Wudang Martial Arts

Mt. Wudang
Mt. Wudang
Wudang Martial Arts were created in the early years of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) by a Taoist named Zhang Sanfeng. It combines the essence of the Book of Changes and the Tao Teh King (Daodejing) of Laozi (an ancient well-known philosopher). Originated in Mt. Wudang, a Taoist holy land, it is of great value to fitness and body-building. By now, it has become popular in China and worldwide, as a kind of fitness sport.

Together with the Shaolin School in the north, Wudang School in the south is the most typical representative of traditional Chinese Kung Fu. At present, its major skills are well presented by Tai Chi (Taiji), Form/Intention Boxing (Xingyiquan) and Eight Diagram Palm (Baguazhang).

Guidance of Taoist Ideology

Wudang Martial Arts were created based on the Taoist ideology. Taoism holds that there are basic, everlasting and supernatural principles in the earth which are called “Tao” suggesting softness, quietness, emptiness, unification, fairness and harmony. All these can be presented according to Tai Chi, Yin and Yang, the Five Elements (water, gold, fire, wood and earth) and the Eight Diagrams tactics. Under the direction of these philosophical theories, this Kung Fu style gains good effects in the boxing and sword skills.

Wudang Boxing, a kind of Internal Boxing Art (Neijiaquan), observes the ideas in the Book of Changes and takes the changes of Yin and Yang as presuppositions. It is created to benefit health and fight against the enemy in associating movement and stillness as well as might and weakness. The Eight-Diagram Palm, also named Circuit Palm, presents the self-defence skills by the practice of moving in a circle. The learners cultivate the skills by circuit walking, which seems to move along the lines of the Eight Diagrams, an important Taoist characteristic. Sometimes, the walking trace looks like the inner or external profile of the Eight-Diagram tactics. This special skill takes advantages of the palm strength to give full play to the strength of the hand.

Taking Fitness as the Purpose

Although the Taoist theurgy and alchemy are full of mystery, the basic principles are to mintian fitness. Wudang Kung Fu includes many boxing styles and weapon skills which are all created to adapt to the human body. Practising these skills is beneficial to the stimulation of blood circulation. It relaxes muscles and joints, nourishes the physical organs and cultivates physical and mental health.

Tai Chi is the best example of its fitness function. The practice pace of Tai Chi is slow. It functions to defeat the strong in a weak way and beat the moving in a standstill manner. Qigong used in Tai Chi cannot only practise the Kungfu skills, but also develop wisdom and strengthen the body. The Taiji Sword is an important part of Tai Chi concerning the characteristics of Tai Chi and swordplay. On the one hand, its motions need to be agile and soft emphasizing the fitness spirit as Tai Chi; on the other hand, it has to be elegant and flexible showing the vivid manner of sword playing.

Advocating Peace not War

Despite its mighty skills, advocating peace is the essence of Wudang Martial Arts. The Taoist ideology teaches that war is immoral and unfair. Accordingly, Taoism holds that Kung Fu is learned for protection and not destruction.

The basic Kung Fu spirit is to value the martial power while at the same time upholding virtue, which has been advocated by martial arts performers from generation to generation. Chinese Kung Fu is just like a knowledgeable teacher from whom people can learn a lot in order to survive in this complicated world.

Way of Life with Moral Disciplines

The disciples of Wudang School must abide by some admonishments at the onset of learning martial arts .The fundamental ones are Three Pieces of Obedience, Five Restrictions, Ten Prohibitions and others. The Three Pieces of Obedience refer to belief in Taoism, observing 36 pieces of Taoist scripture and complying with the direction of the Taoist master. The Five Restrictions are no killing, no stealing, no drinking and no meat, no lying and no wickedness. The Ten Prohibitions include that it is forbidden to disobey parents and teachers/masters, to kill or trap livestock or peoples’ life, to betray one’s country, to be prurient, to abandon the seniors and so on.

Natural Styles

Kung Fu skills vary from one school to another. Wudang Kung Fu is characterized by softness and harmony: The Eight-Diagram Palm skills are coherent and diversified; Form/Intention Boxing features its linking styles and Tai Chi sees the waist as exercise axis. Besides, some skills are named after various animals, such as the Twelve Shapes Boxing.
- Last updated on Jul. 16, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Wudang Martial Arts
Asked by mei from USA | Jul. 16, 2018 15:00Reply
Where can we watch Taichi and Qigong practice on Wudangshan in October 2018?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lena from USA | Jul. 16, 2018 19:30

Wudangshan Taichi Great Theater
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