t practice for fights. You practice for good purposes like protecting the weak,” said Li Xiuren, a fourth generation inheritor of Baguazhang, when talking about what she’s learned from her father.

Throughout 160 years, the art has survived different eras and underwent many changes.

To help the weak, encourage people to stay healthy and preserve this art, Li writes books to promote Baguazhang. She went through a lot of difficulties, but never stopped her pursuit to pass on the art.

“Continuous change” is the main point for practicing Baguazhang, but also a piece of wisdom to navigate life. As a traditional form of Chinese martial arts, Baguazhang will go further by reinventing itself, bringing the Chinese culture to more people around the world.


The Swordsmanship of Wudang Style

The swordsmanship is one of the features of the Wudang school," says Chen Shiyu, inheritor of the Taoist kung fu in Wudang style. "The sword is considered as 'king of weapons'. It has a sense of elegance.

武当山位于中国湖北省,是中国四大道教名山之首。同时,武当武术是中国武术的一大名宗。许多武侠小说中都出现过它的名号。

Located in central China’s Hubei Province, Wudang Mountain sits the apex of the four sacred mountains of Taoism. Wudang is also home to one of the ancient martial art schools in China. It has been mentioned many times in swordsman fiction.

历史悠久的武当武术延伸出不少派别。其中,武当剑在众多兵器中独树一帜。

As time went by, the Wudang Sword became an outstanding weapon technique.

Chen Shiyu-5

“剑术是武当山的一种代表。”武当道家功夫传承人陈师宇说。“在兵器里面,剑是兵器之王,也可以说是兵器中的君子。”

“The swordsmanship is one of the features of the Wudang school,” says Chen Shiyu, inheritor of the Taoist kung fu in Wudang style. “The sword is considered as ‘king of weapons’. It has a sense of elegance.”

这是因为,和大刀长枪相比,剑能做到刚柔并济,以柔为美。“剑拔出来的时候是冰冷生硬的,但舞起来之后它可以很柔和,所以说有君子之风。”

Different from deterrent cold weapons like broadswords and spears, the sword achieves a balance between hardness and softness, manifesting special beauty. “When you pull out the sword, it feels cold and lifeless. Yet it can be very mild once you wield it well, like communicating with a virtuous gentleman,” Chen said.

陈师宇1994年来到武当山。他曾在家乡练过一段时间民间拳法。之后,因为向往仗剑天涯的侠客生活,他前往武当山习武。

He came to Wudang Mountain in 1994 to pursue his swordsman dream, having learned some local boxing in his hometown.

但习武的实际情况,和他当初想象的很不一样。“我们来的时候就是天天踢腿,蹲马步,冲拳。一天的练功时间超过七八个小时。”

But things were not as he had imagined. “At first, we spent more than 8 hours a day practicing the basic techniques, such as kicking, squatting and straight punching.”

练功6个月之后,陈师宇才开始正式习剑。

Six months later, Chen finally began to learn swordsmanship.

练剑之前先练拳,是因为从根本上说,武器是肢体的延伸。“什么叫人剑合一?就是说剑不能当剑,必须当成你的手臂。”陈师宇演示道,“我手腕出去的时候,剑尖就必须出去,刺的时候也是这样刺,收的时候也一起收。”只有这样,才能将剑练得得心应手。

Swordsmanship requires basic boxing techniques because the weapon is only an extension of your limb. “To merge the sword and the person, it is not a sword anymore, but a part of your arm,” Chen said, demonstrating. “Always point the sword at where your hand reaches out. You stab and pull back the same way like this.” That is essential in mastering the techniques.

除了练功之外,他们还要了解道家文化,学习琴棋书画,甚至亲自种菜。因为道家讲究取之于自然,还之于自然。武当剑里边的很多剑招也体现着这种天人合一的思想。

Other than martial art training, the students need to learn about Taoism and traditional art forms, as well as grow vegetables by themselves. Taoist philosophy argues that people take things from and return to nature. The Wudang swordsmanship also shows the concept of integration between man and nature.

“给剑招取名的时候,往往会从自然中找一种相似的来决定动作的名称。” 陈师宇介绍说,“比如燕子抄水。燕子飞过的时候,会俯身下来点一下水就过去了,是吧?一样的,我们剑撩起来,点一下就上去了。”

“Many names of the moves come from imitating other creatures,” says Chen. “For example, ‘the sparrow skims over the water.’ You see the sparrow fly swiftly and skim over the water, right? It’s just like that. You wield the sword, tap on it and go up.”

“还有灵猫扑鼠。练的时候也要想象生活里面猫捉老鼠是什么状态,要去理解它,然后运用到剑里。只有理解了这些,才能把招数发挥得淋漓尽致。”

“There’s also ‘the cat swoops on the mouse.’ Imagine how the cat throws itself on the mouse, try to understand the move and use it in the swordsmanship. When you get the essence of it, you master the techniques.”

如今,陈师宇在武当山习武已20余年,他平时在太极拳馆内教拳,闲暇时间自己继续着山中的修行。“人能常清净,天地悉皆归”。道家的哲学和剑法相辅相成,让他找到了理想的生活方式。

Chen has been practicing at Wudang Mountain for more than 20 years. When he’s not teaching tai chi at the club, he’ll undertake spiritual practice on the mountain. “When one keeps a clear and peaceful mind, he is embraced by the heaven and the earth.” Chen has found his ideal lifestyle by combining Taoist philosophy and swordsmanship.


The Amazing Wudang Mountains

The vast mountain range of Wudang has been since a long time a place for inspiration and Daoist beliefs. Those who work on improving oneself find a deep bond with the spirits in this area. This post is all about my impressions when I visited the Wudang Mountain area. If you like a picture you can click on it for purchasing a license, nice prints for your wall or a postcard for your...

The vast mountain range of Wudang has been since a long time a place for inspiration and Daoist beliefs. Those who work on improving oneself find a deep bond with the spirits in this area. This post is all about my impressions when I visited the Wudang Mountain area. If you like a picture you can click on it for purchasing a license, nice prints for your wall or a postcard for your friends!






I shot many more pictures that day! From Chen Shiyu and with other friends! Check them all out here!


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